Change of Status COS FAQs

Change of Status (COS) – F1, H1B, L1, H4, L2, F2 – FAQs – All you need to Know !

In US Immigration - Visas by SaurabhUpdated : 1145 Comments

What is Change of Status (COS) ?

When a non-immigrant or an international student/ worker enters US, that alien is given a visa category. This is mentioned in the I-94 that is issued at PoE (Port of Entry). Immigration laws allow the alien/ international student/ worker to move from one visa category to another, with few exceptions, like from H4 visa to H1B or F1 visa to H1 or L1 to H1B, without needing to go out of the country and getting the visa stamped for the new category. This process is called Change of Status and commonly referred as COS in immigration context.

What is the process for Change of Status (COS)?

When applying for COS, following steps happen:
1. The applicant submits COS form (I-539).
2. Additional documents need to be submitted to show that the alien has been maintaining valid status in US, and will be able to maintain status in the new visa category. To demonstrate this, one needs to submit:

  • Copy of current I-94, that states you are in valid status and not I-94 not expired
  • Depending on the status you are in, you need to submit additional documents.
    • If working on H1B or L1, copy of most recent payslips/ pay stubs and W2s
    • If on H4 or L2 as dependent, then copy of spouse’s payslips and W2s (when current visa category is H-4 or L-2)
    • If on F1 visa, copy of I20, if working on F1 OPT, relevant pay stubs as well.
    • If working employment documents like employment letters, etc.
    • Also, if on H4 or L2, then spouse’s employment documents and approval notice of H1B/L1

The above documents are just few examples, if you have any other documents that can prove your status, submit them accordingly.

How long does Change of Status (COS) take to process?

If just the COS is filed, then it takes few months to one year process, there is no specific timeline define. You can check USCIS website to see current processing times.  If the COS is filed along with H1B with I-129 form, then it can also take anywhere from few weeks to few months to process. The actual processing times are available at USCIS website. If you have premium processing option available like for moving to H1B, then you can get it done in 15 days, but you need to check USCIS website, if that is available at that point. For instance, in September 2018, USCIS suspended premium processing until Feb 2019

How long can I stay in US with COS in pending state ? What if my I-94 expires ?

In general, you can stay in US, as long as a final decision on your Change of Status (COS) application is made. In general, if your I-94 expires, your status in US ends and you are considered out of status. But, in the case of COS pending application with I-94 expired, you do not accrue ‘unlawful presence’. You will be in period of authorised stay. If your COS is approved, your I-94 tie back to the expired date and you will be considered as maintaining proper status. If let’s say you get denial on your COS application and your I-94 has expired for the previous status, then you will need to leave US immediately after you get the decision notice. For more info, read Lawful status vs Period of Authorised Stay – How it works 

Can I expedite 221g or RFE processing?

If standard COS is filed, then it cannot be expedited. If it is filed along w/ I-129 form, then it can be upgraded to premium processing. In this case, it will be adjudicated within 15 calendar days. If your COS petition is filed under premium, then once your RFE response is given, the 15 days calendar days clock kicks in and will be expedited.

What happens once COS is approved?

If USCIS approves the COS, then they would issue approved 797 along with an attached I-94. The attached I-94 will have the start and end date of the new visa category along with annotation for the new visa category. Check Sample H4 Approval Notice with I-94. The alien will be on the new visa category from the start date mentioned in the approval notice, and is supposed to start maintaining the new status from that date. For example, if COS is applied from L-1 to H-1, then L-1 status needs to be maintained until COS approval date, and H-1 status needs to be maintained thereafter.

What happens once COS is denied?

If USCIS denies the COS, then alien would continue to remain on your current visa category and need to maintain the same.

Is no stamping required with COS?

When COS is approved, the alien’s visa category changes immediately. No need to go for stamping. However, when the alien leaves the US next and wants to re-enter on new visa status into US, then they will have to go for the visa stamping of that visa category.

Can I travel out of US when COS is pending with USCIS ? Implications ?

