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.

YouTube video

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. Hi,

    I’m currently in the US on L1B visa which is valid till 2015.
    I intend to pursue my graduate studies in the spring semester. I intend to take sabbatical from my current company and pursue my masters degree.
    I know that I’m allowed to pursue my studies on the L1B visa, but I have some doubts.
    The question I have is
    1. I plan to apply for resident tuition, but I complete 1 year on my L1B visa in April. My Semester starts in Feb. So can I re-classify myself as a resident in the 2nd semester after paying non-resident tuition in Semester 1?
    2. Do I have to switch to F1 visa to study? If so should I re-apply for F1 visa by going back to India? Or can I change my status here?
    What happens to my current L1B in the mean time?
    3. Suppose I do study on L1B and I get an internship sometime, can I work for that company? If not, will I be allowed to do so on the F1?
    4. If I go back to India before my semester starts, will I qualify for residency? Any idea about the duration of the trip, i.e. how long I can stay out of the US to still apply for residency?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Santosh,
      1. I think so, but you can confirm w/ the DSO
      2. You can either study on L-1 or on F-1. On latter you can no longer work w/o CPT or OPT. COS from L-1 to F-1 can be filed while continuing to stay in US. When you travel outside of US next, you will have to go for F-1 visa stamping
      3. No, you cannot. You can just do parttime studies on L-1, and it is your responsibility to maintain L-1 status
      4. Don’t know. Check w/ DSO

  2. MY LCA is certified around 8 PST pm. It is not official hours now…Is there any option to mail them tomorrow in the morning and get there by 5 pm?


  3. Hi there,
    Just wondering, I have H1b visa and will go back a master degree. If one of the required classes is an internship with a company, can you work unpaid or paid?

    Many Thanks!


    • Mel,
      You should not get paid as part of that internship. As your status is H-1, you need to maintain H-1 status which means getting paid only through the employer who hold your H-1.

  4. Hi, I have h1b visa valid for 2 more months. I was onsite For 10 months and returned to India. Now I have quit my job.

    I want to know whether I can visit USA since my visa is valid for 2 months more? Wthout being employed ?

    Pls reply ASAP.


    • Priya,
      You can travel to US on H-1 visa only if the employer who holds your petition wants you to travel to US and work for them. You cannot use it if you are not employed w/ that employer.

  5. Hi,
    Thanks a lot for this blog. I have found it at just the right time !!
    Let me describe you my situation..
    I am currently working in an IT company and have around 1 year of experience. I plan to do MS in CS . I also have offers from 3 universities and they have issued an I-20 for me. Until now what I planned was to pursue my MS on an F1 visa.
    But now the company is offering me to go to the US (client side) on H1B visa. From the discussion I believe I can work there full time and also do my MS there (in the state that I will be working) but unfortunately none of the universities that I currently have a call from are near to where I will be working. So If I do decide on studying on H1B, I will have to look for good universities in my area and apply for a different term.
    A few questions that I have here are –
    1. I understand that if in course of my study, my assignment in the US is over or I am terminated and do not find any other employers offering H1B I have to change to F1 visa type to continue my studies. How long does this process take? Do I have to leave the US for this? How long can I be in the US without being employed on H1 and can wait for the approval of F1?Also can I continue with my studies during this time?
    2. Do I need to make it clear to my company now itself that I plan to do MS on H1. As it is I might just work full time there for sometime, pay my taxes and when I get eligible for in- state fee then do MS. I dont think they will be very supportive as of now.
    3. I can also read some comments stating that a person can study on H1 only if it is ‘incidental’ not seeking a to a pursue a degree. Is this true for all universities or I need to find it out in the university that I seek admission into? Are these incidental courses also acknowledged in the similar manner as a degree course?
    I am really short on time. If on F1 I plan to start this fall only!…
    I am not very much aware of what should be better for me. If I go on H1 I will be able to earn some cash and also maybe pay half the amount on my tuition. Also I can never be sure of what is the job situation after 2 years. So F1 might be risky.
    But If studying on H1 and 1) happens and there are various legal issues to change to F1. What happens to my degree!!
    I know I sound very confused and a pessimist.. But cant help it at this hour! A quick response will very much be appreciated. If you want u can drop me a mail on my id also akash_8803 at yahoo dot co dot in
    Thanks a lot!!

    • is the MS program a professional program or a research based master degree? if it is research based, it would be hard to juggle between full-time work and full-time school.
      1. As far as I know, people who are terminated from H1 have 1 month grace period: to find new employer or to change to student visa.
      2. No, you are not obliged to tell your company about the school. I do suggest you tell them. Just in case if you have class or exam during work hours or there is time conflict. But I am guessing, you are still unsure to accept the school offer?
      3. I must say, I am not sure. It may depend on the schools. From what I have encountered, schools allowed H1B visa holder despite their undergraduate degree. As long as you meet the requirements and get accepted, I think you are good. You don’t have to work in the same field as what you degree is.

  6. Thanks in advance for taking time to respond.

    I am on H1B. I want to do MS in US while I am on H1. I have couple of doubts.

    How many credits it takes to complete MS if we enroll 6 credits per semister.
    Where can we find the State Schools available in Maryland/Virginia that offer MS?
    Can we use the MS completed for Green Card Processing, because our legal status is H1 and if we do MS , can we show that in our labor filing?

