F1 to H1B visa Change of Status

Process of F1 to H1B Visa change of Status. OPT Rules, Planning – Tips

In F1 Visa by KumarUpdated : 617 Comments

One of the most important things for an international student on F1 visa studying in America is to find an employer and get H1B visa sponsored.  As you know, F1 students are often impacted by the New H1B rules and Recession, changing from F1 to H1B visa can be tricky and it is a good idea to plan everything ahead of time like OPT       after graduation and H1B sponsorship. I will try to explain the typical process involved for converting from F1 to H1B and key things to keep in mind during the change of status.

F1 Visa – OPT Planning :

Some of you might have worked on CPT (Working OPT Vs CPT ) and may be planning on applying OPT to work after graduation, but some of you may not have had CPT at all. Either case, you should apply for OPT to be eligible to work after graduation until you find a potential H1B Sponsor and get the H1B visa petition filed. You file using form I-765 and work with your International Student Advisor or DSO(Designated School official ), who will give you a new I20 and update SEVIS about your OPT. You will file the OPT for employment authorization by paying necessary fee. You can apply for OPT up to 90 days prior to completion of your program i.e, the graduation date. Suppose you forget to apply on time, you have 60 days grace period to apply after program date. This is very risky and not recommended as it gets much complicated. So, do NOT delay and apply for OPT before you graduate. Anyways, once you file OPT, you will get an EAD or OPT Card. Check : Sample OPT or EAD Card

MS, CPT , OPT, H1B visa

OPT Rules to keep in Mind :

Once your OPT starts after graduation, ideally you should have a job and be technically working. If you are unemployed, you have to find a job as soon as you can in the area of your degree.  The rule is, you can only accumulate only up to 90 days of Unemployment during entire 12 month OPT Period. What it means is, say for instance you worked for an employer for 3 months on OPT and you thought of changing jobs, then you start looking and change employer, it took you 30 days to find another job( you did not work during this 30 days), now you have used 30 days of your 90 Days unemployment period given by USCIS. Precisely, you can only be unemployed for a total of 90 days during your 12 month OPT. If you belong to STEM degree and get 24 month OPT extension, then you get an additional 30 days of unemployment period, which totals to 120 days of unemployment period allowed in total 36 months of OPT.

Process for F1 visa to H1B visa Change of Status:

Typically after you graduate with MS or MBA, you start looking for a potential H1B visa sponsoring company that can hire you full time and file your H1B visa petition.  In fact, OPT is given to international students to demonstrate to these potential sponsors that you have the skills. Most of the employers want to see how you work and your skills for few months before they take decision to hire you full time and sponsor you work visa. It is assumed that you have OPT/ EAD Card in hand and working for an employer.  You may also check  How to find H1B visa Sponsors in an Area for Job Search in USA ?

Steps involved in F1 to H1B visa Change of Status & Important Points :

  1. You take interview from a H1B sponsoring company and they give you a job offer letter.  You may have interviewed with the company before graduation and might have started working for a company on OPT right after graduation.  The point is, you need a job offer from a H1B sponsoring company.
  2. Once you have the offer, you submit all the required documents to the H1B sponsoring company to file for H1B visa petition. For document list info, check article: Documents needed for applying for H1B visa. How much does it really cost ? What should you NOT give ?
  3. F1 visa students with MS or MBA from US are eligible for H1B Advanced degree quota of 20,000. Typically, the attorney will file your visa petition under this category if you have masters from US. If not, you will be filed under general category.
  4. You need to speak to your immigration attorney at the firm that is filing your petition and make sure they file the application as Change of Status (COS)
  5. Typically, USCIS accepts H1B visa petitions starting April 1st, there can be lottery, so be prepared. Some employers do not know the full rules and it is your job to remind them about the deadlines, your COS requirement and makes sure they process the H1B visa petition filing on time for your F1 visa change of status to H1B.
  6. Once you file for H1B visa petition, you will get a H1B visa receipt notice from USCIS. You can check its status on USCIS.gov.
  7. Depending on number of petitions filed and the work load of USCIS, they process H1B visa petitions anywhere from few weeks to few months. It depends.
  8. If you file for Premium processing, you will hear back from USCIS within 15 business days. The 15 day clock is a bit tricky when you file on April 1st, this year USCIS said, they will count the 15 days from April 7th. In general, if you do premium processing  for your H1B petition, you should hear back in 15 business days or earlier.
  9. Once your H1B petition is processed by USICS a decision is made, they update the case status online and send your employer the decision.  Hopefully you get the approval notice. Typically, your H1B visa term starts from October and your status is automatically converted to H1B from F1 Visa.

Hopefully you got an idea of F1 to H1B Change of status in US. If you are starting your career, you may read F1 visa to H1B visa: Consulting Career ? Pros and Cons of consulting ?


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Comments ( 617 )

  1. Mike

    Hello Sauraubh,
    Please help me out on my matter. I was hired by xyz company on OPT. they filed my H1-B visa and the petition has been approved. my H1 is going to start oct 1st 2012. But I have lost my job with xyz company who filed my h1-b. Now please help me understand what steps to take to stay legal in US and look for jobs. how long do i have? Again i would like to mention, i m approved for h1 but it has not kicked in yet. my current status is def OPT. Should i consider withdrawing my H1-B visa asking xyz company lawyer to do so or i should let it kick in on oct 1st?
    Appreciate your detailed response.

    1. administrator

      Another employer can file cap-exempt petition for you using the petition from XYZ which is already approved. As your H-1 was approved w/ COS, the SEVIS record will be closed as of Oct 1.

  2. SHRZ

    Hey Saurabh,
    Hope you can answer some of my queries as well.
    Everyone’s here talking about changing their visa status from F1 to H1B after their masters. However, I am an undergrad student, who will receive a BA in May 2013. I am not thinking about going to a grad school right away and, thus, planning to look for a job in my specific field to change my visa status to H1B. I am well aware of applying for an OPT after graduation but I am wondering if I could possible apply for H1B directly if I get a sponsored job before graduation?

    Your response would be highly appreciated,

    1. administrator

      Yes, H-1 can be applied but only if the quota is still open. You will complete your BA in May 2013 and will become eligible for H-1 after graduating. However, the quota may not remain open by the time you complete your graduation. In this case, OPT followed by H-1 would give you more time to work and apply in 2014 (again, assuming 2013 quota gets over by May 2013).

  3. sunita

    Hello Saurabh,
    Firstly thnk you for all the information you gave me and my H1B is approved as I did premium processing, I got it for 3 years. As i discussed with you earlier after my approval I m leaving for India on August 8th and will be back on SEpt9th as i am on OPT now and my OPT is valid till april 2013. So my question is will it affect me anyway if i am coming back from India by Sept 9th on my OPT. Secondly can you please tell me what all documents I need to carry while leaving USA. Will i have any problem with immigration while returning to usa. Please advise me
    waiting for your reply

    1. administrator

      Congrats on your approval. You must be in India now. To return on OPT, you should carry:
      – proof of OPT employment including offer letter, payslips
      – I-20 card endorsed for travel by the school
      – contact information of your employer
      – 797 approval notice (just in case)

  4. francesca

    Hi Saurabh
    my employee applied for my H1B w/o change of status on April 6th and I got the receipt number. I checked online on UCIS website to know what is the situation of my application and i’m still in the “initial review” phase. Do you have an idea of how long does it take to get them approve it?
    and then, once they approved how long it takes the process of changing status? I’d need to travel back to my country in October I hope by then everything is solved.
    Thank you very much for your help

    1. administrator

      Processing can take up to 6 months based on processing center and the work load there. When COS is filed separately, it can take 2-3 months to process.