You may travel out of US while COS is pending, but the COS will be considered abandoned as you left US. Your petition may be approved, but COS part will be denied and you will need to get Stamping at consulate to get into the new status.

What is Change of Status ( COS) in short ?

COS is a request to USCIS to process your application in a way, so that they grant you new visa status, without leaving the country. It is Change of Status of applicant from X to Y without leaving US.

Can Change of Status (COS) be applied when you are out of US ?

No, COS is not relevant when you are out of US. It is applicable only when you are in US and trying to change your status from one to other.

Will COS Abandonment with Travel out of US impact my Visa Stamping ?

Not necessarily. Your visa stamping at consulate depends on the visa type, its application related supporting documents and not directly related to your travel and COS abandonment.

Any other questions ?

   

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Comments ( 1,145 )

  1. Diana

    Hello,

    I am currently on H4 (no EAD) and I am in the process of interviewing with companies. My previous employer had filed an H-1B (while I was on F-1 STEM OPT) which was denied last year and is currently pending with the appeals office.
    I wanted to know if a new employer wants to file a H4-H1B COS petition on my behalf would that need to be filed as a cap subject petition?
    I read on one of the portals that H4 visa holders who applied for an H1B visa in the past and were selected in the H1B visa lottery are exempt from H1B cap. Is this valid only for approved petitions?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. Shubho

    Hi,
    I have a question of H1B COS process. Suppose someone is in US working on L1 and then his application for H1B filed under COS gets approved, then I understand that the person can start working immediately without stamping. However, once the person travels out of US, he/she needs to get stamping done before returning to US. Question is – can the consular officer reject stamping in such scenarios where someone has already been working in the US on COS approval?
    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Shubho,
      Yes, they can reject at stamping. it is like any other visa stamping, US Visa officer has every right to do so…be prepared with all info…

      1. Shubho

        thats scary if they reject stamping while one was already working on approved COS. WHat are the options post rejection in such cases? and what are most frequent reasons for rejection?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Everyone goes through the same process, having approval in US does not mean you will get visa stamping for sure…Well, if your visa is rejected, you apply again using new company or a new petition. They usually do not reject right away, they will issue 221g and then delay to verify, post that they deny….reason are around role fitment, client letter, etc.

  3. D Kumar

    I was on cap exempt H1B visa till two and half months ago ago but left the job and applied for H4/EAD change of status based on my wife’s H1B. My H4 application is still in process and I am staying in US. I recently got another job and my employer applied for my H1B visa with premium processing. My employer got RFE asking for 1) “Provide the status of the beneficiary’s Form I-539, which is currently pending” regarding H4 change of status. My employer has asked for a letter from me addressing USCIS to request either withdraw or approve H4 and 2) spouse’s latest pay stubs. Its very confusing situation to me not sure if I did something wrong. Was I suppose to apply for H1B from outside of US while H4 application is pending. Any suggestion, opinion or past experience will be appreciated. thx

  4. MG

    Hi Everyone
    I have valid OPT for next 2 years and my H1b application was picked this year but I got RFE in regular processing.
    I have to leave US for a week before 1st Oct and don’t expect to get the approval by that time. From what I have read in a lot of posts is that if I travel outside US without approval my COS will be abandoned and I will have to go for consular processing if my application is approved.

    My question is:
    Do we have to go for stamping the same day when application is approved or do we have some timeframe like 1-2 months to get the stamping done and if we have some time frame then can we continue working during this time?

    I would appreciate any feedback or guidelines as this is very urgent and I have to leave by next weekend.

    Thanks for your time

      1. MG

        Thanks for the reply Kumar. If we can go anytime then can I continue working between the time when I go for stamping and my application was approved? Please let me know if My question is not clear

        Thanks

        1. MG

          I meant can I continue working on my F1 till the time I go for stamping or will my F1 be revoked after the Oct 1 or when my application is approved.

