F1 to H1B visa Change of Status

Process of F1 to H1B Visa change of Status. OPT Rules, Planning – Tips

In Graduation | Jobs by Kumar570 Comments

One of the most important things for an international student on F1 visa studying in America is to find an employer and get H1B visa sponsored.  As you know, F1 students are impacted by the New H1B rules and Recession, changing from F1 to H1B visa can be tricky and it is a good idea to plan everything ahead of time like OPT       after graduation and H1B F1 to H1B visa Change of Statussponsorship. I will try to explain the typical process involved for converting from F1 to H1B and key things to keep in mind during the change of status.

F1 Visa – OPT Planning :

Some of you might have worked on CPT (Working OPT Vs CPT ) and may be planning on applying OPT to work after graduation, but some of you may not have had CPT at all. Either case, you should apply for OPT to be eligible to work after graduation until you find a potential H1B Sponsor and get the H1B visa petition filed. You file using form I-765 and work with your International Student Advisor or DSO(Designated School official ), who will give you a new I20 and update SEVIS about your OPT. You will file the OPT for employment authorization by paying necessary fee. You can apply for OPT up to 90 days prior to completion of your program i.e, the graduation date. Suppose you forget to apply on time, you have 60 days grace period to apply after program date. This is very risky and not recommended as it gets much complicated. So, do NOT delay and apply for OPT before you graduate. Anyways, once you file OPT, you will get an EAD or OPT Card. Check : Sample OPT or EAD Card

MS, CPT , OPT, H1B visa

OPT Rules to keep in Mind :

Once your OPT starts after graduation, ideally you should have a job and be technically working. If you are unemployed, you have to find a job as soon as you can in the area of your degree.  The rule is, you can only accumulate only up to 90 days of Unemployment during entire 12 month OPT Period. What it means is, say for instance you worked for an employer for 3 months on OPT and you thought of changing jobs, then you start looking and change employer, it took you 30 days to find another job( you did not work during this 30 days), now you have used 30 days of your 90 Days unemployment period given by USCIS. Precisely, you can only be unemployed for a total of 90 days during your 12 month OPT. If you belong to STEM degree and get 17 month OPT extension, then you get an additional 30 days of unemployment period, which totals to 120 days of unemployment period allowed in total 29 months of OPT.

Process for F1 visa to H1B visa Change of Status:

Typically after you graduate with MS or MBA, you start looking for a potential H1B visa sponsoring company that can hire you full time and file your H1B visa petition.  In fact, OPT is given to international students to demonstrate to these potential sponsors that you have the skills. Most of the employers want to see how you work and your skills for few months before they take decision to hire you full time and sponsor you work visa. It is assumed that you have OPT/ EAD Card in hand and working for an employer.  You may also check  How to find H1B visa Sponsors in an Area for Job Search in USA ?

Steps involved in F1 to H1B visa Change of Status & Important Points :

  1. You take interview from a H1B sponsoring company and they give you a job offer letter.  You may have interviewed with the company before graduation and might have started working for a company on OPT right after graduation.  The point is, you need a job offer from a H1B sponsoring company.
  2. Once you have the offer, you submit all the required documents to the H1B sponsoring company to file for H1B visa petition. For document list info, check article: Documents needed for applying for H1B visa. How much does it really cost ? What should you NOT give ?
  3. F1 visa students with MS or MBA from US are eligible for H1B Advanced degree quota of 20,000. Typically, the attorney will file your visa petition under this category if you have masters from US. If not, you will be filed under general category.
  4. Typically, USCIS accepts H1B visa petitions starting April 1st, there used to be lottery, but with recession and new H1B visa rules of 2011 things have changed and there was no lottery this year for FY 2011 cap. Anyways, the point is, some employers do not know the full rules and it is your job to remind them about the deadlines and makes sure they process the H1B visa petition filing on time for your F1 visa change of status to H1B.
  5. Once you file for H1B visa petition, you will get a H1B visa receipt notice from USCIS. Using the receipt number. You can Check H1B status Online
  6. Depending on number of petitions filed and the work load of USCIS, they process H1B visa petitions anywhere from 2 to 6 months or early. It depends.
  7. If you file for Premium processing, you will hear back from USCIS within 15 business days. The 15 day clock is a bit tricky when you file on April 1st, this year USCIS said, they will count the 15 days from April 7th. In general, if you do premium processing  for your H1B petition, you should hear back in 15 business days or earlier.
  8. Once your H1B petition is processed by USICS a decision is made, they update the case status online and send your employer the decision.  Hopefully you get the approval notice. Typically, your H1B visa term starts from October and your status is automatically converted to H1B from F1 Visa.

Hopefully you got an idea of F1 to H1B Change of status in US. If you are starting your career, you may read F1 visa to H1B visa: Consulting Career ? Pros and Cons of consulting ? New H1B Rules 2011 impact?

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Comments ( 570 )

  1. Nhat Nguyen

    Dear Saurabh or whoever will help me understand my situation,

    My situation: my OPT will end in June 26, 2012. I have been working with my company since August 2011. My company did not promise H1B sponsorship but now have decided to sponsor me for H1B now. I will start working with the HR department for H1B filing.
    As I read the comments about the Cap-Gap, I understand that if I file for H1B on April 1, 2012 I will be qualified for the Cap-Gap and can stay working until when my H1B application is approved. Please correct me if my understanding is wrong.

    Thank you very much,
    Nhat

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      That is a correct understanding. Make sure H-1 is filed w/ COS w/ start date of Oct 1, 2012 to be eligible for cap-gap. This would allow you to stay and work until Oct 1, 2012 or H-1 denial date (whichever is earlier).

      1. Nhat Nguyen

        Thank you very much Saurabh.
        What does it mean H-1 is filed w/ COS w/ start date of Oct 1?
        I understand that Oct 1 here is Oct 1, 2012 but what is w/ COS w/.

