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Immigration Issues/F1 to H4 or F1 THEN H1

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Question
Hello,
I am currently working on OPT which expires on 16th Feb 2012; My employer will file for my H1 after May 2012 & i will be able to work after oct 1st 2012 on H1 visa.
So my question is, in the mean time for the period from FEB 2012 to september 30th 2012 which visa should I tranfer to? F1 ( by getting transfer to another school) or H4 visa? My husband is on H1 visa. If i transfer to H4 for couple months do I have to leave the country for Stamping?
Or its better to get F1 tranfered to another school or different program? Becoz my employer will file for my H1 b in 2012.
Thank you.

Answer
Hi,

If your employer files an H1B petition no more than 60 days after OPT expiration (there is a 60 day grace period in F1 status) on Feb. 16, 2012, then you can remain legally in the U.S. in the interim and start working for the sponsoring employer on Oct. 01, 2012. Since the employer can file an H1B petition at the beginning of April (due to visa cap issues, it cannot be filed  earlier), I do not see why the employer would deliberately wait to file the H1B petition only in May, 2012.

Alternatively, you can either extend F1 status or change to H4 status as long as the appropriate application is filed no later than Feb. 12, 2012 (I do not recommend relying on the 60-day grace period in this circumstance). The advantage of F1 is that you have status independent of your husband, and thus if your husband no longer has H1B status, your F1 status will not be impacted. The disadvantage of F1 status is that you have to continue to be a full-time student and pay tuition. In either case, you will not be required to depart the U.S., and an H1B petition can be filed subsequently requesting change of status from either F1 or H4 status to H1B.

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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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