Applying H1B petition while Studying MS on F1 visa – will it impact approval?

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 88 Comments

One of our readers asked :

“I just have a quick question I came to America on F1 October 2009 and I am on CPT from Jan XX 2010 and this will expire on Jan XX 2011 right now I am working with XXXX as a consultant. However My Company says they are ready to sponsor my H1B on premium.  My question is because I am on CPT and I have 1 more semester to go, does it impact my H1B “

This is a general question and might help others as well in similar situation.

Applying for Change of Status to H1B, while on F1 visa studying Masters ?

Some of you might have been working on CPT and got a fancy offer from the company to hire you as a full time employee with H1B sponsorship, while your Masters (either MS or MBA) is in progress… You might be in a tricky situation trying to decide, should I take the offer or not ? Will it impact my  H1B approval ? What should I do ?

I am not a lawyer by any means…but, here is my understanding based on USCIS rules.

What is H1B Program’s basic rule ?

Fundamentally, H1B program’s aim  is to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require advanced expertise especially in roles like scientists, engineers, computer programmers, etc…The basic rule for applying H1B visa petition is “ you MUST either have a bachelor’s degree from US or a degree equivalent to U.S. Bachelor’s degree …or equivalent experience as they mention on USCIS website”. Also, some positions require certain license, experience, etc…Also, USCIS says that the job description of potential offer should require you to have that bachelors degree and may be experience…

Does studying MS impact my H1B petition’s decision ?

As per rule, if you already have a U.S. equivalent bachelors degree in that technical field and enough experience as listed on the specific job requirement that the company is offering you, it should not have any impact… It might only have impact when the job requirement explicitly says that the position requires a Masters degree…

How about H1B Visa Stamping ? Will I have any issues if I do Change of Status (COS) and not complete MS  ?

This can be very tricky at H1B visa stamping…if you have completed MS after COS from F1 to H1B, you may be fine…you can explain to the Visa Officer with your reasons for taking up the job offer and then completing the Masters degree….But, just in case do not complete MS  after taking up job and COS to H1B, you may have to explain the Visa officer valid reasons for discontinuing higher education (MS) in US and doing COS to H1B… You ought to be careful what you say… Ideally, the recommended path is to work on CPT, complete Masters degree, start to work on OPT and then do COS to H1B when on OPT…

Do you know anyone who converted to H1B while studying ? Any experiences ?

References : USCIS H1B Visa program Requirements

Image Credit : http://www.news-relay.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/h1b-visa.jpg

   

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Comments ( 88 )

  1. Grace

    Hello,

    I have a U.S. bachelor’s in Graphic Design, then I worked at a company who filed a regular H1B application this year, but my application didn’t get in the lottery.

    After 60 days grace period, I started pursuing a MBA in Leadership to maintain my F1 visa. I just went back to the master school this Fall semester.

    My question is if I get a job offer for the position Graphic Design from an university ( as I know universities are considered as H1B cap exempt employer). Am I qualified to apply H1B visa while studying?

    Thanks so much,

    Grace

  2. Kishan

    Hello Sir/Madam,

    I am doing my MBA in CA. I am on F1 visa. I have just 2 terms left in my graduation. One company is ready to give me job after my graduation. they told me that they are ready to sponsor me H1 visa in my study period.

    My questions are:
    1) They can apply H1 visa for me in my study period?
    2) If yes than what is the procedure?
    3) If my H1 visa picked up while I am studying my MBA then can I transfer my F1 to H1?
    4) If yes then can I continue my last term on my H1 status and after graduation I will join company?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Kishan,
      1. Yes, they can. Masters is not required for H1B and it can applied using your Bachelors.
      2. It is quite standard, check with any immigration attorney.
      3. You can.
      4. Yes, you can. You just need to work out the start date on the petition or COS ( change of status) date. You can even apply as without COS and then apply for COS after you are done with MBA. Speak to an immigration lawyer who will apply for your H1B.