        1. francesca

          Hi Saurabh
          finally after 5 months I got the approval for my H1B! The start date in 12-01-12.
          My OPT expires 12-18-12.
          Can I travel in October to Europe just for one week and come back to US still in the OPT status?
          Then in December I am planning to go to Italy and go to the embassy to get the new visa.
          Thank you very much!

  5. N

    Just wondering, can we post pone graduation by withholding the thesis completion/submission? in spring 2013, I will be registered for my last 3 cresits(research course). can i hold on to thep rogam and graduation the following summer? what will be my f-1 status for the summer then? thank you.

  6. kirthi

    Hi Saurabh..

    I just heard that US h1b stamping is stopped at Canada , is it true..? Can you please clarify this..One of my friend told me about this.

    1. administrator

      I checked US consulate website in CA and didn’t see any such information. Ask your friend about his/her source of information.

  7. Jessica

    I have question regard changing of my status, My EAD card will be expired on April 1st 2013. and my company is attempting to sponsor changing visa to H1B for me next year but my questions are. April 1st is the first day that i can file for the visa but my OPT will be done on that day too. Can i still file for that? does it mean that i have to send my document couple days before April 1st so it will be there by the 1st? what if i file after April 1st 2013, because i still have 60 days grace period right? but my school said i cannot file after my OPT is done. I’m very confused.

    Thank you very much for you help.


    1. administrator

      If the petition reaches USCIS on April 1 (same as your OPT end date), then you will become eligible for cap-gap. This will allow you to continue to stay and work in US until Oct 1 or H-1 denial date (whichever is earlier).

  8. Nhat Nguyen

    Hello Saurabh and all,
    I am currently in my Cap-Gap period. I have to wait till October to see the result. But my driver license is expiring soon next week since my OPT is expiring on the same day. I have tried to obtained new license but the DMV said they need some document from USCIS to extend my ID to this October. What do I need as of paper work from my lawyer and my company?

    1. administrator

      Nhat Nguyen,
      See if your DSO can provide any information from SEVIS mentioning that you are in cap-gap and covered till Oct 2012. If H-1 gets approved, then you can always carry the approval notice.

  9. kirthi

    Hi Saurabh..

    I have question about first time h1b stamping in canada.

    Can any one converting first time from F1 to H1B go for canada for stamping ?( I was assuming we can go , but heard from a friend recently that you need to go to home country for first time , later on for extension you can go to canada)

    Also did you here any H1B query cases who went to canada..? I see many posts about query’s in India but not in canada.,..? Can you please give info regarding this.

    If anyone got a query in Canada , do they have to stay there during its process time or go to home country and come back to get passport stamped ( if VISA approved)

    1. administrator

      It is best to go to home country for first visa stamping. However, people who have done Masters in US, can still go to CA for 1st stamping, but they carry the risk of being returned to their home country. So if you go to CA, make sure to have contingency plans.

      If visa is delayed and your passport is submitted, then you cannot leave CA. If you get your passport back, then you can return to home country and come back to CA once the processing is done. Check this w/ the immigration official in US embassy in CA.

  10. Rajiv

    This is Rajiv. Applied H1 on June 1.. Premium Processing..
    I applied H1 with everything including client letter but I got an RFE. I do not know why. The RFE wanted a Employer-Employee Relationship and to explain why my position is a Speciality Occupation.

    My employer had all explanation about all these when he applied for the VISA. I am like worried as to why USCIS again wanted explanation about these things again.

    My employer says he will take care of it but I am a little worried.

    1. Applied for H1

      Applied for H1,

      Same case with me, Applied on 6th of June (PP), got RFE on 16th June, not sure the reason for RFE, my employer is saying not to worry about that, I am worried about this.

      keep posted the updates


  11. kirthi

    Hello guys,

    My H1B got approved yesterday.
    I applied it under Advanced degree cap(Masters cap) with premium processing.
    My documents were at USCIS Vermont center on June 11 ,11:30 am . On June 13 i got my acceptance confirmation and tracking number. June 19 ,2012 got the petition approved in the evening.

    All the best to everyone.

    Saurabh, Thanks a lot to you and your team for your valuable suggestions and quick replies.

    You guys are doing great job..Keep going.


  12. Chris

    Hi all,

    I am currently in the process of applying for F1 reinstatement, and USCIS already received my application at 4/17/2012. I graduated from school on 5/10/2012, and need to file my OPT application no later than 7/9/2012.

    Recently, I am informed that if the reinstatement comes later than OPT application deadline, I will not be eligible to apply for OPT because DSO cannot issue an I-20 for OPT. Is this true? How can I regain my eligibility for OPT application if reinstatement really comes later than OPT deadline?

  13. Mahathi

    Hi ,
    I am on F1 status now and my F1 visa is valid till June 2013 , and my OPT is valid till Nov 2012. I applied for H1B in premium process and got an approval and start date of my approval will be from Oct 2012.This is my first H1B application. This is my situation and following are few curious questions I have :

    1) What is my status now ? am I on OPT or H1B ?
    2)Can I go to India now and come back before Oct 2012 i.e., before my H1B approved start date without any problems ?
    3) Do I need to go for Stamping if i go to India now ?

    Please let me the solutions.
    Thank you

    1. administrator

      1. You are still on F-1/OPT and will be on H-1 from Oct 1
      2. Yes, you can travel to India and return on current F-1/OPT visa prior to Oct and still be on H-1 from Oct 1. In this case, keep the I-94 attached to H-1 approval notice w/ you and return the old I-94 at the airport (as the H-1 I-94 will become effective from Oct 1). Also, you need to have documentation to support your return on F-1/OPT. If you want to return after Oct 1, then you will have to get H-1 visa stamped in your home country.
      3. Refer (2)

  14. Venu

    Hi Saurab,

    My wife is currently on F1 (Change of Status from H4 – F1). She got a job and the company filed her H1 and H1 is also approved with change of status. Actually she has a need and would like to travel to india and return back on H4 by the end of Aug. If she comes back on H4, does she need to again apply for COS to H1 in order to start working from Oct1.


    1. administrator

      You mentioned that her H-1 is already approved w/ COS. In this case, she can travel to India, return on H-4 (I assume that is b/c she doesn’t have F-1 visa stamped in the passport) and still be on H-1 from Oct 1. No need to file another COS in this case.

      My suggestion would be to keep the I-94 attached to H-1 approval w/ yourself and drop all other I-94s at the airport while leaving; as this I-94 will become effective from Oct 1 after she returns to US.

    1. administrator

      Yes, one can study part-time while working on H-1. You need to maintain your H-1 status (i.e. get paid as per the LCA), even while doing the course on the side.

  15. Raghav

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have a question regarding the H1B visa. I found a job very recently because of which I couldn’t file for H1B this year. My employer will file a petition for me on April 1st, 2013. However, my F1 visa expires on June 1st, 2013 and so does my OPT. Let’s say we did premium processing and got an approval within 15 days. My question is:

    1. I believe one can only start working from October 1st. But do I have to leave the U.S. even if my petition gets accepted since my F1 visa expires on June 1st? Or can I hang around doing other academic things? Any information on this shall be greatly appreciated.

