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 : 633 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 ( 633 )

  1. Shen

    I am currently on STEM OPT valid until July 2020, and have a H1B COS pending approval. If my H1B gets approved, can I go back to home country, get a H1B visa (within 3-months of Oct-1), and return under STEM OPT, say around mid-August? Would the H1B visa nullify my F1-Status (So I can only return to the US say 10 days before Oct 1 and start working from Oct 1?). Hope my question is clear, thanks so much!

  2. Viva


    I am currently on 1st F1 OPT. I have applied for H1 this year and it got picked in the lottery.
    I have been approved for OPT Stem extension from July,2019-July 2021.

    My question is, per say if my H1 is only approved for an year oct,2019-oct,2020
    Since my stem opt is longer than the H1, would I be able to choose between H1 and Stem OPT ?

    1. administrator

      Once you go on H1B, your F1 status is gone and you cannot use the STEM OPT part…Going back again from H1B to F1 just for STEM OPT, would not be approved by DSO.

  3. Harish

    One of My friends is on stem Opt right now and his employer filed H1B this year. He lost his job recently because his company is not getting enough revenues to pay the employers they fired some of the employees. So his company said they will not withdraw the H1B and if the H1B is picked in the lottery and approved, Can he transfer the H1B to a different company if he finds a job by then? They also mentioned that they can run a week payroll in Oct to not get any troubles with the transfer process.
    Any help with the question is appreciated.


  4. Sree

    I got my H1B I-797A approval notice from october 2018 to Dec 2019. My STEM OPT started from JULY 2018 for a period of 2 years. Once My H1B got approved there should be change of status usually and STEMP OPT should get terminated. But, in my case my STEM OPT is still Active and H1B is also Active. Can you please tell whether Change of Status happened or not? If Yes, Why is still STEM OPT Active??

  5. Manoj

    Hi ,
    I received H1B approved, but it took around 6 months to change the status, my current situation is that I am studying in Sweden since 6 months.
    How do you suggest this situation to handle ??


  6. Sharad


    I am currently working on my first year of OPT and the employer wants to file an H-1 B for me. My OPT start date was July 17,2018. If I file H-1B this April. Do I have to file for STEM OPT extension separately or is it something that will be a part of H-1B Application?

  7. JY Kim

    Hi, thanks for your help in advance.

    I really need to go back to my country in May for my family issue and I think it’s unavoidable.

    FYI, I’m filing H1B cap with my bachelor’s degree this year that I received last year, and if not selected I will file another one next year using my master’s degree. Also, I submitted my OPT application yesterday and expect to get my EAD by end of June. I already got a valid travel stamp from DSO that is available until the first week of August.

    If I re-enter the US in July, I would already have EAD card on my hand, and other valid documents prepared, but my H1-B cap will probably be still pending, which could be viewed as ‘immigrant intent’. I know F1 holders should not possess any immigrant or long-term residence intent but, how would that work if I already got a job offer so have to re-enter the states again with EAD card on hand which also mean to the USCIS that I will stay in the states at least for a year or more?

    The following are there to help you understand my case:
    1. OPT application submitted in Feb (With a start-date of July)
    2. H1-B cap filed in April
    3. Master degree received in May
    4. Travel to home country / EAD card issued (OPT approved) in May
    5. Reenter the US in July

    Can anyone please guide me what I should do to travel outside of the states in this situation? Is there any way for it? Would that be too risky? I look forward to seeing your comments. Thanks for your time.

    1. Brian Juhyuk Lee

      Hi JY Kim,

      Hope you have found the answer to your question.

      I’m also under a very similar situation and was wondering if you have found the answer to your question? If you have, do you mind letting me know at [email protected]? I would greatly appreciate it.

      Brian Lee

  8. Bhargav


    I am Bhargav. My previous employer filed for H1B in April 2016 and the petition got approved in Nov 2016. However, I did not go through the stamping process. I moved to USA on F1 visa and did not use the H1B petition at all.

    My H1B petition (approved i-797) is valid till Sep 2019. I will graduate in May 2019. Can I still use my old H1B petition (approved i-797 without visa stamp) and transfer it to new employer after my graduation? [OR] Do I have to go through the lottery process again for new H1B?

    I have heard different opinions and would like to know what you guys think.

    Thank you so much.

