1. I think I prefer AP. Read the Cronin memo and you will understand that even if you enter using AP, you will be considered to be on valid H-1 as long as you were maintaining H-1 status before you left. Search the word "Cronin" on my blog .
2. No. See answer above.
3. It is impossible to predict times. Plan for a six-month turnaround.
4. Do not be scared of queries. We are yet to lose an H-1 case. I am not aware of any queries on AP.
5. Advance Parole and Passport.