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Frequently Asked Questions - F Visa

STEM (2)

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The term often refers to the Designated Degree program requiring a degree in one of these fields of study. STEM programs, in recognition of their importance to US interests, are awarded special consideration in certain areas under US immigration laws.

  1. Grounds for Rejection for B and F Visa
  2. Handling of the Forms I-20 and DS-2019 by USCIS ELIS
  3. Endorsed Form I-20
  4. Form I-20 and Applying for State or Federal Benefits
  5. Form I-20 and Work Authorization
  6. Form I-20 valid without a stamp
  7. SEVIS Form I-20
  8. I-20 Terminated
  9. F-1 or F-2 Extension—Leaving Country Prior to Visa Expiration
  10. H-1B petition and Quota
  11. F-2 to H-4 Visa
  12. COS from H-4 to F-1 visa
  13. H1-B to F-1
  14. I got my BSN in the US
  15. My spouse working illegally
  16. F-1 reinstatement
  17. Lost old EAD card for another OPT application
  18. Student visa
  19. F1 visa to business visa or H1/L1
  20. F1 and OPT Expired but 60 days not up
  21. Need information
  22. Status change from F1 to H1b
  23. Visiting Canada on a student visa
  24. F1 visa to H1-b
  25. B-1/B-2 visa to F-2 visa
  26. F1 student (wife of a GC holder) - pregnant
  27. Time Frame for Green Card
  28. Confused - B-1 to F-1 change
  29. Student Visa
  30. Travel during 90 days of OPT without Job
  31. Sponsoring daughter over 21 on F1 status
  32. F-2 visa
  33. Working after studying
  34. F1 Visa Expired on OPT
  35. Social Security Card -- F-1 visa
  36. F-1 working off-campus
  37. F1 and starting a business
  38. F1 visa denial
  39. Traveling on OPT-F1
  40. May B-1/B-2, E-1, E-2, F-1, H-1, J-1, L-1 O-1 visa or TN holder apply for green card?
  41. Visa after B-1 to F-1 conversion
  42. F-1 visa stamp, H-4 pending
  43. From H-4 to F-1
  44. Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence
  45. Can B visa holder convert to F or other status?
  46. Can F/J holders apply for green card?
  47. Turning 21 - do I have to convert to F-1 from H-4?
  48. Do advanced degrees help in marriage-based green card?
  49. Can H-4/F-2 holders perform volunteer work?
  50. F-1 OPT - No Job
  51. B visa while GC pending or similar situation
  52. Using B visa with F-1
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. 

2. If you have completed a qualifying Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degree, and you are currently in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree, you may be eligible to apply for a 17-month STEM extension of your  post-completion OPT. For a STEM degree to qualify, it must appear on the STEM Designated Degree Program List<. If you want to apply for a STEM extension, you must file for an extension of your EAD with USCIS before your current OPT work authorization expires. USCIS recommends that you file 90 days before the expiration of your OPT.   

For further information visit the USCIS page on F-1 OPT requirements<

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 DSO should help with all this.

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.

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. 

2. If you have completed a qualifying Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degree, and you are currently in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree, you may be eligible to apply for a 17-month STEM extension of your  post-completion OPT. For a STEM degree to qualify, it must appear on the STEM Designated Degree Program List<. If you want to apply for a STEM extension, you must file for an extension of your EAD with USCIS before your current OPT work authorization expires. USCIS recommends that you file 90 days before the expiration of your OPT.   

For further information visit the USCIS page on F-1 OPT requirements<

OPT to H-1B

I am currently on my Post-completion OPT. I was recently hired as an IT by a company which agreed to sponsor my H-1B. My OPT expires on January 2013. I've done my Associate Degree in Computer Science. Also, I have BS in Computer Science but from foreign country. Seven year experience in IT.I had my BS evaluated recently. It is equivalent to US Bachelors Degree in Computer Science Computer Technology.

Q1: I will have a gap of 3 months before April 1. How to maintain my status?

Q2: I am under STEM not with my US AAS but with my foreign BS degree. Can I extend my OPT with my evaluated diploma?

A1. You can consider going back to school or B-1/B-2 status. There is information on our blog on B-1/B-2 to maintain status.


A2. STEM OPT extension is only for US bachelor's or above. Foreign degree does not help in that.

