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H4 extension and intent to start studying

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  • H4 extension and intent to start studying

    My H4 extension (I94 status) is slated to expire on August 25th 2020.The attorney for my spouse has filed an extension for us both (i.e H1b and H4) on April 28th 2020. I also have got an admit in Univeristy for Fall term starting August 2020.

    1. Can i over stay with a notice of acceptance of my case from USCIS (if I dont get an approval on time)?
    2. Can I use that as a proof to enroll in classes ( I am certainly going to ask my university International advisor)?
    3. As consulate offices are closed to a F1 stamping currently, can I send for a change of status (H4-F1) with the notice of acceptance of my (H4 extension case) to USCIS.

    Please let me know. Thank you.

  • #2
    If your goal is to just study (no CPT, OPT or work on campus) then you can continue to study on H4 status.
    Risk: If your spouse lost his / her job
    Pro's: You get in state tution (as long as you have proof of residence in that state for 1yr)

    If the goal is to study & then work, convert to F1. It's a very simple process.
    RIsk / Con: Out of state tution unless you get aid (if eligible)
    Pro's: If you spouse loses his/her job, they can convert to F2

    Also note that if you are currently on H4 with green card in process, once you file for I-485, you can work using the EAD.

    You can always start studying on H4 and then convert to F1 after the first year as well.

    To answer your questions:
    1. Once the H4 is filed, you can continue to stay and enroll in college (get with the international office at the University for proof / docs needed)
    2. Yes
    3. Not visa stamp / consulate visit. You get the change of status approved within the US (H4 to F1). Only when you leave the US for a vacation, you need to get the F1 stamp.
    Opinion only. Cannot be construed as legal advice.


    • #3
      Thank you for the suggestion.

      I did talk to the university and she can start studying as an H4 from the August term with the receipt notice of pending approval. And soon I get the H4 approval say October 2020 I will send a COS to USCIS (with I20 dated for January 2021 seems like that what advisor told me). And if I plan on going for vacation say December 2020 ( do I need to take appointment with DS 160 and all to stamp as an F1)


      • #4
        Good decision. Plus, you will be paying in-state fees which is 50% cheaper that out-of-state. Why not file for F1 COS after one year of studies ? She should get the approval before deciding to do her OPT/CPT. You have plenty of options here.... Good Luck !
        Opinion only. Cannot be construed as legal advice.


        • #5
          Yes, once you get the F1 approved, you only need a stamp to return into the US (once you leave).
          In that case, an F1 appointment, DS160, all supporting docs per F1 checklist (in your case, very easy since you are already in the US, started the course, paid fees etc) is needed.
          Note that appointments / slots vary depending on the visa type (H/L, B, F, etc)
          Opinion only. Cannot be construed as legal advice.


          • #6
            Thanks again. The reason I want to apply for COS early is the processing time they take to approve it. However, say I apply after my H4 extension approval and send a COS application in October (H4-F1) and want to go to India in December vacation with COS status pending. How would that work out? Thanks


            • #7
              Thanks, I was at the same situation