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AnirRaj
05-10-2015, 10:55 PM
Hi,

I've a few questions regarding student visa/H1B-F1 cos.

Background: I'm currently working in USA in H1 visa that is valid till Dec 2015. It is maxing out after that (i.e. I'm completing 6 years of stay/work in US in Dec 2015). I wanted to pursue Full Time graduate studies and have been applying to MS in Computer Science in universities in US/Canada. I've got offer of admission from a few universities in US and Canada ( starting Fall 2015) that I'm considering; and am in final stages of deciding where to go.

Questions

1. I understand applying for a change of status from H1-F1 will be the preferable way - is there any reason to think otherwise? What are the pros/cons of doing H1-F1 vs applying for a fresh visa and going to my home country for stamping?

2. One factor for the above is processing time - can anyone comment on the actual processing times? From different forums I get it is 1-3 months, and as per USCIS processing time is 2.5 Months (https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do, California Service Centre, I-539). However any real life advice will be helpful.

3. In one of the universities - the immigration counsellor told me even if I don't get it processed by the term start date (~late Aug 2015), and even if I quit my job - I will still be able to start classes - with an open/pending case status for my H1-F1. However I was told to seek legal advice on this.
Is the above true? can anyone point me to any documentation confirming/ repudiating this?

4. If I apply H1-F1, will the Start Date of F1 be something I can request/based on University documentation, or it will be whenever the COS is approved? If it is done before term start date, will I have to quit my job earlier?
To clarify, my intention is to continue to work here in US till ~mid August, and then move to the university directly. I was wondering whether I can do it.

5. If I apply H1-F1, is there any way to withdraw the request/defer to a later date?
Again, reason for my asking is for one of the universities in Canada my application was delayed and they have told me my offer might get pushed back to Jan 2016. I wont have a confirmation on this soon, so If I apply for H1-F1 and then decide to go school in Canada in Jan, I was wondering whether I could work in US till Dec.

6. In similar lines, If I don't get my H1-F1 approved by late August, and if the answer to Q3 is no, what will happen? (Lets say I get it in October).The universities have told me in that case they are okay with accommodating me for Jan'16 semester - however will I be able to work till Dec?

7. Does any CPT/OPT consider H1B Max out? I mean, will I be able to work in CPT/OPT independent of H1B maxout?
Additionally - I believe If I move to H1B after OPT, the maxout will still apply?
However If I spend outside USA for 1 year or more in between, it will be refreshed, and I can get H1B extension again. Is that correct?

I know I've many questions and this became a bit too long. Appreciate any/all advice you can give me and thanks a lot for your help.

Best,
Anir
anir.raj2@gmail.com