Frequently Asked Questions - F-1 Visa

F-1 OPT Requirements
1. How do I apply for F-1 OPT? 2. How do I get a 17-month STEM extension of my post-completion OPT?

1. Once you receive a recommendation for post-completion OPT from your Designated School Official (DSO) to pursue OPT, you must apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) with USCIS within 30 days. Additionally, you may file up to 90 days prior to your program end-date and not later than 60 days after your program end date. 

SEVIS Terminated
I am an Indian citizen, in USA on my F-1 via. I have completed my masters degree and my application for Employment Authorization was denied due to the fact that my SEVIS was terminated due to the complete negligence of the International Students office in my university. The denial notice says that I need to submit a form I-290B petition along with supporting documents and an affidavit. What documents should I attach and should I consider suing my International students office. I am not in a position(financially) to sue them right now because I was a student all this time.

Generally speaking, you will need to demonstrate that the termination was erroneous. Ask your DSO for a letter explaining that. In addition, you can add your own statement/affidavit explaining the circumstances. Your

Form I-20 and Work Authorization
How will an unstamped Form I-20 affect work authorization?

A student should have no negative impact on off-campus employment if s/he has the USCIS-issued Employment Authorization Document and a Form I-20.

F-1 or F-2 Extension—Leaving Country Prior to Visa Expiration
I have two more years to complete a Ph.D. with a valid I-20, but my Visa expires in August 2013. I want to visit India in June-July 2013. If I come back in July, do I need to apply for F-1 visa (and F-2 visa for my family) extension? Would I have problem in reentry if I have one more month of valid F-1/F-2 visa?

You will need a new visa only if you return after August 2013. Check with your DSO to make sure you have all the appropriate requirements completed.

Two-year home residency requirement
Can I obtain an F-1 if I have a two-year home residency requirement on my earlier J-?

Yes.  F visa is NOT forbidden.  But you will not be able to get an H-1, L-1 or green card unless you address the HRR through compliance or waiver.

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
As part of our Curricular Practical Training (CPT), I completed my summer internship with a company on 2nd of the September. So the formal procedure for extending the work is to apply again for the new CPT but somehow my second CPT delayed and got approved on 28th of September. Between 3rd and 28th for around three weeks, company asked me to work and I did. At the time I was not aware of the consequences but now I am in a great trouble. What do I do?

You have two choices that I can see: apply for reinstatement or go outside USA and reapply for a visa.

Out of F-1 visa status
I just found out a couple of days back by my international advisor that I was out of status for two years now for taking classes in a community and transferring credits and it made me a part time student..He suggested I left the country after the semester and come back with the new I-20 and letter of recommendation he gives me. And I also I have been married to a US citizen for 2 months. Is it safe to go out of the country?

You can just apply for your green card. Do not travel outside USA until you get your green card (or travel only as advised by your lawyers).

RN F-1 visa
I have just received my BSN and I'm currently awaiting certification from California. Will actively look for job once certification is approved. Have F-1 visa and just received OPT for a year. Can I qualify for "green card for nurses" after OPT period is over if already in country and having matriculated in the US? Any other recourse for permanency?

You will have several years of wait in the green card process.

I130/485 for wife
I will become a US citizen in Jan. 2010. My wife is an F-1 student but will graduate on 12/12/09. Is there any problems if I file I-130/485 for her be the end of her grace period(2/10/10)?

I do not see any problem if the 130/485 is filed during the 60 days following the F-1. In any case, she can and should apply for OPT.

MAVNI to F-1
I came US in f1 visa and i was maintaining my status till I was enlisted in US army through the mavni program and due to enlistment I way authorize by college to terminate my i-20 so that I can go for basic training. But I was discharge from the army(uncharacterized). Is it now possible to regain my f1 status.

You need to get back with your International Students Office and see what they recommend.

Travel overseas on F-1
I am an international student on F-1 from France, I just finish my semester and I am now transferring to a new school starting classes early October. Since I have almost a month off, I had thought once I get my new I-20, about going back home in France for a couple of weeks, but when I said that to my new school advisor, he suggested that I shouldn't travel overseas until the thanksgiving break comes and after classes start, however; I am not sure that this information is correct. I thought that once I have my new I-20, I could go home and come back without any problem. Should I go or not?

I do not know the details of your case or your SEVIS status. If your International Students Advisor is experienced in immigration law (most of them are), you should take their advice but ask them to tell you the reason.