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            This all depends on the COS. If your COS is approved, you cannot work on F1. If it gets denied due to your travel considered as abandonment, then you can continue to work on F1. You need to watch for the H1B decision letters to make that decision to work.

  5. Sonali

    Hello, My initial petition for H1B (COS from L2 to H1b) got approved this year effective from 1Oct2019. Currently I am working on L2 EAD.
    I have a question on travel permissions. We have to go to India in Nov 1st week for a wedding and I was thinking if I can do that? Also if I could get the stamping done? Will I have to go to US consulate for stamping?
    Not sure of the process, hence posting a query here. Thanks,

  6. Trip

    Hi,
    I’m on F1-CPT(doing Ph.D.) and My H1-B got picked up in counselor process , but after I initiate to premium process, I got RFE asking Maintenance of status and Multiple years of CPT and not sure, whether I can get an RFE related to maintenance of status as I’m not requesting for COS? if so what is the worst-case scenario of my RFE?

    Please help me.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Well, just double check how it was filed…Usually, they do not ask, but if they ask, you need to submit the details for sure. The worst thing that can happen is that they will deny your COS and then give you H1B approval only. Discuss with your attorney and ask them to handle it…

      1. Trip

        I have checked the attorney that they confirmed the case was filed on counselor and they were saying USCIS have full rights to ask anything on status but to approve my case, status is not required, is it correct? and they want to respond to the RFE in below ways .
        Submit a full response with evidence(like my i-20 and all other documents, what I have provided related to college and explanation on Multiple years of CPT ) and additionally, he wants to indicate it is not required to approve the case.

        Can you please suggest me, is there anything that we can do for this kind of situation

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          That is correct. Status is not an issue for general approval, it is only required for Change of status approval. Follow your attorney’s advice.

    2. Bhanu

      hi,
      how many months were you on cpt.. just checking as I have completed 9 months on CPT, doing Phd, didn’t get cpt related rfe but i fear that maybe my COS will be denied. So want to withdraw my H1B.. as end date of my project is december 31st 2019. with 2 months, it will risky to go for stamping…

  7. Anushka

    Hi!
    I was working on H1b and was laid off. My 60 day grace period to find another employment ended on May 10 and, I had filed F2 CoS before that and continued to stay in the US. Now, I found an employer ready to process H1B CoE. This petition will be filed on consular notify. What is the best I can do so that my H1b is not jeopardized? In case, H1b is approved before F2 CoS and I abandon F2 and go for h1 stamping, what will my presence during the f2 pending be considered as?

    Thank you!

  8. Teja

    Hi,

    My new H1B with COS from H4 approved but COS denied saying I left the USA last year. But I never left the country. Surprisingly when I checked my travel history in dhs site I found some incorrect entries. There are two more records (Arrival & Departure) after my actual arrival. Look like USCIS considered that last record and denied my COS. Now I am really worried.
    What are my options now? Can I appeal saying that I never left the country? If yes how long it will take.
    thank you

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      You could appeal the decision by sharing the actual details of your travel and how you have maintained status. Alternatively, you could leave the country and then re-enter on the new visa by getting stamping. Discuss your options with your attorney.

      1. Teja

        thank you very much Kumar.

        I see that leaving country is not an option for me. Any idea on how long it may take to get the result after appeal.
        Also can I visit CBP office and ask them to remove those incorrect entries.

        Thank again.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Well, the appeal thing takes a very long time maybe few months or more…You may, I suggest you discuss with your attorney and take an informed decision based on the risks.

  9. sangeetha shanker

    Hi

    So if i have already changed from L2 to H4 using COS and currently in USA, Can i get my stamping at london counsalate as i have my travel planned to london? I am in indian citizen so is it necessary that COS stamping has to be done in home country or can be done anywhere outside of the USA?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Well, this totally depends on the consulate and their rules. Some allow third country nationals, some do not…you need to check with the consulate.