        Thanks again and have a good night,
        Nhat

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          COS stands for Change of Status. When applying for H-1, one can mention it as with change of status (w/ COS) or w/0 COS (aka consular processing). Only when the petition is filed as former, does one become eligible for cap-gap.

          Change of Status means that your status would change from old visa status (in this F-1) to new visa status (in this H-1) from the approval date (which would be stamped on the I-94 that would come along w/ approval notice).

          Does that clarify?

          1. Nhat Nguyen

            YES! It is Clear!! Thank you very much Saurabh!

            In the future when I prepare the app. I will have to ask many other questions too, but I hope the company lawyer is here for help with that.

            My question now is that for Oct 1, 2012, is it a lottery system or first come first in?

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            The system would work just like this year. They would continue to accept petitions until the quota is reached. They would conduct lottery only if received petitions go over the quota.

  2. Tim

    Hi,
    My OPT expires on January 9, 2012. My company applied for H1 visa on August 29, 2011. The USCIS website still shows Initial Review. Its been 3 months now since my application. What are possible options I have to continue working in the US. The wait is literally frustrating now. Please advise.

    Regards,
    Tim

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      As your OPT is about to expired soon, you can either file for OPT STEM extension, or have your petition upgraded to premium processing. USCIS would adjudicate it within 15 calendar days when upgraded to PP.

      1. Tim

        Hi Saurabh,
        Thank you very much for your prompt response. I read about some cap gap.Can that be applicable to my case. I understand its a difficult question but how long more should I wait for CSC to process my application.
        Thanks ,
        Tim

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Cap-gap extends one’s status only until Sep 30. So it’s not your applicable to your case.

          At times processing can take more than 6 months. Talk to your employer/attorney about upgrading to PP.

        2. kishore

          Tim,

          you have your OPT till Jan 9th 2012.
          So you can work till that date.

          If you are eligible for opt extension, please apply right away, if not try to do premium .
          If you don’t get your H1b status by Jan 9th, you are not supposed to work but you can stay in USA till you get a decision on your H1b.

          Good luck

  3. Srinivas

    HI,

    My OPT going to expire on FEB 14th 2012.i have tried to file h1b but applications get closed.

    Please help me what i have to do in this situation.
    Kindly give your suggestions.

    Thanks&Regards

    Srinivas

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Your employer can file H-1 petition on April 1, 2012. As you will be in the 60 day grace period that follows end of F-1/OPT, you should be eligible for cap-gap. However, check w/ an attorney as well.

      1. Bjarni

        Hi there,

        I am currently on Opt that expires on March, 03, 2012. The law firm filing my h1b petition did not get it in time before the cap was reached this month (Nov 2011). Can I still take a shot at the 2012 application period? If the law firm tries again to apply on April 1st 2012? How will that work with my job? Will I be able to work once my application gets submitted on April 1st? Any feedback is greatly appreciated. I am really bummed about the petition not being sent in on time. Im hoping an praying that I will be able to take a month off from work in march of 2012 (or work for free which I’m more than happy to do) and that when the law firm files my h1b petition in April 1st I will be able to get some sort of extension. I have not found much on the Internet regarding this subject though.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          If your employer is e-verified, then you can apply for OPT extension (provided your education was in STEM).

          If not, you will be on your 60 day grace period. An employer can file H-1 petition for you on April 1, 2012 and you can continue to stay and work on basis of cap-gap. You can do this until October 1, 2012. If your H-1 is denied, then you will have to leave US after the 60 day grace period. You can check w/ your lawyer as well about this option.

          1. Bjarni

            Thanks so much for your quick response. My education was not in STEM but you are saying I will be able to work from april 1 2012 to october 1 2012 on basis of cap gap? Will I have to not work from march 03 to april 1st then? Thank you so much for your insight. I really appreciate your help

          2. kishore

            Hi,
            there is a correction.
            your OPT expires mar 03 2011.
            you will have grace period for 60 days
            If your employer files H1b within that period and U get receipt from USCIS, U can stay in USA till the decision. If you get your H1b, you can start working only from the date mentioned on your I 797 approval notice. ( usually it will be Oct 1st 2012)

            from Mar 04 2012, you are not supposed to work.

          3. administrator
            Saurabh

            Sorry, I was wrong. Kishore is right. As you will be in the 60 day grace period when H-1 is filed, you can continue to stay in US, but cannot work.

            Work authorization is granted during cap-gap only if a person was still in OPT period at the time of I-129 filing.

      2. kishore

        Saurabh is correct, but a small correction.

        Make sure your employer file your H1b petition by April 1st week.
        You can stay in USA ( but cannot work from your OPT end date)

        Onc eyour h1b gets approved, you can start working from Oct 1st onwards.

        Make sure you notify your international department. as they will issue your new I 20.

  4. WL

    HI there,

    I am on F-1 status/OPT, which expires on Jan 30, 2012. The paralegals submitting my application on behalf of my company experienced multiple delays, which led to an attempted submission under H1B today, only to find that the cap has been reached for the year.

    As I am a Singaporean citizen, I am eligible to file under H1B1. However, it is unlikely that I’ll receive approval before my OPT/F1 is up on Jan 30, 2012.

    What are my options now? Am I eligible for cap gap? Will I have to leave the US after Jan 30, 2012 and file for H1B1 on my own?

    Additionally, I had planned to travel home to singapore between mid Dec and early January. Is this still feasible?

    Thanks so much for your time.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You are not eligible for cap-gap. Your company can file the petition w/ premium processing so that USCIS adjudicates it within 15 calendar days, well before your OPT expiration date. In case RFE is issued, USCIS would take another 15 calendar days to review the RFE response.

      Do not leave US while your H-1 is filed and is pending. Once H-1 gets approved, you can travel outside US. However, you will have to get H-1 visa stamped in passport to return to US and work on H-1.