Change of Visa From H-1B to F-2

I am currently on H-1B visa. Is there a way I can change the visa to F-2 without going back to India? My fiancé is here on F-1 visa and this visa is valid till Sep 2014.

You must be married to the F-1 holder in order to be eligible for F-2 status.  Fiances do not qualify for derivative status.

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.

F-2 to H-4 Visa

I am on F-2 visa and it is valid up to 1 July 2012. My wife already filed H-1B in Apr 1st week.I am also planning to file my H-1B. So can I directly apply H-1B or fist apply H-4 and then after apply H-1B. How will it work?

If you are subject to H-1 quota, to get status within USA, you must maintain status till September 30. So, it appears you may have to apply for H-4 as well as H-1. Your lawyers can help you figure out the timing. Applying for H-4 now should not be an issue. But move quickly. You can file for H-4 online. Fairly easy.

Handling of the Forms I-20 and DS-2019 by USCIS ELIS

How does USCIS ELIS handle the Forms I-20 and DS-2019?

USCIS will accept a photocopy or scanned electronic version of a valid Form I-20 or DS-2019. If USCIS needs to review the original document, USCIS will ask you to provide the original document. USCIS will adjudicate the request electronically. Although the student will receive the approval notice (Form I-797) through the mail, the scanned copy of the Form I-20 will not be stamped and returned. As of Aug. 10, 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no longer provides admission stamps on Forms I-20 and DS-2019 for prospective and returning international students and scholars (traveling with F, M, and J visas) seeking admission to the United States. This change makes CBP processes consistent with USCIS’s recent change to stop stamping the Form I-20.

Endorsed Form I-20

What is an endorsed Form I-20?

The Form I-20 is endorsed when it is signed by a DSO, which allows the student to travel internationally or apply for employment authorization.

Form I-20 and Applying for State or Federal Benefits

How will an unstamped Form I-20 affect applying for state or federal benefits?

An unstamped Form I-20 should have no negative impact on applications for state or federal benefits, including driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards. USCIS is actively communicating with Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) to ensure their understanding that a Form I-20 does not require a stamp to be valid. International students and scholars who encounter issues with their state or federal benefit applications should contact the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at (703) 603-3400 orSEVP [at] dhs [dot] gov.

Form I-20 valid without a stamp

Is a Form I-20 valid without a stamp?

Yes. A stamp is not required on the Form I-20. Some state and federal agencies require foreign students to present a Form I-20 to identify the end date for the student’s program. However, a stamp is not required for this purpose.

SEVIS Form I-20

What is the SEVIS Form I-20?

Foreign exchange students will receive a Form I-20 from the DSO of the educational institution that accepted the student to study in the United States. That student must have a Form I-20 to apply for a visa, to enter the United States, and to apply for benefits.

I-20 Terminated

1.I am in India and my I-20 has been terminated. What should I do to reenter in the United States?

2.Can I reenter the United States with an I-20 issued by a private university for a full time course and not by public university?

1. You will have to look for another school/visa.
2. As long as the school is authorized to issue I-20, you can apply for an F-1 visa. But make sure the school is not running into problems like Tri-Valley University did.

Grounds for Rejection for B and F Visa

I have done my masters in USA and stayed there for 4 years and came back to India. My visa got over on Jan 2013, and I plan to pursue my MBA in USA and went for the visa interview twice it got rejected, and now my friends and family are suggesting me to apply for B-2 visa. What should I do?

The grounds for rejection for B and F visa< are usually the "immigrant intent<." If indeed that is the reason for your visa rejection, I do not see any difference between B and F applications.

Handling of the Forms I-20 and DS-2019 by USCIS ELIS

How does ">USCIS ELIS handle the Forms I-20 and DS-2019?

USCIS will accept a photocopy or scanned electronic version of a valid Form I-20 or DS-2019. If USCIS needs to review the original document, USCIS will ask you to provide the original document. USCIS will adjudicate the request electronically. Although the student will receive the approval notice (Form I-797) through the mail, the scanned copy of the Form I-20 will not be stamped and returned. As of Aug. 10, 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no longer provides admission stamps on Forms I-20 and DS-2019 for prospective and returning international students and scholars (traveling with F, M, and J visas) seeking admission to the United States. This change makes CBP processes consistent with USCIS’s recent change to stop stamping the Form I-20.