    Please be detailed as to how I should plan. Thank you so much.

    1. administrator

      You will be eligible for cap-gap which allows a person on F-1/OPT to stay and work until Oct 1 is the H-1 has been filed w/ COS w/ start date of Oct 1. Once your employer does that, you can let your DSO know about it and they would update your SEVIS record until Oct 1. For more information you can search for cap-gap on USCIS website for official details.

  16. keerthi

    Hi Saurabh..My company filed H1 in advanced masters degree cap with premium processing..MY documents reached uscis vermont center June 11,2012 at 11:00 am ..So since the cap count is said to be closed yesterday..does it mean..all applications received yesterday are in…I am really tensed..that whether i made this time or not..Please help..

    1. kk

      Same situation here Keerthi.. My package recieved on june 11th 1-26 PM at vermont center..Lot of confusion in the update USCIS showing on website.. Is it everyone on june 11th or first come first in or lottery?.. crossing fingers please let us know in forum if you get receipt # from your lawyer.. try reaching your lawyer regarding receipt # and hopefully we will sneak in through last door..

    2. administrator

      USCIS didn’t mention about any lottery, and so I assume there would be none. As your petition was filed under PP, your employer/attorney should receive the receipt number through email in 1-2 days.

      1. keerthi

        Hi Saurabh..

        I have received my receipt number today. It was mailed to my lawyer yesterday at 8.30 pm after working hours . So guys , who’s applications are at USCIS door on June 11 ,2012 are in , dont worry. My packet was received at Vermont center on June 11 ,2012 at 11:00am , application was under Masters Premium Processing.

        Keeping My Fingers Crossed for decision.


  17. Matapissu

    Hi Saurabh,
    This entire process is so confusing and you are helping out a lot of people with clear answers-thank you in advance. I have some similar questions that have me confused.

    I am currently on F1 status and have a valid OPT card. The start date on the card is July 12, 2012 and is valid for one year. My F1 visa stamp on my passport is valid till August 2014. I have a job offer and my job starts on the 12th of August. The company requires that I have a valid H1b visa by the 1st of October this year. There was some delay in filing for the H1b, and finally was sent in on the 8th of June. I am currently in the US.
    1. I was wondering what my options to travel back to my home country are from the 18th of June – 1st August. Would I have to leave again upon my return? If so when would this have to be done to have a valid H1b by October 1.

    2. How does the process change if I stayed in the US till the visa gets approved – am I still required to travel to my home country? If so what is the timeline of that?

    3. How likely is it that I will get my H1b considering the cap is almost fulll?

    4. If I travel to my home country while the H1b petition is pending, and don’t make the cap, does this affect my working on an OPT for a year?

    I’m extremely sorry about the long winded questions. I am just really confused and need to travel home for an urgent matter but don’t want to risk losing status. Thank you very much!

    1. administrator

      1. I would suggest you to not leave the country until your H-1 gets approved. If the company wants you to start working on H-1 from Oct 1, then your H-1 needs to get approved w/ COS (change of status), and for this you need to remain inside US
      2. If H-1 gets approved w/ COS, then you will be considered on H-1 status from Oct 1 or actual approval date (whichever is later). You don’t need to go for stamping at that very moment, and need it only when you travel outside of US next and want to return to US on H-1.
      3. Don’t know. Check w/ employer if it was received by USCIS on 8th. If yes, then you have probably made through the cap
      4. No, it doesn’t. You can still return on F-1/OPT and continue working on OPT until its expiration date.

      1. Matapissu

        Thank you do much for your response. I have two follow up questions. I’m very sorry!
        1. What are the options if I change the h1b filing to consular processing now?
        2. Would you have an idea of when I would find out if I did not make the cap?

        Thanks again. Sorry about the trouble!

        1. administrator

          1. In that case, you will have to return to US after getting H-1 visa stamped. The earliest date to return on H-1 is Sep 20th, w/ employment start date of Oct 1. To go for stamping, your petition should be approved
          2. Ask your employer to know what date USCIS received your application. Then I can answer when and how to know about the cap.

  18. Tunny

    Hope you are doing good? I am on Opt which is expiring on April 2013 and my current employer has filed for H 1, I wanted to go to India during my pending status but I was told by my company lawyer that I should not travel outside us during my H1 status is pending. As per her I should go to my country after I get approval and should come back before Oct 1 st then I don’t have to get my h1 stamped in India. So my question is if my H 1 gets approve
    Can I go to India on my opt (as its valid till april2013) and if i come back before Oct 1st ,in that case will I have to get my h1 stamped in India , will I have any issues while entering USA? My main concern is about h1 stamping, do I have to get it stamped if I come back to USA before oct1st??please help me

    1. Tunny

      Also I did not do premium processing I filed under regular processing, what do you think shall I do premium processing so that I will know my status immediately and can go to india and come back before oct if at all I don’t have to get stamping done in India.
      Please advice me….

    2. administrator

      Your attorney is right. If you travel outside of US after H-1 approval w/ COS, you can return on OPT/F-1 prior to Oct 1, and still be on H-1 from Oct 1 (COS approval date).

      You can wait for few weeks to see if it gets processed under normal processing. If you are cutting too close to your departure date, then you can upgrade it to PP and then leave it after approval.

      Try out the new Redbus2US Q2A Section to post questions.

      1. tunny

        Thanks for your reply Saurabh,

        So I can go to india on my OPT/F1 status in the month of July or Aug once I get my H1 approval and if I come back on my Opt/F1 status before Oct 1st then I don’t have to get my H1 stamped in india right?
        As my Opt is expiring in April 2013 and have valid F1 visa till 2014, but my employer filed for my H1 this year

        1. administrator

          That is correct. You can leave US after H-1 gets approved w/ COS, and then return on F-1/OPT prior to Oct1 and still be on H-1 from Oct 1. No H-1 stamping is required in this case, and you would need F-1/OPT documents when returning to US.

          You can discuss this w/ your attorney as well.

  19. kirthi

    Hi Saurabh..

    I have one more question.

    As predicted if we assume H1B cap count fills on by June 11,2012 .

    My question is some among this applications must be rejected , how do they fill those rejected applications..?

  20. Sagar Chandnani

    I am on a valid F1 VISA until Aug ’12 , have my OPT starting Aug’12 and my employer has filed for H1b petition with consular notification for ’12 quota ..
    I am planning to visit India in June/July..
    How safe it is to travel to India during this time considering my situation ?

    Thanks in advance

  21. kirthi

    hii..I have question regarding H1B petitions, today we see only 10,700 applications are left .

    I am a masters degree holdergraduated in May2012 planning to apply h1b for this term. My company has filed LCA for me on June1,2012 .once it’s approved they will file H1B petition.My question is , after approval of LCA if my application is filed in masters category and by anychance by the time it reaches uscis office , if masters category is completed , do they consider my application into general category or it just gets denied saying category is filed or does it move to lottery. In this last minute process what do you suggest me to apply in Masters Category or General..Please Help…One more quick question , when does the lottery situation come up in H1B petitions?

    1. Prasad

      Hi Krithi,

      Even I am in the same situation, recent graduate filing for H1. Have submitted any client letters?


    2. administrator

      In case the Advanced degree cap is fulfilled, you will automatically be moved to general category. Lottery is done when quota was not reached on (n-1) day, but went over quota on nth day. In this case, only the petitions received on nth day are subject to quota and USCIS selects just enough petitions to make the total count reach the cap.