      1. CHANDRA

        Hi Kumar
        One of my friend got his H 1 through MS degree inApril 2014 and got selected immediately.
        He worked on H1 for 2.5 years and had was laid off in 2017 and returned back
        He plans to do second Ms two year course from fall 2019 now.
        Will his previous H 1 b valid post his second MS or Will he have to.go.thru fresh H1b lottery application.

        1. administrator

          As long as he had H1B status and previous H1B was not revoked due to fraud, he should be cap exempt and does not have to go through lottery again.

  9. SK

    Hi Kumar,

    So one of my friends had her H1B rejected this August when she was in her OPT-CAP GAP. Her STEM OPT Extension got approved with the authorization start date of Oct 1st, 2018. But when she requested for an I-20, the COS(Change of Status) still says H1-pending and now if she wants to travel out of the country will that be an issue, since the COS on the I-20 still shows up as H1- Pending even though her STEM-OPT is approved till 2020.

    1. administrator

      It could be a data issue. You can ask your DSO to get the data fix done. If you provide the H1B reject copy to your DSO and request data fix, it should be resolved.

      1. SK

        Thank you for the prompt reply. Will it be an issue, if my friend is traveling out of the country when this data fix is still pending with USCIS?

        FYI – DSO has already initiated the data fix for her and she is planning for a vacation in December.

        1. administrator

          As long as there is all documentation to support and email from DSO regarding the data fix initiated process, it should be fine.

  10. Bobo

    Hi Kumar,

    I just received my second Approval Notice. Everything is the same as the first one, except for the notice date and valid date. Here are the differences.

    1st one: Notice Date: 10/06/2018, Valid Date: 10/01/2018-
    2nd one: Notice Date: 10/17/2018, Valid Date: 10/06/2018-

    Do you know what happened in there? My attorney already sent the inquiry to USCIS, but no response yet. Should I take the 2nd one as the official for the future visa?


    1. administrator

      Well, could be the system bug or issue. Yes, latest one is what you should take into consideration. But, carry both of them as backup, if someone asks.

  11. Ranadeep

    I am planning to travel India on December 14th and returning on January 17th, 2019.

    My H1B got picked in the lottery for the FY2018 and got an RFE that needs to be responded by 27th Dec 2018. I am checking to see if I can submit the RFE response around December 24th, so I can come back with out having to go through H1B visa stamping in India. I will get the H1B visa stamped next time when I visit India.

    What happens to my F1 status if H1B is approved when I am in India?
    What happens to my F1 Status if H1B is approved after returning to US lets say 25th Jan 2018?
    If my change of status from F1 to H1B is denied, what will be my status at the denial time and will I still be able to work for my employer under STEM OPT?

    Please let me what I can do at these situations.

  12. Bobo

    Hi Kumar,

    I just got H1b this year, but I am planning to go back to school next year to get a new master and change my career, which means I will change my visa from H1b to F1 again. Since I already used my former master OPT and there won’t be OPT option for me after I graduate.

    I know F1 students have 60 days grace period after graduate, and I have to find the job asap. Since my career will be different from my current H1b career, will it allow to transfer my current H1b to the newest one? And should the transfer be finished with 60 days or just start within 60 days?

    Thank you~

    1. administrator

      If you get an employer to sponsor H1B, you could do it as cap exempt. You may need to apply for premium processing, if you want to get result soon. Also, one thing, if you are changing role and only if the new role requires your new degree, then only you need to wait until you complete degree…otherwise you may apply before that and plan with a different start date. You can do it up to 6 months before start date. Check with the attorney at the company that hires you for such arrangement to apply early.

  13. San

    Hi Kumar,

    I am currently working in the US. I had F1-OPT until Sept-30. My H1B USCIS case status shows “Case recieved”. I got i797A that says “Approval Notice”. What does this mean? Does that mean it is accepted? What are my next steps? What is consular processing vs Change of status? Is there a certain path that everyone follows? Or do I have options? Thanks in advance.


    1. administrator

      San, in general, I-797A is given as replacement of I-94 that indicates extension of status or change of status. Did you get the physical copy ? or your employer received it ?

  14. Regina

    Hi! I am still waiting for my H1B COS result and it’s already 10/16. Is anybody else still waiting? Is there a deadline for the result to come? I was on a F1 status which was automatically extended until Sept 30th but now I cannot work nor study anymore.