  7. Hi Kumar,

    I’m a web UI/UX designer based on Dhaka,Bangladesh. I’m 21 years old and didn’t complete my under graduation yet. In this situation any company can sponsor H1B Visa for me? I’m asking because recently I get an offer from a web design agency based on La,Ca. They emailed me this “Would you be interested in moving to the US if we covered expenses and sponsorship?” I have 6 years working experience in this field BTW.

    And my another question is if they will sponsor me, can I start my undergraduate course there? Really appreciate your help.

    Best regards!

    • Tanveer Junayed,
      To be qualified for H-1 one needs to have at least 4 years of college education (equivalent to US Bachelors). So it would be better to get your education and experience reviewed w/ an attorney who can provide you exact details on your eligibility.

  8. Hi,
    If I am currently a masters student, will I be able to convert my visa from an F1 to an H1B.. I have some interviews lined up but I am unsure about my getting an H1B as my undergrad is from India(4yrs engineering) and a work experience of 16 months in my field of study(from a reputed MNC in India). I am not sure whether it is equivalent to American undergrad degree. My question is, as I am currently a masters student, will I have an advantage in obtaining the work visa or does it not impact the visa in anyway unless I complete the course?

    • Rashmi,
      It doesn’t impact much as you have not completed the course yet. Lot of Indian colleges offer degrees which is at par w/ US Bachelors. However, to be sure you can get it reviewed by an education equivalency agency in US.

      • Thank you for the prompt reply. This website is indeed a great source of information and has laid a lot of my queries to rest. Keep up the good work.

  9. Hi

    I have an H1B valid for 3 years from now. I intend to join a masters course in US for 2 years on F1 . I do not intend to work in these 2 years but want to take a sabbatical and hold the H1B for these 2 years. This will help me get a job easily after my masters. Can this be done ?

    • Devonnet,
      If the company wants to grant you 2 year sabbatical then you can do that, or you can resign from the employer and then again find an employer after completing the course. You don’t need to go through quota system again as you have already made through it once, and another employer can file cap-exempt petition for you in future by making use of the previous approval.

      • Thanks for the quick response 🙂

        Two more questions . Please reply. Desperately need help.

        1.So you mean that if I go on sabbatical , I can have both H1B and F1 valid and I can get back to my old company or find a new company after I pass out of my course ?

        2. So in the above scenario my new company needs to do just an H1B transfer ?

        • Devonnet,
          You will have only one visa status which is F-1. You will have a kind of dormant H-1 as well. Later on, the same employer can file for extension + COS (if the old H-1 petition has expired) or the new employer can file for transfer + COS. This holds true irrespective of whether you go on sabbatical or resign from the employer.

          • Many thanks Saurabh,

            Would I be asked questions about my H1B during F1 interview ? What should I tell them ?

            Please note that I will be working in India when I will take the interview .

          • Devonnet,
            You might be asked about H-1, but they should be pretty standard questions like duration, employer etc. I don’t think there will be a big negative impact b/c of your previous H-1.

  10. Hi there!

    What a great blog. I just have a question – can you tell me on which official source you know that an H1B holder can study full-time? I would be really greatful for this source, as my immigration lawyer sais that H1B holders can only study part time (11 credits per semester max.) And I have a hard time proving him wrong, as I cannot find any official information about this on uscis.gov…

    Thanks, keep up the great work!


    • Saara,
      I don’t have any official links but this is what I know and have seen people doing. When on H-1, your primary responsibility is to work full-time. However, H-1 does allow a person to study as long as they are able to maintain their full-time work. If studying full-time means stop working, then one cannot do that on H-1 (F-1 is the right visa for this). I don’t know about the credit requirement, but I know people on H-1 who go for evening classes for MS/MBA. They end up doing 8 credits per quarter.

    • H1B holders are not eligible to study full-time and their study should be “incidental”. Not sure what this term means exactly, but i think it means the study should be related to work. I maybe wrong in this interpretation. But per my understanding based on the research i made, full-time study means >= 9 credits/semester. But on blogs i came across postings where people mention they know people who take more than that. I for one, played safe and settled for 6 credits/quarter. (Trust me, that is more than handful if you are planning to study while working)

  11. Hi , Thanks for the information.
    I am a full time employee and hold H1B visa.
    I am willing to do masters and I wanted to know how exactly can I apply for a full time or part time course for MS?
    Do I need to clear the GRE examination and based on the score I will be getting the admission?

    I would like to know the whole process that I will have to follow for admission. Could you please help me in that?


    • Sumit,
      You will have to check w/ the concerned school about the process. Some schools waive off the GRE based on your past education and experience.

  12. Hi I wanted to ask if a H1B visa holder in US can take certification (like CISSP etc),or MS degree in information security(ethical hacking, network security) field part time/full time. I have heard from someone that outsiders(H1B) do not have clearance to take such courses, is it true?


    • Ajir,
      AFAIK, one can take certifications when on H-1, and can also study. However, all this can happen as long as you continue to maintain legal status on H-1.

  13. Hi

    My H1B(non profit organization) started October 2011 and is valid till 2014. I recently got laid off and my last pay-stub came on Feb 9th. I decided to join university for spring quarter which starts on April 15 and applied for MBA on 2/22/2012. My application for MBA is still pending for transcript evaluation. Meanwhile today I found an employer, again a non profit organization who is ready to hire me but only part time-20hrs. My question is, Can the new employer file H1 B for me working part time for him? or do I have to obtain full time employment? Does this situation interfere with F1 status which is still pending? If H1B can be worked out, then I would not go for MBA. Any help appreciated.