Endorsed Form I-20

What is an endorsed ">Form I-20?

The Form I-20 is endorsed when it is signed by a DSO, which allows the student to travel internationally or apply for employment authorization.

Form I-20 and Applying for State or Federal Benefits

How will an unstamped ">Form I-20 affect applying for state or federal benefits?

An unstamped Form I-20 should have no negative impact on applications for state or federal benefits, including driver’s licenses and state-issued identification cards. USCIS is actively communicating with Departments of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) to ensure their understanding that a Form I-20 does not require a stamp to be valid. International students and scholars who encounter issues with their state or federal benefit applications should contact the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at (703) 603-3400 orSEVP [at] dhs [dot] gov.

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.

Form I-20 valid without a stamp

Is a ">Form I-20 valid without a stamp?

Yes. A stamp is not required on the Form I-20. Some state and federal agencies require foreign students to present a Form I-20 to identify the end date for the student’s program. However, a stamp is not required for this purpose.

SEVIS Form I-20

What is the ">SEVIS ">Form I-20?

Foreign exchange students will receive a Form I-20 from the DSO of the educational institution that accepted the student to study in the United States. That student must have a Form I-20 to apply for a visa, to enter the United States, and to apply for benefits.

I-20 Terminated

1.I am in India and my I-20 has been terminated. What should I do to reenter in the United States?

2.Can I reenter the United States with an I-20 issued by a private university for a full time course and not by public university?

1. You will have to look for another school/visa.
2. As long as the school is authorized to issue I-20, you can apply for an F-1 visa. But make sure the school is not running into problems like Tri-Valley University did.

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.

H-1B petition and Quota

I am in the US in F-1 status. I just received a job offer and the company is ready to sponsor my H-1B. When can we apply for my H-1B visa?

If the employer is exempt from the quota, they may apply at any time. If they are subject to the quota, they can file the H-1B petition to reach USCIS no earlier than April 1, 2013, with a requested start date of employment no earlier than October 1, 2013.

F-2 to H-4 Visa

I am on F-2 visa and it is valid up to 1 July 2012. My wife already filed H-1B in Apr 1st week.I am also planning to file my H-1B. So can I directly apply H-1B or fist apply H-4 and then after apply H-1B. How will it work?

If you are subject to H-1 quota, to get status within USA, you must maintain status till September 30. So, it appears you may have to apply for H-4 as well as H-1. Your lawyers can help you figure out the timing. Applying for H-4 now should not be an issue. But move quickly. You can file for H-4 online. Fairly easy.

COS from H-4 to F-1 visa

I want to change my status from H4 to F1 and assuming that it would take approx 3-4 months. If I apply for COS today, I make a trip to France (I am French citizen) next week, can I re-enter US on my valid H4 visa? Or do I have to wait until F1 is approved, get it stamped in Paris and then re-enter US?

You do NOT need USCIS approval to apply for F-1 visa. Just apply for F-1 visa during your visit to France. Ask the school to explain the formalities to you. By the way, if you leave USA during a COS request, the COS is deemed abandoned.


 

H1-B to F-1

I am currently in US on H1-B and wanting to switch to F-1? How long does this process usually take? Is there an option for adjustment of status or do I have to leave the country to get the F-1 stamp?

If you are maintaining H-1 status on the date your H-1 to F-1 change of status application is received by USCIS, you can apply for H-1 to F-1 change of status within USA. Check with your school. They should be able to guide you.

I got my BSN in the US

I got my BSN in the US, passed NCLEX and got my employment authorization. I am currently on F1 visa, and working at a nursing home. I live in MN and it was extremely hard to get a job. How do I apply for a green card and what role will my employer play in this process? Is it going to cost my employer any money? And how long is it going to take to get a green card?

Your employer's role in this process is limited. You can pay for all expenses yourself. The length of the process is determined by the country of birth.

My spouse working illegally

I am a F-1 student. My spouse is on F-2 visa and he is not supposed to work. If he works and it is found out, I know he will be expelled. How about my responsibility? Will I be also accused and be expelled?

You are not responsible for your spouse's illegal employment. I don't see how the govt. can hold otherwise.