  22. Somshekhar

    Hello everyone, Im stuck in a tricky situation. I am currently working on OPT and my OPT expires in Feb 2013. My company has applied for H1B in April 2012. I have to travel to India in June 2012 for urgent reasons. My question is: Can I travel outside of US and if so then can I re-enter US on OPT status? In the meantime, if the H1 is approved, will it affect my entry to US. Please suggest. Your help is appreciated.

    1. administrator

      You can return on OPT/F-1 as long as you are employed. You should carry I-20 endorsed for travel, F-1 visa stamp in passport, employment verification letter from OPT employer and recent payslips. Also note that once you leave US w/ H-1 processing pending then your COS would be abandoned. This means your status will remain F-1/OPT even after H-1 gets approved. You will have to file COS from F-1 to H-1 or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.

      1. Somshekhar

        Saurabh, Thanks a lot for the reply. What do you mean by,”You will have to file COS from F-1 to H-1 or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.” Should I apply after coming back? I will be travelling from last week of June to Mid July. Please clarify.

        1. administrator

          COS is considered abandoned if the person leaves US while it is pending. So if you leave US while H-1 w/ COS is pending, then your COS will be abandoned, but H-1 would still be processed. In this case, you can return on F-1/OPT and will then apply for COS from F-1 to H-1 based on your already approved petition. The other option is to go for H-1 visa stamping in your home country and then travel to US on stamped H-1 visa (you can return to US only after Sep 20th in this case).

          Does that clarify?

  23. Hana

    Dear Saurabh,

    I am currently in the US on my F1 (language school). I found a job an my employer applied for H1B. The petition has been recently approved. My F1 visa expeired in December 2011, but I maintain my F1 status with updated I-20. I know I can start to work only October 1st 2012. I would like to ask following questions:

    1. Can I drop the school? I can stop attending the school any time. But can I do it and still maintain the legal status here? I’ve read something about this waiting period for students. When my programm is finished (which is flexible at language school) but I can’t start to work yet. If I cant drop the school now, when can I do it?

    2. I would like to go home before I start working. I would have to get a visa stamping at the US embassy at home to re-enter the US, corrrect? Once I have a new visa can I enter the US whenever or it must be during some period before October 1st?

    Thank you so much for you reply. I found this forum very helpful!

    1. administrator

      1. As your status is F-1 till Oct 1, you need to maintain that status. If the school allows you to take a quarter/semester break in summers, then you can use that and still maintain the status. But I would suggest against dropping off from school completely while on F-1
      2. Yes, you will have to get H-1 visa stamped in your home country. Earliest date to return on stamped H-1 visa is Sep 20th. Even then you cannot start to work until Oct 1.

      1. Hana

        Thank you so much Saurabh. I can understand the process much better now.
        As you suggest not dropping off from the school, I would at least like to profit from a 60 days grace period. Can you please confirm that this steps would work?

        1. drop off from school July 1st
        2. July 1st till end of August profiting from 60 days grace period in the US
        3. Leaving US at the end of August to go in my home country
        4. Get my visa stamped and re-enter US on 20th sept

        Thank you so much!

        1. administrator

          That may work, but you do want to add a layer of complication by staying in US for those 60 day grace period. It it is not illegal, but may add questions which could otherwise have been avoided.

          You can also discuss this plan w/ your H-1 attorney.

  24. ananta

    Dear Saurabh
    I got F1 reinstatement approved through the infamous trivalley case. Matter of fact a lot of former TVU students were approved in those 2 weeks. However unfortunately, though I recieved approval and new I 94, my SEVIS data still showed terminated. So the DSO posted a data fix ticket on april 29. According to her, this is taking awefully long like 3 to 5 months. Meanwhile I want to transfer to a better school for Fall 2012. I am also getting a job offer with H1b sponsorship and am planning to file for H1b and my job would not be under cap so I can start working before October.
    Will my H1b and COS get approved with my new I 94 even if SEVIS data fix might be pending? Can I work then?
    If H1 is denied due to any or above reasons, can I continue on F1 and is it possible to transfer to that other school?
    Thanks for your reply.

    1. administrator

      H-1 may not get approved w/ COS until your SEVIS record gets fixed. In case H-1 gets approved w/ I-94, you will be on H-1 from the mentioned I-94 date and can start working on H-1 from that date. If it gets H-1 and/or COS denied then you will remain on F-1 visa. You may not be able to transfer to another school until your SEVIS data has been fixed.

      I also suggest talking to an attorney about this.

  25. Harish


    I have something different situation here. please suggest me.
    I am working on OPT currently which extent to another 17 months from this july 2012. But my visa expires in jun 2013. So what should I do? Can i stamp my passport from USA or I have to go back india for renew visa?
    Or I can convert to H1B and stamping from USA?
    Please suggest me available options.

    1. administrator

      As long as your are inside US, you don’t need to worry about the F-1 visa stamp. You can continue to work based on your OPT and I-20. If you travel outside of US in June 2013, then you will have to get F-1 visa stamped.

      If the H-1 is filed and approved w/ COS, then you can start working on H-1 from COS approval date. Again, no stamping is required as long as your COS to H-1 is approved. Next time you travel outside of US, you will have to get H-1 visa stamped in order to return on H-1.

  26. Applying for H1B

    I am applying for H1B right now. My employer has agreed to apply for the H1B visa. During the application when we mail our documents to USCIS, if we forget some documents like for example the OPT card or the graduation certificate what happens then ? Does USCIS consider the application and put you on RFE or do they just disregard the application ? I had another question, if you are put on RFE and asked to provide further evidence about your job, then do you have to provide the additional evidence before the the application cap of 65,000 runs out, or are you given a particular time frame ? Thank you so much for your help.

    1. administrator

      Applying for H1B,
      In most of the cases, they issue RFE asking for the missing documents/information. Once your petition reaches USCIS, it is considered to have made through the cap. Issuance of RFE doesn’t put the applicant out of cap. However, if the petition eventually gets denied after RFE response is submitted, then the person is considered out of cap.

  27. Kishore


    Here’s my situation. My employer has filed H1B w COS and USCIS has approved it.
    F1 Valid till – 2014 and OPT EAD valid till – Aug 31, 2012.
    What should I do to continue working in September till my status changes from F1 to H1 in October. Please share the steps I have to follow.


    1. joyfullife

      I got a tough situation too,my opt expired on 2/21/2012, I filed my H1B petition,received date:4/20/2012,still during my 60 graceperiod days. But I got RFE saying I need to submit my evidence that the beneficiary will continue to maintain a valid nonimmigrant status until Octber 1,2012. I contacted with my DSO for a cap-gap I20, shool says the system doesn’t extend automatically,and I am out of status now. The DSO sent a data fix to desk help. I don’t know when I can get my data fix completed,my response due date is coming. I really don’t know what I could submit and when I can get my data fix. Is there anyboby in the same situation like me?

      1. administrator

        Discuss this w/ your H-1 attorney. You can submit a response mentioning that your OPT ended on 2/21 and you were in grace period when the H-1 was filed w/ COS. So you will be able to avail cap-gap and can continue to stay in US until Oct 1.

          1. AK

            @Saurabh, thank u so much for all the information, and i feel so good u r helping everyone. Please help me too.