  15. Kunwar Dev

    If I am currently working in a company which will file my H1B visa petition in April and I do a job change in April. What will happen in that case since I have changed the company?

    1. administrator

      In general, your H1B would be filed for future employment starting from October 1st of that fiscal year. As long as your company that sponsors your H1B does not withdraw or do anything with your sponsored H1B, you will be fine…you working for some other company in the meantime does not matter.

  16. Andre


    I am currently doing my MBA on F1 status. I finish all my course requirements by June 10th 2017 (marked on my I20) and my F1 VISA will also expire on the same date. I am planning to apply for OPT in Feb with a start date of 1st June since I already have job offered lined up.

    I will start working on August 21st 2017. My employer is applying for H1B on April 2017 in order to give me two chances at the lottery. I heard that are different ways to do the transition to H1B, change of status or consular processing. Not sure how they would impact my situation. I may also pay to use premium processing if that helps my case.

    My question: If I do get selected on the H1B lottery in 2017, can I travel outside of the US in July (going to my home country) and come back to start working on August 2017? I would come back and start working using my OPT, assuming that my H1B become valid on Oct 1st. Can I risk losing my H1B because of that?


    April 2017 – Apply H1B

    June 2017 – MBA Graduation and OPT starts

    July 2017 – Travel to my home country

    August 2017 – Come back to US with my OPT and start working?

    October 2017 – H1B becomes active?


    1. Samuel

      Andre did you travel in July 2017 while you’re H1B was pending? Please let me what happened. I’m planning to travel in July this year so getting inputs from all directions!


  17. Ivy


    I didn’t get selected for h1b visa this year. My company is planning to apply for me next year. However, my F-1 visa stamp in my passport is already expired this year. But I am on a legal status (OPT stem extension) until next year July.

    Can my company still apply h1v visa for me with my expired F-1 stamp?

    Thank you

  18. Karan Malhotra


    My name is Karan. I was on OPT until my my COS to H-1B was approved. I am planning to travel to India next month. I know that I would require my passport to be stamped with H-1B visa when I come back to the US. My questions is regarding airport transit visas in Europe (France, Germany, Netherlands). This link (http://www.schengenvisainfo.com/transit-schengen-visa/) mentions that one is exempted from an airport transit visa if it holds a valid/unexpired US visa. My F-1 visa stamp on my passport does not expire till 2019. However, with change of status to H-1B, is my F-1 visa still valid or unexpired in this context?

    Thank you so much for your time!

    1. Ramu Valliappan

      Hi Karan,

      I am in the same situation. Since your post is dated in 2016, could you tell me what happened ? In the above mentioned context, is the F1 stamp valid or invalid for transit in Germany ?

      1. Ramu

        So here is my story. I had a F1 Stamp on my passport which was expiring in 2021. However my status in the US changed to H1B in 2018 and I had travel plans in Dec 2018, for H1B Stamping in India. I had my flight tickets with Lufthansa and had to take transit in Frankfurt Germany. I did not face any issue and I transited Frankfurt Germany with my F1 Stamp. I was not asked for Schengen Airport Transit Visa. Please refer this link from the German Mission in the United States – https://www.germany.info/blob/917514/80e28ec8a47bb057c06ca4023b155842/airport-transit-country-list-data.pdf

  19. Sathish Yaramada

    I am on my first OPT year and filed H1B on April 2016 but unfortunately it got denied. My Attorney is going to file MTR for the denial. My Question is can i switch the job meanwhile my MTR is in processing with same employer or different employer.

  20. Hello

    My H1b is filled by company A and then i get laid off in june 2016. I have valid OPt till Sptember 30, 2016. I got new offer from company B and they are agree to transfer my H1b. My H1b is already approve. Can i work while my transfer is going on from oct 1st 2016.

      1. Preeti

        Can they transfer before 1st October when my H1B with company A starts. And I am currently on my OPT. So if I leave company A who has sponsored my H1B in between June and September, can they still initiate transfer of my H1B before 1st October and I can start working with company B ?

        1. administrator

          It is not recommended to transfer before October 1st, while it was ok in the past, in recent times USCIS is questioning that user never had H1B status. Ideally, work for Company A for few days and then transfer.

          1. Preeti

            So is it possible if I leave company A and start work for company B on OPT in between June-september and transfer H1B after 1st October ? Will my H1B still be valid if I work for company B and my sponsored company is A.