  10. Jay

    Hi dear responsible,

    I changed my COS from B2 to F1, and it’s approved on I-797 form in 6th of May 2019, I got 2 forms of i797, one is indicating my B2 extension till July 2019 and on 2nd one its shows F1 approval starting date 06 May 2019, my question is:
    1)Can I start my education after expiration of B2 (which is in July) or I need immediately start after getting this notification?
    2) Second question, if my plans changed and I want to leave US (let’s say in June) without starting my education what is the procedure and to whom I need to inform my leaving?

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Which was the most recent form from USCIS ?..Usually your status is based on last action from USCIS. You need to follow that action..

  11. H4COS

    Hi Everyone,

    I have filed H4 COS for my wife from F1 OPT visa. My employer filed it on Jan 20th, 2019, USCICS issued RFE on March 15th, 2019, we replied RFE on April 13th, her F1-OPT is valid till July 10th, 2019.
    Any idea how much time USICIS will take to reply back her RFE for H4 COS.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      RFEs can take time and very hard to say…sometimes, it can be few weeks, sometimes few months…Hopefully you get it soon.

  12. SriVihari

    Hi folks,

    My H1B got selected in this year lottery [ 2019]. I am in F1 visa , OPT expires in July.

    Since my H1B is filed as consular processing. if i get it approved, I need to go back to india and get the stamping.

    Can you help me clarify if i can use cap Gap between July – Oct 1st ? My h1b petition is filed as Consular processing . For Consular processing , Cap gap can be used till Oct 1 ?

    Regards,
    Vihari

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      You are not eligible for cap gap, if you have filed it as consular processing. You have standard F1 60 days grace period after your OPT expires to depart US.

      1. SriViHari

        Thanks kumar. Can we work on that 60 Grace period ? .

        Am in a medical condition as well and i cannot travel for few months. Is there a way i can extend my stay and work, and after few months go to india and get stamping ? Please help clarify. Thanks.

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          No, you cannot work during grace period. Check ICE website . No, you cannot extend your status in order to work, unless you had H1B applied. You may apply for B2 COS, if there is a strong reason and you really cannot travel due to medical issues. You need to put that in the COS with USCIS. Talk to your DSO.

  13. When To Start

    Hello,

    My current status is H1 and my wife’s current status is J1.
    Her J1 program will end in less than a year and the plan is to change her status from J1 to H4.

    My questions are:

    1) Can one specify the date on which change of status happens? ideally, it should be the day after her J1 program ends

    2) How early can we start the change of status procedure?

    Thank you

  14. Damodhar

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have below question
    I was on F1 Visa and my family on F2, My H1 visa got approved on Nov 02 2019, and in last week of Dec 2019 I applied for COS for my family F2 to H4, still COS case of my family is pending and status shows “Case was received”. On I-94 Expiration Date is 31/03/2019 for my family and for me its null, My questions :
    1)For how many days my family can stay in US legally now?
    2)Can My family stay in US until get the COS result?
    3)Is it good idea to go back India for H4 stamping?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      1. If you have applied for COS for your family before I-94 expiration, they have maintained your proper status and can stay until the decision is out.
      2. yes, if it was filed, when their I-94 and current status did not expire.
      3. Yes, it is probably better, if you can get H4 stamping, you do not have to keep on waiting.
      Check with your attorney and make an informed decision.

      1. Ishaq

        Hi I have a similar quiestion as damodar, My H1 got approved on friday 15th of Nov. my wife is on F2 and I didn’t apply for H4 as I was thought that after my h1 gets approved I can apply for h4 for my wife now today is monday and still not applied just now I got to know that my wife status is gone.
        Can you please advise me what can be done on this I don’t want to send my wife to india for stamping.
        Im totally worried about this situation.

        Quick response will be highly appreciated please.

        Thank you
        Ishq

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Ishq,
          Talk to your attorney, who filed for H1B and then ask them to file H4 by using something called Nun Pro Tunc option. Alternatively, consider options to go to Canada for stamping…discuss with an attorney soon.