    • Nitin Palekar,
      The employer can file a part-time H-1 petition for you for 20 hours per week. I don’t think USCIS will deny it just b/c it is part time.

      You may be asked to show that you have been maintaining legal status in US. So you need to act quickly as you have not received any payslip since Feb 9th.

        • Hi Saurabh

          I got laid off in Feb 2012. Then I immediately joined school for MBA program for spring quarter(in quarter system school). Now I have I-20 for next 2 yrs. Then I filed I-549 with USIC for change of status from H1 to F1. Last week I received a job offer and employer is ready to file my H1-b with premium processing. Now that my petition with USCIS is pending for F1, is applying for H1-b create any problem?

          • Nitin Palekar,
            The new employer can file for H-1 transfer, but I am not sure if it will get approved or not as they will ask for F-1 proof which is still pending. I would suggest taking legal advice from an attorney.

  14. Hi Kumar,
    I just recently read your post. It is very helpful. Thank you.
    Just wondering, if there is any law or legal statement that says it is okay for H1B holder to be enrolled full/part time in graduate school, evening MBA or MS.
    Thanks for being helpful. 🙂


    • Mel,
      I don’t have any legal link that I can provide you regarding this, but H-1 visa holder can study in US. You can check w/ your DSO for more information.

  15. Hi Kumar,
    Thanks for guiding people on this Blog…Its really informative. I am looking forward for guidance in the following matter…
    I came to US in 2008 on F1 visa and will be graduating with DDS ( General Dentist) this year. I will be further doing a residency ( Graduate Program) on F1 visa but I would like to work Part time ( Probably evenings or weekend) as a general dentist. I have an employer who is offering me part time employment …My questions are–
    1) Can I apply Part time H1 visa here in USA or Do I have to go to my home country to get it stamped?
    2) My University has issued me a new I-20 what will happen to my F1 Status.
    3) Is it safe to go on H1 or one should stick with F1 ( means if I lose my job than do I have to find new employer or can I change to F1 easily)
    I hope it not too confusing .Your help will be greatly appreciated.

    • Ritesh,
      Yes, part time H-1 can be filed. It needs to be filed along w/ COS and once that is approved you can work part-time on H-1. Your status would no longer be F-1 but H-1.

      Can’t you work on CPT for this employer as it is related to your course of study?

      • Hi Saurabh,
        Thanks for the quick response….
        I can’t work on CPT as it is a private job not a required/Graded internship so I do not fit into CPT criteria.
        What is COS? and my other question is–
        To start working after May 2012 when should my employer apply for Part time H1?
        Thanks for all the input.


        • Ritesh,
          This is COS

          New cap opens in April 2012. They can file anytime after that. However, the earliest start date is Oct 1, 2012 and you cannot work on H-1 prior to that. And that too when H-1 is approved w/ COS.

  16. Hello Kumar,

    Thanks for all the great responses above. I see that I am coming 2 years later to these posts, but I do have a question for you.
    I am currently on F1, working full-time on my OPT extension. My company will sponsor my H1B visa this year, and I am also planning to start my masters. If I decide to use premium processing service and get an answer from USCIS about the visa approval/denial in, let’s say, May, is it possible for me to start the master’s program in August even if my H1B visa becomes official only on October 1st? Or do I have to wait until January to be able to start my masters? I just don’t want to lose a semester’s time if I am legally able to start it in the fall knowing that my visa is already approved. I know that if my H1b gets denied, I can start my master’s in the fall. But, I am really interested to know what happens if my visa gets approved early. I would really go for premium processing if I know that the early approval notice can help me with starting my master’s in the fall.
    Your help will be much appreciated. If you could send me some link references as well, I would be very thankful.
    Thanks so much.

    • If your H-1 gets approved w/ COS, then your status would be H-1 from the COS approval date (usually Oct 1). So you will have to enroll on F-1, and in next quarter/semester enroll on H-1. There is one thing to watch out for (I am not sure about the right answer here) – when you entroll in Masters program, a new I-20 would be issued and this may invalidate your already approved COS. You will have to check w/ a lawyer about this.

      If your H-1 gets approved w/o COS, then you can continue studying on F-1 until you move to H-1, at which point you will have to enroll on F-1.

      • Thanks Saurabh for your prompt reply.
        Do you know in which situations an H1B visa gets approved w/o COS? I suppose that my employer is filling this April with the COS as I am looking to change my F1 to H1. I am currently not enrolled in any school, so I am not sure why would I get the H1B visa approved w/o COS. Can you shed some light on that for me please? I am aware that with starting a new Master’s program, I would need a new I-20 which could possibly invalidate my H1B approval which I definitely dont want to happen. My priority at this point is H1. So you think that even if I get my answer early from USCIS that my visa is approved, that would not help me in starting my masters in the fall? I think that you might be right as even if my visa gets approved, my status will not officially change until Oct 1st. Do you see any benefits in filling with the premium processing fee and getting the answer early? I know that regular process takes 2-6 months, but do you have an average estimate when people usually get their answer, like July or Avgust?
        Thanks a lot for all your help.

        • Usually it doesn’t get approved w/ COS if:
          – COS option is not correctly filed
          – USCIS determine that you didn’t maintain valid legal status at the time of filing
          – you leave US while your H-1 petition is in progress

          If the main objective is to be on H-1, then it’s better to start in Spring once you will be on H-1 status, else you will have to keep up w/ few moving targets. As the H-1 cannot start prior to Oct 1, it makes more sense to file it as regular petition and if you see no activity, say by July/Aug, then upgrade it to PP to get an approval by Oct. The processing time is usually 2-6 months, but as lot of petitions are filed in the first few days of cap opening, it can take the maximum for processing.

