Home » US Immigration - Visas » H1B Visa » Can H1B holder Study in USA ? MBA, MS – Full time or Part time ? In-State Fee ?

Can H1B holder Study in USA ? MBA, MS – Full time or Part time ? In-State Fee ?

One of the passion that drives many people after working for a while is to pursue higher education like MBA or MS. Many of the H1B visa holders are in similar state planning to study MS or MBA from US schools as it adds good value for their profile and help them grow in their career. Some of them are not sure if they can study full time or Part time, what are the rules, etc. Especially with all the Trump’s H1B Policies and tighter rules , it is getting tougher and one of the best ways to make your profile more valuable is to add higher education under your belt.  Let’s look the details to study in US on H1B Visa.

Can H1B Visa Holder Study in USA ?  Full time vs Part Time?

Yes, H1B visa holders can study in USA.  But, one of the myths many of the professionals working on H1B visa in US have is regarding studying part time vs full time. They are often confused with studying part time in US with distance education or online education programs. In countries like India, Sri Lanka, or Pakistan, part time education means a complete different thing. The course structure is different and sometimes the degree you get is different too in these countries. But in US, it is different. When I say different, both Part time and Full time students study the same course material and they get the same degree. Then what makes the difference?

  • For MS or MBA, if you enroll in 6 credits (typically 2 classes) or less in any US University for a semester, your education status is considered part time. It means you are going to school part time. If you do not know what are credits, read  What are Course Credits in  US Universities
  • If you are enrolled in 9 credits (typically 3 classes) or more, then your status is Considered Full time and you are regarded as a full time student

That’s the only difference…it is the enrollment of credits or classes that makes a difference in Part time or Full time student status.  Universities tailor their MBA/ MS program  class schedule in such a way that it is attractive for students who work full time. The MBA/MS classes are held during evenings after 5:30 PM until 9:30 or  to facilitate part time students enrollment and flexibility for them to take classes in evenings.    Online degree is completely different, do not get confused. Some universities offer MBA Classes on weekends for flexibility, these are exactly same classes as regular. Just timings are different for flexibility. The work load and expectations are same irrespective of when the classes are taught and the degree and curriculum is same for the most part. You may watch below short video as well on the same.

H1B Visa and Visa Status issues, Course Load for Studying in USA ?

As a H1B holder, you can study full time or part time. It is up to you how many classes you can handle. Personally, in few semesters I took 9 credits and worked full time too. It is up to you, how you manage and balance your work and studies.  I know my friend did 12 credits doing MBA. As H1B visa holder, to be in proper status you have to be paid by your H1B visa sponsor every month and you have to be on their payroll. That’s the key thing that matters, as long as you are paid every month and you have your pay check running by your sponsor, and you are working full time for the employer, you do not need to worry about any visa issues.  If your H1B sponsor cares about your higher education and wants to pay you while you are going to school full time, that’s fine too. The key thing is you have to be in legal H1B status and be paid every month.  If you cannot handle work and school, then you may change your visa status to F1 visa. But, if you change your status, you will have to take 9 credits every semester to be considered full time student. You cannot be a part time student on F1 Visa and you cannot work full time.

Does H1B Visa Holders get In-state Tuition Fee ? What are the requirements ?

Tuition fee is something very expensive as out-of state or international student. If you work in a state for more than a year and pay state taxes you may get in-state tuition in state schools. It saves you a lot of money.  It all varies by school and the state. You can only get in-state tuition fee in State Universities. Private Universities like Stanford, Harvard do not give any in-state benefits.  You may read article  In-state vs Out-of State tuition. Can you get in-state tution if you work in US for more than year ?

Should I study MBA or MS in USA as H1B Holder ?

It all depends on what you want to do with your career and where you see yourself in next 5 years. If you are not sure, should I do MBA or MS and which is right for you, you must read this article about:  Should I apply for MBA or MS after bachelors? It has all the information about fees, education, funding, etc.  As a rule of thumb for MBA, it is recommended to have work experience of at least 2 to 3 years. You may read this article, When should you do MBA ? Directly after B.tech or with Work experience ?