F-1 reinstatement

I am a F-1 student from India. I was declared out of status by the college as I dropped below 12 credit hours this semester. I had a sprain in my ankle, but i did not visited any doctor for such small thing, and as a result i don't have any medical proof to back my story in reinstatement. I am confused weather this reason (ankle sprain) will be sufficient for my reinstatement application to be accepted, or weather i should try re-entry with a new I-20; and if re-entry is a better option, from which country? (my home country(India) or any other country such as Canada, or Mexico).

As far as I know, reinstatement requires exceptional circumstances. A sprain may not be it.

Lost old EAD card for another OPT application

I am currently a PhD student and preparing for application for ">OPT. Previously in 2004 upon earning BS degree, I got

">OPT<

and worked for a summer. In preparation for a new OPT, I realized that I need to provide copy of front and back of the previous ">EAD card. However, I cannot find the card. I just found copy of I-765, I-94, and I-20 for the previous OPT.If I submit without copy of the previous EAD card, will I be likely to be denied for the new OPT?
Also, what is the safest way to deal with this situation.

First, discuss the possible solutions with your international students office. Second, call USCIS customer service and ask for solutions. Third, provide whatever you have with a full explanation to USCIS when filing the new OPT.

Student visa

I have student visa and want to come to the US earlier than that 30 days allowed period of time.Probably one month earlier.Can I enter on visa waiver and before school starts re-enter the US by going to mexico or canada to activate the student visa? (which i was told i need to do).if i do so,do i need to buy one way or round trip ticket since i do not need to go nack to europe to re enter the US and how do i explain it to the immigration officer that i only have one way ticket? a while ago i learned i need to obtain change of classification and fill form I539 which takes months.is that so?

There are several issues here and the outcome is uncertain, so I would advise against it. Your idea of entering on visa waiver and then later "activating" the F-1 through reentry should work, but I am concerned about how CBP will view your entry without a return ticket. Of course, you must always tell the truth and the truth appears to favor you, but I have no clue how a CBP officer would view this entry on Visa Waiver.

F1 visa to business visa or H1/L1

Which visa is easy to apply. Is it business visa or H-1 visa?

If you qualify, H and L visas are certainly more secure than an F visa.

F1 and OPT Expired but 60 days not up

I have a Bachelors degree and a Masters degree from the US. My ">EAD from my masters degree recently expired and the 60 days is almost up. I dont want to go back to school or go back to my home country. If i do find an employer willing to file for a green card based on EB2, will have to go back to school to maintain my status while the green card is in process or will my status change once the paper work is turned in?

This is a common misunderstanding. Starting a PERM-based green card does not give you the right to stay in USA.

Need information

I entered USA on F1 visa with my married name. As i got divorced a week before flying to USA wasn't able to change the last name. Now i am graduating soon and wish to obtain certificate in my maiden name. So i got my last name changed in passport from Indian Consulate San Francisco. But in my new passport there is no visa. So what should i do? The consulate and my school says that whenever i go back home i need to get a new visa. So is that true? Will there be any problem in going back India for summer vacation and getting a visa again? Is it possible to get visa here?

Generally speaking, getting a new visa endorsement should not be a problem. You cannot get a visa within USA.

Status change from F1 to H1b

I got F1 in Jan 2009. Got H1b approval in May 2009. H1b approval means just got I797B form. I preferred to join Fall 2009 semester in University and came in USA in Jul 2009, got I94 with F1 and continued to fulfill F1 obligations.Now I want to change my status from f1 to H1b, and its seems my employer needs to file a petition with form I-129, will that means it should be applied April 2010 and all the balloting process and I will be able to start work after 1st Oct 2010. Will my existing unused H1b approval be able to be used and to exempt cap and and all things required? And can I get I797

You are cap exempt and should be able to change status OR get H-1 visa stamping right away. No waiting till 1 Oct.

Visiting Canada on a student visa

My boyfriend is here in the US on a student visa. He graduates at the end of the week. He has put in his application for ">OPT and it is pending. We had plans to travel to Canada to visit his family for the holidays but now are worried that he will not be able to get back into the US since the student visa expires and the

">OPT<

has not been issued yet. Do we have any other options?