          Let me know if I missed to answer any question.

          • Thank you so much for your prompt answers. You really did anwer my questions. I will post again, if I come up with some new scenarios/ questions 🙂
            Thanks a lot for all your help.


          • Saurabh,
            I have one more question 🙂 Is it possible sometimes that USCIS doesn’t even go through all the applications if the quota of 65,000 is reached? I am just wondering what if my application doesn’t even get viewed before the quota is reached. Can that happen?
            I also followed up on the upgraded PP with my employer and they told me that if you want to upgrade later on, you have to pay $1275, which is $50 more than if you would do PP from the start which costs $1,225.
            Thanks a lot for your prompt replies.

          • Nina,
            Once quota is reached, USCIS will start returning all the petitions that are received after the cap was reached. However, they would still process all the petitions that were received before quota was reached. Based on current market conditions, I expect the quota to remain open until Sep-Oct 2012.

            I don’t think the cost should be any different if upgrading later, unless they are including postage and labor costs in it.

          • Thanks so much for the clarification Saurabh.
            $50 extra cost for upgrading later is the attorney fee charged after the visa filling, at least that is what I was told.
            Thank you so much for the great advice/responses you gave me.
            It is a tremendous help.

    • Hi Ritesh,
      Will you not be paid during your residency, if yes then you can change directly to H1 and do residency and get paid. I dont think you can work part time H1 and be on F1 at same time, you cannot have 2 different status at same time. You can have 2 H1 at same time for different employers but not F1 and H1, i think you can change to J1 if your program does not sponsor H1 and get paid.

  17. Kumar,

    All your efforts here are of immense help. I have couple of questions regarding H1-B transfer. I currently hold M.S in Civil Engg(Several graduate level coursework in C.S) and I currently work on H1B as Developer/Engineer in a company. I am waiting for an admission to M.S in C.S while doing my job on H1-B and also hold two Oracle Developer Certifications along with 5 yr work experience as a developer.

    1) Say if I am NOT admitted to the M.S in C.S program.If I want to move to a software company as a SOFTWARE DEVELOPER/PROGRAMMER, will the new employer have issues while filing H1b?

    2)Say if I am admitted to the C.S program, can the new employer fill H1B based on my currently pursuing C.S degree? Do you anticipate any issues in this case?

    Your time is greatly appreciated.


    • 1. It should be ok. I assume you are already working in US as a software developer. In case USCIS questions your skillset, you can submit the certifications and 5 years of software development experience, to show that you are qualified for the offered position.
      2. I don’t think they can file H-1 on the basis of your C.S. degree. But they can file it on the basis of your past experience and certifications.

  18. Hi,

    I am currently working on my H1 visa for the past 3 months. I want to work in the same company on H1 for the next 3-4 yrs and then go for a full time MBA. Also, I want to do full time MBA and concentrate only on MBA. I understand that I will have to be on F1 during that time.

    Now here is what I want to know. My plan is to work on H1 for 4 yrs in US, then do my MBA on F1 for 2 years, then search for a job and start working on H1 again. But I realise that we can work on H1 for a maximum of only 6 years in US. So, will I be in a problem if my employer after my MBA does not file my Greencard within 2 years?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

      • I am in a similar boat and I wanted a little clarification on this response. When you’ve only worked for 4 years on H1b, does the 2 year, full-time study (with no pay) considered part of the 6 years of work?

        • Were you on H-1 status during those 2 years? If yes, then that will be counted. All days that you spent in US on H-1 visa status are counted.

          • Can I be on H1 without being paid? If not, then does it not amount to not being on H1 for the time I am on F1 student visa (full time MBA)?

          • One cannot be in US on H-1 w/o getting paid. That will put the alien in out of status, which can long long term adverse effects on his/her immigration prospects.

            I didn’t understand your 2nd question.

          • Thanks for the response, Saurabh. all my sub-questions arrive at this scenario- I’ve completed 4 years on h1b. I would be on student F1 visa for the next 2 years. In this period, I would be on a sabbatical leave. Once, I complete my MBA and then if I am recruited by a company in US, would I be able to work with the new company’s H1b?

          • Yes, they can file a cap-exempt petition for you at that point. Based on your currently approved petition, you don’t need to go through quota again. However, you will get only 2 years of H-1 unless your GC is filed.

  19. Hi,
    I am on a HIB (one year extension as it is my 7th year) I am also studying part time , i have six months left to obtain my masters, my company is planning to let me go, If I get fired my H1B visa will also lapse, so will I need to ask my college to issue a I20 to obtain a F1 visa to complete my masters, how will my college issue a I20 ( as I am on a part time course) .


  20. Hi,

    I am H1B. I am trying to my second masters in Computer Science (an online course) without changing my Visa Status. Now the course requires me to complete some 90 hours of field work (similar to an internship) related to the course, which is completely different from what I am currently doing. Is it possible to on H1B?
    Any help, suggestions is appreciated. Thanks.

  21. Hello All,
    I am working on H1B visa, it was approved last year.
    I want to do another master’s program, One good thing is i have job close to the university from which I have my first Master’s. I was in constant touch with the University International’s office, and they said I am eligible to do another master’s only if is” Incidental”. I searched the university website as to what do they mean by Incidental.
    So I found the following under the section of Frequently Asked Questions:

    Do any non-immigrant visas restrict study in the U.S.?