Applying for Green Card while on Student (F-1) Visa
I am in F1 OPT and did not got selected in any of the H1B lottery(in all 3 chances). Current OPT ends on 25 Jan 2020. My company is asking if they can apply for Green card for me. I am working as a lead engineer and responsible for P&L of my department. Will you suggest me to go ahead with GC process without H1B?.
The New Restriction on 12 Months of CPT OPT Combined – – Consequences of H-1B Denial on OPT
I am currently on F1 visa and working on CPT. My H1 petition was picked in the lottery this year and status changed to RFE 2 weeks ago. I wanted to know if August 9 unlawful presence rule applies in my case i.e; if I get a response for RFE after Feb 4 2019, that completes 180 days.
Starting Business While on Student Visa
I am from India, and I am currently doing my masters in the U.S. My goal is to build my startup as I m doing my masters. Therefore, before coming to the U.S, I have incorporated a C Corp in Delaware with me and my brother as the owners. I don't want to violate my F1 status, therefore, even though I have incorporated the C Corp, We are not actively doing any work since I am not sure working on my startup in University will violate my status. I have tried getting in touch with International student services but I have not gotten a clear response on how I can run my startup as an international student while being on F1.
Jobs that Qualify for an H-1B Visa
I am an international student and recently working for an organization. Please let me know what job title, position, salary, and other requirements I need to get for applying for working visa. Since my organization is really willing to help me and is ready to adjust with my position title and other things. Education: M.A Global Development and Peace, specialization - International Political Economy and Development
Change of Status to Student F-1 While Green Card is in Process
My question is about switching from an H-1 to F-1 visa. My six years of H-1 expires in March 2018. I have received an offer for a Phd. at Stanford (starting Aug. 2018) that happens to be one of my dream universities. My employer applied for a PERM back in August 2017, it has not been approved yet. Does the filing of PERM interfere with getting an F-1 visa. I know you’ve answered this question in the past regarding an I-140 and I understand that my chances with just a PERM are slightly better ?
Can a Green Card be Started on F-1 Status?
I am currently on F1 in OPT status and working for Employer A, my Employer A filed for H1b this year. and I am currently waiting for my H1b approval Approval. Can my Employer start my green card process when I am in F1 status?
Changing from H-1 to F-1 and back to H-1
1. My H-1B is going to end in 2019. Is it legal to change my H-1B to F-1 after that? 2. In case I get admission to a college, and finish my studies within 12-16 months, can I again start with a new H-1B and how many years will I get on that?
F-1 Student Directly Filing for a Green Card
I am currently working as a research fellow on F-1 OPT and my employer is considering filing for EB-1. My question is, can the transition be done from F-1 OPT to EB-1 and in case my application does not go through can I come back to renew my F-1 status to continue a Ph.D. in the future?

There is nothing in law that stops an F-1 student from directly filing for a green card. But, exhibiting immigrant intent while on an F-1 visa can raise some issues that should be discussed and planned for with your lawyers.

STEM OPT Extension for Consulting or Staffing companies
Can I apply for STEM OPT, if I work for a E-Verified staffing agency (similar to Aerotek, Kelly services) on contract basis that is related to my STEM field of education at a client location ?. (I along with staffing agency will fill out I983 form) I read online that USCIS has regulated "Certain Types of Employment" for STEM OPT in this new rule. So am worried that working for a staffing company at a client company location is therefore invalid :/ ((If so, I think then all the staffing companies would suffer as well)) I have attached hereby the snippet from Federal Register: """"""There are several aspects of the STEM OPT extension that do not make it apt for certain types of arrangements, including multiple employer arrangements, sole proprietorships, employment through “temp” agencies, employment through consulting firm arrangements that provide labor for hire, and other relationships that do not constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship. One concern arises from the difficulty individuals employed through such arrangements would face in complying with, among other things, the training plan requirements of this rule. Another concern is the potential for visa fraud arising from such arrangements. Furthermore, evaluating the merits of such arrangements would be difficult and create additional burdens for DSOs. Accordingly, DHS clarifies that students cannot qualify for STEM OPT extensions unless they will be bona fide employees of the employer signing the Training Plan, and the employer that signs the Training Plan must be the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience. DHS recognizes that this outcome is a departure from SEVP's April 23, 2010 Policy Guidance (1004-03).""""" It would be really helpful if you could explain what the above paragraph means.
Changing Back to F-1 Student Status After Filing for Green Card
I was a student on F-1 (MS), and I got my H-1B two years ago. My company has started GC process and already got my I-140 approved. But I want to go back to school this fall (law school), which means I'll have to change my status back to F-1 again.
Green card pending conversion to and from H-4 EAD – H-1; Filing green card while in F-1 status
1) My wife is currently on H-1B. I am also on H-1B with approved I-140. My wife's employer is willing to Start GC process for her. I understand that GC is for future employment. My wife is willing to Move to H-4 EAD. Say my wife's employer initiated her GC process when she is on H-1. Once the perm is filed by wife's employer, will she be able to convert from H-1 to H-4 EAD. Does this has any affect on her ongoing GC process. Is it safe for some one to changes status from H-4 to H-1 and H-1 to H-4 in between PERM and I-140 process. 2) My brother is on F-1 in OPT status. Can my brother's employer start GC process for him while he is on OPT. I have some knowledge of the complications involved in Starting GC process on F-1. The main reason behind this question is to reserve a spot for GC process. That way my brother can get a earliest priority date, his employer would start GC process 2 years down the road when he is on H-1B. What is the safe route for some one like my brother to get a earliest priority. Do they have to wait till H-1B to get in to GC process Queue