Get together with the school and tell them the visit is only to Canada. Also contact CBP. Once OPT is approved, travel to Canada and back to USA for less than 30 days MAY be an option without a visa. This is referred to as "automatic visa revalidation." You can do a search for that term on http://travel.state.gov<

F1 visa to H1-b

I just completed my undergraduate degree and my F1 status does not expire till May 2010. My ">OPT application is in process and still pending with a requested start date of 10th February 2010. However, I have found an employer who is willing to sponsor my H1B visa. So here are my questions. i)Can my employer file for my H1B visa right now, even though I am interim

">OPT<

application process? ii) When can I start working and getting paid from my employer? Essentially, I want to start working and I am wondering what is the fastest way to do so.

Since the H-1 quota is over, OPT is your best option as far as I can tell.

B-1/B-2 visa to F-2 visa

I came to US by b1/b2 visa, now I want to change it to f2. My wife (we got married 4 months ago, when i came to the states) is studying here. We have a baby whom was born here 3 months ago. Now I can't go back to my mother land to get a visa, because my wife doesn't have a visa but just valid I-20 form. Do you think I should apply for a status change here or should we go to Canada to get visas? What is more safe for us?

There are several issues here that should require you consult with a lawyer. For instance, USCIS does not like it when people enter USA on a short-term visa and get married or try converting to a long term status (like F-2).

F1 student (wife of a GC holder) - pregnant

I'm on F1 and got pregnant. Can I take a break for sometime and get back to studies? My husband is a GC holder..well we got married after he got GC. Now can he apply for a family based GC for me, I kind of know that it takes atleast 4 yrs for me to get GC...but just wanted to make sure that he can apply while I am on F1

For various reasons, I usually see no point in applying for a green card through a permanent resident spouse while you are on an F-1. About taking a break, the F status requires you to attend school full time unless there is a medical necessity. You need to discuss that with your international students advisor.

Time Frame for Green Card

I am a college freshman student on an F-1 visa and am thinking about applying for green card, as I have also completed 2 years of HS in the US. Any idea how long the green card process may take and should I apply already for green card now in order to possibly get it by the time I graduate college?

The time frame for employment based green cards depends upon two things: your country of chargeability (usually the country you were born in) and the category of green card through which you apply: EB1, EB2, EB3.

Confused - B-1 to F-1 change

I came to the US on a B1 visa got it changed to F1-->finsihed 4 years of undergrad moved on to 2 years of Masters(both in engineering). I am yet to apply for ">OPT. Is this going to affect my chances due to the entry method; also what will happen if I get a company that want to sponspor me. Would you advise me to go back home to rectify my visa situation. Because the B1 visa I entered the country with is expired, I haven't travelled out of the country. What would you suggest I proceed about this.I really would love to go back home to visit but scared the consulate will deny me.
Confused as ever.

You should be able to get your OPT and even an H-1 and a green card. But if ever you want to travel outside USA, make sure you discuss the facts of the case with a competent lawyer. You have to make sure you have a good chance of getting a

Student Visa

I'm a H.S Senior student, I have studied all my school year in the U.S but Iam a citizen of Mexico, can I receive a student visa while in the U.S?

Not if you are in USA without status.

Travel during 90 days of OPT without Job

My ">OPT started on September 16th, 2009 and I don't have job or job offer yet. But I need to travel outside the USA for 1 week. I talked to the International Adviser of my University and she told me its fine to travel no problem. I don't still feel safe. Can anybody answer whether I will be allowed to enter or not? I have other documents.

This is what ICE says:
2.O.

Sponsoring daughter over 21 on F1 status

I'm a permanent resident and I would like to know if I could sponsor my daughter who is over 21 and is currently on F1 status. If so, would she be allowed to stay in the U.S. if her visa expires during processing?
How long will this process take.

I am assuming you are asking me whether a green card holder can apply for a green card for an over-21 child. The answer is yes, as long she is unmarried, you can. But she cannot stay in USA based only upon the fact that you have applied for her.


Check out the Visa Bulletin: http://www.immigration.com/visa-bulletin<


 

F-2 visa

Can I work in the campus of the school with F-2 visa?

I do not believe F-2 visa holders have any option for work while they are in F-2 status.

Working after studying

After studying a 1 year graduate course in the US. Would I qualify for a work permit? Or would I still have to find an employer to sponsor me first before I could apply for the work permit?