    USCIS regulations state that principles in visa categories E, H, I, O, P & TN may attend classes that are casual or incidental to their status, and should not be degree seeking students. However, dependents of individuals in these visa categories may be degree seeking. Pending Permanent Residents must present their I-485 receipt or Green Card before enrollment; asylum seekers their asylum petition or approval notice. Old Dominion University cannot be responsible for tuition or fee refunds in the event of a negative immigration petition.

    As you can see from the first sentence, “should not be degree seeking student”. There is also a separate form to be filled out if this was the case, which says non-degree. I talked to the concerned department and asked them what if i was admitted for a non-degree course, and complete all the courses required by a Degree, will I be awarded a Degree, for which they answered NO.

    My Question is if we are on H1B, can we apply to the university as regular International Student? so that at the end I will have a Diploma?

    I appreciate any answers. The deadline for Spring 2012 is October 1.


  22. Hi Kumar,
    I am working on H1B visa in Tucson, Arizona. I want to do MS(mostly part-time) here. Do i need attened any entrance exams(Like GRE, TOEFL) for the admission? Can you please let me know any other specific requirements to get admission?

  23. I am actually working in the US under a H1B visa (Full time). I want to study my second Master Degree (I studied the fist one also in the US). According to your web site, I am allowed to do it. The question that I have for you is: Where can I find a legal document, or a US government website that states that I am allowed to study in the US under a H1B visa.

    Thank you very much in advance for all your help.

    Jose Luis Camacho

  24. Hi Kumar,

    I think I went through your posts a the right time.
    1. I am working in the bay area (Completed Masters) on H1B. Though its been a year and a half I am working here, I am very passionate to do my MBA. My company pays the partial amount.
    Can you suggest me, if I can get a student loan so that I pay the remaining amount by myself. I plan to do my MBA from private school.

    2. Also, I would like to know how a graduate or Masters certificate/Professional development certification in the field of management from good school differ from an MBA. Is it worth going for this instead of an MBA (this is much cheaper costing$14,000 USD).

    It would be great if you can suggest me on this. It would be very helpful.

    Thank you much for your posts. Appreciated!!

    Best Regards,

  25. Hi Kumar
    I am on L1A Visa. I would like to pursue a Gruaduate Program and applied for the program. Now the university has informed that I will not be able to get the admission because I am on a Work Visa. Is it correct? Thanks in advance for sharing the information

    • Did you tell the university that you want to enroll as an international student? If yes, then you cannot be enrolled as you are on L-1.

      However, you should be able to pursue studies on L-1 as an in-state or out-of-state student (depending upon your state’s requirements). I know people who study while being on H-1, and I don’t see any reason why it’s not applicable to people on L-1. Which state are you in?

  26. Hi everyone!
    The information in the forum is ver helpful! Thanks to kumar!

    I have a question regarding the situation I have now. I’m on F1 visa and have more more semester to take as a master student. This summer I got an internship in a company that has offered me a full-time position. The company is in a different state. They want to apply H1B for me with a non-us master degree that I have. In the meanwhile I need to stay working for the company on CPT.
    Assuming that I get accepted, can I continue my master degree? If my school allow me to take the left credits online, during this visa status change can I continue my studies?

    • Once your H-1 is filed and approved (assuming w/ COS), your status in US will be H-1 and not F-1. You can continue to study as long as your oblige the H-1 requirements (i.e. get paid according to your LCA). You also need to inform your school about your updated status, so that they update SEVIS and school records.

      While your conversion is pending, your status would be F-1, and you need to oblige the F-1 requirements.

      • when u say u have to inform your school? do u mean the old school where u graduated from or the new school u are planning to attend in case you want to get your masters in different school?

        thank you

        • Let me know if I understood your question correctly – you have graduated from a school on F-1, and now want to enroll in another school on F-1. In this case, you need to let new school know about it so that they can update the SEVIS record correctly. I am not sure if old school needs to be informed, but I don’t see any harm in letting them know as well.

  27. Hello Kumar,
    I’m on a H1B and recently got admitted to a part time MBA. The tuition cost is $90,000. I have been working in the US for about 2 years (before that I was in the US for about 2 years on international deputation from my Indian employer). I do not have a co-signer. No banks/credit unions are providing me a loan without a co-signer. Do you know of any other avenues that can provide me a student loan to the tune of this amount?
    My employer is willing to sponsor upto $7500 a year.


  28. Hi Kumar and others,

    I had to know whether a H1B visa holder can study in US or not, and this article answered my question. Thank you for this great article.
    But, I have a question which is particular to my situation.
    I have been working in a company in India for 2+ years. I applied for MS program in US and I also got my I20 from university. My original plan was to apply for F1 visa. But, my employer wants me to continue my work (full time) from US branch office along with study and is offering me a sponsorship for H1B visa.

    Will the university accept my H1B visa? I20 form has F1 student written in it.


    • To be a full-time student you need to be on F-1. If you remain on H-1, then you would have to honor your LCA commitments as well i.e. work full-time to get at least the salary mentioned in the LCA.

      I don’t know if you are married or not. But you can also study on H-4, although you would lose out on non-merit based scholarships, CPT, OPT etc.

    • Hi,

      Am I allowed to accept tuition waiver /merit scholarship while on H1B.
      I intend to pursue part time PhD and I may get tuition waiver.


