New H1B rules impact F1 / OPT status to H1B visa for 2011 ? Options for OPT to H1B conversion

In F1 Visa by KumarUpdated : 190 Comments

Gopi has asked the below question about OPT and H1B visa for 2011.   

I have completed my master’s and OPT in USA. Presently I am on F1 and register for another college. Can you please tell me the best way to get H1 for 2011.  

Most of the students who graduated last year ( December 2009) are in Gopi’s situation trying to find best ways to get H1B visa sponsored for 2011 quota. This post will look at the best possibilities for OPT students and will focus on why they are best. This article assumes student has graduated and is on on OPT.  

As most of you know there have been changes in the H1B visa rules in 2011. If you do not know, you must read this “ Flash News : Additional requirements for filing H1B Visa petition for 2011. USICS releases additional Employer Employee relations Memorandum. The new guidelines given by USCIS are talk of the town and they do not favor the old ways of job shop consulting with a desi employer.   

F1 Students impact of New H1B visa rules of 2011 :   

What these new rules mean to F1 Students who graduated and on OPT is : it is a tough situation to find a small and mid size desi employer to sponsor your H1B visa because of the new regulations of Employer – Employee relationship and right to control issues. It is not advised to go to a small or any mid size consulting company that do not have any on-site implementations. Logically speaking, small desi companies are out of the picture for sponsoring your H1B visa for 2011.  

What are the options for H1B visa 2011 ?OPT to H1B Options  

There are three different options available for F1 students on OPT.  

  1. Look for an American Based company for Full time job and get H1B sponsorship  

  2. Look for a full time job in outsourced IT Companies like TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, HP, Accenture, etc. and get H1B sponsorship  

  3. Do NOT get H1B visa for 2011, work on OPT for a e-Verify company  


 Let us look at each option and analyze logically.  

Look for an American Based Company for Full time Job :  

This is probably the best option for getting H1B visa petition approval. Obviously, the reason is you are working for a company as a full time employee rather than doing consulting. With your MS degree in US, the American company can present your skills well and you have good chances of visa approval and you should do very well. This is the best case scenario. The reality is, it is not as simple as I say here to find a full time job from an American company for a variety of reasons like TARP impact on H1B visas. You can read the article “ Companies that cannot Sponsor H1B visa for 2011. TARP impact on H1B sponsors for 2011″ Also, with the recession hit, many companies think sponsoring H1B visa additional work and moreover, there is enough talent that is jobless, so why not hire them rather than going through all the process. Logical point is, it is not as easy as it sounds, but this is the best option if you can get in and get H1B visa sponsored for 2011 quota.  

 Look for a full time job in outsourced IT Companies like TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, HP, Accenture, etc. and get H1B sponsorship :  

This is probably the second best alternative available, if you are planning to get H1B visa approval for 2011. The logical reason is, with recession and other cost saving related issues, many American companies are continuously outsourcing their projects to India. These big outsourcing companies need skilled workers to meet the needs of their clients in US. The model of working of the big consulting companies like Infy, TCS satisfies the New H1B regulations set by USCIS from 2011 Quota. Your H1B visa petition is backed up by good proof of projects by these companies and your Masters in US is an additional credential that will help you for approval. Pay packages may not be attractive and work culture may be different than typical American company, but it is a good choice to be in status and get H1B visa. If you look at the other side of coin, because you may have more work, you get to learn a lot in the beginning of your career. Just a positive to think about 🙂  


 Do NOT get H1B visa for 2011, work on OPT for a e-Verified company : 

This may seem alarming or scary, but this is not as bad as it sounds. Lets think through the choice of OPT, you may already know that you can work on OPT for 29 months, If not check the article on OPT rules of 29 months for STEM Degrees. Imagine, you graduated in December, if you can find an internship or Co-op in a e-Verified, then you can keep working for 29 months. In fact, your advantage is you can see through the recession completely and keep applying for a full time job along the recovery of the economy from recession. Hopefully market picks up and you get to work full time soon. What internship does is, it buys you a lot of time. You may think getting internship is hard, I understand. But, it is easier than finding a full time job and getting H1B visa sponsorship from them. Interns are a better choice for employers in recession or anytime because, logically speaking: firstly, they do not need to take the risk of sponsoring you H1B visa and secondly, the employers get to see your performance for six to nine months and then make a decision. If you do well, you will be offered a position. If not, you have the internship experience and it will help you get into other company. Either case, it is a win-win situation. You may have to work with the school officials and find out companies that are participating in the e-verify program. I totally understand that it tough, but it is the least thing you can do if you cannot get the above two options.  

Try all the three options, You lose nothing !  

It is a wise decision to put equally decent efforts in all the three options. Because, you never know when luck will knock your door and you need to have backup options too. Every options is worth a shot and it is good for you in some way. If you think you cannot find enough time for all three, use your discretion and pick what you think works best for you…  

In future, I plan to write articles on How to look for internship and whats the secret for finding internship.  