          2. administrator

            You may work on OPT for Company B. What matters is, you need to work with the H1B sponsoring company on October 1st, if you have filed it as COS and then you can file for transfer as cap exempt with Company B.

          3. Preeti

            Also, if I wait can I still start my transfer process and have it submitted to be transferred on the 1st October ? So I join company B from 1st October so I can propose that to the company B ?

  21. raj

    I am in F1 status currently( Did not finish maters, not in OPT/CPT), waiting for H1 B approval. My next semester starts on september 12th. Is there any way, where i can be in F1 status without enrolling in classes for next semester till my H1 starts.

    1. administrator

      To maintain status, you will need to be enrolled full time as student as per the start dates of the university. The only option is to get a semester break and you leaving the country. You cannot be sitting idle when on F1 status.

      1. raj

        Thank you Kumar. Am I eligible for cap gap? To maintain F1 status, can i take an english language course in any of the institutes. Will this help?

    2. Sravs


      I am a student with F1 Visa (Visa valid until Dec 2017) and currently I am on OPT Stem Extension (valid until July 2017). My H1B was approved this year and will start from October. I am planning to go to Germany for 10 days in Sep(Sep 2nd to 12th) and coming back on OPT itself. My employer is telling me that If i go to Germany and come back on F1 Visa, there will be a problem with my H1B as they already transferred my Sevis to H1B. So, I can’t work until I go to India and get my H1B stamped. I don’t understand this. Is this True? or they just scaring me to keep me away from Trip. Please respond to this ASAP. Thanx in Advance.

      1. administrator


        You are not in cap-gap status, and I assume your H-1 was approved w/ COS from Oct 1.

        So you can travel outside US and return on F-1 OPT and still be on H-1 from Oct 1. As your H-1 is approved for future dated COS and your SEVIS record ends on Oct 1, you are fine to travel. Maybe talk to your attorney and not employer, who may be more knowledgable about the immigration rules.

      1. Apurva

        Hi Saurabh
        My H1b got denied at Delhi consulate and is send to KCC for further review. My question is I have F1 visa which is valid till 2019 can I get an admission in college and come back to USA on F1 visa again.

  22. Nimit Desai


    My H1-B petition was recently approved and will come into effect on the first of October 2016. I am currently on F-1 cap-gap and moved to a new apartment in the same county (same employer, same work address).

    I have a quick question regarding the address change AR-11 form:

    “I am in the United States as a: Visitor / Student / Permanent Resident / Other (Specify)”

    Should my response to this be Student (F1 Cap Gap, H1 not yet active) or should it be Other – H1B (petition approved by USCIS)?

    Thanks for all the help!

  23. Ramesh


    Currently I am on F-1 Student Visa. My H1 is approved for the FY2017. I moved to new the address now (Different State). Updating the address in USCIS website is sufficient or anything else is required? (The LCA received is having the old address).

    Thanks in advance

    1. Ramesh

      To provide more details; (I have the option to chose two different places. Based on that the following are the cases that I landed up).

      Case 1:
      Same company, same role. But the office location is different and the new address of residence is different state.

      Case 2:
      Same company, same role. same office location but the new address of residence is in different county.(same sate)

      My H1 is approved as consular processing for FY2017. Need to go for stamping to activate my visa.

    2. administrator


      Change in your residence address doesn’t impact your H-1 petition. Only if the work location is changing, you need to notify USCIS but it has its own issues. Is that the case?

      Do not forget to complete AR-11 form if changing residences.

      1. Ramesh

        Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks for the reply. Could you please tell me what necessary actions I need to take in the following three situations:

        I am currently on F-1 (Student Visa). My H-1 visa for FY2017 is approved with consular notification. (Expecting to travel in Oct 2016 outside of USA for activating the H1 visa)

        Now I will fall in either of the following cases regarding the location change.

        Case 1:
        Changing the home address to different location in the same county and state
        Case 2:
        Changing the home address to different county in the same state
        Case 3:
        Changing the work location and home address to different state (Same Company)

        1. administrator


          1. Complete AR-11 form. No action required on your H-1 petition.
          2. Complete AR-11 form. No action required on your H-1 petition.
          3. Complete AR-11 form. Employer needs to file new LCA and H-1 amendment for the work location change.