There are several different kinds of work authorizations like OPT, CPT, etc. Contact your International Students Office.

F1 Visa Expired on OPT

I got a 2 year visa for my Masters and my Visa was expired on May 31st 2009, I converted to ">OPT from June 1st, 2009. I am on

">OPT<

and I do have a job now. I got an emergency now to go to India. Is it possible for me to reenter United States.

You will need to get the visa stamping done again.

Social Security Card -- F-1 visa

I currently have both an B1/B2 and F1 visa. I got into a graduate program at a university in Teaneck, New Jersey. What are the possibilities of getting a job off campus and would i be able to get a social security card..? What are the issues i have to deal with in such cases?

You need to discuss your options with your International Students Office. Ask them also about curricular practical training, where you are allowed to work for credits.

F-1 working off-campus

I have a small query that F-1 student are allowed to work on-campus(20 hr) and for off-campus they need work permit but if they solve quetsions over internet and get paid by someone outside US then is it legal? or does it require any permit? In other words if some student (F1) provide support to some company outside USA (over internet) and get paid is it legal?

I do not believe there is any law that specifically addresses this issue, but I believe all work done on US soil is likely to be considered illegal.

F1 and starting a business

I was just wondering what the laws say about an F-1 student working for the company that he co-founded when he's on ">OPT. Suppose that I start up a new business while I'm still a full time student, I can't draw a salary from it but I maintain ownership, in part or whole. When I'm done with school, and approved for my

">OPT<

, can I work at my company and draw a salary from it then?

As far as I know, theoretically, you could be working for yourself on OPT as long as your work is related to your area of study. I think I read that in one of the FAQ issued by USCIS. But you will not be able to continue doing that on H-1.

F1 visa denial

I was denied a visa this morning under 214(b) in Kuwait. I have been working in Kuwait for a year (I am an expatriate), and have an offer of employment upon return from my studies. I just received a letter to that effect (after the denial). This is my second denial. Would the letter be sufficient as additional evidence for reapplication? I also have a bank account containing about $3000 which I plan to keep for when I return (apart from my sponsor's account).

214(b) denial is based upon a suspicion that you have no intention of returning to your home country. This ground is almost impossible to overcome when you are an expatriate, but you can try. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I doubt this will work.

Traveling on OPT-F1

I am on ">OPT F-1 Status after my second degree. I need to know what other parts of US outland I can visit besides Hawaii without having any immigration problems?

Normally, travel to "contiguous territories" (like Canada and Mexico) does not require a visa when the trip is less than 30 days AND you do not happen to be a national of one of the eight countries that US govt. looks upon with some suspicion. But there can be immigration problems. Trip to any one of the 50 states presents no special issue.

May B-1/B-2, E-1, E-2, F-1, H-1, J-1, L-1 O-1 visa or TN holder apply for green card?

May B-1/B-2, E-1, E-2, F-1, H-1, J-1, L-1 O-1 visa or TN holder apply for green card?

One of the questions I am asked quite frequently is whether or not an E-1/E-2 visa holder can apply for a green card and not jeopardize his or her E status. The answer is PROBABLY yes he can.

In the E visa context, this is what the govt says:

Quote:
9 FAM 41.51 N15 INTENT TO DEPART UPON TERMINATION OF STATUS
(TL:VISA-404; 04-29-2002)

Visa after B-1 to F-1 conversion

I entered the US on a B1/B2 visa in febuary 2007, and then changed my status to F1 in May 2007. I enrolled into a 1 year certificate diploma program and started attending school in June 2007. I completed the program and in Fall 2008, I transfered and enrolled into a Master's program at a prestigious university. I have completed 1 year of study and I am half way through the program. I am intending to visit my home country this summer. I would like to know the procedure to obtain the F1 visa stamping. I wish to travel and come back while I am a student. I have obtained my ">SSN and my Driver's License as well. I have also signed a lease for my apt for the next 1 year. I have always maintained legal status till date. I have working on campus for the last 6 months. I would like to know about the chances of getting my visa stamped before coming back to continue my studies. I am very confused listening to people and I really need some good advice. Its been close to 3 years now and I really wish i can get to see my family back home. I will really appreciate any advices and help. I dont know what kind of questions will be asked in the interview. Also the probability or obtaining the visa stamp. Please tell me what is the best way to approach this and the best thing that I can do.