      1. kishore

        no need to leave US after Jan 30th 2012. You have 60 days grace period.
        As Saurabh told, make sure your employer file under premium process

  5. Antonio Slim

    I am starting OPT on january 2012. I am from Mexico and after I graduate this December from San Diego State University. I will be working for a company in San Diego. It is a produce (vegetables) import/export distributor. It is a large company which sells about 100million per year. I have a great job offer and the employer adviced me to start looking for visa options (they are willing to sponsor me). The company has seen great potential in me and needs a Mexican who they can trust to deal with the growers in Mexico and that has skills to manage clients such as Walmart and Costco, I also have experience working in this field in MExico. My question is: With my bachelors in International Business from SDSU am I elegible for the H1B visa? When do I need to file for the H1 considering my OPT end date is 12/31/2012.

  6. AV

    Hi,
    I started my MBA on an F1 visa two months ago and I will graduated within a year. However, I am being offered to be sponsored by a company to work with an H1b work visa. It is to start this December in another state in the US. Can an F1 student that is currently studying quit school, accept a job offer and change to an H1B visa status?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You have been on F-1 status for 60 days now. When applying for H-1, you will have to apply for COS as well, so that you can start working on H-1. Chances of COS approval are most when one has spent at least 90 days in US on prior non-dual-intent visa (like F-1 or B-1) and least when one has spent less than 30 days. Yours will be somewhere in b/w.

      You can try to file H-1 w/ COS from F-1 to H-1 and if it gets approved start working on H-1. If it doesn’t then you can continue your studies on F-1. As quota is close to getting filled, the company needs to hurry up.

      1. AV

        Thank you Saurabh! Sorry that I didn’t reply sooner. Since the selection process in the company I mentioned to you has been temporarily suspended, I want to apply for a CPT in another company. I just finished my firs academic year (fall and spring) and I graduate in less than 8 months (in December). I have a silly question for you: if I do a part-time CPT for less that 12 months while I am studying, can I still do my OPT for the full 12 months after my graduation? I am afraid that the CPT time will consume my 12 months of OPT. Thank you very much in advance.

  7. Lana

    Hello,
    I got MBA in marketing, and I am on OPT which ends in January 2011. My current emlpoyer is willing to apply for H1B for me but when we were consulting with the immigration attorney, she mentioned that the refusal rate for Marketing specialists working in a SMB is relatively high.
    I was wondering, what if my application gets rejected, is it possible for me to apply for F-1 again – for some different program? Or, will my file get flagged? Thank you!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You can apply for another Masters program. Your file will be flagged if USCIS determines that you didn’t maintain legal status or were involved in criminal activity etc. If your petition is denied b/c of your role and position, then it wouldn’t adversely impact your future filings.

  8. uxma

    Hi,

    I am wondering that if someone is on f1 opt and they apply for h1 but get rejected … will they remain on f1 for the remaining duration of their opt period? and will they be able to resume their studies without having to go back to get visa restamped?

  9. Jaya narayanamurthy

    Hi there,

    My brother is on OPT and got it extended till 2013 in november 2011.He graduated in december 2010 and started working as a consultant for a US firm.

    He wants to travel on OPT to india once and fly back and then apply for H1-B visa.

    Request you to suggest if this is a safe bet .

    thank You,
    Regards,
    JN

  10. kashif

    Hi,
    I did my Master here in USA and currently I am on OPT. My F1 visa will expire in 2013 and OPT in July 2012. I am planning to visit Pakistan and I am confuse should I have to go OPT status or change it to H1 and then I should go. I know both ways are risky. Need your suggestion which is more favorable.
    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You can travel in and out on F-1 visa stamp while working on OPT. Going for any sort of new stamping might be risky (if you might be having a common Muslim name).

      You can also make the trip on F-1 and OPT even if you have H-1 approved w/o COS. You don’t need to go for any stamping, so it would comparatively safer bet.

  11. Kalyan

    Hi,

    I am currently pursuing my PhD. I have completed my masters from a different university and used up my OPT then. Now I have a full-time offer and would like to take it up. The company will be filing for my H1b right away. I wanted to clarify if I can start working right from the day the H1b gets approved? Do I have to get back to India for stamping? Also, I would like to know the problem if the H1b approval gets rejected?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If your H-1 gets approved w/ COS then you can start working on H-1 from the approval date. You don’t need to get H-1 stamped immediately. Basically, you are fine as long as you are within US. Next time you leave US and want to return on H-1, then you will have to get H-1 visa stamped and then enter on that visa stamp.

      1. Kalyan

        Thanks Saurabh. I have one more clarification. Since I am discontinuing my PhD, what do I show on my resume that will be sent to USCIS that I have been doing in the last 18 months. Kindly do let me know if I can mention pursuing PhD on my resume and write a note stating I am discontinuing or is it ideal not to put anything on resume.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          They would know about your studies as you are in US and they have information about your I-20 and I-94. So there is no point hiding it. You should remain truthful.

  12. Sam

    Hello,

    I’m on F-1 OPT, with a job, and wish to go to India for my brother’s wedding. My employer suggested applying for Advanced Parole but as my F-1 visa expired back in 2010, he suggested me not to go as I would have to go through the entire visa process all over again and mentioned that they would reject it in spite of having a job in US, because of the current job market.

    Is there any way I can still go and come back without having any immigration issues? Kindly advice.

  13. Samit Patel

    Hi,
    I graduated in August but because I had not yet got a job offer, I decided to enroll in another course in my university in D.C. instead of applying for OPT (I have 5 years of work ex so i thought time might be well spent doing another course). So my new I-20 is valid through June 2013. However, one of the companies I had applied to has given me an offer and they are willing to process my H1B right away and I am really keen on joining them.

    Is it ok for me to accept this offer right away and leave the course I had enrolled in? Basically, can the university object? Also, since I had not applied to OPT, can I only start once H1b is stamped or can I start once company has applied for an H1b for me and received a receipt from USCIS.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      The employer can file for H-1 w/ COS. Once COS is approved, your status would be H-1 and you can start working on H-1 from the approval date. You don’t need to get H-1 stamped until you travel out of US next and want to re-enter on H-1 visa stamp. Once your COS is approved, your school cannot object. Lot of students leave the studies in b/w.