          1. ramesh

            Hi Saurabh,

            Thanks for reply.

            Is AR-11 form applicable for me? because I am on F1 still

            (H1 is only approved, its not activated).

            (Generally, I used to inform University. They were updating my address SEVIS)

            In my current situation do I need to fill AR-11 or not?

            Thanks in advance

          2. administrator


            All immigrants in US are required to complete AR-11 form. Its a very simple form and you can complete it online in less than 5 mins.

  24. S

    Quick question please.
    I am a Canadian and have just completed my MBA from MIT. I have applied for my OPT, and the 90 days will be up on July 12 this year.
    While I am waiting for my EAD, is my employer allowed to apply for my H1 visa?
    Your help would be appreciated.

    1. administrator


      The cap for H-1 is already done for this year. Your employer should have applied in April. However, being a Canadian, you can get TN visa as well. Discuss this w/ your employer.

        1. administrator


          Sorry, I am not much aware about TN visa – if it needs to be applied by employer or you. Discuss this w/ your attorney or employer and proceed further.

  25. Mridul Chaudhary

    Mridul Chaudhary
    I am trying to find an answer but I not getting a clear answer so my situation is as below.
    I am currently doing my MBA on F1 status. I finish all my course requirement by 12th March 2016 but I graduate on 13th May 2016 that is when my course officially finishes based on my I20.

    I am planning to apply for OPT in Feb with a start date of 1st June since I already have job offered lined up. My employer is also applying for H1B in order to give me two chances at the lottery.

    My question- After I finish my course requirement on 12th March 2016 I am planning to travel back to India and return on 10th May 2016 before my graduation. So i will be travelling just like an F1 student. I contacted my company lawyer he strongly recommended me not to travel stating that since my H1B is filled under Change of Status it will create complication.

    Please guide me. I want to travel but don’t want to get into trouble with my H1B. Is there an easy way out of this ? Something I might me unaware because in previous years my seniors have traveled with no issues at all. I read about the Efren Hernandez Memo for Change of Status.

  26. Mridul Chaudhary

    I am trying to find an answer but I not getting a clear answer so my situation is as below.
    I am currently doing my MBA on F1 status. I finish all my course requirement by 12th March 2016 but I graduate on 13th May 2016 that is when my course officially finishes based on my I20.

    I am planning to apply for OPT in Feb with a start date of 1st June since I already have job offered lined up. My employer is also applying for H1B in order to give me two chances at the lottery.

    My question- After I finish my course requirement on 12th March 2016 I am planning to travel back to India and return on 10th May 2016 before my graduation. So i will be travelling just like an F1 student. I contacted my company lawyer he strongly recommended me not to travel stating that since my H1B is filled under Change of Status it will create complication.

    Please guide me. I want to travel but don’t want to get into trouble with my H1B. Is there an easy way out of this ? Something I might me unaware because in previous years my seniors have traveled with no issues at all. I read about the Efren Hernandez Memo for Change of Status.

  27. Srini


    My wife would like to pursue MS in USA, and she wanted to take the MS as CPT course, Please suggest is this ideal way? and is this anyway benefit for Visa Transfer(F1 to H1B) at the earliest?

    and let me know if there are any challenges on above?

    Appreciate your help on this?

    1. administrator

      It depends on the situation. One of the benefits of F1 visa is that, she can work part time on campus and can avail CPT and OPT. If she is on H4 visa, she may not take advantage of that…Having said that, if your spouse qualifies for H4 EAD with your GC processing, she would be eligible…You need to look at each of the options and make a decision. Discuss with any DSO to get some clarity on best options.

  28. Vi

    My Opt stem was exhausted last yr in july and I lost in the h1b lottery as well. I started pursuing my second masters and reapplied this yr and was selected in the lottery. I received rfe in June and my employer is yet to submit the required documentation. I am not working since my opt stem expiration. My f1 visa expired early aug 2015 but I am maintaining my status in school. I would have to travel to my home country due to family emergency.
    If I travel to india will it cause any issue for my h1 approval??
    If my employer submits the documentation and my h1 gets approved while I am in india can I get my stamping done and re enter usa on h1 visa??
    Your reply is much appreciated.Thanks

    1. administrator

      If your H1B was applied with Change of Status, the COS will get invalidated. You will need a valid visa stamped on your passport to re-enter US. So, technically you will need to get your H1B stamped to re-enter US. Yes, you can get stamped in India.