          1. Ishq

            Hi Kumar,
            Thank you so much for your quick response.
            I checked the I-94 of mine and wife both are still valid, say admit until date:D/S im not sure what’s this mean.
            Also, not possible to send her to canada because it will take time to get Canada visa. My employer staff was dealt with attorney for my H1.
            Any other suggestion would you like to give.

            I really appreciate your time.

            Thank you

          2. administrator
            Kumar

            Ishq,
            That online details will not be updated as they are by CBP, so do not be mislead by that… The D/S ( duration of stay) only applies for F1 and F2. Talk to attorney.

  15. Sachin

    Last year (2018) my wife was on F1 OPT and her company had filed H1b. H1b was picked in lottery but got denied. She has masters degree from US and is currently on H4 EAD. She got an FT offer and the company is wiling to file H1b for this year (2019). Is she cap-exempt for H1b, as her H1b was selected last year in lottery?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      She is not cap exempt as her H1B was never approved. If she were to have her H1B approved, then she would be cap exempt.

  16. Hari K

    Hi,

    I would like to know the detail process for F1 to H4. Please post steps or web link if you know.

    Thanks in advance.

    Thanks,
    Hari

  17. Kartik Jairaj

    Hi Everyone

    I got married in Nov 2017 and i was on F1 visa OPT at that time working as FTE for a respectable client. My wife went to a US embassy in India and got F2 in January 2018 and she came to USA in April 2018. Meanwhile my employer filed H1b for me and it got approved in November 2018. I filed for my wife’s COS from F2 to F1 and she enrolled in school as part time student in Aug 2018. USCIS website says case was received and on Dec 6 2018, it was moved to Potomac service center and has been the same since then. I have a couple of questions-

    1) As i moved from F1 to H1b and applied COS before it was changed, what is her status now?

    2) How long can she stay in USA on basis of COS case receipt?

    Any help is highly appreciated.

    1. Vimala

      Hi,

      Did you get any response? How long did it took?? I too applied for cos from f2 to f1 in August 2019. I’m wondering how long does it take.

      Thank you!!

  18. Shilpa Goel

    Hi,

    I am currently on L-2…….applying for COS to F-1. My husband is going to change his L-1 to H-1. Will I be able to continue my job till my COS gets approved?

    Please advise.

    Shilpa

  19. Hemlata

    Hi,
    I have my F1 to H4 transfer in progress. And, my husband has changed his employer. In other words, my COS is pending from employer A and current employer for my husband is B. Suppose I get COS approval and as I will be India, had to go for stamping. Will it be a problem/risk for H4 stamping with COS approval from previous employer and husband’s i797 with current employee?

  20. Swapna

    Hi Saurabh

    Iam a f2 dependent and very recently(10days ago)my husband visa changed from f1 to h1b.now

    1.how should I change my status from f2 to h4?
    2.should I need to go to my home country for change of visa?
    3.how long can I stay in usa ?is there any time period to expire my status ?
    4.will it possible to change visa status here in usa when iam in this country?

    Help me plz we are in confusion now

    Thank you

    1. Mounika

      Hi Swapna,

      My Husband is in similar situation . My H1B got approved few days ago and i am not sure whether my employer applied or not for H4. Can you please let me now whether he can stay here or needs to go to india before getting h4.

      Thank you
      Mounika

  21. Madhuri

    Hi,
    I’m Madhuri. I appeared for F2 visa interview last month and got a 214(b) slip with the first box checked saying not demonstrated enough for strong ties. My husband is doing his PhD
    I am planning to re-apply again after a month. A month gap is ok to apply?