What are your thoughts ? Your experiences ?

Image Credit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/143186839/


Other Articles


  1. All good. Looking to do an Online master’s from an accredited university while I am on H-1B.
    Just a question, I understand I have to let my school DSO know that I am on H-1B and am taking courses part time, but do I need to let my employer know? Can I do my online master’s without informing my employer? Of course I will be employed full time and will receive a pay check every month. Thanks.

  2. I have a STEM master’s degree from US(computer science) , and currently employed in California and on H1B. Can I purse my second Masters in Performing Arts ?

    • Amit,
      Absolutely, you can do that on H1B. You need to tell your DSO that you are going to be working full time and studying part time, so that they update immigration status accordingly.

    • Hi Amit,
      I am planning to go for MS program while working on H1B visa. Can you please share some some details how to get into this program and process.

  3. I am currently working in USA on H1 B Visa and my visa extension is in progress and I got the receipt notice also. Will there be any issue if I travel back to India and apply for F1 Visa.

  4. Currently I have completed 3 years of H1-B Visa in USA and now planning to go for Graduation – Full Time MBA which will required conversion to F1 Visa. After completion of my graduation and utilizing my 1 year of OPT by working with an employer, will I be able to utilize my remaining 3 years of my H1-B Visa or will I need to go through the process again where the employer has to initiate my H1-B, which will go for lottery pick and so on. Kindly advise on this. Thank you.

  5. I am B.Tech. Civil Engineering which is a STEM program and currently working in USA on H1-B Visa. If I pursue for MBA (from College which doesn’t recognize as STEM), will I be still considered under STEM and eligible from 36 months OTP?

      • Hi Kumar,
        I also have a query related to it. I am currently on H1B and planning to switch my career towards Business Analytics and I am planning to enroll on a accelerated Master’s on a part time. College said that doesn’t qualify under STEM. When I go for H1B Transfer/H1B Extension with a new career/company will that be an issue?

  6. Hi – I have completed my master’s degree in spring’20 while working on H1B. My question is, should I have to update USCIS regarding my education changes? I would appreciate if someone could answer this.

    Thank you.


  7. I want to pursue a full-time MBA program for Fall 2022 from top 10 school. Right now I’m on H1B (4 years complete). My PERM processing has been initiated by my employer now but the PERM has not been filed yet. If things go as planned then I may be able to get my I-140 by end of this year.

    Can I convert to F1 after getting an I-140 with my present H-1B? Are there any chances of denial?

    If I am granted an F1 visa and I pursue my program for 2 years, can I reuse my H-1B and I-140 after the program completion?

    If I do not convert to F1 and instead pursue a part-time MBA program, will I be able to use my current H-1B in the event that I get into a different line of work, like consulting?

    • My husband is in a similar situation. He wants to pressure a full time MBA but we unsure what that means for his H1B and 1 40 (approved).

      Any guidance on this would be very helpful!

      • suryavadhana,
        If you exit the country and go for F1 stamping, you need to prove non-immigrant intent. If you have I-140 approved, that is hard to show as your intent is to get Green Card. So, can be conflicting…Your best option is to do it as part time on H1B.

  8. Hi , My son was initially on L2 visa and now his status is GC EAD. He has got admission to many schools but all of them are expecting us to pay out of state tuition . Any advice on how we can get in state tuition.

    • Revathy,
      it is not about visa or green card, it is about you living in a state and paying taxes. Check in state universities that you live in for in-state tuition.

  9. I have 1 year of H1b left and there is no plan of filing green card. i always wanted to pursue MS in the US. If i join MS degree on H1b , will i be able to change to F1 once my H1b is over?

    • Udaya,
      Yes, you maybe able to do it. But, the process of wait is really long, if you go for COS.Sometimes, it can take up to 14 months too, so you need to plan ahead and then only pursue, if you want to do COS within US.