      1. Aashish Bansal

        Hi,
        I just Graduated as an MBA and my OPT Starts February 07, 2017, end date is February 06, 2018.
        My queries are:
        1. Will it be possible for my employer to File H1 for me in April, 2018 (OPT ends February 06, 2018)?
        2. Is it possible to join Day 1 CPT Masters program from Spring 2018 and then File H1?
        3. If I join STEM Masters program, will I be eligible to get STEM OPT Extension after completing the program?
        4. If my H1 gets approved (while on CPT of second Masters), will I have to complete the program before I could start working again?
        5. If my employer files for H1 (after my MBA OPT ends and I didn’t join Day 1 CPT Masters program), will I be allowed to work (for sometime, Cap-Gap)?

        I am in a really tricky situation, trying to figure out how to plan things and your help will be much appreciated!

        Thank you!

  3. Rajesh

    Hi All,

    I am on OPT now and I am working for a reputed company as a full time and my OPT is expiring in JUNE 1 st week. My employer has sponsored for H1B in 2016 CAP cycle and it got picked in lottery and rejected and again he is about to sponsor in 2017 and if it got picked I don’t wanna take a risk and want to join in day 1 CPT college in MAY 2017 for summer semester to pursue my job as is and when the H1 is approved I can discontinue the CPT. Here are my questions.

    1) Can I transfer my SEVIS when H1B got picked in lottery?
    2)If the above question is yes then will some thing happen if I change SEVIS to another college when H1B is in processing. ?
    3) Can I bring my dependent while I am on day 1 CPT ?

    Please let me know if any one knows about it

  4. Pranav

    Hello Kumar,
    I came across this blog accidently & See accidents are not always painful. Looking at the series of queries over this blog made my problem look minuscule. Still, I would like to seek a solution to my query.
    I am working for a firm back here in India and holding a masters degree from reputed institute (India). Here, Career growth is quite sluggish in the electronics field. Hence, I took a decision to earn a double masters degree in the US with an intention to start working in US. I am thinking to take up the same course with little difference for MS program.
    1. Will it create any issues during F1 VISA interview or any possibility to get my F1 VISA rejected?
    2. Shall I opt for Ph.D. degree (but Least interested in research area) to be on the safer side?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Pranav,
      1. Well, it is hard to tell…If the visa officer questions your intentions, you will need a compelling answer, if not they can treat you as a potential immigrant…
      2. Well, you should not really do something just as an excuse to enter US, you will miss the conviction and you may have similar situation to convince VO in the interview.

      Overall, take time to think, maybe you can try to work at an MNC that can send you abroad…US is not just the only place on earth that offers great career growth. Also, you will need to be aware of the H1B Lottery situation

  5. raj

    Hello,

    Anybody to help me………………..

    I am currently on F1 status and it is valid till 2018. One of the company appllied for H1b this year(2016). As the company told that my visa was not picked and i came to india for summer vocation (semester break). I am in india now and the company guys saying that my H1 was approved. How can i enter USA now. Is that OK if i can go by my F1 visa still and complete my balance semester or need to go for stamping in India. Please suggest me.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      raj,
      Yes, you can go to US on F1 visa and complete your degree. Make sure you have updated I20 and details from DSO. It is up to you to go for stamping or not…There is no mandate to go to H1B, if you choose to continue on F1 and complete your degree.

      1. Raj kumar

        Thanks Kumar for your reply.

        I have my I20 which is valid but not the latest that show the H1 status in cap/gap column. Just worried if question rises at POA about the approval. Also let me know if I am continuing my studies then what about H1 that Is approved. Please advise.

  6. PK

    Hello please urgent reply.
    I am on F1 visa completed my 1st Semester and earned total 16 credits . i am doing my MBA in finance from NEWYORK. I have an MBA degree from India. I have got sponsor who is willingly sponsoring my VISA work visa. Is it possible that he can sponsor me before i get MBA degree from USA? if yes then do i need to wait till march-2017?

