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Immigration Issues/International travel on OPT with approved H1-B but no stamp

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Question
First of all thank you for this free service it is really appreciated. My question is:

I am currently working on OPT which will expire in Nov 09 (I also have a valid F1 visa until 2011). My company applied a H1-B for me and has been approved; it starts from Oct 1st, 2009. Is it possible for me to travel to India in this month (July 09) and come back after a week? I will be trying to re enter on an OPT with F1 visa, but my record will also say H1-B approved and valid from Oct 1, 09. Is it a COS conflict? Can I easily re enter? Will I have to surrender the I94 (approval for H1B) which I got with my I797? In all, is it safe to travel to India?


Answer
Hi Sachin,

It is OK to travel on unexpired F1 visa stamp. I recommend that you inform the DSO (also known as the international student advisor) at your university so that your I-20 can be updated for travel. You should also have maintained your student status since starting your studies (by being a full-time student, by training in OPT in a field for which your studies in the U.S. are helpful, by there not being a gap of more than 90 days after obtaining OPT before you started training under OPT, etc.) Please check these issues with the DSO prior to traveling.

Since the H1B takes effect on October 01, and this is the "latest action" by the USCIS, you should still automatically be in H1B status on October 01 even if you travel and enter on F1 visa status prior to October 01.

Regards,
Ajay K. Arora, Esq.
www.h1b1.com

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Ajay K. Arora

Expertise

I can answer your questions on employment and family-based U.S. Immigration Law. Expertise in various immigration categories includes the following: H-1B, L-1, O-1, PERM (labor certification), EB-1 to EB-3 I-140 employment-based immigrant petitions, family or fiance(e) or spousal sponsorship, visa extension or change of status, adjustment of status, naturalization (citizenship), etc.

Experience

Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

Organizations
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) full member since 1995.

Education/Credentials
Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

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