  14. sarin

    Hi Kumar,

    I am on OPT and I recently got offered a job. Later, they found out that they overlooked my immigrant status during the interview stage. Can they deny me a job just because I have an expiration date?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Yes, they can. You can try to explain them that your OPT can be extended (if the employer is e-Verified) or H-1 can be filed. If they still don’t want to hire you, then that’s their call and you cannot do anything about it.

      1. sarin

        Thank you Saurabh,

        I did accept the offer and they told me if I realized that I would not permitted to work for them after the expiration date. I said yes, but they are still hiring me.
        I asked you this question, because on the first paragraph of the I-9 it says-
        “The refusal to hire an individual because the documents presented have a future expiration date may also constitute discrimination”.

        It is a large organization so I am guessing they knew about this rule so could not back out after the offer was made.

        Happy Halloween. Belated Diwali.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          I read the form, and you are correct. It does say that one cannot be discriminated because of a future dated expiration date. OPT extension needs to be filed by you and not the employer, so you can let them know about the extension and file the same. Hopefully they would be ok w/ it.

          Happy belated Halloween and Happy belated Diwali to you as well 🙂

  15. Lana

    Hi guys,

    I need your advice. If I change my status from F1 to H1 here in the United States and then go back to my country to get a visa stamp, is there any chance they can deny me? I also changed my status from J1 to F1 while being in US to get my Masters. I don’t know if it can negatively affect me.

    And I still don’t get it: if you get approved for new status, does it guarantee that they give me a visa as well?I mean employer pays money for sponsorship and it would not be cool in regards to employer to deny me, but who knows what embassy thinks. I don’t wanna risk my future.

    Thanks, I will appreciate your input.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      It is very much possible to get denied during stamping even when your petition has been approved by USCIS. It sucks, but that’s how the system is working right now. Unless you are sure that your stamping would go through (filing through a reputed top-rated company) and there is no urgent need to travel, it’s better to avoid traveling outside of US. Even if you do, ensure to have back-up plan in mind.

  16. Sanjay

    Hi,
    Currently i am working in L1 visa, But I have applied for change of status to H1 on 3rd of august,
    The status still shows initial review, am I supposed to work in the same current company after Oct 1, If yes then how long???
    How long it will take from intial review status to complete approval process??
    I would appreciate for the earliest response

    Thank you

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You need to work for L-1 employer until your H-1 gets approved w/ COS. Thereafter you need to work for the H-1 employer from the H-1 approval start date. In case your L-1 gets expired in b/w (I-129S or I-94) then your L-1 employer needs to file for extension or you will have to leave US.

      H-1 processing may take 2-6 months. If you upgrade it to premium processing, then it would be adjudicated within 15 calendar days.

  17. Jamesimal

    Hey. I am a Canadian who studied in the USA, got OPT approved and then H1B approved to start October 1, 2011 and have been working since my H1B was applied for due to the Cap-Gap. I was wondering if it is fine to leave the US for Canada on September 30 (for a cousin’s wedding) and then enter the US on October 3, 2011? I have my approval notice and passport and everything, but just wondered if there is anything else that I need or that I should know? Thanks again.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      To return and work on H-1, you need to enter on stamped H-1 visa. So you may have to go for visa stamping before returning to US on H-1.

  18. Mohit

    I’m currently on F1 VISA and my current salary is less than the minimum for H1-B. My employer want to file my H1B. So the salary change will come into effect after the H1B is filed or after it is approved?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Once your H-1 starts, your salary needs to be at least what has been specified in the LCA. It’s not based on filing, but actual H-1 start date.

      1. Mohit

        Thanks for the reply Saurabh. In that case I think it would make sense for me to go for premium processing. That way my salary hike will take effect sooner?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Yes, that would mean your new salary would come into effect sooner.

          Yes, it should come into effect from the date your H-1 is approved.

  19. Pavan

    Hi! I have applied for H1B on June 10th and received the receipt. My 17 month STEM-OPT expired on July 10th 2011 and automatic CAP-GAP extension has begun from July 10th valid upto Sept 30th. My H1B petition with USCIS showed up a DENIAL decision Online on 21st Sept and I have not received the papers yet. I am on 60 day grace period to depart US from 21st.

    Can I reinstate my F1 status by getting an I20 from another University?
    Is my SEVIS transferrable once I have a valid I20?

    I have contacted a university and the earliest date next semester will start is January 1st, but my 60 day grace period will end on Nov 21st as H1B petition denied on sep 21st. If they issue me an I20 next week for the Next sem and I apply for F1 reinstiation to USCIS can I possibly get approved for F1 now?

    Please Kindly suggest. I am Completely confused.

  20. Sukumar

    Hi

    I am a PhD and currently on OPT with company A (e-verified) which ends on oct 31, 2011. I got a job with company B (not e-verified) starting Dec 1, 2011 and company B is planning to apply for my H1B premium processing. I have applied for STEM extension with company A so that I can work in November 2011, and this will mostly get approved. Both companies A & B do not fall under the H1B quota system. suppose that both my STEM extension with company A and my H1B with company B get approved, my question is the following:

    I have about one month of paid vacation that I have accumulated from company A, which i am planning to take in December 2011. During this time I do not have to go to my company A office but just fill up my time as paid vacation. But I am planning to join company B on Dec 1. This means that company B will start paying me from that date. I will inform company A that I will be quitting my work on jan 1 2012. Will this create any problems with cashing my paid vacation from company A in december?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Yes it will. Once your H-1 starts w/ B from 1st Dec, you only need to be paid by the B and no other employer. So you cannot get a payslips from A in Dec while working for B on H-1.