  7. Karthik

    Hi,

    I want to apply for student visa F1 to pursue my MS starting Fall 2016. But looks like my employer will file a H1B during April 2016 under cap. Will this H1B petition affects my F1? Can I apply F1 after the lottery results? Will that not be very late? Pls advice.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Karthik,

      Legally, you can still apply for F-1 after H-1 has been filed or approved. However, H-1B is a dual intent visa (which allows one to move permanently to US), while F-1 is a pure non-immigrant visa. This could play a part in your F-1 visa approval.

  8. BHUMIKA

    I have a Bachelor in Science degree and have a CCNA certificate and trying to get my Post graduation diploma in Computer application by december,2015. One company wants to apply H-1 visa for me in 04/2016 as I have a networking experience for last 6 yrs. But I am not sure do i can be eligilbe for this job based on my education or not.

    Can some one please guide me . I am in critical situation so please share your knowledge.

  9. sweta

    Is CPT experience is valid for H1B ?
    Or colleges are really genuine who offer CPT courses

    Please reply anyone who have knowledge about this

    Thank you

  10. Vaibhav

    Hello Everyone,

    I am currently a master student doing my second semester here in US.I have almost 6 years of experience in India.I came here last year on F-1 visa.I talked to one of my known consultancy ,they filed my H1 visa in a regular non advanced degree quota.Yesterday he told me that my name has been picked up and forwarded the receipt number.Now i wanted to know it is safe to be on H1 b before completing masters and whether it will create any problem when i will travel to India for stamping..any advice would be of great help…Thanks in advance

    1. Radha Krishna

      Hi Vaibhav,

      I am in similar situation like you can you please give me your email address so that we can discuss more on this.

      Thank you!
      Radha Krishna

      1. Raj

        Hi Raghav/Vaibhav,
        I am in similar situation as you were before,
        Can you please let me know what you guys have done.
        It would be of great help to me.

  11. Kumar

    Hi,

    I am doing my MBA 1st September (Just completed 2 months). My question is that can I apply for H1b on April 1st 2015. If yes can I complete my MBA program even if my H1b is approved? Please suggest.

  12. shrirang

    hi,
    right now I am in the final year of my bachelor’s degree in Computer science and I want to do my Master’s degree from US. Since my course duration is of 3 years (15 years total), am I eligible for the H1 B visa?

  13. Archana

    Hi,
    I am pursuing my masters in engineering. I have completed all the coursework and left with only thesis work(3credits). I was planning to graduate in May 2015. But a week ago, I got a job offer from a company for full time employment. I am currently on f1 visa and therefore was wondering if I could get CPT to start this work? Would it be possible?
    I read everywhere that CPT is only for internships. Is it true?
    Is there no way I can take up this job?

    Also, I have my l2 ead visa valid till 2015 April. Can I use this to work?

    Please answer my questions. I am in a very critical stage

    1. Gagan Kaith

      Hey Archana,

      I am in the similar situation as you were a year ago, Was there any problem while filing your H1B VISA? Are we eligible for “Masters Cap” while we are pursuing the degree?

  14. Teja

    Hi,

    I am in a tricky situation. Please suggest me on the below.

    Currently i am working in India. In 2014 i applied for H1B through consultant . However my Application was not picked up in lottery. As per my discussion with consultant he said he will file H1B again in 2015,April. Even this time i am not sure whether my application will be picked up in lottery or not. I am planning to apply for MS for Fall 2015. To join MS in FALL, I need to get my F1 visa stamped before June so that i can resign from my current company. However if my H1B application was picked up in lottery and if petition was approved , Will it cause any issue for my H1B stamping if i already F1 stamped. And will it impact my future H1b stamping.

    Thank You so much for your help.

  15. Sunil

    Hi,
    I am currently doing my MS in CSE and I want to discontinue. If any company offers me an H1B visa, can I quit my MS and work in that company. Can I change my Visa from F1 to H1B.