Do you have any other options to share ?  

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Comments ( 190 )

  1. Aleem


    I am currently on OPT but had an employer A who filled my H1B visa the same year. I have been selected in the lottery but the H1B status is on RFE. But I have a full time opportunity with a company B that I can join with my OPT. I am doubtful that when my H1B gets approved then OPT would be nullified, would I be able to continue work with company B? Also, can company B can initiate my H1b transfer without me having to leave the company B?

  2. RS


    I am shifting to US on H4.I have completed MBA in finance and got 3+ yrs experience in Capital markets etc. Now, i am looking for the best and quickest option to start working.
    I noticed that many university offer MS in Finance for 1 yr, so was just wondering if i opt for 1 yr MS finance after shifting to US and then apply for F1 and i hope i will get OPT as well.

    Appreciate if anybody can give me any pointers here and i am bit confused what to do.


  3. Betsy

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  4. Atul Patel

    Hi All,
    I have been working in USA since 2010 May and my working VISA is going to max out on June 2016. I want to go for a MBA in USA in 2016 but am not sure if I will be eligible to apply for a working VISA once I complete my study. By 2016 I would have completed 6 year work ex in USA, which is the max a person can have under working VISA.
    Waiting for few answers. Thanks.

  5. sanket

    I have one question to asked,

    I went to usa on F1 visa in july 2010 and stayed there for like 9 months , for some reasons i have to come back to india without completing my studies, now i want to go back and complete it. my sister recently got married in usa, she already got green card and will get citizenship in 3 years. my question is , once she get citizenship , she will file for my greencard and it takes usually 10 to 5 years so during that time can i stay in usa or once my opt is over i have to go back to india to wait , .. can i wait in usa during the green card process for 10 to 15 years ?

    1. patty

      No, you can’t.

      Also if the immigration reform bill is passed she won’t be able to sponsor you – they are making employer sponsorship easier but cutting down family sponsorship.

      So you are better off finding an employer to sponsor you on OPT. Especially if you get a masters in STEM.

    2. administrator

      Once your OPT is done, you have to leave US irrespective of what’s going on w/ your GC. You can move to H-1 if you plan to work after completing your studies.

  6. mukesh


    My 17 month opt was expired on may 23 2013 and my cap gap was start on 24 may 2013 but i got denial my h1b on may 24 2013. so my employer go for re appeal
    but my question was…
    What about my sevis status? can i transfer on this sevis? or i have to admission on new sevis?

    I think my h1b denial on 24 may 2013 so my cap-gap I-20 was stop on may 24 2013 so my sevis was completed on may 24 2013.

    Please give me advise what i have to do??????????

  7. Ankita

    Hello Saurabh,

    Is it possible to change F1 to H1b without going on OPT/CPT ? I am doing MS CS on H4.But for some reason I can’t complete 2 sem as full time student.Which makes me ineligible for CPT/OPT.
    How can I get job in that case.I’ll be completing MS in CS in Fall-2014 .

    Please suggest me what can I do in this situation.


    1. administrator

      Yes, your H-1 petition can be filed next year while you are on H-4 or F-1 status. It is not required that you need to have CPT or OPT for this. It’s just that you cannot work until H-1 becomes effective (OPT folks become eligible based on their OPT).

  8. Reema


    I left a consultancy firm without getting a job but used their e-verify number. Now I have a job with an e-verify company and they will sponsor my H1B also.

    Do you think there will be issues while applying for H1B?

    Do you think there will be issues because I did not work for the consultancy during my OPT so I am not showing the company on my resume. But the name is on the I20.

    Do they check the I20 while filling H1B?

    Please let me know soon.

  9. suresh

    I have a question. My OPT is expired on June 14 and applied for OPT extension before itselft and i got the receipt even before my OPT expired and still it is initial review. I applied for H1B and it got approved and start date of it would be Oct 1. I have a question that on
    what status i can work for this 3 months?
    can i work legally or not?

    reply me

    1. administrator

      You are on cap-gap and can continue to work on cap-gap. Let your DSO know about the H-1 approval and they will update your SEVIS record accordingly for cap-gap.

  10. Charles

    Hi Saurabh,

    I applied for my OPT extension in April and planning to travel outside US in October. If I got my OPT extension approved, can I travel outside the US and what do I need to re-enter the US? I heard of so many case that people got rejected because of unknown reason. I am not sure is it a risk to travel with my OPT extension.
    Thank you so much


    1. administrator

      I would suggest travelling only after receiving your OPT extension. To return back you need valid OPT, your OPT card endorsed for travel by DSO within 6 months of return date, employment verification letter to show that you are employed on OPT and recent payslips.

  11. mukesh


    my f-1 visa was not expired yet (expiration date- july 29 2012 ) but
    on my F1 visa there was


    Are you applying for the same class of visa which is currently valid
    or has expired within the past 12 months?* — YES/NO


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