      If A is ready to pay you for those paid leave in a lump-sum then that would be better and you can take that as a final settlement while leaving A on 1st Dec.

      1. Sukumar

        Hi Saurabh
        Thank you very much for your quick reply. Are there any exceptions to this rule- that one cannot get paid from another company while on H1-B? Where can i find rules and regulations on H1-B?
        Regards

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          There is no exception. When on H-1 you can only get paid by the employer holding your H-1 petition. You can search for them on DOL and USCIS website publications or go through online forums where there are several posts on this topic.

  21. Mohit Syed

    Hi,
    Im currently on cpt looking forward to apply for H1b, I have got some company who is willing to do it for I wanted to ask can I continue to my studies after few months being on H1b.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You can study while being on H-1. However, being on H-1 means your primary responsibility is to maintain H-1 status, for which you need to be employer full-time. As long as you are able to maintain H-1 status, you can study by the side.

  22. Abhijit

    Hi,
    I am currently working for company A, but my pay-roll runs under company B. At the end of each week A pays to B, which in turn pays me. Right now I am in my OPT extension, got it extended under the company B since its a e-verified company. Today, I got a full time offer from company A which is not a e verified company. So, my questions is can company A apply for my H1B meanwhile I continue working for company B. Thanks for your time and reply.

      1. Abhijit

        Sorry, for bothering you again. I came to know that, if you get back your H1 filing receipt you can put that as the starting date and start working for company A. Is this true? Thanks a ton for the reply.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          As you are on OPT, you cannot work on H-1 for A until H-1 gets approved. What you can do is work for A on OPT. You would need to inform your school about change in employment and then start working for A on OPT. Once H-1 gets approved, you can start working for them on H-1.

  23. Vinayak

    Hi ,

    I used 66 days of my 90 day OPT period before finding my first job. Then I found another job and my employer filed my H-1 (receipt date Aug 26). I could not start my working till Sept 14 and this duration between my last day at previous job and new job was 31 days. So will I still be considered as being exceeding 90 day un employment period though I already had a job and my H-1 was under process ?

    Thanks

      1. Vinayak

        Thanks Saurabh,
        In my case the delay in joining was due to employer. Employer postponed my joining by 2 weeks, I have documented proof in this regard.

        Please advice

        Regards
        Vinayak

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Doesn’t matter. In the end count of unemployment days would include that irrespective of who was at fault. However being on F-1 you get 60 day grace period. Although I am not sure, I think it may still be ok as your H-1 petition was filed while you were still in authorized stay (i.e. 90 day unemployment hadn’t occurred). Talk to an attorney to be certain about it.

          1. Vinayak

            Thanks Saurabh,
            I consult an immigration lawyer from a very reputed law firm ( $200 for 20 mins), and I was told that it is very minor violation and it can be ignored. What I was told is that it is not a big deal. I don’t know. Still confused..

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            An opinion from a subject matter expert definitely counts more than mine. If a reputable attorney says it would be fine, I guess it would be. Your employment day count would be 97. So it seems like 7 day is not a big deal and USCIS will either overlook it, or it’s something that can be reasoned later.

  24. kishore

    Hi,

    I am in capgap, my H1b was applied on Jun 2nd. As of now it is in initial review process.

    My current status is valid till Sep 30th. Can I work from Oct 1st as my H1b is in review status?
    If I apply to some university now and get into f1, and before Sep 30th if my H1b gets approved, will my F1 ( with the new univ) gets cancelled automatically or I need to apply for h1b to F1 change of status?

    Kindly help me
    Regards,

    Kishore

  25. Alexandra

    Hi,

    I was wondering if it’s possible to leave the US while you are waiting for the h1b visa to be approved or if I have to stay in the country until I recive it? My opt has expired so right now I’m just waiting for my h1.

    Thank you!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If you are eligible for cap-gap, then you can stay and wait for your H-1 (until 30th Sep). If you are not eligible for cap-gap, then you have to leave country within 60 days (that’s the grace period provided to people on F-1).

      1. Alexandra

        No I already know that. I applied for my h1 a week ago and I’m wondering if I have to stay in the US until I get my visa, or if it’s ok for me to leave and wait for it abroad.

        Thank you.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          If you leave US while your H-1 is in progress, then COS will be abandoned. You will have to get H-1 stamped from your home country in order to return to US and work on H-1.

  26. Steve

    My H1 is approved so I will go to India for H1 stamping in November month.And my OPT is valid till august 2012.So in the worst case if i have any problem with my H1 stamping than can i enter into US on my OPT status?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Was your H-1 approved w/ COS? If yes, then you will be on H-1 status from the approval date and not on OPT. Your SEVIS entry needs to be updated by your DSO. I don’t think you can enter on F-1 and work on OPT after that. If it was approved w/o COS, then you would remain on OPT and probably can re-enter on OPT (provided you have endorsed your OPT for travel and have unexpired F-1 visa stamp).

      You should also check w/ someone else on this.

  27. LW

    Hi, I am on F1 OPT and from Singapore so I would be eligible for H1B1. My OPT expires in January 31, 2012. Is it too late to apply for H1B1 now? Is there an official ‘start’ date for H1B1 or can I apply and start at any time during the year?

    Please reply as I have been unable to find this answer anywhere online!!

    Thanks!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      The quota is still open. The earliest start date is 1st Oct 2011 or beyond (but it cannot be more than 6 months in to future).

  28. Abhi

    Hello,

    I have got an approval in June, but start date is from Oct,2011. Now can i change employers, if yes, will i go back to OPT or continue with a h1b transfer.
    What would my status be during this duration after getting approval and before start date.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You are on OPT until 30th Sep. So irrespective of whether you change employers or not, you will remain in OPT (technically cap-gap period assuming your H-1 was filed and approved w/ COS) until 30th Sep.

      You will be on H-1 from 1st Oct, but your current petition is w/ your current employer. If you change employers, your new employer needs to file another H-1 petition for you, so that you can work for them beyond 1st Oct. If they don’t file another petition, you can go back to current employer and work for them on H-1 from 1st Oct onwards.

