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F1 to H1- please guide

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  • F1 to H1- please guide

    Hi there,

    I am currently on F-1 visa and pursuing a ph.d. degree. I will graduate in May 2006. I have found a job where I interned last year. This employer wants me to join in Jan 2006. Since I will be writing my dissertation during that time- I will have no problem working full time and graduate timely.

    However, I am confused about how I should work this out. Since there is no way I can graduate in Dec 2005- I cannot accept the offer. At the same time, I don't want to miss on this offer. There is a very good reason why they want me to start in Jan- it's not a trick.

    Can I change my status to H1 in the middle of the graduate degree and still be enrolled to complete the degree in timely manner? My international student office is still confused about the issue.

    Help is much appreciated.


  • #2
    Hi AMit,
    Contact an immigration attorney. Any small mistake you make now will hamper all further stamping of yourself, your visitors and your dependants in the future. Do ensure that you remain in status by doing the needful.


    • #3

      First of all...legally you cannot join a full time job if you are still on F1

      You have to also know graduation and course work completion are different things. When do you finish your coursework? Is your thesis complete? Is your major professor okay with you joining a job before you graduate?

      Secondly if you are graduating in May 06 there is only one way you can start work for the employer before that and that is to go for a CPT (curricular practical training)....which is nuthing but an F1 with a labor approval. Its valid for 1 year. You can also take classes in the meantime.

      Following this you can come back to graduate in MAY 06 and then either convert to an H1B or a OPT (optional practical training) which is again F1 with labor approval (you get an EAD card now).

      Once you change you status to an H1B the F1 status for that course work is over in that school. You cannot register for classes for that course because then you would have to pay fees etc. So I would advise talk to your major professor. If he is okay with you going to work before graduating....get a CPT done from your immigration office at the university. Go work for the firm and then get a OPT. Remember DO NOT get a OPT done first. ONCE YOU APPLY FOR OPT YOUR STATUS AS F1 IS OVER......you cannot apply for CPT.


      • #4
        I see it as a big mess

        Dear veena_swsh and Kulbiker,

        Thanks for your reply.

        Kulbiker, I have already finished my course work and in the process of completing my research. Work will be done by Dec 05- writing thesis will take a few months. My professor does not have any reservation about letting me join starting Jan 05.
        I am aware of CPT and have already exhausted 10 months of full time CPT last year with the same employer. So I cannot apply for full time CPT anymore or else I lose my OPT option. On the flip-side, the employer requires H1 or green card in order to pay their full-time employees. I think, they would want to start the H1 process as soon as I accept the offer.

        veena-swsh, I will talk to an attorney. Looks like my safest bet. I was checking if I find someone with parallel (first hand) experience.