    Also,I have a B1/B2 from my previous employer. I wanted to know what would be he process to change my status from B2 – F2 or B2- F1 in the US?
    Is it ok as per process yo go ahead and change the Visa in US? Please help me out
    Thanks in advance

  22. Ann

    I am planning to enroll for school this fall (Aug 28, 2017) and will be initiating my H1b to F1 Change of status. I am planning to file the petition (i-539) with F1 COS effective date as 1 Aug 2017 i.e.within 30 days prior to Class start date.
    However, my H1B visa and I94 will be expiring soon ( 7 Aug 2017) hence we will be filing the petition before visa expiry so as to be considered as timely filed.
    However, I just got to know from school DSO that until my F1 change of status is approved, I can attend the classes , however they will defer the date on I-20 extending it by every 15 days . (The change of status would take anywhere between 90 days to 6 months)

    I see that for B2 candidates a bridge petition needs to be filed if their status is expiring. However, how will this work for H1B candidates where an extension is not possible ( without employment cannot file for extension).

    in my case, since i will not be on H1b after my visa expiry ( aug 7) and will be quitting my job, I am worried if deferring of this date will make me go out of status as then my program start date will exceed 30 days.
    Is there anything I should be aware of or should take action to maintain my status before my F1 approval so that i am not out of status. What would be the best course of action that you would suggest here

    Request your inputs here. Thanks a lot!

    1. balasubramanyam

      Hi can you tell me how you handled this situation . iam also in the same boat now.

      My program starts in 2 weeks after my i 94 expiration date. so do i need to file a b1/b2 to bridge the gap..?
      there are mixed opinions on this . what does the law says.
      iam doing COS from H1 to F1 . h1 expires 14 th june and class start on 1st jully .
      so doe i need to file a b1 /b2 to bridge this gap of 2 weeks..?
      iam apply for COS in first week of June because i want to be employed untill may end

  23. Gaya

    I am currently on F1 OPT and just got mt h1b approval.. my h1b starts from September…there is no clear information about when my spouse can apply for h4 visa…do we have to wait till the h1b starts for my spouse to even attend the visa interview? Can he not appear now with all the approval documents? Any information on this and when he can enter the country will be helpful…

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Gaya,

      Looks like the spouse is outside of the country. There are couple of options:
      1. Spouse enters US on F-2 visa and applies for COS from F-2 to H-4 w/ a start date same as your H-1 start date.
      2. Spouse appears for H-4 visa stamp and then enters US on that visa stamp close to your H-1 start date.

  24. Archana Singh

    My Consultancy filed a fresh H1B in April 2016 for fiscal year 2017. My case got picked up in Lottery. I haven’t herd back from USCIS and the status still shows “Case Was Received”. From April 3rd 2017 USCIS will start accepting H1B visa applications for 2018. My question is will USCIS still look into my case when they have started accepting applications for 2018.

  25. Surya Palanur

    Iam on L2 EAD, currently working for an employer. My husband has filed H1B , once it’s getting picked, Is there any specific time till my EAD will be valid or it will get reverted as soon as my Husband’s visa status changes.

  26. Roopal Babel

    Hi,

    I am currently on F1 visa. But I have my H4 stamped in passport till Oct 2017. So now I want to change my statues from F1 to H4. Can I just go ouside the country aand come back on H4?

    Please suggest!!

    -Priya

  27. Anandraj

    Hi Sourabh,

    I came to USA in H4 in 2015. And i applied for H1b in 2016 and it got approved this month. Its valid from till 2019.My question should i look/go for job as soon as possible or can i look /go for job next year.Will it be any issues. And also should i go for stamping in India. Please let me know

    Thanks
    Anandraj

  28. Simon Felce

    Hi, I recently was approved a change of status from F2 to F1 but the effective date I wrote on the I-539, 9/7/2016, is different from the valid date of the F1, 1/19/2017, mentioned in the approval notice I-797A. If the date would have been the one in the I-539 I would be eligible for CPT on summer 2017 but because this date is different my advisor says that I am eligible for CPT on my last semester of my graduate studies, on spring 2018 (two year degree started on fall 2016 until spring 2018). Is it possible to modify this date to the date requested on the I-539? If yes, what should I do. My advisor is not very helpful.

  29. SJ

    Hi Saurabh,

    My h1b was applied With CP and I had moved to US on L2. My h1b petition got approved recently. My Employer is small scale employer and I had been chosen for In house project. Now my question is Which option is safer as there are no client details and also I had quit my job in India to come here on L2. Should I go for a Change of Status premium processing or go to India and get the stamping done ?