  29. Hi Kumar and others,

    I stumbled into this forum and found it useful. Some of the comments were related to what I’m wondering about. I’d like to ask and clarify a few questions if you don’t mind. I would appreciate any replies.

    1. I’m on H1B and am going to enrol in a full time MA program. I will be working for the firm sponsoring my H1B for 30-35 hours each week while at school (as opposed to 40). In this case, is it necessary to file an amended petition? Also, What constitutes “part time”? Does it matter if I get paid by the hour (as opposed to a fixed salary) ?

    2. Am I eligible to accept any scholarship (need or merit based) that results in reduced tuition if such scholarship is offered (i.e. there is no work obligation)? (it seems the answer is yes from previous comments. I just want to make sure.)

    3. Many students can apply to some fellowship (a couple thousand) to sponsor a required summer project. As an H1B holder, am I eligible to accept such a fellowship? I know this is different from scholarship that serves only for tuition purposes because fellowship is sponsoring research not study per se.

    4. For tax purposes, I heard that the scholarship in 2) is tax free but in 3) it is taxable. Should one report the scholarship 2) to IRS? How about that in 3)?

    Great thanks in advance.

    • 1. Yes, LCA needs to be amended. The employer can specify hourly rate and minimum hours you will work in a week.

      2. Yes, merit based scholarship is fine.

      3. I don’t think you can do that, but I can’t say for sure.

      4. I don’t know about that. What I know is that one can claim deductions on the expenses made towards tuition (form 1098-T).

  30. Hi Kumar,

    I got admit from UC MBA and i am working in CA for past three years.Also I got 25K schollarship .Now what do you suggest .. shud I change my status to F1 and if I do so will i be eligible for in-state tuition fees.If not then whats the option since its a Full time program , i don;t think I can do a Full time job and a Full time MBA program.

  31. Hi , my husband did BCom. He is working in IT for about 7 years.since last 3 years he is in USA with H1B. we are planning to apply for GC in EB2 but for that they need degree(4years eg. Btech)+5 years experience or PG + 2 to 3 years experience but in our case it is (3years degree BCom) .Are we eligible for EB2 ?
    If not can he do MS in USA with H1b working full time please respond.

    • He may be eligible for EB2 if he has at least 5 years of relevant experience w/o including years spent w/ the current employer (experience gained under employer who is filing GC doesn’t count).

      Also, the prospective GC job should require at least 4 years degree + 5 years work experience.

  32. Kumar,

    Could you share your thoughts on, which state am i eligible for in state tuition fees if I enrol for part time or full time MBA in state college:

    I am currently on H1B with my sponsor i.e Company A registered in CA and I am staying and working for a client i.e Company B in NJ.

    I get my salary stubs from my sponsor i.e Company A and taxes are deducted in salary accordingly. Now in this situation which state would offer me in state tuition allowance?


    • You will be considered as a resident of NJ (if you are staying in NJ). So in NJ you will be eligible for in-state tuition fees.

      • Thanks saurabh for the reply but didnt you say earlier that we need to pay taxes in a state to be eligible for in state allowance?

        Now if I am paying taxes as per California as my company A is paying taxes there, you still feel i am eligible for NJ?

        Just want to confirm.


        • You should have been paying state taxes in NJ and not CA. Your taxes are determined by the state where you work, and not your employer location. Besides, your employer should have filed LCA mentioning your work location as NJ and not CA.

          When you file taxes, you will have to fill-in two state tax forms – CA non-resident taxes and NJ resident taxes. You will have to check w/ the tax consultant to see if you are eligible for refund on your CA non-resident taxes.

  33. Hi I am on full-time H1B right now and have submitted my 140 petition for green card. I plan to attend a full-time program next fall and will amend my full-time H1B to part-time.
    How many hours at a minimum I should put on my part-time H-1B amendment to get it approved? And if I put a range, what would the number on the lower end? Will the office check if I definitely work above the minimal hours on the amendment as long as every month I have a paycheck? Any legal rules/sections I could check to find a reference?

    • I am not 100% sure, but this is what I think you need to do. Your employer needs to file a new I-129 for H1 and mark it as part-time. 20 hours per week should be fine, but whatever hours/salary is quoted, you should be paid according to that.

      Also, it’s my understanding a new PERM needs to be filed whenever alien’s job responsibility changes more than 50% from originally approved PERM. This looks like to be the scenario in your case, so you may have to file a new PERM.

      But I am not 100% sure, and you should consult an experience immigration attorney before taking the decision.

  34. I have been on H1B for several years and now am trying to get in a Ph.D program. Would I be exempt from scholarships and stipend because of my status? If I want in-state tuition, do I have to show tax forms to the school?

    Thank you.

    • Tim, It depends on the kind of scholarship and the regulations they have on it…You would need to talk to the financial aid office for full details….But, to get in-state you just have to show your tax forms, address proof, license to prove that you are a resident of that state. Again, check with the school, it varies.

    • If you are on H1B, you may not qualify for in-state tuition even if you have been living in the state for many years and paying taxes. Thats what almost every school told me.

        • You are correct Saurabh. CA allows visa holders for instate tuition. I did not know this policy is state specific. I enquired in 3 PA state schools and all of them refused to consider me instate despite being resident for 2 yrs and paid taxes.

  35. Hi there,

    This is a great forum.