            I am in the similar situation, but in worst case.
            My Employer filed H1b in 2017 and it is in RFE still.
            My OPT got expired on Oct 2 2017, I finished my grace period on Dec 2, 2017. I somehow transfer my SEVIS to some other university before the expiration of 60 days grace period. But the new university showed different fees before and after transferring the SEVIS and when I ask them to transfer to some other university, they said that I need to do one whole semester otherwise they will cancel my i20 and terminate my SEVIS. Also they are not providing me the email address of the DSO of the university. I also requested them to extend the course for next session which is March 2018 instead of Jan 2018, but they are asking me to pay the fees in full asap for Jan 2018 (and not accepting the request for extension of the course) or they will cancel my i20. I feel hostage and I am going into depression.

            My friends said that I am legal until I get the result of the H1b but my question is:
            1. Am I legal until I get approval of H1b?
            2. What will happen if the university cancel my i20 and terminate my SEVIS, while I am waiting for H1?
            3. If my SEVIS is terminated and if I don’t get approval of H1 then what is the next step to remain legal in US?
            4. Is there any way that I can apply for studies after my SEVIS get terminated and H1b denial ?
            5. Is there any grace period after H1b denial to get admission in school? if yes, then does it need the active SEVIS? or I can just apply asap in the grace period after H1b denial?

            Please help me with these queries as I need to sort out my situation and I don’t want to go out of status.

    2. administrator

      Search for cap-gap. As your H-1 has been approved w/ COS, you can continue to stay and work on OPT until Oct 1. After that, your H-1 will kick-in.

  28. charan


    I’m currently on F1 (Change of status from H4-F1).A company filed my H1 this April. I worked for the same company on CPT . This quarter, my CPT application was denied due to some reasons and unknowingly i have worked in the company for some days and the university guys are saying that ,they will terminate my SEVIS, they gave time till 5/29/2012. On 5/22/2012 i have moved my H1 case to premium processing. I have a H4 stamping on my passport which is valid till June 22, 2012. Currently what are my options, to maintain a status in US.

    Ques1: If my SEVIS is terminated, is there any chances to get H1B without getting change of status.
    Ques2:Is there any option to go outside US(canada) and come back on H4 to maintain status
    Ques3:If my H1B is approved and SEVIS is terminated then Can i come back on H4 and can i start working on H1 from Oct 1st.

    Can you please provide all the possible options to maintain the status?

    1. administrator

      1. Yes, they may approve H-1 w/o COS
      2. Yes
      3. You can return on H-4 visa, and can then file COS from H-4 to H-1. Once it is approved, you can start working on H-1, not before that. The other thing you can do is to enter US on stamped H-1 visa around Oct 2012.

      1. charan

        Thanks Saurabh. I have some more question.
        Case 1: If my SEVIS is terminated due to Unauthorized employment, do i need to go back to home country immediately or will i have a period like a week or so, so that i can return back to home country. Any grace period and what are the consequences.
        Case 2:If i’m returning back on H4, will i have any issue during port of entry.
        Case 3:If my H1 is approved and if i return back to US on H4, what is the change of status cost from H4-H1.

        1. administrator

          1. You need to leave US ASAP. You will have to check w/ DSO or attorney about the grace period.
          2. There should not be an issue. You may be asked about SEVIS termination but as long as you maintained legal status, you should be fine
          3. It is around 325 USD. You can check the cost of I-539 form on USCIS website

          1. Charan

            Thanks Saurabh for your quick reponses.

            University people said they will terminate my SEVIS on 5/29/2012. But till now i don’t have any SEVIS related information from the school. If the school terminates my SEVIS, do they need to inform me or is it not necessary. I have already registered for the courses and i’m able to access my school online a/c. Actually I’m waiting for my H1 decision, so that i can check with DSO. I got the premium processing receipt notice on 5/22/2012, till now there is no update. Is there any delay in premium processing as per your observation. Is there any other way i can check my SEVIS status.

  29. Kelly McDonald

    Our company is new to the OPT and H1B process. In order to optimize the amount of time an immigrant employee is able to work for us, we were trying to determine when is the appropriate time to apply for the H1B visa. We were thinking about waiting until the immigrant has extended their OPT by the 17 month extension, then beginning the H1B process. Is this a good idea or not? If not, why?

    1. administrator

      Kelly McDonald,
      This is what comes to my mind:
      – You are able to evaluate the performance for a longer time and spend H-1 fees only on the candidates that perform well
      – For the candidate staying on OPT for a longer period means paying no social security and medicare taxes. I am not sure what the tax implication (if any) would be on the company

      – H-1 cap may not be available once the 17 month extension gets over
      – Not everyone is eligible for 17 month extension. Only workers who have done graduation in STEM are eligible
      – You may end up losing some candidates as at times people want to move away from OPT ASAP and start working on H-1. If their H-1 cannot be filed until 17 month extension is over, they may decide to look for alternate opportunities

      Also, I am assuming your company is e-verified as that is another requirement for 17 month extension

  30. Sam

    This is very good information. I have a tricky situation and could not find a definitive answer.

    I am on OPT STEM extension and it expires July 1st 2012. I am with IT consultant and my H1 is under premium processing. As expected I got RFE and due to that I see lot of delays. I have emailed DSO my H1 reciept so Cap Gap should be ok.

    I have 45 days of unemployment in the total 29 months of OPT.

    Question is if my H1 is rejected after July 1st then what options do I have?

    How many days grace period I get?
    Can I take admission in university again after 1st July/after h1 rejection?


    1. Sam

      Probably you can just say you don’t know the answer to my question and I will move on. You have replied all the questions before and after I posted.

    2. administrator

      I reply ore than 50 questions per day, so it is possible for some to be missed. I don’t skip them intentionally, and have posted in the several questions when I don’t know the reply.

      Anyways, here is your reply.

      If H-1 gets rejected, then you need to leave US. You will have to check w/ attorney if you still get 60 day grace period when H-1 petition is denied and OPT has already expired. It is definitely given after end of OPT or course, but I am not sure if it is given after H-1 gets denied thereby ending the cap-gap.

      If you don’t get that 60 day grace period, then you need to leave US ASAP. If you get the 60 day grace period, then you can have another H-1 petition filed (no work authorization as it would be filed after OPT has expired) or move to another school.

  31. chitra

    My friend completed his masters in US and is doing Phd now( 2nd semester). But now he want to apply for H1B Visa. My question is what happens if H1B visa got rejected. Can he still be on F1 status of will he loose both the status(H1 and F1) and will hae to reutrn back to India.

    1. administrator

      Yes, he can continue studying on F-1 in case of H-1 rejection. Usually H-1 rejection doesn’t alter one’s existing status.

  32. sammy

    I am applying for h1b this may2012, with IT consultant . My stem opt is expiring in January 2012. It World be great ir hoy can help me with these 2 questions
    During my stem opt, I had worked as volunteer for my University for few monsth, and hence do not have documents showing tat I was in a paid employment for more than 120 days during my opt extension .
    My question is that do USCIS expect those documentsfor H1b petition. Also. I cannot show my opt employment because of ‘not exactly related field though both in engineering.
    2) if h1b is approved as cos, can i visit india and come back before Oct 1st….I. have seen in the discussions here about some i94 issue!