  10. Hi,
    My husband is an MBA from India and is an immigration specialist for the past 5 years .His education and job experience are completely different. His status is H4 EAD . Can anybody suggest if there are any chances of any company applying for H1B for him with this profile.

    • ruth,
      If there is role, that fits his experience or education or a combination of both, it is possible. There can be roles as such like managing legal teams in a large company, etc. But you need to explore and find such ones…

  11. Hello All,
    I am coming here to seek help from the community to fulfill my aspiration.

    I am a Technical Diploma holder working in IT With 18+Y exp.
    I would like to study Masters online in relevant area(IT).
    My question are, Am i eligible to do Masters? I heard some universities consider exp as well, is that true? If so any known universities?
    Where can i check such degrees are eligible for immigration or not?
    Also do i need to get ECA done for every univ i apply or just do once and send copies to all univ?

    Really appreciate any help you can offer , please let me know if any of questions are nit clear

  12. I do not think this is accurate. Most MBA programs from top schools make a marked difference between part time and full time mba. NYU Stern for e.g. keeps their co horts separate. Most of the full time courses are not available for part timers and vice versa. Most of the part time curriculum is designed to be time efficient while full time curriculum is designed to keep more accountancy.

    Part timers are also required to take classes with their cohorts and not allowed to attend a lot of resources available for full timers such as seminars, some of the mixers etc. Many part time MBAs also eliminated their grading for MBA courses. However full timers still have grades

  13. Hello, I’m from Michigan state and working here on H1B Visa . Can someone please suggest me a Affordable university for Masters?
    Interest : Electronics

    • Unfortunately, wer do not advise on schools. I would rather go for a school that is good rather than cheaper…The general idea is state schools are cheaper…

  14. Nice information! I think there is a difference in tution fee when you are a full time student vs. part-time. At least in my university, I pay my tuition fee per course as I am a part time student. If you enroll as a full-time student, you will have to pay the semester fees which is a lot higher than paying per course fee.

    Do you know if you are eligible for OPT if you started your master’s degree on H1 and it is about to expire when you are close to finish your MS?

    • yes, there could be some variants based on the school for full time students. You may not be eligible for OPT, if you just switch to F1 status around last semester…Please validate with DSO at the school you plan to study to clarify.

  15. Hi,

    I’m on H1B with a consulting firm for the last 7 months (since June 2018) having valid I-94 until Aug 2019 only. I’m planning apply for Masters program while on H1B and the programs are starting from fall 2019 by then my I94 would get expired. considering the current immigration situation and rules imposed about H1B extentions and approvals I need few clarifications on how can I get to continue with my Masters while in US.

    1. I understand the university i’m looking for MS program requires TOEFL and are exempted from GRE with Work Exp, So I need to deal all the F1 process and get valid I-20 with out GRE? is there any relation?
    2. I want to know whether it is possible for COS from H1B to F1 in worst case scenario when my I-94 expires and H1B extention doesn’t go well.
    3. What are the possible options and what would be your best suggestion as I’m planning to go for a Master program looking at the career options.

    please advise.

    • 1. Yes, you will need I-20, if you want to move to F1 status. GRE has not relation with I-20, it is tied to your visa status. When you go for visa stamping, they may ask for the same and you need to be able to explain the GRE waiver. You only will get I-20 when you study on F1…when you study on H1B, you do not get I20.
      2. Yes, do that before your I-94 expires to avoid issues.
      3. Well, that is something you need to think about where you see yourself in next 5 to 10 years…your Masters should add value and help you get there…if not, there is no point in doing it…unless you love to learn and just enjoy the experience…

  16. Hi I am on H1B and wanted to do MBA for that do I need to prepare for any kind of exam SAT GRE or something to get admission?

    • H1B is your visa status in US and not tied to your MBA admission. MBA admission is something that the University decides and you need to take required tests they ask for like GMAT. check with schools you plan to apply for. Usually, they require GRE/GMAT depending on the school and maybe TOEFL too.

  17. Hello, I was working on CPT authorization with second Master’s and then my H1b got picked up in lottery and approved. I am continuing my second masters on H1b as part time. Now I am going for stamping. While filling Ds160, I cannot put future date of education completion. My part-time Master’s is in progress. How should I fill in the education details?