  29. chandra

    Hi,
    I have completed my MBA in USA, I just filled for OPT, if approved OPT will valid till August’2012. my question is if i applied for H1B in April’2012, in the worst case if my H1 reject, my F1(OPT) status remain continue or will cancelled. H1B petetion i need to apply on behalf of F1(OPT) or seperately.

    pl clarify my doubt.

    thanks and regards,

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If your H-1 is denied, you will still be on OPT and can stay and work until OPT expiration date (another 60 days grace period for F-1 students).

      If you plan to start working on H-1 soon after your OPT expires, then it needs to be filed w/ COS. Otherwise you can have it filed w/o COS, and then go for H-1 stamping and enter back on H-1 to work on H-1. You won’t have any cap-gap available to you in the latter.

  30. Nik

    Hi,

    I am currently working on F1-OPT which is valid until 10th August. I have an H1-B approval notice with change of status from July 11th, 2011. I want to make a trip to Canada from 1st July to 4th July without having to get visa stamping.

    Q1. Will I be required to get H1-B visa on my passport since I will be entering within 10 days of the change of status? Like I said, my OPT is valid until 10th August.

    Q2. If required to get H1-B visa stamping, can I get it done in Canada or will I have to go to India(home country) to get it done since this will be the first H1-B stamping?

    Thanks!

  31. ML

    Hi,
    I just graduated in Jun 15. I got a job offer 2 days ago and they want to sponsor me and start me right away. At the same time, I am about to get marry to a US Citizen in a month. My question is between applying for green card through married and Applying for H1B visa, which one will take less time??? Since I will work as unpaid intern until I have my work permit.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If the employer files H-1 now, the earliest you can start working is after 15 days (assuming your petition is filed and approved w/ COS and premium processing). However, the employer still needs to prepare the petition, advertise the LCA etc which may take up to 2 weeks of work even prior to filing the petition.

      GC for spouse is usually always available, and there is not much wait time. But I don’t know what the usual process and time is.

      What I do know is working as GC holder gives you better employment opportunities than working as H-1, and it’s cheaper to the employer as well.

  32. Shalini

    Hi
    I am graduating on June 25 and I still have not recived my EAD card, but I have expediated the request on 15th june and I got the reply that I will get the decision in 30 days.
    That still leaves me with 20 days.
    My employer applied for my H1 in premium processing and I have H1 approval which will kick off in october.
    Any suggestions what should I do to get my OPT card asap.
    Should I stop my payroll or is there any other option?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If you haven’t received your OPT card, then you cannot work, as your current work authorization (which I suppose is CPT) is no longer applicable once you graduate.

      There isn’t anything else you can do to speed up the process. Check w/ your DSO to get more opinion.

      1. Shalini

        Thanks for your answer but since I already have H1B approval so does my H1B approval notice will be of any help to continue?

        Can I ask my employer to hold my payroll till I get my EAD card which should not be more than 20 days after my garduation?

        I also have expedite my request with USCIS and I got the reply that I will be given a decison within next 30 days. They didnt ask me any supporting documents.Should I contact them again?

        Thanks
        Shalini

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Your H-1B notice allows you to work after 1st Oct on H-1. You cannot use it to work now.

          I don’t think its legal to continue to work prior to OPT, stop the payroll, and then ask employer to pay back wages.

          You can contact them again, but they may not have any updates for you as they have already told you that they would process it within 30 days. When is that deadline?

      2. Shalini

        Can I ask my employer to hold my payroll till I get my EAD card which should not be more than 20 days after my garduation?

        I also have expedite my request with USCIS and I got the reply that I will be given a decison within next 30 days. They didnt ask me any supporting documents.Should I contact them again?

        Thanks
        Shalini

  33. suraj

    I am already in OPT and My employer have applaid for H1B, but I have int received my H1B. In the mean time i have got another good offer from different employer.
    Can I change my job when my Visa is still in processing.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You can work for the new employer on OPT. However, once your H-1 starts (most likely on 1st Oct), then you need to go back and work for the H-1 employer. Or the new employer can file for H-1 petition for you so that you can continue to work for them even after H-1 status starts.

  34. Prayag

    Saurabh,

    I have applied for H1B on April 29 and still did not receive the receipt number. My opt expiration date is June 21, 2011 and I have transferred my SEVIS on May 26, 2011 to a new university to continue MS during CAP GAP. Hopefully I will be receiving new I-20 next week. Will my H1B processing gets affected during school transfer as I do not want to risk my status after the expiration of OPT. I know I get 60 days grace period after completion of OPT. For a safer side I took admission in a different college. Your thoughts will be helpful.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Actually you were safe until 1st Oct based on your H-1 petition. However, you should have received the petition number by now. Ask your employer to contact USCIS and figure out why receipt number hasn’t been generated (its possible that petition or generated number was lost in transit). Assuming your H-1 has been filed correctly, I don’t think it will be impacted by the SEVIS transfer.

      Once your H-1 arrives, you may have to notify the universities as your status may change from F-1 to H-1 (assuming it has been filed and approved w/ COS).

      1. Prayag

        Saurabh,

        Thanks for your help. I got the receipt number today and I have applied for H1B with COS. Hope everything should go on well from here.

  35. Xavier

    Hello!
    My 90 day unemployment grace period on OPT expired about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I haven’t work sicne I graduated. However, I am about to receive an offer for a postdoc. I am concerned about my overstay in hte US while waiting for this offer though. Should I need to stay in the USA waiting for the offer, or should I go back to my country and do the paperwork from there? Also, I am concerned about having my H1B visa denied because of my overstay… should I really worry about it? Should I document my case with emails regarding interviews and my attempts to find volunteering work in case of any hard time at the US embassy of my country?
    Thanks!!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Check w/ your school DSO, but I think you should leave the country and continue the paperwork from your home country.