    Thanx for the help…

    1. administrator

      Do you mean OPT extension is expiring in Jan 2013 (and not 2012)?
      1. Yes, USCIS can ask for proof to show that you were not unemployed for more than 120 days. I have seen few recent cases where the same was asked and petition was denied b/c the person stayed unemployed for a longer time. Consult your H-1 attorney and let them know about this.
      2. If H-1 gets approved w/ COS, you can go to home country and return on F-1/OPT prior to Oct 1 (assuming F-1/OPT is still valid and you are employed). You can then be on H-1 from Oct 1 based on your earlier H-1 COS approval. You can confirm this w/ your attorney as well.

  33. Zak

    i was on opt and i applied my h1b during my 60 grace period. i got cap gap but i cant work, i can stay here. i got my h1b approved. now i am planning to go to india as my starting date is 0ct 1st. is there any problem if i go to india ? and when can i take visa stamping date ? please guide me for the same.


    1. administrator

      You will have to get H-1 visa stamped. The earliest date to get H-1 visa stamped is July 1 (90 days prior to H-1 start date). Once stamped, you can return to US using the visa stamp and approved petition.

      1. Zak

        Thanks Saurabh

        is there any problem for visa stamping if i go to India ? i got my h1 with my new employer and i didnt even work with him. how many days prior i can enter in USA ???

        1. administrator

          Earliest you can enter on H-1 is Sep 21st. Stamping is always prone to issues. Depending upon your profile, employer and offered position you may or may not run into issues. It is ok to not have worked for them when going for stamping.

  34. AK

    Hello Saurabh

    This forum is very informative..

    I am considering changing employer on OPT with H1b approved with the current employer. My opt expires on May 22 12 and have to start with the new employer on 21 May 2012. The new employer will file H1b before my current OPT expires. If I leave the current employment, the current H1b will be withdrawn. Please advice any risks involved in this case.


  35. Vijay chandra

    Hi ,

    First of all thanks a lot for the advise you are giving. It is very helpful.

    I am in a little precarious situation.I came here on a F1 visa. I did my masters. I got OPT. I worked on OPT. Then I got stem OPT. During my Stem OPT my employer tried to file for H1B and he delayed it due to unknown reasons. So I had to apply for F1 Visa again. Now I am on F1 Visa. I want to apply for H1B again. Can you let me know what are my options. Should I wait till I get CPT from my college or can I just apply now while on F1. I dont want to wait one whole year before I can apply for it. Please advise. Thanks.

    1. administrator

      Vijay chandra,
      H-1 can be applied even while you are on just F-1 w/ no CPT. You can start working from COS approval date once it gets approved w/ COS.

      1. Vijay chandra

        Thanks a lot Saurabh. So do you provide any legal services. Do you own a law firm. If so would you process my H1. I see that you are well versed with the law. I want some one good so I wont face any problems. If you dont own a law firm can you suggest me some one. I live in Houston, TX. Thanks .

          1. Vijay chandra

            So Saurabh,

            My consultancy is telling me that there is a lot of risk involved in applying for H1. I completed one semester in my degree. Can I still apply for H1 now or do I need to wait certain semesters before I apply for H1. All I need is a job correct and an employer willing to sponsor. Can you let me know if I can go ahead and apply for H1B even though I complted only one semester. By the way I have three A’s in my degree. Not sure if it will make any difference. Please help. Thanks

          2. administrator

            Vijay chandra,
            The concern is not w/ H-1 but w/ COS. You are on F-1 status and will have your status changed to H-1. The employer seems to have reasonable doubts that COS may be questioned as you are not completing the degree. There is a general 30-60-90 guideline which states if COS is filed within 30 days of getting F-1 status, then chances of rejection are highest. They subside as the person spends more time on F-1 status, and are minimal after spending 90 days on F-1 status. You seem to have spent more than 90 days on most recent F-1, and so it should be fine.

            Does your consultancy have an attorney? If yes, then you can talk to them as well.

          3. Vijay chandra

            Hi Saurabh ,

            I am planning to go to INDIA now. I did not apply for H1B this year since the quota is over. I am still on F1 Visa. Now can i go to India and come back on this F1 visa without getting stamped. Can you please let me know. It has been a while since I went back.
            Or do I need to wait till I get CPT. Please advise

          4. administrator

            You should check w/ DSO if you can use the same F-1 visa stamp or need to get a new one since your I-20 has changed.

  36. AV

    Thank you for such great tips in this website. Could you guys please give me advice as to how to find an employer to do CPT or OPT (besides the myvisajobs website)? Also, do you guys have any tips as to how to present oneself to the employers when looking for CPT/OPT? A couple of employers have contacted me but when I say that it is for an internship they lose interest in continuing with the selection process. Thank you very much in advance!

  37. Gaurav

    Hi there,

    My company has filed for h1b in premium processing on Apr 1,2012. I saw status approved on 23rd Apr. But now they changed that status to Acceptance. What does this status mean, never heard of it?

    1. administrator

      It can happen if:
      – it’s a technical error
      – USCIS determined something after approving the petition, and then put the petition back in Acceptance to review it again

      Ask your employer/attorney to call/email USCIS and follow-up.

  38. Jim


    My OPT will end on July 15th, 2012. My attorney said he will send out my package to USCIS next week (I doubt about it tho). What I’m worried is that I’m not able to get approved in 2 months (before my OPT expires). Am I still eligible to work and stay in the US if that’s the case?


    1. administrator

      Yes, you are eligible to stay and work on the basis of cap-gap. This is issued when the H-1 is filed before OPT expiration date and filed w/ COS w/ start date of Oct 1. Once your H-1 petition is filed, let your DSO know about it and inform him to make a note for cap-gap in your SEVIS record. You will be on this status until Oct 1 or H-1 denial date (whichever is earlier).

  39. Malathi

    Hi guys,

    I am currently on F1 visa. My OPT starts on 11 June this year.
    If I get a job offer before that, can my employer file H1B petition with COS (OPT -> H1B) before 11 June, i.e. even before I start working on OPT? If not, what is the alternative?


    1. administrator

      You are not required to be on OPT for H-1 filing. The employer can file it prior to OPT start date as well. Also, the COS is from F-1 to H-1 and not OPT to H-1. OPT is not a status but the F-1 is.

  40. Nhat Nguyen

    Hello RedBus2US/Saurabh,

    I am currently working under my OPT until June2012. My company has filed H1B petition on April 1, 2012 for the Cap-Gap Ext. I have to wait until Oct 2012 to see the result.
    I want to know in case I move to a different company now or after Oct 2012. How does the process work out?


    1. administrator

      Once the petition is approved, another employer can file cap-exempt petition for you. You can work for them after petitions gets approved. If the petition is not approved yet, then they will have to file cap-subject petition.

  41. Dammu

    Hi guys,
    can i travel to India in change of status time?
    here is my case,
    My OPT expires in DEC,2012.But I have applied for H1 on april 1 st and it was approved.so my H1B status starts from OCT2012.
    Can i travel to to o India during this time.i mean from today to october ?am i in OPT or In change of status ?
    please help

    1. administrator

      You can travel outside of US now. If you return prior to Oct 1, you can return on F-1/OPT and still be on H-1 from Oct 1 based on your approved COS. If you return after Oct 1, then you will have to return on stamped H-1 visa.

  42. Raptor

    I’m a mess of situation for soemthing which was out of my scope and was not my mistake. Its is related to OPT -> H1B transition and I think everyone should be made aware of this situation coz if something goes wrong when you are on OPT you are out of all options. I’m out of status and struggling right now. Where can I post my situation. ?