    1. Al


      My EAD card is currently going to expire in July 2015 as I was on OPT since graduation last year. I had been approved for H1b last year (Oct 2014 lottery) but havent gone to india to get it stamped. I was wondering if anyone knew what needed to be done in order to keep my EAD going and not let it expire as that would make me ineligible for employment. Thanks!

      1. HVV

        Request your university DSO to apply for cap gap extension, once approved you can work till Sept 30th on OPT, and from 1st Oct you will have to start H1.

    2. Kavita

      Please answer Sumanth’s question as it is relevant to many students on F1 visa having received a job offer after one semester and if F1 can be transferred to H1b visa status

      1. administrator

        Kavitha, Sumath,
        You can transfer to H1B visa after first semester or even before that, if you find right sponsor and you already have been counted towards H1B cap. Usually, the H1B season starts in April and we had lottery for the past few years…If you have never been counted towards H1B cap, you cannot do change of status.

  29. Dan

    When my employer files form 9035 for LCA – is transferring from F1 OPT to H1B status considered new employment or continuation of previously approved employment?

  30. Anand

    For the cap gap extension is it true that if you are not employed by the employer filing the H1B at the time of filing, you would not be eligible for the cap gap?
    I am having an offer from a new employer but they want me to start from october 1st.

  31. Rohit


    This is urgent.

    I am on my OPT visa and my employer has agreed for H1B for this year. But in the documents they have asked for i797A which I have not got it and I have only EAD card at present. Is i797A required for transfer from OPT to H1B ?


  32. MBAGradStudent


    I am a grad student pursuing my MBA from US on H4. I recently applied for a change of status (to F1) in May 2014, the result is awaited and I am expecting it to arrive in a couple of days.

    I have an important event in India in Dec 2014. Will it be safe and sound to get the F1 visa from India (I plan to graduate in May 2015). I researched a bit on the internet. Similar cases where student on H4, applies for CoS; goes back to India applies F1 visa; such cases get rejected (i don’t know the reason). is it true? will it be a problem?

    What can be done to present a strong case. I have good grades, member of an honor society (widely known in US).

    Please advise as I do want to attend the event back home. What would be the best possible and safest solution.

    Thank you! waiting for the reply

  33. Aryan

    Hi ,
    My Employer filed H1B petition for 2014-15. I thought it was missed in lottery and applied parallel for MS and my F1 Visa got stamped recently. I have planned to leave my company. Now My employer saying that my petition selected in H1B lottery and showed me check given USCIS. If I goto H1B interview after 3 months later, will VO asks about F1? If yes, what should I tell? Help me on this.

  34. Aditya

    Hi, Please share your opinion. I am on OPT my OPT expires in November. I applied for H1 this year and got RFE . my school got accredation after I earned my degree. So USCIS is asking ” justify how you came under student CAP that you earned your degree prior to accredation?”. Do you think my degree has no value?
    Please suggest if my H1 denied do I have any other choice?

  35. Defense

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have a question regarding the working eligibility. Right now I am waiting for the H1b approval, receipt date is April 10th. I am currently working and I have EAD card expire in Jan 2015. I was wondering if I am allowed to work before October since I have read couple articles saying that I cant work till the start date on H1b which is around October?
    Thank you.

  36. GradStudent


    Thank you for the immense effort of putting all this important information together.

    I have an urgent scenario where I will need to travel for a short period (April 26 ’14-May 11th ’14), and my 2015 H1b is currently pending under non pp/Vermont/AD.

    I have received consultation from multiple parties, including my attorney who said that traveling will not null/void my in process H1b petition but could possibly indicate abandonment of the (AOS) portion of the application since a new I-94 will contradict the I-94 in the application packet. (Is this true if my travel time is short?)

    _I could delay my trip for a week, giving time for a hopefully selected petition and travel after that would be OK (Correct me if I am wrong)

    Has anyone run into this issue? Please I would like to hear your opinions. Will appreciate any help!

    Other info: (I-20 signed by DSO, OPT Valid thru Nov. ’14 and F1 Visa Valid thru 2018)

    1. administrator

      Your attorney has given the right advice. You can leave US and if your petition is selected, it will still be processed but COS (change of status) from F-1 to H-1 will be abandoned. Once you return to US, you will have two options – file a separate COS from F-1 to H-1, or get H-1 visa stamped from a US consulate outside US and then enter on that visa stamp.