    Thank you

  30. Syed Imran

    Hi Saurabh,

    I recently got my COS approved from F2 to F1. Please help me with the further process involved where I have the following situation.

    I got my COS approved on 12.12.2016.
    Due to some ocassion in the family I need to travel to India in February 2017.
    Now considering the requirement of Visa stamping, I am little concerned over the approval process in India. Students visas are highly in rejection.
    What do you suggest I should do. Indian or Mexico or Canada.
    Also, what sort of documentations I may need.

    Your suggestions will be highly appreciated.


    Thanks,
    Syed

  31. Pooja

    Hi Saurabh,

    My husband is waiting for his COS approval from H4 to H1(applied by small employer),he is in US currently.He got the receipt number already.The application status is in RFE asking for client letter.
    Now our situation is he already got a job and client is waiting for him to join,Is it okay if he works with receipt?we applied in premium but his employer is slowing down the process a lot in submitting the docs.Please suggest

  32. Liji

    Hi,

    I have a below question.

    I am currently in H4 status and currently residing in india. I am planning to apply for H1B in the coming cap April-2016. And i will move to US in April end since i have H4.

    If i get lottery, Should i come back to india for Visa statmping? or is that enough to do a change of staus. What is the eligibility of COS?

    Regards
    Liji

  33. Rohit66

    Hi Saurbh brother,

    I came to know my company forgot to apply L2 to H4 to my family. They are with me in US.
    -My H1B approved on 21st-Oct-16.
    -Wife L2B I-94 up to 21st-Dec-16.
    – Tomorrow I am submitting L2B to H4. ( My friend was telling it is already late !!!)

    My questions
    – Can they continue to stay until H4 comes. OR they are out of status now and now it illegal stay?

    – Is it good idea to submit H4 COS now OR just go India and get the H4 stamping? During stamping how this lack of status will effect?

    Appreciate your response bro.
    Roh

  34. Amy

    Hi,

    I am in India and have valid H4 and my spouse is in the US. I am planning to attend graduate certificate course on F1.

    What will be the best choice:
    1. File F1 visa in India
    2. Travel on H4 and apply for COS to F1.

    If I go for option 1 will it cancel my valid H4?
    Will I still be able to travel on H4?

  35. esther

    Hello, i need some help

    i recently got my HIB approval notice, i was change of status from F1 to H1B, now i need to get my visa stamped for traveling to and from the US, what do i need to do to get it stamped in the US as i am already here? if anyone has already done this process could you please tell me what forms you needed, applications, and where to get it stamped in the US.

    thank you so much, any information is appreciated.

  36. Venkat

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am working on OPT F-1 visa and my wife is on H1B (Which is still in the processing of renewal and doesn’t get approval notice yet.) We plan to apply COS H1B to F-2 for her. We have concerns as below hopefully can get your help:

    1. Can she apply for COS when she is renewing her H1B?
    2. What if her application get denied, is she still valid for current H1B?

    Thanks,
    Venkat

  37. Sri

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently working on L1 and applied for H1B my case was selected in lottery but not approved yet …my wife is here with me on L2 but we missed filing her H4 COS …my question is if i file a COS from L2 to H4 can she stay here in US until its gets approved ….what will happen if i get my H1B as approved as my L1 status will be changed and similarly her L2 will be changed will it be out of status ?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sri,

      I would defer to your immigration attorney but here are options:

      1. Apply for COS now using H-1 receipt number. USCIS may issue RFE asking for proof of H-1 approval. If H-1 doesn’t get approved by that time, upgrade to PP, get approval and respond to COS. No impact on her immigration status and she can continue to stay in US.

      2. Wait for your H-1 COS approval and then soon after apply for her COS. This would be a gray area as USCIS may or may not ignore the time you were on H-1 and she was still on L-2.

  38. Karthik

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently on F1-OPT. Employer A filed H1B petition for me and it got picked on 11th April. I had to move to Employer B in April with A’s permission.