  16. Abhi

    Hello,

    I need help, I applied for H1B visa in 2014 and my status is on pending state. I received a full time job and I am having valid EAD till Dec 2014. Can I accept this offer?

    One more thing , I applied H1 B with a different company. So can I start working on OPT EAD now and once my H1B will be approved , I can transfer that.

    Please suggest is that possible?

    Thanks,
    Abhi

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Abhi,
      Yes, you can work for the new employer on OPT and once H-1 is approved, they can file a cap-exempt petition for you. Just to be clear, you are not working for your current H-1 employer on OPT, correct?

      1. Abhi

        Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks for your reply, Currently I am not in H1, my employer just filed my H1 b and I never received any pay check with my current employer. and I recently got a full time job offer, I don’t want to loose that So, I am afraid.

        Please suggest what should I do?. I believe I will receive my H1 B on June 2014 after that I can file a transfer H1B for new employer. In the mean time I can join with my OPT , and it valid till DEC 2014.

        Thank you so much for your help!

        Thanks,
        Abhi

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Abhi,
          What I meant to ask was is your current employer the one who has filed H-1 for you, or is it a different company? If they are same, then do not leave them until your H-1 is approved. If they are different, then you can leave them even before your H-1 is approved.

          You can work on the plan suggested by you.

  17. Cindy

    Hi all,
    I have finished my master’s degree and currently on my OPT.
    my OPT will expire on the middle of Feb. 2015. Now a company is willing to sponsor and file my H1B for on April 1st, 2015. which means I can’t work during April. 1 to Oct. 1st.
    I plan to be involved in another degree and got CPT.
    My question is can I work during April. 1st and Oct. 1st if I am on my CPT but apply H1B on April 1st
    Thank you so much.

  18. Ron

    Hello,

    I am pursuing MS degree and I am only one course away from my degree. I’ll be graduating in May 2014. I do have an employer who is willing to hire me and file H1B for me in April. H1B filing requires Degree Certificate and Official Transcripts for consideration in the MS Degree Quota and I will not have these documents till May. Is there any possible way for consideration in the MS H1B cap?

    1. xyz

      Unfortunately no.

      You can only apply in the Advanced degree cap if you can prove to USCIS that you have fulfilled all the requirements for an advanced degree. If your current course is required for your degree conference, then you cannot qualify.

  19. ----------

    Hello,
    I had an offer from a US startup and they had filed an H1-B for me, and I had made into the cap. I had not scheduled my visa interview, and I didnt join that company. This year if I want to go for a job or higher studies in US. I would need to H1B, F1 respectively. So, will my last year case have any impact on this year, as I didn’t go last year.

  20. Vinay

    Hi,
    I have a question on H1B Status,
    Currently I am on CPT, which is valid till 2014 december but I would like to know if I apply for H1B this year (2014) April, How safe is it to travel outside the country before H1B results are out? As I will be on CPT, will the status change once applied for H1 or with CPT can someone travel outside the country and enter back?
    Please advise,

    Thanks

  21. Pavithra

    Hi
    One of the US Company has agreed to initate H1 Visa for me by next year. When will they initiate for the year 2014 and from when I can start my work there . Is it possible that I can work from May 2014 if they initate on Jan 1 2014

    1. Hemant

      Hi Pavithra ,

      The H1B process starts in Apr month , it can not be initiated in Jan for fresh H1B.And even if your petition is approved brefore Oct, you will be able to travel in last week of Sep’14. (1 week before 1st Oct) . 1st Oct is the date you can start working in US.

  22. meera jagannatharaju

    Hi

    PLZZZZZZZZZZZZ HELPPPPPP

    My H1b is approved I need to travel to India in Nov
    1. Is it recommended to come back to USA in H4 visa ? or
    2. Go for stamping in India for my H1b and then return to USA on H1B?
    3. If I come back to USA on H4 will there be any problem if apply for cos? what are chances of denial?