      1. GradStudent

        Thank you Saurabh for your prompt response

        So it is safe to assume traveling is alright

        Can you tell me your opinion/interpretation of what would happen following the scenarios below (it might be helpful to myself and other readers in similar position):

        1) H1b Receipt notice given between today and travel date, would that abandon the COS?

        2) H1b Receipt of notice given during trip abroad (Or possibly sent out by USCIS before trip date and due to busy mail arrives to lawyers while the benefactor is abroad)

        3) H1b Receipt of notice arrives after travel abroad (Safe to assume COS Automatically abandoned?)

        4) Petition not selected (In which case travel and return on valid documents is fine anyway)

        **And given that the nature of travel is urgent/personal, would the applicant expect at trouble at the PoE regarding traveling with an H1b Pending (Or possibly not).

        Once again thank you for the good work on redbus2us

        1. administrator

          1. Abandon
          2, 3. COS abandoned. You can return on valid F-1 visa and file for separate COS once H-1 is approved. Or you can go for H-1 stamping after petition approval and re-enter US on that stamped visa.
          4. You can return on valid F-1 visa

          Pending H-1 will not impact your PoE interview.

  37. chandu Reddy

    Iam planning to do MS in US and then apply for H1B.I have 5 years of work experience in IT and Currently Iam working for Cognizant Technolgy services in India .
    Could you please let me know if i can work with IT company on OPT until i get H1B visa ?


        1. User

          Chandu you got offended too quickly. With people like you working for Cognizant, I am led to think that their hiring practices need to change. They seem to be hiring people who need answers spoon fed to them.

  38. Tarun Mahajan

    I’m Tarun Mahajan. My OPT extension is going to expire in March 2014 . Is there any way to apply my H1B without enrolling in school. I’m working as a contractor and there is no university in this area, who would offer me CPT in first semester.
    Please guide me.

    1. Paromita

      I dont know which city in USA you live in. But I am in the same boat as you. My OPT is expiring in March 2014 and I had to apply to a university to keep my status. I have applied to Goldey Becon College in delaware. They have given me 40 hours of CPT which I needed the most as I dnt want to quit my full time job and I will also take weekend classes. If you have any questions you can email me at ppoddar89 yahoo com

  39. Harjinder


    I came to USA in 2008. Completed my MS in 2010. After that I was working on OPT. This april2013, my employer applied for H1B. My Opt expired on July 16th and I was on cap-gap from July 17th to sept 30. I received RFE and USCIS got the response by May 28th. And I am still waiting for the decision on H1B. Here is my question
    1) if my H1B is denied, will I get 60 days Grace period
    2) if my H1B is approved, do I have to go back to India for stamping or i can continue working.

    Please reply.

    1. abc

      1) if my H1B is denied, will I get 60 days Grace period.

      If your H1b is denied, yes you will have 60 days of grace period unless you did something bad to effect your status which I don’t think you did in such case you would have to leave immediately.

      2) if my H1B is approved, do I have to go back to India for stamping or i can continue working.

      You can continue working as long as you stay in USA, if you leave this country you would need to have visa stamping done.

  40. Neha

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently on F1 Visa and working under OPT STEM. I applied for H1B (Without COS) this year April 2013 and it is under review. My F1 visa And OPT is expiring in December 2013 and I am confused in these case scenarios:
    1. What if my H1B gets approved? Do i need to go to India immediately to get it stamped since F1 visa is expiring soon or can wait for it.
    2. What if my case is under IR until December, 2013. What am I suppose to do

  41. Shan


    [Do I need new visa stamping?]

    I entered USA as a F1 student in Aug 2009. (for my Masters degree).
    My OPT started in Sep 2011 and started working with my professor.
    I joined Employer ‘A’ in Mar 2012, working with Client ‘B’ as a contractor.
    OPT Extension got approved in Sep 2012.
    Client ‘B’ hired me as a Full Time Employee in Mar 2013.
    Employer ‘B’ applied for my H1.
    I-129 petition and change of status got approved in April 2013.
    H1B valid from Oct/01/2013 to Sep/10/2016.

    I am traveling to India in Nov 2013.
    In this scenario, Do I need to get a new H1B visa stamping from India.