    I need a quick visa advise. I came to US in Jan 2009 on F1 Visa and started pursuing MS degree in New York. There is a Company A which did my H1B in April 2009 and the H1B petition got approved, but I did not start working for this Company A in Oct 2009 and continued with my MS degree on F1 Visa. In summer 2010 I started my summer internship (on CPT) with Company B and now in Sept 2010 Company B has made me a full time offer and want me to start working on H1B visa as soon as possible. I have just one 3 credits course left in order to graduate and I am currently enrolled in this last class for Fall 2010 semester and will complete my MS degree requirements in Dec 2010.

    Two questions:

    1). Can I transfer already approved H1B from Company A in 2009 to Company B ?
    2). Can I continue to study and complete my last 3 credit while being converted to H1B visa status?

    I will really appreciate if you can respond ASAP.

    Thanks a lot in advance.

  36. Kumar/Others,
    One of the universities I contacted sent me this email on whether i can pursue partime mba when on H1B. Also, my gc process is pending —
    “H1-B visa holders are allowed to go to school for “incidental studies” that means that you are not supposed to be pursuing a degree in a degree program. It is recommended to wait for the permanent residency process to take place before you pursue an MBA degree. At this point you don’t want to do anything that could, potentially, jeopardize your application.”
    Can you please share your thoughts on this comment?

    • Trishul, Well, some schools have some policies that restrict you to study for degree on H1B…But, in my experience and opinion, most of the schools let you study on H1B. In fact, I got my MBA on H1B visa and have few of my friends studying MBA in top schools like Columbia University on H1B visa….Talk to them, if their policies does not let you, apply to other schools in the area.

      • Kumar, I guess the comment was more of a recommendation from legal angle than a policy matter. Do you know of any apparent impact the pursuing of masters would have on gc process or anyone who pursued masters when on H1B and later got their GC ?

  37. Thanks a lot Kumar. They are the exactly information I am looking for.

    Just one question: does it matter if I study full time in a different state/place from where my company locate?

    My boss is ok with that, and he will continue pay me every month during my study.

    • Helen, No, it does not matter. In fact, my company was in different state and my school was in different state. It is your boss who have to flexible 🙂 Good Luck !

  38. Hello,
    I am on H-1 B full time job and got an excellent offer to become a full time student.
    The school also offering me scholarship and monthly stipened . Can I” legally” recive the scholarship/stipened?



    • If you remain on H1, then you cannot receive scholarship and stipend i.e. legally. If you change your status to F1, then yes you can.

      • If the university which is going to offer you stipend and scholarship is willing to do your h1b then you can accept the offer, but you have to make sure you will be on full time H1 with your current employer (40 hrs per week).

        • I am not 100% sure about this, but one can avail tuition waiver if that is merit based, and you don’t need to work for the university or department or professor in return. Please check w/ your school’s DSO.

        • Trishul, Any merit based full fee waiver is fine. I do not think it is considered as income because, you do not get any money to your account. It is just like in-state tuition waiver, you do not get money to your account…just your semester fee is less. Just to be safe, I would still check with DSO.

  39. Hi,

    Nice to know all these details.

    After reading so much and all thanks to Kumar, can you please help find the answer to these questions.

    1. Do I have to take GRE or Tofle exam with my current H1b visa status if I want to study further.

    2. I did my masters in India, can I enroll for Phd in USA or MS will be uqivalent to PHd

    3. Do I have to take the permission from my current employer to enroll for the part time Phd or MS program.
    Please respond.

    • 1. Yes, you need to take GRE and TOEFL unless you have a Masters degree from US School.
      2. I am not clear on question. Either case, you can apply for any program either MS or PhD. Your Indian Masters, depending on school will be considered Masters equivalent.
      3. No you do not need to. But, you will need to give copies of H1B visa to the school and I797 form along with I94. Personally, I would tell my employer, so that they know whats going on .

  40. Hi Kumar,

    First of all i would like to thank you for your article. It was a great help to decide my future plans, thanks a lot buddy!!

    I have a question for you also.
    The question is straight and it should have crossed your mind at some point of time.

    Say I got admission based upon the criteria u mentioned but in middle of my studies my current employer wants me to move to a different location or my assignment in US is over and I have to move back (to India).
    To make thing worse, I did not get any new employer in my current city to sponsor my H1B. How will that affect my studies? Do I have to convert my visa to F1 to continue study in US? Also can I do that in middle of my studies? Will that create any complication in my studies?

    I know I may sound like pessimist but after working in IT for 3yrs u tend to be a little pessimistic. Hope you understand 😉


    • Yes, if you plan to complete your education, you should convert to F1. You can convert to F1 visa status anytime. I do not think it will create any complications. Only catch is, if you studying in a State funded school on H1B and have in-state tuition you will lose that because you have converted to F1 visa. It just means you have to pay full tuition like international student. (Check this In-state vs Out-of-state tuition fee ) Just so that you know, if everything goes wrong and you have to leave, most of the US schools typically give you 6 to 8 years to complete your studies. you can come back when things are good and complete your degree. Also, schools let you transfer up to 3 classes or 12 credits , if you plan to study somewhere else( you have to make sure you study in an accredited school)
      Hope it helps,

  41. Thanks for sharing this valuable information Kumar. It cleared almost all my doubts.

    Would you know if TOEFL is also required, if you’ve been working in states for about a year..?

    • Welcome. Yes, TOEFL is required if you do not have a Masters or Bachelors from US University. I do not think they consider your work experience for waiving TOEFL.

    • Basically, whether you require TOEFL or not depends on the school’s policy.
      But typically, if you have been living in US for more than 2 years then chances are that it can be waived. I have been in US for 6 years and 3 out of 5 MBA
      colleges I enquired agreed to waive my TOEFL requirement.
      Btw, Kumar, this is a great ariticle and thanks a lot for posting.