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

https://youtu.be/H_VV9kV_lOg?t=65 

Withdrawing one pending petition (H-4) when another is (F-1) approved
My H-4 to F-1 is approved on October 08 2015. My Spouse Employer filed H-4 extension for me which is currently in Process. We sent this H-4 withdraw letter and it has been reached USCIS (Vermont Service Center) on Oct 13th 2015. Could you please let us know approx when do USCIS withdraw this H-4 extension?. If by mistake USCIS approves this H-4 Extension, can we fight with USCIS to withdraw this H-4 extension?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question. 

https://youtu.be/F0YZD8zWm88?t=72

J-2 or J-1 with 212(e) HRR converting to F-1 student
I want to pursue MS Degree from US and presently I am living in the US on J-2 visa. My wife is working as a Post doctoral Fellow here on J-1 visa. We both are subject to two years Home Residency Requirement. My concern is that how can I change my visa status from J-2 to F-1. Do I need to get a waiver before applying -F1 visa?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

https://youtu.be/ZvUVIGTM-Kk?t=520

H-4 EAD Expediting Possible?
My wife is eligible for H-4 EAD, I know there is no formal way for expediting the process but I've seen a clause in F-1 (OPT) EAD process called "financial loss" and if you've got a job and submit the offer letter while you're waiting for an EAD to get approved, they process your case faster and you get the EAD much sooner than expected. Does this rule apply for H4-EAD as well?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.

Sister's Green Card
I just got my citizenship and now wants to apply for my younger sister, who is alone in India. I lost my parents few years back so she is all alone but she is above 18. Is there any way I as a brother and only relationship here in United States apply for her Green card in such a manner that she can be here in United States as soon as possible.

Siblings Green Card is like  planting mango trees, in India we used to have saying that mango trees takes so  long to bring fruit that one generation plants the tree and the second generation eats the mangoes. It's kind of that for sibling cases, it takes 13 years for the Green Card to come through and there is no way we can expedite that Green Card.

Immigration Impact of Crimes, Misdemeanor Conviction and Petty Offense Exception
In 2008 while I was working in gas station I was caught selling alcohol to minor. I was in student visa at that time and was getting paid in cash. This was unauthorized work. I was not arrested but went to the court and the final verdict of case came to attempt to sell alcohol to minor which falls into misdemeanor C. Right now I am in H-1B and I have filed my green card through my employment. My Labor and I-140 is approved and waiting for my PD date to be current to apply I-485. So what are my chances to get I-485 approved having that case in my past? I have got mixed answers from the attorneys I have contacted so far. Some said I should be fine and some said if USCIS ask about my work authorization at that time then my petition will be denied due to violating my F-1 status. Please let me know what you think. Will USCIS go further to ask that since you are selling alcohol on F-1, then you must have violated immigration law by being employed without work authorization?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp4B1_qhvtM#t=2538

 

FAQ Transcript

Can I Travel Back On F-1 Visa If My Reinstatement Is Denied?
Do I have to get a new visa stamp for my F-1 or can I travel back using the same F-1 visa stamp if my reinstatement is denied? I fell out of status because I registered for less than a full course load.

In my view, it is unsafe to travel on an existing visa after being out of status. If they become aware of your status problems, CBP, upon returning, can turn you back at the airport, or worse, even formally deny you admission thereby laying a five-year bar against reentry.

How to Enter The USA to Start A Business And Then Continue
I am planning to start an IT company in USA which is registered in India. Currently I am planning to travel on B1/B2 visa for my company set up. Can I transfer my visa status from B1/B2 to L1 if required within USA? What are the possible chances of success? Kindly you please suggest me the best way.

There are several issues that should be examined before you can make an informed decision.

1.  B visa or ESTA does not allow you to “work:”

Reentry for F-1 Nonimmigrants Traveling Outside the United States
What are the basic requirements for an F-1 to reenter the United States after traveling abroad on pleasure or personal business?

This section of the FAQ applies to continuing F-1 students who travel outside the United States for five months or less.