Chances of getting an F-1 visa are remote. I would want you to reconsider the trip. The biggest problem here is, unless you declared to the consulate that you intended to convert from B to F status, they are likely to consider you to have misrepresented your true intention when you obtained/traveled on B visa.

F-1 visa stamp, H-4 pending

I'm on H1B working in USA. My visa was expiring in May, so my company applied for H1B and H4 (for my wife) extension in April.
In May 1st week, my wife got admission & assistantship in one of the university. She returned to India on May 20th and she got her F1 visa stamped from India.

Now we are very much concerned that what will happen to my H1 and her H4?

1) Since she has F1, will it affect H1/H4 processing?
2) Do we have to apply for H4 withdrawal in order to maintain her status as F1 ? If so, is it possible for you to apply withdrawal on behalf of us? What is the fee you charge for the same?
3) Is it possible to have F1 and H4 both together at the same time?
4) Since my Employer is a large company and they have filed H1-H4 on behalf of us, is it possible for an outside agency to file H4 withdrawal? And will the H4 withdrawal application affect my H1 visa extension application?

1. H-4 is her personal application. All she needs to do is send a letter to USCIS stating "I hereby withdraw my application for H-4." Attach a copy of the fee receipt for H-4 application that comes from USCIS. I see no need for you spend money on legal fees, but that is your choice.

2. If nothing else works and she does get the H-4 approval, just have her step outside USA and reenter on F-1 visa and get a new I-94 from CBP at the airport.

3. Generally speaking, no.

From H-4 to F-1

1. I have been on H-4 for almost 3 yrs now, and starting my MS in Spring 09 (on H4 status itself). But now I want to change to F-1 for personal reasons. I have the following doubts. request your clarification:
If I want to get my F-1 stamped from India, do I need to submit I-539 form also to the ISO of my school ?

2. How long should I be on F-1 before when I will be eligible to apply for ">OPT and work using the same?

3. If I want to start working as a grad assistant from Fall 09 semester, do I have enough time to apply for a change of Status through ">USCIS, CA ? Will I get an approved F-1 by then ?

1. No. An I-539 is used if you want to change status within USA.

2. You need to check with your school about CPT. The requirements for OPT as I recall are two full semesters on F-1.

3. No one can predict that. Sorry.

Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence

Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence are three VERY important concepts in US immigration laws with far reaching implications. The nuances in these concepts are so intricate that they can trip up even my fellow-lawyers. I see issues in this all the time.

Here is a brief primier to enable you to understand the basics. This is by no means an exhaustive analysis.

Status

Can B visa holder convert to F or other status?

My question is that i have just entered USA on B1 /B2 visa on February 21 and sir now I am planning to stay here in USA...I am planning to carry on my further studies in Bridgeport university my arrival is for 3 months and I want to complete this procedure as soon as possible because I don't want to take the law in my hands

While it is permissible to change from one status to another from within U.S., it may not always be advisable.

Typically, when someone enters the U.S., supposedly for a short visit (e.g. B-1 or B-2) and then tries to change it to a longer term visa (F-1, L-1, H-1, etc.), USCIS often frowns upon it (and may not grant it), but the consulates invariably frown upon it. My recommendation in most of these cases is to avoid this type of change. If you have already obtained the change, it may be very difficult to procure a visa whenever you need to travel abroad.

Can F/J holders apply for green card?

I am on F-1/J-1 visa (student visa). Can I apply for green card (Permanent Residency)?

There is no law that prohibits an F-1, J-1, F-2, or J-2 visa holder from applying for a green card directly. But as a practical matter it takes a long time to obtain a green card in most cases. Therefore, even if you begin your green card process while you are on F or J status you will probably be required to convert to H-1 due to lack of time. Conversion to H-1 during green card pendency is no problem.

One more issue that you have to bear in mind is that F and J visas do not allow you to possess immigrant intent. Therefore, if you travel abroad during the pendency of the green card or if you need to obtain F or J visa stamped, you could have trouble because filing for green card you would have established immigrant intent.

Turning 21 - do I have to convert to F-1 from H-4?