      1. Raptor

        I’m on F1 until Jul 2012. Right now on post completion OPT (01-May 2011 to 01-May 2012, technically can be extended for 17 more months).

        Old Employer — Last date: 17th June .. was on OPT

        New job with new employer from 20th June 2011.

        Previous employer filed H1 and it was approved(to be implemented from October 2011) after I left them (17th June 2011).

        I opted to stay on F1 since I was on OPT, previous employer requested a revoke/withdrawal sent me email confirmation that it was withdrawn.

        When I got the approval email, my University said “ur SEVIS says you are on H1 please send us updated documents, and also we cannot give u i20”

        Contacted my previous employer, Attorney & University (this was happening since Aug 2011)

        This is what they say:

        attorney: your previous employer shd help you.

        University: We need something (other than email) from ur previous employer that says ur case was withdrawn.

        Prev Employer: ​Sorry but we don’t have anything but the email.

        On my request prev employer called USCIS california service center (was on my H1 approval document) they said .. we cant do anything the case is closed.

        University suggested to take a infopass appointment, went there too, they did not even lsiten to my situation, instead they said what all you have is with your employer so its an employer thing we have noting to talk to you.

        this is wat my univ said “You will need USCIS to change your H-1B application status from approved to withdrawn. When they update this information in their system it will automatically update in the SEVIS system. I will then be able to issue you a new I-20.”

        So after i pestered my previous employer a lot (US company) they contacted USCIS and and were able to get me a letter from them (hard copy) that says my H1B was revoked and the date on that letter is 18th Jan 2012, which is after 10/01/2011(my H1B approval date) and after me submitting this letter to my university , just two days ago they got back to me saying


        I just received an email from SEVIS yesterday evening. They are not reactivating your F1 immigration record. Their reasoning is: “Based on the documentation that has been provided, there is no evidence that the employer sent a letter of withdrawal to USCIS prior to the H-1B effective date of 10/1/2011.”

        You’re options at this point are:
        · Leave the United States within 15 days
        · Apply for a new program of study and then apply for reinstatement

        At this point I do not advise changing your immigration status while in the United States since you are currently not in valid F1 status.

        Let me know if you have more questions.


        WHAT DO I DO NOW 🙁

        My current employer is saying that Univ people don’t know everything .. we will apply your h1B in premium and that defect should be rectified, as long as you have a revokal letter you should be good.

        Please suggest …!
        Some friends told me that if I do not leave US in 15 days I will be banned for 10 yrs from re-entering the country, is it so.

        Also, my new employer filed a H1B just yesterday in premium.
        Along with H1B we stated facts as to what happened in my case with two attachments:
        A copy of letter that my previous letter sent to USCIS with a date of Aug 9th 2011.
        A letter from my university verifying my attendance and attempts that were done to fix the data.

        My employer is saying that your H1B might be approved but your change of status will be denied.

        I’m planning to apply for a F1 reinstatement of my H1B is not approved.

        My questions are

        Is it right ? What I’m doing (waiting for H1B result)?
        What about all the days that I worked on OPT from 1st October 2011 till today ??
        Should i ask my employer to undo the payroll from 1st October 2011 ?

        1. administrator

          That’s a pretty complicated case. One thing you can do is to talk to an independent attorney who has no affiliation to either your employer or university. They would probably give you an unbiased opinion.

          If the H-1 was not withdrawn in the system, then you have been on H-1 from Oct 1 and should have been maintaining status since that date. So this means getting paid for all this time. As you are close to 6 months on H-1 w/o pay, you are getting close to getting barred for 3 years. H-1 transfer may be approved but not the I-94, which means you will have to go for H-1 visa stamping where all this will play out again.

          1. Raptor

            What about my previous employer willing give any form of letter that says they DID send the revoke request in the month of August 2011. I also have a copy of the letter.

          2. administrator

            What USCIS will say is that it doesn’t matter whether the employer sent the notice or not. What matters is whether it was received and processed by USCIS or not. So it may not help that much.

  43. venkat

    I have my EAD which is valid until Oct 6th, 2012. I am working for a company right now and they have filed my H-1B on Apr 9th, 2012(normal filing). I have an offer from another company at this point and hence would like to change my job. So:
    1.Can I leave my job right now and start working for the new company under F-1 OPT, since my EAD is valid until Oct?
    2.Can my new company file for a H-1B right away (they do premium filing)
    3.Does the H-1B filed by the previous company stand void now, else do I need to wait until I get it approved, then do a H-1B tranfer to the new company, which will take a lot of time?
    4.Are there any other complications involved in this move?

    Please advice. Thanks in advance.


    1. administrator

      1. Yes. Let your DSO know about this
      2. Yes, they can
      3. It will continue to be processed. However, as you have left the employer they may no longer have any interest in pursuing that petition
      4. Do you know how old employer will react to your resignation as they would just spent considerable amount on your H-1 filing

      1. Venkat

        Thanks a lot for your reply! Yes, it would be a difficult decision to leave this company but I have no other choice:)


    2. Raptor


      I was in a similar situation like you . Please be very cautious , there are HELL OF LOT of complications in your case if something goes wrong. My self suffering from 1 year by my action of moving to another company since I had valid OPT.

      Email me for details I will give you a link to a post where I explained my case’s history.

      1. Ashok


        I am considering changing employer on OPT with H1b approved with the current employer. My opt expires on May 22 12 and have to start with the new employer on 21 May 2012. The new employer will file H1b before my current OPT expires. If I leave the current employment, the current H1b will be withdrawn. Please advice any risks involved in this case.


        1. administrator

          Make sure that the new employer files the H-1 petition prior to OPT expiration date. This will allow you to be in cap-gap and continue working for new employer while H-1 is under process. The other thing to watch out for is denial of the new petition.

          1. AK

            Hello Saurabh

            The new petition will denied based on the fact that the current petition is approved. If I withdraw the current petition between the time I applied the new petition and the approval ….would that be a problem? Please advice



          2. AK

            Hello Saurabh

            I also have a question about the STEM extension. I have applied for the 17 month extension in March 2012 and still the status says initial review. If the current employer withdraws my H1b petition can I go back to STEM extension which I beleive will not be approved when the H1B is approved. Please let me know

            Thanks for your help


          3. administrator

            Why will the new petition be denied b/c of current one’s approval? Once the old petition is approved, the new petition can be filed as cap-exempt. However, if you want to remove any references to old petition then have it filed as cap-subject petition. As the quota is still wide open, you can go this route as well.

            Yes, you can continue working on STEM extension once it gets approved. I am not sure if it will get approved or not, you will have to check w/ DSO or attorney.

          4. AK


            Thanks for your response. This site is informative. I just got the STEM OPT extension approved and the H1B approved as well. I am planning to change the employer with the STEM OPT extension and the H1B be will filed by the new employer while the approved petition with the previous employer will be withdrawn. Please let me know I can continue working on the STEM OPT although the H1 is approved with different employer.


          5. administrator

            You can continue to work on STEM OPT extension until Oct 1. That is when your H-1 will kick-in as part of the COS approval.

  44. Sajitha

    Hi Saurabh,

    I’m on H4 and is in US now. I got an employer who would be filing H4 to H1 with COS by end of April. I would need to go to India for an urgent family matter on August and would be coming back in first week of Sept. I’m bit unclear on the rules . Could you please let me know

    1) If my COS is not approved before i travel and i come back on H4 and then it gets approved, Do my company need to file COS again by amending the first application ? Do i need to go back to India for stamping to start the work?

