I'm currently on OPT on my F1 visa. I need to understand my immigration possibilities depending on my future career

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Customer: I'm currently on OPT on my F1 visa. I need to understand my immigration possibilities depending on my future career trajectory.
JA: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any paperwork with the U.S. government?
Customer: Yes filed for my STEM OPT
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about the F-1 visa?
Customer: No
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have H1B approval (Consular processing) from last year (2020) which hasn't been activated yet. And I plan to go for a PhD starting this Fall '21.
Answered by Expert Mark in 25 mins 1 year ago
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Expert Mark
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Expert Mark
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Expert Mark
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34100 Satisfied customers

Jessica

Jessica

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Expert Mark, Expert

Hello! My name is***** may experience some delays as I work through your questions. Be patient. I assure you I will answer your questions.

Customer
If you have questions about my current situation, I can explain it better to give you better context.
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Expert Mark, Expert

I'm not quite sure I understand your question. Can you rephrase it? Also, I only earn a small commission of the fee you paid for this service, so please set your expectations accordingly.

Customer
I graduated with my MS in April 2020 and have been working at a company on OPT since then. My company has applied for H1B CP and I got through the lottery in 2020 (still haven't activated that). I have applied for STEM OPT extension now which will allow me to work in the company for two more years starting April 2021.I plan to go back to school for my PhD starting September 2021. My question is when should I activate my H1B?
Customer
I would like to have the option of switching back to a H1B if I drop out in the middle of my PhD. Would that be possible?
Customer
second question being, when and how (COS/CP) should I convert to an F1 student visa for the PhD in the most cost-effective manner.
Customer
Would you be able to help me with this situation?
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Expert Mark, Expert

Yes, but please remember what I stated at the outset: You may experience some delays as I work through your questions. Be patient. I assure you I will answer your questions.

Customer
Okay, sounds good. I just didn't know if you were still connected, thanks!
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Expert Mark, Expert

Thank you for your patience.

In my view, I think the sooner you activate it, the better. But definitely within the petition validity period. You can apply for the visa 90 days prior to the H1B employment start date.

As long as you have a valid petition and your employer intends to employ you, you can go to your H1B status and employer at any time during the validity period of the petition, upon approval of the change of status or entry with your H1B visa stamp.

I don't understand your question about COS/CP conversion to F-1 status. You're in F-1 status now.

I hope I have answered your questions. If you have any follow-up questions, I'll be happy to assist you. You can reply to this thread. Otherwise, I thank you in advance for your positive reviews.

If you need help with a new issue in the future, click on this link and start your question with the words "FOR MARK ONLY": https://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-expert-mark/.

Customer
I am currently working in the company since April 2020 and plan to do so atleast until June 2021. So I'm trying to figure out what would be best time to activate my H1B in this situation. Although I can continue in my F1 STEM OPT status at the company here currently. I want to activate my H1B by travelling to my home-country (India) such that in the future I don't be subject to the H1B cap. Does that argument make sense?
Customer
After switching to H1B, when I start my PhD program (at a different school than my MS), I will have to convert to an F1 status. What would be the best way to do that and when would be the best time to do that? I can directly change my status while in the US (which would attract a I539 fee, Biometric Fee, SEVIS fee) or I could go to my home country and activate it with just the SEVIS fee. Please suggest what would be a good route in this situation.
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Expert Mark, Expert

You're free to go to your home country to get the H1B visa and then enter the US with the F-1 visa to continue with your education.

Customer
Can I get the H1B visa in the home country? And also the F1 visa at the same time if I have all the requisite documents? I'm not sure if that works out, could you please elaborate. I really like the idea though.
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Expert Mark, Expert

Your home county is the only place you can get your H1B visa stamp.

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Expert Mark, Expert

I understand that you like that idea, but you won't be able to get the H1B and F- visas at the same time.

Customer
Agreed, my home country is the only place I can get my H1B visa stamp. So, when should I get the F1 stamp? Should that be a on a separate trip to the home country
?
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Expert Mark, Expert

I understand that you like that idea, but you won't be able to get the H1B and F-1 visas at the same time. The consular post wants to issue you visas only for the purpose you intend to enter the US. That doesn't mean you can't have two valid ones in your passport, but they will not do that at the same time.

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Expert Mark, Expert

At the very least, a separate trip to the consular post. But the officer might ask you what's up.

Customer
Yeah that makes sense. So would you suggest that I activate my H1B in May (followed by coming to the US and working) and then go back later to India in Aug/Sept to activate the F1? Does that sound more reasonable? What is a time frame that you'd recommend between H1B and the F1?
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Expert Mark, Expert

The most reasonable thing to do is to apply for a change of status from H1B to F-1 inside the US. But if you want to save the fee and take that risk, that's up to you. That's possible to do as well.

Customer
Could you also confirm this statement of mine - I want to activate my H1B by travelling to my home-country (India) such that in the future I don't be subject to the H1B cap in case I decide to drop out of my PhD and go do a job.
Customer
is there a recommended time-frame on applying for the COS from H1B to F1 inside the US after getting the H1B?
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Expert Mark, Expert

You can't start school full time and not be in H1B status unless and until you get the F-1 changes of status approved. So if you plan to change from H1B to F-1, you should give it at least six months, but maybe even more. It depends on how long cases are taking at that time.

Customer
But I can start attending school while the COS process is underway right? While being on the H1B status?
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Expert Mark, Expert

If you can manage full-time in H1B and go to school, yes, you can do that.

Customer
Would it be possible that I go to India, get my H1B stamped, but enter the US with my STEM OPT? In this way I will keep my F visa intact and then will be able to transfer my SEVIS record to my PhD university (UCSD)? Is this possible?
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Expert Mark, Expert

Yes, that's possible with a valid I-20 endorsed for travel, a valid F-1 visa stamp, and a valid EAD.

Customer
I would have my STEM OPT I-20 valid for travel, with a valid F1 visa stamp. However I'm not sure if I'll be able to receive my EAD card on time from USCIS before my trip to India in May. The documents have reached the USCIS this week. Is the EAD card mandatory or could I work with the STEMP OPT application receipt notice from USCIS.
Customer
Also, a follow-up question is that when you get your H1B stamped, does you F1 visa get cancelled? Or would that continue to co-exist?
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Expert Mark, Expert

You don't have to wait for the EAD to work. But you have to wait for the EAD to travel and return if you want to enter and partake in OPT.

The consular officer doesn't typically cancel an F-1 just because you seek an H1B visa.

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