  36. Stephanie

    My OPT is expiring at the end of May 2011. I’m currently interviewing with potential employers. I have a 60 day grace period one my OPT ends on the 31st. In that time if I get hired can I get sponsored while still in the country and does my OPT then extend itself until October?

    1. asdflkjh

      Hi Stephanie,

      Yes but only if you got offer then You can apply for cap gap opt extension which helps you to stay in US till your H1B is approved, but if you go out of US you cannot enter inside before oct 1steven though H1B is approved.

  37. Satya

    Hi this is Satya currently i am in OPT status I am planning to apply for h1 this week .
    My opt will be expire in jun12, I will apply h1 in premier process.My question is if i got approval or process of h1 i will work after jun my status will be change to h1.
    or i will get OPT extension till OCT when my h1 will be activated.please anyone suggest me.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If your H-1 is applied w/ COS (start date as 1st Oct 2011), then you can continue to stay and work in US on OPT until 1st Oct 2011 (this is called cap gap rule). However, if your H-1 is denied in b/w then you would have to stop working and would have usual 60 days to pack and leave US. Inform your DSO once your H-1 is filed, so that they can update your SEVIS record accordingly.

  38. Jeet

    Hi I am right now on OPT status and it is valid till May 15th 2011. I applied for H1b on November 2010 and I got rejected that time. My employer again applied for H1b in April 2011 and in response I got letter from USCIS that my sevis status shows that it was expired in Feb 20th 2011; that because of last time mine H1b was rejected so they automatically change my status and now it shows expired. So I talked with university and DSO told me he will work for my status and it will take one week. it is almost 3 days and I did not heard back. I am worried that will my status will be good? Should I will face any problem? Please if possible reply me asap.
    Thank you
    Jeet

    1. tba

      This is strange. If they rejected H1B last time, you would remain your status as F-1 (OPT), unless they found out your have violated your status at some point. Did you read the denial notice they sent carefully? It should tell you what to do next: either you could stay in your current status or leave the U.S. or something else if there is? I’ve never seen a situation where they changed someone’s status automatically but didn’t let them know why. My suggestion is to wait for DSO response, DSO will probably notify SEVIS about your situation and may as well reinstate you back to F1. Apparently USCSI says you were out of status.
      This is a valuable lesson for all F-1 students: There is no way DSO knows what’s you’re doing after you leave school. So it’s advisable to keep your DSO in contact and update them your situations, e.g. changing status, H1B, traveling abroad, etc. If your H1B is approved or denied, let them know too so they can update SEVIS accordingly. A good SEVIS record could benefit you a lot in future immigration requests.

      1. Jeet

        On my denial notice it says, I can stay on my current status till the date on I-94. I am working with my DSO to resolve this issue.

        Thanks for your reply. Appreciate it.

      2. Jeet

        I am still waiting from DSO and I dont know how long will it take because this time USCIS is waiting for my status update and then only they will proccess my file further for approval. So I am really thinking that how long will it take to update the status by DSO?
        Thank You
        Jeet

        1. tba

          DSO said one week, so you need to ask your DSO again after one week. No one really knows how long it takes as every case is different. Also, USCIS normally gives you certain time to reponse (30 days or 45 days, etc), so keep an eye on that.

  39. xyz

    Hi Saurabh
    I am right now in F1 status. My H1B was filed in jan 1st. If I get approved, will I be able to start working as soon as I get notice from USCIS?or will I have to wait until oct 2011?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Do you know if your H-1 was applied w/ COS or w/o COS? If it was applied w/ COS, and the same is approved, you can need to start working (and getting paid) on basis of approval date in the petition.

      If it was filed and approved w/o COS, then you either need to get H-1 stamped and enter US on that visa stamp, or file and get COS approved before starting to work on H-1.

          1. administrator
            Saurabh

            If it was w/ COS, then you need to start working (and getting paid) on basis of approval date in the petition.

          2. Shalini

            I have got my start date a 10/01/2011 on my H1b approval? van I make it without COS and i can get on H1 now?

            Is it possible ?

            How long does it takes?

            Appreciate your reply
            Thanks
            Shalini

          3. administrator
            Saurabh

            I didn’t understand your question. Does your H-1 come w/ an I-94? If yes, then it was approved w/ COS and you will be on H-1 from 1st Oct.

  40. Ivan Besancon

    Hey, my name is Ivan. I graduated with an MBA in July 2010. I have been given an OPT visa until september 2011. I have heard the deadline to apply for an H1B visa is April of every year. Is that true? Or can I wait until the end of my OPT visa and apply for H1B around that time? Please let me know.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Ivan, April is when H1B Fiscal year starts. You should apply for H1B visa before OPT expiration…ideally you should apply in April or as soon as you can and have it approved to work in US on H1B from Oct 1st…

  41. atishe

    Hi,

    I recently graduated from college and am now working for a firm in the USA on an F1-visa (OPT). I have also just received notice that my H1-b visa has been approved. The start date of the visa is March 1st 2011. I will be traveling to India in Feb and returning mid February 19th. I understand that there is a 10-day rule for people applying for H1-b. I wanted to know whether I am cutting it close or whether anyone who makes the change from F1 to H1-b visa and leaves the country for the first time needs to get H1-b visa stamped no matter when the start date of the H1-b visa.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Aitshe, Depends on what status you are entering USA in Feb. If you are entering on F1 visa with OPT and your current F1 visa and OPT are valid until then, you may be fine…but, in case your F1 is expired at the time of re-entering, you will have to get H1B stamped.

      1. atishe

        Hi Kumar thanks for your post.

        My OPT will be valid. But I was just unsure whether I can still get my H1-b visa stamped?

        Do let me know about that.