    2) What happens if COS is getting approved when i’m at India ? Do i need to wait to get my petition and stamp it to come to US ? Or i can enter on H4 and start working from the COS start date?

    3) I believe there wont be any issues if i travel with COS approved and come before Oct 2012. Could you please confirm ?

    Many thanks in advance

    1. administrator

      1. If COS gets approved before you leave US, then you can still return to US in Sep and automatically be on H-1 from Oct 1.
      2. If you leave US while H-1 COS is pending, then COS will be abandoned. You will return on H-4 visa and continue to remain on H-4 visa. So you will either have to file COS after returning to US, or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.
      3. Refer (1)

  45. Venu


    I’m currently pursuing MS in software engineering and i’m on F1. I recently got a full time offer and the company filed my H1B on Apr 1st 2012. I’m planning to graduate in July 2012. As per my knowledge the H1B start date will be from Oct 1st 2012. As i’m planning to graduate in July, I would like to file my OPT in May i.e with in the 90 days period, so that i can get the OPT and join the company who has filed my H1 on OPT after july and continue till Oct 1st and after Oct 1st i will be on H1B.

    1st question : Can i apply the OPT when my H1b application is pending or approved.
    2nd Question: Will there be any kind of query raised if i apply OPT when my H1b is approved or pending.
    3rd Question: What will be my status when my H1B is approved till oct1st as the H1b start date is Oct1st.


    1. administrator

      1. Yes
      2. No, but it may not be issued for a period beyond Oct 1.
      3. You will remain on F-1/OPT status until then, and you will have to maintain the same. In case you don’t apply OPT, then also you will be eligible for cap-gap which allows you to continue to stay until Oct 1, when your H-1 status will go into effect.

      1. Venu

        Thanks Saurabh. But i didn’t understand your 3rd response. Will i be able to use cap gap extension. I think cap gap extension is applicable if a person is in OPT and applies for H1. Can you make this point clear. If my H1 is approved by the time i complete my graduation. Will i be able to use Cap gap extension and start working after my Graduation.

        1. administrator

          Cap-gap can be applied even when one is in F-1 status. It basically extends your current F-1/OPT status. So in case OPT is not applied, your status would be just F-1 and it will give you cap-gap allowing you to stay but not work until Oct 1. To use cap-gap for work, you need to have work authorization i.e. OPT. Just the F-1 and approved H-1 doesn’t give you work authorization during cap-gap.

          1. Deeksha


            I have a follow up question based on your update. I am currently pursuing Masters and my program end date is not until May 2013. An employer applied for a H1b for me and received the petition on April 20th 2012, the COS is approved too. I would like to discontinue Masters, wait till Sep 30 idle and start working from Oct 1st. Am I eligible for cap gap?


          2. administrator

            As you are on F-1 visa until Sep 30th, you need to maintain that status. If the school allows you to take Summer off, then you can take it. Else I would suggest maintaining your F-1 status by staying enrolled.

          3. Deeksha

            Thanks Saurabh. I will maintain my F1 status till Sep 30th.
            I think the reason is because my status is not ending; I mean only in the cases like end date of OPT reaching before Oct 1st, the cap-gap occurs, am I right?

          4. administrator

            That is a correct understanding. Cap-gap goes into action only if the status is ending prior to Oct 1.

  46. Suchitra

    Hi Saurabh

    Im having confusion regarding my change of status. My OPT is Valid until March 25 2013. My employer is going to file my H1-B visa this april but my main problem is that I need to go to india in august for 20 days and come back.

    1) Does my status change from OPT to H1 as soon as my H1 gets approved or will it change on OCT 1st.

    I am really confused. I just wanted to make sure that I don’t have any problems coming back.Please suggest.


      1. Rajesh

        Just so you know, COS does not occur automatically if you went out of usa and come back after getting H1b approval.
        eg: you opt is valid until 3/25/2013 and you apply and get your H1B approval without COS (change of status) and then you go and comeback from india before 10/1/2012 (you are still in your F1) and comeback. your company would need to submit an amendment to get your COS to H1B from oct 1. Then, (this line is a doubtful so clarify with your attorney) I believe you would need to go to india again to get stamping and start working on your H1B.

        case2: you opt is valid until 3/25/2013 and you apply and get your H1B approval with COS (this is the standard process that all companies do) and then you go to india some time in Aug 2012 and comeback before Oct 1, your COS will not automatically happen to your H1b on the start date you wanted. Reason being you now have a new I90 from your re-entry. So you cant work and your H1 is lucid. (again, verify with your attorney if you have questions).

        I am in the same boat and am looking to get my H1b right now because i dont think slots will remain open till End of July.

        1. administrator

          Here is an article published by a prominent lawyer that explains your case #2. As per the article it is possible to be on H-1 from Oct 1 in case one travels outside of US after getting H-1 approved.

          As a full disclosure, I have a friend who filed H-4 to H-1 COS in April 2010, got it approved in July, then left US for few weeks and returned on H-4 in Sep. She automatically moved to H-1 on Oct 1. She applied SSN and that also got approved (which would not have been approved if her status would still have been H-4).

  47. Raj

    Hi Sourabh,

    I have my F1 VISA interview scheduled coming Wednesday, and have got hopes of getting it as I have prepared well for it. However I have a serious problem in attending my masters college in the month of May 2012 since I have a notice period of 2 months in my current organization. I have been working here from quite sometime in my current organization and hence would like to leave the company gracefully by serving the notice period. If I get my VISA coming week, and I decide to put my papers by next week, I will still be short of one month notice period.
    I would try and get the approval from my HR and Manager to release me within 14th May (college start date), but in case if they don;t agree then, I have to postpone my admission to next intake (Sep 2012).
    In that case, the school authorities have said that, they will provide new i20 for Sep 2012 intake. Even then I have couple of questions in mind, hope I get some clarity on them here:

    1. Since I will be getting my F1 next week, will I use the same to travel for Sep 2012 intake? or I have to get new stamping done in case my i20 changes? Again I have to go thru entire VISA process?

    2. Will there be a challenge at port of entry, if I pospone my admission for Sep 2012?

    3. Will my SEVIS number changes in case of new i20 issued by the school?

  48. Rohit Kochar

    Hey everyone
    I have a question regarding companies filing h1- b visas. Is there a link I can enter compnay’s name and it tells me how many h1-b’s were approved or rejected.
    Any help is appreciated.



      1. Rohit

        hey Saurabh
        what do you think about this link?


        is information given here any good? FlcDataCenter has some excel..do we need to find the company name in the excel?

        1. administrator

          I think they are querying from the same data as FlcDataCenter. You can either search it here or search company name in excel. I thought Flc had a web search also based on company name.

  49. Rahman

    I am currently on CPT (which ends this friday 03/30/2012) . I am on F-1 visa. i have used all my CPT’s so I am not eligible for OPT . I have not graduated yet but i only have 4 classes left before graduation. I will be getting my bachelor’s degree in June 2012. My current CPT employer wants to keep me part time and even give me a full time position. What is the best way to do that?


    1. administrator

      If you are not eligible for pre/post-completion OPT, then the only option left is H-1. Your employer can file it for you and you can start working on H-1 from Oct 1 (assuming it is approved w/ COS).

    2. administrator

      Was the CPT you used up( 12 months) full time or part time ? If it was part time CPT, then you should be fine and eligible for OPT. Check with your DSO for options.

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