My father is on an H1 b visa and his employer has filled for his green card Me and my Family are on H 4 but i am about to be 21 and thus my h4 visa cannot be renewed.I-140 of all the members of the family has been cleared but we cannot yet file I 485 as the priority date is not near. Do I have to convert my visa status into F 1 so that i can live and study here? Is there anyway that i can file for my green card as when i filled my papers i was not 21 and it is because the file is pending i cant put forth my 485 papers. Is there any chance that under special cases like mine we can get my papers filled as I am about to transfer to a University and it is very hard for me to afford to pay the fees as an International student when my papers are so close to green card.

 I do not see any way around filing an F-1.

Do advanced degrees help in marriage-based green card?

I have recently gotten engaged to a green card holder. We are making plans for our wedding, very likely to happen this year. However, the following questions arose:

1. Does the fact that I already hold another Master and a Ph.D. degrees accelerate my green card application? I understand that the backlog is of 5-6 years, but I wonder if my advanced education will assist my application.

2. My H-1B application last year was approved, but I did not use the visa, as I decided to go back to school for (yet!) another degree. Will the approval of the H-1B be looked at favorably, unfavorably, or will it not make a difference?

3. I am currently an F-1 holder. If I marry my fiance' this year, may I simply maintain my Visa independent of his? I am eligible to an ">OPT after I graduate (to happen this year or in mid-2010) and I am certain I will be able to obtain an H-1B afterwards. Therefore, I do not depend on my fiance' to keep a legal status in the country. Is it legal (or advisable) to keep my Immigration records separate from his?

4. How about when we file for taxes, after the wedding happens? May we file separately, or do we need to declare we are married?

 1. Advanced degrees do not help in a family-based green card.

Can H-4/F-2 holders perform volunteer work?

The following discussion applies to all visas where working is not permitted. Most typical examples of these types of visas are F-2 and H-4. The question often arises whether or not it is legal for such folks to volunteer their time or are they constrained to stay at home.

Quote: Q. May an H-4 (or F-2 type visa) holder volunteer for work to provide charitable service, to gain experience or just to stay busy?

F-1 OPT - No Job

I was approved for my ">OPT on February 2008 for a duration of one year. At that time, I was allowed to stay in US for 1 year while looking for job. On April, 2008, a new regulation came according to which a student on

">OPT<

can not stay in US without job for more than 90 days. I was not aware of this rule until end of September 2008. Now I have applied for dependent visa. My worry is that unknowingly I stayed for around 6 month without job when I was actually allowed for only three month.

I am worried that is this mistake going to affect my new visa approval? Is there anyway I can explain ">USCIS that it happened because I was not informed about this rule and I did not come across it.

Your best bet is to get your dependent visa stamp from a consulate as soon as possible. That should take care of any potential future problems.

B visa while GC pending or similar situation

After a long-term relationship, earlier this year I married a U.S. citizen. I do not want to change my immigration status and do not wish to immigrate nor reside permanently in the United States since we both have steady jobs outside the U.S. and I do not want to leave my country. All I want is to be able to travel temporarily into the U.S. for pleasure and leisure as most tourists do, once or twice a year for a couple of weeks each time.

I want to know if I can just apply for a new B-1/B-2 tourist visa to travel into the U.S. or if my husband needs to file an I-130 petition for alien relative and I-129 and K visa thereafter instead –which I understand would be the right process if I ever wanted to adjust status or become a U.S. permanent resident.

This is upto the discretion of the consulate and then again upto CBP when you land in USA. Consulates have the discretion to issue you a B visa - despite your presumed immigrant intent - if they are convinced that you will return. This is true for all cases where a B (or F or similar) visa is sought while GC is pending or could be pending.

Using B visa with F-1

I have a tourist visa to the US which expires in 2009. However, back in 2004, i was able to obtain a F-1 visa for MBA studies. It expired in 2006 and my stay was extended through practical training. I have all necessary documents supporting that. My question is, will I still be able to use my tourist visa until the March 2009 expiration?

My assumption is that you are still on F-1 and in USA. If this is correct, you cannot use your B visa within USA.

While in USA, your stay and status is controlled exclusively by your I-94.

You can, however, try to reenter USA on B visa but after having stayed here for so long, a reentry is likely to be denied.

If, you are outside USA and have been out for a while (like a year or more), I think you can still use that B visa and try to enter USA.

Nonimmigrant Visas
Green Cards
Common Topics
Professions