        Thanks,
        Atishe

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          You can get your H1B stamped…I am not sure if you can enter on H1B status … On consulate website, it clearly says …” You may not enter the United States more than 10 days prior to the petition validity date. ”

          The trick is, VO may cancel the existing F1 visa, when they stamp H1B visa…. so, you cannot enter on F1 visa at that time….I would double check with Port of Entry office or do not enter before 10 days…

  42. Viviene

    I graduated May 22, 2010. Got OPT approval for July 19, 2010. Worked till August 3, 2010 but had to relocate because of transportation issues. To date November 26, 2010 I have not been able to get a job in my field. My 90 days expire next week is there anything i can do to remain in the US without being illegal.

  43. Roberta Baptista

    I am graduating this December. I had afew interviews n found jobs but not related to my area. Can I get the job just to not be unemployed and then get the position I want latter?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Roberta,
      It is a tricky situation because, I think your OPT lets you work only in your field of study….check with your School officials, they should clarify it…

  44. Sai

    HI

    I was on F1 till last year and I was doing my Master’s and I will be graduating in another 3 months now. But my H1B was approved and my visa status is changed to H1B from F1 since August, 2009. I am also continuing my Master’s program simultaneously while I am on H1B. Now, I want to know if I will have any problem if I need to go for H1B stamping as I am yet to finish my Master’s(will graduate in Dec, 2010)

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sai, I think you must be fine as long you are completing your degree before going to stamping….You can express your genuine reason for converting to H1B ahead of time…

      1. Sai

        Hi

        Thank you for the response. I just have one more question. What if my graduation gets delayed for one more semester and I still have to attend the visa interview is in December.

        My professor and the HR are giving me the supporting documents for the visa. Will that help?

        Thank You
        Sai.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Sai,
          Well, if you have to attend in December, be prepared… Documentation always supports and makes the case stronger. You can also take enrollment verification from school …As long as you have a genuine reason for conversion, you must be fine. Visa officer wants to make sure you are not trying to bend the immigration rules and have genuine intentions…

  45. Naveen

    I am already in OPT and My employer have applaid for H1B, but I have int received my H1B. In the mean time i have got another good offer from different employer.
    Can I change my job when my Visa is still in processing.

  46. Girish

    Hi,

    I got graduated on 30th July 2010. For OPT as i know i have 60 days grace period to apply for OPT. I have time to apply for OPT till 30th Sept 2010. I applied 2 weeks back for OPT. Till now i did not received any Receipt Number. What if i dont get any receipt number till 30th sept?

    Regards
    Girish

  47. AJAY

    is there any chance to change my petitioner after attending VISA but not yet stamped petitioner side documents missing i.e. my petitioner not given to me.so finallyresult is query.i have validity up to sept-1011.

  48. Mansi

    Hi Kumar,
    I am on F1 status my employer has applied for my H1B. I am still waiting for my H1B approval notice. Now I am making a trip to Inida mid Aug to Mid Sept. I am either goin to wait for my approval notice by regular or do premium processing now. I am confused because it seems like a very random process and I cant seem to estiimate by when should I hear from them.In any case, I was wondering when is it earliest in September that I could get H1B visa stamped assuming my documents are in order? Also whats the earliest time in september that I can reenter the US on my H1B. My H1B starts on Oct 2010 but I have heard 20 days or 2 weeks in advance it is ok to fly. But there is no definate answer and I need to know that before I decide to go for premium. Please advise.

    1. DD

      I am not a lawyer, just another F1 to H1B person like you.

      While filing for H1B, there are 2 options:
      1. Change of Status (most common option for people already in US): After approval, from Oct 1, your status will change automatically from F1 to H1B. You need not do anything. Only when you travel internationally later, you need a visa for entry since right now you only have H1B status – not visa. And so, you need to go to US Consulate for visa stamping before re-entering US.
      2. US Consular Visit: This means that you do not want a change of status. Rather, you will travel internationally and (like most other Indian employees coming to US directly for work), will get your visa stamping done at a US Consulate after your H1B approval.

      Most employers assume that you won’t travel internationally before you begin from Oct.1, unless you have instructed them to do so. If it is a petition for Change of Status, traveling internationally before you change to H1B (Oct 1) is not recommended. Have you ensured that your employer has not filed for Change of Status?

      1. Sagar Chandnani

        Hi, I am also in a very similar situation.
        I am on a valid F1 VISA until Aug ’12 and my employer has filed for H1b petition with consular notification for ’12 quota ..
        I am planning to visit India in June/July..
        How safe it is to go and come from India during this time considering my situation.

        Thanks in advance

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Mansi, What DD said are the typical options. To answer your question, Check this post H1B Approved – When to apply for Visa? When can you enter USA?

      I am assuming you are on OPT and it is valid till Oct. If I were you, I would just stay in US till Sept, but book a visa stamping date in September in India. In sept, I would go to India, get visa stamped and come back. With this option you will not lose any time on OPT and keep working in US until Sep.

      1. Mansi

        My main reason for planning the trip is that summer is slow for us and my employer has granted a leave. With the above replies some new qs came to my mind. When can I resume work with I enter on H1B? can still work on opt (it expires on 30th sept)? Also I tried getting a leave in sept but we get really busy arnd that time so my boss asked me to visit before. Currently I am thinking of stamping H1 and returning to the US by 15th september. Is that possible?

  49. confused

    Hey Kumar,

    I am in India planning to enter US on F1 and jobhunt for H1 sponsor. I already have a US masters and have used OPT. Will this work i.e will the H1B petition filed while im on F1 (not OPT) be approved under Masters quota?

    Thanks!!

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      It should because you already have a Masters from USA. You do not need to work on OPT for counting towards Masters quota. Your degree is what matters.

      1. confused

        thanks kumar! but what i was wondering is does it matter if H1B petitioner is in F1 visa and he has not finished/just started his F1 program at the time of petition? So will it hinder approval of my petition if I filed during the first semester of my F1 ?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          No, it does not hinder. I knew someone who was on F1 visa and applied to H1B before graduation…he quit MS and started working. You will be fine.

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