    Please suggest better option

  23. Patel

    Hi,
    This blog is awesome.
    I have below query:
    1) Came to USA in 2010 on F1 in School A.
    2) Got job in June,2012 on CPT
    3) Transferred to School B in Jan, 2013 and continue to work on CPT.
    4) Applied and Approved H1B in April,2013
    5) H1B started on 1st Oct.
    6) Somehow school dropped me due to some new rules of school. (I am trying to request to solve this issue)

    I am going to India for stamping and have VISA interview date on 21Nov,2013.

    Is there any issue with discontinuing school for my H1B stamping?

    Can anyone share if have simile kind of experience known?

    Thanks.

    1. Charles

      Hi Patel:

      I am just wondering whether you get any RFE of your h1b application while you transit from cpt full-time work to h1b? Thank you very much for your reply!

  24. Sam

    Hello Everyone,

    My F1 Stamped Visa on passport is expired and I am on CPT (I am valid Student) right now and I am planning to file for my H1 visa in the first week of April and I want to travel a trip to India during May/June-2013; here are my concerns.
    1) First concern—is it appropriate to plan a travel trip to India during this critical time.
    2) If I travel to India I know I would definitely need an F1 Visa re-stamping done from Canada; so is it reasonable to take this risk of traveling!!!!
    3) If at all i want to plan a trip then—which month would be best to go visit
    4)Keeping my H1 filing and travel trip to India in mind—would it be advisalable to apply my H1 in premium or regular filing.

    I do understand my case is little critical/complex but I am sure there must be some Smart Guru on web who should be able to respond back with suggested advises.

    Any response or suggestions would be greatly appreciated..

    Best Regards

  25. F1student

    I came here in 2010 finished my Masters but was denied OPT now I have enrolled in another Masters Program for continuing to stay till I have file my H1 next year.
    1. My question is can I join Fulltime for a reputed company and they file my H1 next year April, If it is approved without any hassles can I work from April to Sep on CPT and start on H1 from Oct12013.
    2. Also will there be any implications of my OPT denial for H1 approval.

  26. Dheeraj

    Hi,
    This is dheeraj I’m issued with 2years f1 visa , What is the way to file OPT after completing master I’m aware that students can apply for opt but my question is that do we need to have a valid F1 visa for the the complete period of OPT as my visa is issue only for 24 months to complete my master it would take 18months and after that if I file OPT for 12months I will only have 6months of valid f1 visa

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Dheeraj,
      Your F-1 visa stamp doesn’t come into picture when applying for OPT. You can apply for it even if the F-1 visa was for just 2 years. You will still be eligible for 12 month OPT.

  27. lincoln

    It looks liek I will be going to the States in September for an MBA.What I want to ask is this,what happens if I get a job in the 1st semester from a company that is willing to sponsor my h1b visa…will USIS allow me to change my status

  28. samir sing

    Hi,

    I have a question, i have been on OPT extension and recently found a job in a big company and they are willing to do my h1b visa, the only problem is i don’t have any pay stubs since i was doing voluntary work, the company i m working for right now is e-verified. Also my work experience during the OPT period is not exactly related to my masters, but my new company that is sponsoring my h1b is extremely relevant to my masters degree. Please advice me on my scenario. Will it be a problem or not?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Samir Sing,
      USCIS can ask for proof that you didn’t stay unemployed for more than 90 days when on OPT. Usually this is proved by showing payslips, which you don’t have. IMO, one can volunteer on OPT as long as there are other folks volunteering for similar kind of job. In other words you can volunteer to be a DBA in a big firm as it can be treated as free labor to the firm. Check this w/ your H-1 attorney as well.

  29. Rosh

    Hi

    I am now on F1 visa doing MS (just started in April 2012). I want to apply for CPT for 11 or 12 months from July 2012 to May 2012.
    During the time my employer will give H1B visa application a try say once in October 2012 and again in April 2013. After getting H1b visa I will be fulltime worker and also I want to switch my MS degree from fulltime to part time. that will be up to me if i do complete MS or not.