  42. I have H1B from a public 4-year university. But i have applied for a doctoral program at a closer by another university. I get a 55% percent tuition waiver because my husband is working at the institution under H1B as well. So can i get a tuition stipend for the 45% of the tuition that i am suppose to pay. The stipend can be two different ways. One for tuition and one for living. What i am asking is only for tuition. So i do not have to pay anything for my tuition. How does that work.

    • Seems a little complex to me. As per my knowledge, I think you will not be able to avail any other funding from school for the remaining 45% unless it is in the form of Scholarship or Research fellowship( where you do not work and it is from grant). The trick is you are on H1B and can only be paid by one employer i.e the Univ you work in currently. You cannot work for the doctoral school and get paid from them. You must call your doctoral school and tell them your situation, they will give you better guidance.

  43. Hi Kumar ,

    My question is about the reverse process.

    What if I get an admit for a part-time mba and then look for an employer in that state ? I mean is it feasible and what is visa I will be issued in this scenario ? I mean after getting the part-time mba admit , what visa interview should I appear for and can I leverage that visa for work purposes ?

    Please let me know if you did not get the question ..


    • Subhadeep, Yes, you can do that. The logic is simple, as soon as you bring in work into picture, you can only work on H1B visa if you plan to work Full time as an international, unless you came to US on L1 visa through your company. I am not sure if I answered your question clearly. Ask me if you are not clear.

      • So , I will be categorical with my question..

        What if I get a part-time admit and don’t have an H1B at that point of time. Should I apply for H1 or F1 ( and then try to convert F1 to H1 in US)? I am not sure about the process.

        Thanks in advance.

        • You cannot apply H1B on your own. You have to find an employer. Also, re-read what I wrote about part time studying. You are complicating the issue by thinking too much. Post your question in Forum with full details like where are you and what is your status now and full details….

  44. while on H1B doing parttime MBA, can we get assitantship? if assistant ship from university is provided, University will pay stipend of some dollars every month which in turn w-2 is provided from university, would this be a problem for H1 Status?

    I would really appreciate any help/suggestions?

    • As per my knowledge, No you cannot work anywhere on campus. You can only have one W2 i.e. from your H1B sponsor. I think it is illegal.

  45. Hello Kumar,

    I am Working with MphasiS an HP company for over 3 years…I am now asked to travel on H1B for long term for an assignment with Fedex

    Meanwhile, I have received an I-20 from FIT and expecting couple of others..and was thinking of getting F1 stamped and enroll to Full time MS program from August 2010.

    But on other end, my manager..back in MphasiS suggests, you can travel on H1B and enroll for an Part time program..and earn the required credits and complete the MS.

    you seems to have a best knowledge in this ..can you please take take little time in your valuable period..and help me out

    plz drop me your email id or contact details ==> ajith.jnnce06@gmail.com

    Thanks alot in advance !!!

    • What your manager said is correct and it is the smart way to do it and in fact the best way too. In fact, thats how I am doing MBA. What do you exactly need ? I do not mind sending you personal email, but if you have any questions, others might have same questions and I want others to get benefited too. Please post the here, if you can. If something is really personal, then see contact me page for how to contact me.

      • couple of factors that I am jotting down to make myself clear and come out with better solution for this

        Risk factor : I need to defer the admit from Fall 2010(Aug 2010) to spring 2011(Jan 2011)..as the complete process for H1B filing and getting stamped will take until October 2010.

        Beneficial factor : once on H1B
        1) earning handsome remuneration
        2) US state resident (as understood from couple of blogs..you will be paying state taxes)
        so waiver on in-state tuition fee

        Difficult phase : work on all day..and attend evening classes
        a) university should have part -time program (in my case FIT..will check with graduate admissions)
        b) Does this admit (I-20 for international student still stand valid)

        still thinking alot…will keep on posting….that would help others and make myself clear and kumar could you plz suggest me how to take ahead from this.

        kumar..can you plz suggest any Information(website’s or blogs or relevant URL’s) dealt extensively with H1B or L1 applicants..pursuing Higher education(MS or MBA program) as part time & the federal laws that are needed to be followed by them and any constraints.

        • Here are my thoughts on your information :
          Under beneficial Factor

          • 2 ) you will only get in-state if you stay in a particular state for one year and pay taxes. So, you will have to wait for one more year to get in-state. Read this article I wrote : H1B visa in-state tuition info

          Under Difficult phase :

          • I do understand it is hard, but it is doable. You just have to plan well and be discipline. In fact, most of the Graduate students in US work full time.
          • a) most of the graduate classes are in evenings unless you are in a full time cohort MBA or MS program.
          • b) You will not need an I-20 because you are on H1B visa. They will not give I20 and will give only Admission letter.

          I do not know if there are any constraints or any federal rules that you need to know. I am a living example of studying MBA and working on H1B visa. I have been doing this since 2008. I did not get any I20, I just got admission letter and I just enrolled. I had to submit my H1B visa copy, Passport, I94, SSN, Driving license, Tax returns to prove that I am on H1B visa. Thats all I did. In fact, I have changed to other University too on H1B visa and transfered credits. As far as other related blogs and other stuff, I do not if there are any others and good ones. Thats one the reasons I started this Blog 🙂

          If you are curious, You can email the University that you have admission from and ask them what do you have to do if you are on H1B visa.


Leave a Comment