    Recently I got an RFE on my petition and Employer A is working on it. Once it is approve, what is the deadline to get it transferred to Employer B?

    Can we do it before 1st October or after?

    Note: I was never in a payroll with Employer A

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Karthik,

      You can do it soon after A’s approval has been received. However, if there is a delay then you should go back to work for A as they would hold your H-1 status and not B (I assume H-1 is filed and approved w/ COS).

  39. Vibha

    Hi Saurabh,

    My I-94 for L2 is expiring on September 5. I was enrolled in a graduate school and was taking one or two courses every semester. I’m planning to file COS to F1 and have following questions:
    1. Would COS to F1 need to be effective from start of semester on 8/22 or can I start on L2 and then apply for COS to F1 before I-94 expires on 9/5
    2. Do I need to maintain full time status if I file COS now with I-20 start date of 8/22
    3. If I take one or two courses this semester and if my COS is approved in the middle of semester in Nov, will it be okay since I started the semester on L2 and became F1 only in Nov?
    4. If COS is approved with effective date in Nov, will my stay from I-94 till COS approval date be considered out of status?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Vibha,

      1. You would remain on L-2 until COS is approved. This may happen by 8/22 or can take more time.
      2. On L-2, you can easily enroll in school and take courses as per the curriculum.
      3. You have to talk to school if you can take additional courses in b/w of semester.
      4. No, because you have a timely filed COS petition pending during that time.

  40. Transferring with only copy of i797 petition

    Hi Saurabh,

    Am currently working for employer A in L2 EAD and I got my H1B selected through lottery through a consultancy B. My questions are

    1)Can I transfer my H1B once it gets approved to my current employer without having to work under consultancy B?

    2)If so, do I need original i797 approved petition to transfer to my current employer or Copy of the approved petition and print out of online status showing it as approved is enough to transfer to current employer?

    Thanks in advance

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Transferring with only copy of i797 petition,

      1. Yes
      2. Copy of approval notice should be sufficient. If not, get the receipt number and print out of online status showing it as approved.

      BTW, if your H-1 is approved w/ COS, then you need to work on H-1 from COS effective date. Doesn’t matter if you work for B or A (provided they have filed the transfer petition immediately after COS approval).

      1. H1 Transfer

        Thank you for your response.

        Mine got approved today(with consular processing).

        My question is

        Since am in L2EAD, Can I do H1 transfer to my current employer on Oct 1 along with COS? (Without pay stubs from B)

        Note: Am sorry if the question is repetitive to you.

        Thanks in advance

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          H1 Transfer,

          Yes, current L-2 employer can file H-1 transfer + COS around Oct 1. No payslips will be required from H-1 employer as you never moved to H-1 status (approved w/ consular processing and not COS).

        2. senthil

          Hi ,

          I am on L2 EAD and my H1B got approved. How do I check if it is approved with COS or consular processing. If it is approved with consular processing, can I stay with my L2 without activating the H1B as I am still looking for a job.

          Thanks in advance.

          1. administrator
            Saurabh

            Senthil,

            Look at the approval notice. If it has an I-94 attached at the bottom, then COS was approved. If COS was not approved, then you remain on L-2 status.

            BTW, you already have the job with the H-1 sponsor. They need to pay you (if COS is approved) irrespective of whether you are a billable asset or not.

  41. Ravi Varma

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have below question

    Husband has L1B and working in US
    Wife got H1B Picked up in Lottery and Petition is approved(H1 Filed by Company A) but Visa is not stamped yet. Now Wife quits Company A and Travels to US on L2 Visa->Gets Jobs after getting EAD via L2 in Company B-> Can Company B be File a H1 Cap exemption and get the COS done from L2 to H1B?

    Looking forward for your reply!!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ravi Varma,

      Yes, they can still apply for cap-exempt petition. They would need copy of A’s approval notice for this. If not available, they would need at least the receipt number and print out of online status showing it as approved.

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