    • I think you can add it under “Present Work/Education/Training Information)” section without closing it with ending date and put it as current, similar to present work.

  18. Hi,

    I am currently employed on H1B visa and have my PERM application pending at DOL (9089 filed). I expect the i140 be approved by mid of next year. My six year H1B period should expire by end of 2019.
    I am planning to study full time MBA starting Aug/Sept 2018. Following are my queries:

    1) How feasible is it for a COS from H1B to F1 to be approved if i140 has been filed/ approved?
    2) If COS is approved, can there still be F1 visa stamping issues?
    3) I already exhausted my F1 OPT during my MS in US. So my only option to work after studies will be to find an employer willing to start my H1B straight away at graduation. Can it be possible? In this case will I still be H1B cap-exempt? and how about internships during the course of MBA
    4) Since I would have exhausted close to 5 years on H1B, will my new company (after MBA) have to immediately file a PERM so that I can get 1/3 year H1B extensions OR extension can be done based on my previous approval?

    Alternatively, should I ask my employer not to file my i140 application (after 9089 is approved). Will COS to F1 and F1 visa stamping be less risky in this case? In this scenario how do points 3 and 4 above lay out?

    I have one more option, if I am able to find a company who can keep me hired on H1B and allow me to study full time (I can be on their payroll and receive salary), will there be any issues with regards to leaving/ entering the country, H1B extensions, future employment, course enrollment, etc. Is this a safe option? I guess employment for internship in another company can still be an issue right?

  19. Can you go back for a Bachelors degree in some other fields for example Music or Psychology if you are working full time on an H1b and EB2 I140?

    • Roy,
      It is not very common to go for another bachelors degree. There are two aspects, degree seeking and non-degree seeking. You can always do non-degree seeking education. But, if you are seeking a degree, the rules vary by the school, you will need to check with the school on the requirements. Please check with few schools where you intend to pursue this education…

  20. Hi!

    If I wish to pursue a Master’s degree while on H1b am I considered an international student for application purposes? I don’t need a visa so that can lead to some confusion in terms of the different application paths.

  21. Hi
    Which courses we can enroll in after our opt expires other than MS or MBA. to get another I-20 to maintain status.
    would really appreciate your help.

  22. Hi,

    I would like to know, if I am doing MBA-Finance or MS- MIS during my H1B status from USA, whether I can use this masters degree to apply for my next H1B lottery under Masters Cap 20000 and General Cap 65000 after my current H1B visa expires post completion of 6 years. I am a SAP FI consultant with B.Com and PGDBA Finance from India totally 7 plus years experience in SAP and 3 years in Accounting. Please suggest which course will be best suitable for me, MBA Finance or MS in MIS or MBA in MIS. What I understood is under current situation, any course which falls under STEM will be recognised for 20000 cap lottery and incase my application doesnot pick under 20000, then it will be puched under 65k lottery. However, no MBA comes under the STEM category. So MS will be a safe bet. Please clarify.

  23. Hi Kumar,
    Can I receive full funding from the university for my MBA while on H1-B? And can I work as a RA/TA to receive some financial aid to help with tuition fees?


      • “They are meant for F1 students.” Not always and not necessarily. Most students from India , especially places in the North and Gujarat can’t speak understandable American English . They can hardly communicate with the undergrad student notwithstanding the fact their English may be considered better than Oriental or Chinese English

  24. Hi,

    H1B, EB2 I140. I want to do Masters 100% Online. I do not have any TOEFL or GMAT scores with me. I have no interest in taking those exams. Is there any 100% Online Masters that is available for me? Any recommendations.

    thanks, ravi

  25. Hello Saurabh,
    1.I am H1b visa holder from the past 5 years. But, I have the B.Sc Degree is I am eligible to study Master’s Degree / MBA in USA.
    2.If possible, can you please tell me the procedure and the Universities list which are accepting.


Leave a Comment