    What are my chances of getting H1b visa? 1] In October 2012
    2] In April 2013

    Please note I would already have a bachelor’s degree (India), and the job requires bachelors degree.
    thanks.
    Looking forward to hear from you.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Rosh,
      Quota may not be open in Oct 2012. Chances of approval will depend upon your profile, employer’s profile, offered position and submitted documents.

  30. JerryLee

    Hi,
    I have a quick question regarding my concerns.

    Actually, I am remaining to write Ph.D. thesis but it requires one more semester.
    But during the summer, I got job offer from the company. So I tried to change status from F1 to H1b but recently I realized my I-20 was expired since 4/30/2011.
    In this reason, I applied reinstatement of I-20 in the beginning of August but I expected to receive updated I-20 on October.
    So, my question is once I receive I-20, can I do COS from F1 to H1b?
    I heard I have to keep F1 visa status at least one semester, that’s why I worried.

    For alternative solution, it is better to use CPT from Oct. to Dec. 2011 and then do COS on Jan. 2012? Possible to apply CPT even during semester?

    Please let me know if you have any information in my circumstance.
    Thank you in advance.

    –Jerry.

  31. Deepak Goel

    Hi Kumar,

    I got my F1 visa approved for my full time masters study and would be travelling to US next month. I have been working with a firm for last 6 years. When I told my employer about my plans, they offered me an option to study while working on L1 or H1B visa. Now, I have a couple of questions:

    1. Can I study full time on H1B or L1 visa?
    2. Can I change my visa status from F1 to H1 (or L1) in the first semester of study ?
    3. If I am allowed to change the status, then which one would be better – F1 to L1 or F1 to H1?

    Thanks in Advance,
    Deepak

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      1. When on H-1 or L-1, your primary focus would be on working full-time. However, you can be enrolled in school and can study as long as you continue working full-time.
      2. Technically yes, but USCIS may take a strong look at your case if the change of status is filed too soon after entering US on F-1. I would suggest waiting for at least 90 days before filing COS. You should also consult an attorney for more details and clarification on this.
      3. Personally, I feel H-1 is better as it gives more opportunity to change employers and has a better pay structure. Besides, based upon what your job/role would be in US, L-1 may not even be applicable.

  32. gsr

    Hi

    please give me some suggestions.
    my opt stem extension is going to end on aug10th 2011.iam going to file my h1 on july5th,beacuase of some problems it got delayed.i have f1 visa until 2012 aug.

    my question r
    1)what if my H1b got rejected.i will be having 60 days grace period. what are possible solutions are there for me to stay in us.can i get addmission into a new school?
    2)if i joined some university now with out applying h1..can i apply for h1 while on new masters degree.
    3)after h1 is filled ,i wil get a cap-gap extension ,in this period can i get admission into new university.

    1. Karan

      Ditto same situation. Did you get any clue about it?…If so please post here…My H1b application is pending. My OPT is over. Can I join another school during this time? Do I need to get SEVIS transferred?

  33. Vishal

    I have a question
    I am working on CPT now. I have finished my masters coursework and I will graduate in December 2011 taking Comprehensive Exam.
    My employer wants to sponsor my H1 (Premium processing) with start date 1st October 2011. But I want to Visit India on 15th August 2011(Independence Day) and Come back by 27th September 2011 for some personal reasons.
    If I apply for H1 now I will get it COS Approved till end of July.

    My question is If Leave US after H1-b Approved will it be a Problem to enter back?

    If not should I Enter on F-1 (already stamped and valid till 2014) or H-1 (getting stamped in India)?

    IF yes what are chances of getting H1-b if I file it in October?
    Please Help I have to make some decision but I am really Confused.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      To complete your studies on F-1, you need to enter on F-1.

      A better option would be to file your H-1 w/ COS in Oct 2011 and request start date of Dec 2011. This way you can complete your studies on F-1, continue to work on CPT and after your graduation start working on H-1. You can return back from India on F-1 if that visa stamp is still valid.

