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Immigration Issues/Changing Visa Status to F1

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Question
Hi,

I am presently on H4 visa and am a Masters student with a partial tuition waiver.I want to change my visa status to F1 to avail assistantship and as such full tuition waiver. And also OPT. My husband is into green card processing and has filed I140.My H4 expires in Jan 2011 and we are still waiting for the H4 extension approval(applied in Aug 2010).

I have the following questions:

1)If my F1 is rejected, can I still be on my H4?

2) Can I file for F1 even when my H4 extension is pending? Or should I wait till H4 gets processed and then file for F1?

3) Since my husband is into green card processing, how can I prove my conversion to F1 justified? Is an assistantship offer and wanting to avail OPT good enough reasons?

I would highly appreciate if you could answer my query.

Answer
Hi,

Yes, if the application to change status to F1 is denied, you will continue to maintain H4 status.

If application to change status to F1 is filed after your current H4 status has expired (and prior to H4 extension approval) the USCIS will not grant change of status to F1 until it first approves H4 extension.

An immigrant petition has been filed by your husband's employer, but you probably do have an intent to immigrate to the U.S., and as you may be aware F visa status does not allow for intention to immigrate to the U.S. As a practical matter, change of status to F1 is likely to be approved by the USCIS on the basis that you want to be a full-time student (although H4 visa status allows for studies as well), and that an assistantship allowable in F1 is not permissible in H4, but if you travel outside the U.S., the U.S. Consulate would probably not issue you an F1 visa stamp to enter the U.S.

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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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