    Any kind of advice is appreciated.
    Do I need to personally set an appointment with an immigration lawyer to understand things.


  42. Kalyan


    My Brother will be completing his MS in May 2014, and he plans to travel India in May after the exams, so there is a rule that traveling out of US is allowed during the OPT pending status, so in order to travel India, when does he need to apply OPT (BDW He is studying in Kent state university)

    1. BJBriju

      I would not recommend that he go to India if he is completing his degree. If he can get a statement from the college/university that he has one more semester of study AND that he has funding for that semester, he may leave the US and return.
      This applies if he has a valid visa or not. If he does not have a valid visa, things get more complicated (depending on area of study eg. molecular biology may take additional administrative processing of unknown number of weeks/months).

      Once he applies for OPT, he has to remain in the US until he gets his OPT is approved and he receives his EAD card. Otherwise, OPT request is considered invalid. Of course, the rule is that he has to have a job offer letter to return to the US.
      Good luck!

  43. Tamana

    If I graduate in August 2013 without OPT, can I do a change on status if still in the US for the 60 day grant period after graduation if I receive H1B approval? IF so, what is the process?

    1. administrator

      H-1 needs to be filed while the cap is open. This means, it needs to be filed in April to make through the cap when you wouldn’t have completed your graduation.

      Your H-1 needs to be applied w/ whatever qualification you have in April along w/ COS from F-1 to H-1. It is not required to have OPT for COS purpose. You will be eligible for cap-gap which will allow you to stay in US from graduation date to Oct 1, but you cannot work as you will not have the OPT.

      1. Rajiv


        I am on F1 visa. If I graduate in August and my employer did not file for COS with H1B, can I file it myself? When is the latest I can apply for COS from F1 to H1B?

        If I gradaute in May without OPT but have H1B, can I extend status as I wait for H1B approval, then do a COS?If not, as an F1 with pending H1B, can I stay in US under cap gap?

  44. vicky

    i have planning a trip to India in Nov 11 to Nov 26 . my F1 visa will expire on 29 Nov 2012 . right now , i am working on OPT , and my I- 20 is valid till July 29 2013 . if , i come back to USA before my visa expire ( 29th Nov) . is it ok for me ?. or i need to renew my F-1 VISA .

  45. preethi

    Hi Saurabh…

    I see there is new stamping process for visa at Hyderabad consulate..like we have to take two kind of appointments one for OFC and other VISA stamping..

    Is this process changed at Chennai consulate also or is it normal there…

    Please let me know regarding this..

  46. 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!

  47. application

    Please help . I recived email that my H1 petition is approved effective from 1st Oct. But email does not talk about the Change of status approval. Does it mean my COS is also approved. I have applied for L1 to H1 cos. I need to know about COS as I need to give notice to L1 employer.

  48. Rajiv


    Please wait for the notice to come to you. Please see why they denied your applicaiton.

    You have the option to do a MOTION TO RECONSIDER(MTR). You can open up this to apply again. I do not know when your VISA ends.. Is this First OPT or OPT Extension?

      1. Rajiv


        You have enough time. There are very rare cases where first time OPT gets denied. Must be a mistake. Once you know why they denied it, Apply for MTR… Reasearch on it a bit. there are many cases where h1bs get denied and they apply for MTR and they get their H1s approved.

        Unless something is very wrong with your case, i do not see why they would deny a first OPT. So do not worry. good Luck.

  49. Mahesh

    I have applied OPT on April 25th Since then it was Initial Review.Called USCIS Several times and expedite my case but still there is no change few days ago i got a email saying that ” Your case is currently being adjudicated. You should receive a notice of action* within 45 days.

    *A notice of action may be in a form of Approval Notice, Denial Notice, Transfer Notice, Request for Evidence, Notice of Intent to Deny or Notice of Intent to Revoke.”
    Suddenly there is change in the status after a long time …
    My I765 status went to

    On September 26, 2012, we mailed you a denial decision notice for this case I765 APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION. The notice explains why the denial decision was made and the options that may be available to you. If you have not received this notice within 15 days of September 26, 2012, please call customer service at 1-800-375-5283 for further assistance.”

    I did not receive any RFE nor any notice just it went to denial.I dont know what to do now….Please let me know what is my status now and what should i do ?

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