      As for the quota, looking at current filing pace, I would say it would remain open. But you should follow the weekly USCIS count closely to see any upticks.

      1. Vishal

        Thank You Saurabh for you reply.
        but
        Can’t I complete my studies on H-1? I mean if I run out of quota in October I will have to wait till next October to get H1-b So I was trying get it this year.

        What if I stamped H1-b before coming here? is that an Option?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Yes, studies can be completed on H-1 as well. Few things you need to remember:
          1. Your H-1 petition needs to be filed and approved before you return to US, so that you can go for H-1 stamping.
          2. You need to inform your school about the change of status to H-1.
          3. During H-1 processing, USCIS may question your intention as you started off on F-1, and then moved to H-1 in b/w. You may have to convince them that you plan to complete your studies on H-1.
          4. Once you enter on H-1, your primary focus should be to maintain legal status on H-1 i.e. work and get paid as per the LCA. As long as you remain on F-1, your focus should be maintenance of your international student status.

  34. sweety

    This Blog is Awesome. Thank you.
    I have one question .
    My OPT is gonna be Exp in May 2012.and my F1 is gonna exp Jan2012.
    I couldn’t apply Ext of my OPT.
    In the mean while i am planning to go to India(NOV -DEC) with my OPT ,because i don’t want to take any risk when i am traveling.
    Could you please let me know when is best time to apply for my H1.
    Thank you .

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You have few options:

      1. File H-1 now w/ COS and start date prior to your travel dates. You will have to start working on H-1 from your COS approval date, and will also have to get H-1 stamped from India in order to return on H-1.

      2. File H-1 now w/ COS and start date later to your travel date. As soon as you leave US, your COS will be abandoned and you will have to file COS again after you return to US (unless H-1 gets approved while you are in India and then you get H-1 stamped from a consulate and use that to return). This is the least favored option.

      3. File H-1 after you return back from India w/ start date as May 2012. You don’t need to get H-1 stamped from India in this case. I know that it’s ok to travel outside US when H-1 visa stamp is expiring within a month, but I don’t know what the standing is in case of F-1 visa stamp.

      In either case, if you are travelling on OPT, you should get your OPT endorsed by DSO for travel. You can also check w/ DSO about more options.

  35. ross

    Hi,

    This website is highly informative. Hope I could contribute to this as well.

    I have a query regarding Change of Status from F1 to H1. I’m planning for my masters and I have received my I-20.
    Also, with my experience in India, one of the companies filed a H1 petition for me and it is now approved but visa is not stamped.

    If I go for masters on F1 visa and I get a job their during my 1st or 2nd semester, can I change my status? What is the process and how much time would it take for COS?

    After changing the status, is it possible to continue my education also, along with my job?

    Thanks,
    Shreyas

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Ross,
      Yes, you can change status from F1 to H1B. Talk to your H1B employer, they will apply for COS. Yes, you can continue your education along with Job…but you have to work full time to be on H1B visa status along with your education

      1. Ross

        Thanks Kumar, for your reply.

        How much time do I need to be on F1 status before I apply for COS?? Would they ask why did I not go for stamping before entering US?

        Do I require a H1 stamping on my passport to change my status??

        How much time would it take to get the COS done?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          COS typically takes 2-3 months but the actual time may vary. If COS is approved, stamping is not required, and one has to start working on H-1 from the approval date. Stamping is required when you leave US next and want to re-enter US and work on H-1.

          IMO, you need to be careful when applying for COS from F-1 to H-1 even before completing your studies. USCIS would evaluate your petition to see if you misused F-1 visa i.e. took it only to enter US and then apply H-1. They can deny COS if they feel your intent was never to study but work full-time. BTW, is your H-1 sponsoring employer ready to hire you on H-1? Remember you cannot stay in US w/o salary on H-1.

  36. kul singh

    My employer applied for H-1B COS in December with Premium Processing while I was still on valid F1. I received an RFE in January and is still being processed. I’m not taking any classes this semester and just waiting for my H-1B to be approved. Will it impact my chances of approval in a bad way?

    Any replies would be greatly appreciated, I’m sleepless in San Francisco with this issue and I do not have any better information sources.

    As far as my understanding goes as long as I’ve been in valid Visa status until I apply I should be ok. But I might be wrong.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      I don’t know if you applied for OPT or not, or when your course officially ended, but a student has 60 day grace period after the end of the course to stay in the country.

      If you are still in those 60 day period, then you should be fine. If you did maintain legal status (like you mentioned), then USCIS should not deny it on those grounds.

      1. kul singh

        My course is not yet complete. But during my winter quarter, my company applied for a H-1B with premium processing. It should’ve been cleared by the time the new quarter starts and I should’ve been fine.

        But…

        There was an RFE on my case and its still being processed and I’m not taking any classes this quarter. Hence my doubts about my status. Please let me know if you have any further information regarding this.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          I would suggest talking to your DSO to know if you can continue to stay in US w/o enrolling in any course. If the DSO thinks you can, then you are fine. However, if DSO feels otherwise, then you may want to enroll in the course to maintain legal status.

  37. deep

    Dear Sir/Ma’am, I would like to seek your advise regarding my situation. I was pursuing an MS program (on F1 visa) during 2007 and withdrew from the courses during the very first semester because of family medical emergency thinking that I would return the next term or year. But due to family circumstances, I could not return to the US and had to take up job and continue back in India until now. Before leaving US, I have done the needful by informing the university authorities and withdrew from my courses and left the country without going out-of-status (have not over stayed there). I have also obtained a letter from the university authorities regarding my situation for future reference assuming I would come back the next term.

    But things have changed now and would like to return back to the US now. I have found a sponsor for h1b who is willing to sponsor an h1b considering my skills and work experience. I am worried about the visa interview, as I don’t know what to say for the expected question (“Why did you discontinue from MS?”). I do have substantial proof in terms of medical records about my family member’s condition at that time, who required my support both morally and financially. Would this be required when attending the interview ? Is it acceptable enough for getting my h1b ? Is this going to be a setback for my application ?

    Alternatively, I also have an opportunity for pursuing Masters again, but considering other factors, I would prefer to continue with my professional work as it interests me more. Please advice me, whether I can go back to pursue Master again would be better in terms of getting the visa ?

    What are the other complications can be expected at the POE ?

    I would greatly appreciate if someone could advice me on how to go about it and what needs to be done.

    Thanks, Deep

  38. Matthieu

    Hello.

    One of my chinese coworker has been hired 5 months ago, while she was on a phd program.
    We applied for an h1b and she intentionally decided to drop the phd for this job offer.

    Everything went fine, and had no hassle from uscis.

  39. Rajiv

    Hi Kumar,

    The Blog is excellent. Thank you.
    I’m an IT professional with around 10 Years of Experience from India on PC / Embedded/ Mobile. Unfortunately, I was unlucky that I never travelled to any country as I worked mostly in Product Based companies. One of my friend who has a company in US wants to Hire me and is in the process of filing the H1B petition. I’ve also agreed as I want to experience the US work environment (Innovation ). Now, coming to the question
    How are my chances of getting the H1B Approved? I fear that 10 Yrs of Exp will be a negative aspect for Immigration Authorities.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Rajiv,
      Welcome ! I think, your chances are very good with such an awesome experience. I do not think if it would be considered negative. H1B is a dual intent visa and it should not create any negative impact.

  40. Jerry

    Thanks My Kumar i started going through your site from Yesterday and i see that its highly informative Honestly i had to ask lot of people for many things but now any time any one has a question i can simply refer them to the site.

    Excellent Information please let me know if you have a blog where in i can post my comments

    Jerry

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Jerry,
      Welcome ! You can send any articles/experiences to redbus2us(at)gmail.com . I can share it on this blog with our readers.

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