I applied for my first OPT authorization almost one year ago. First, the USCIS denied my OPT application by mistake, and I filed a motion to reopen. USCIS reopened my case …

… and issued a request for evidence, to which I replied. The USCIS still did not issue a decision and it is currently pending. Because of the extensive delay, even if I received my OPT authorization now, I would not be able to use it for employment since it would expire in March. I have a prospective employer who wants to file my H1B petition in the first week of April for the start date of October 1st. Will I be able to stay in the U.S. awaiting a decision on the H1B petition?


Even though you may only have about one month of your OPT employment authorization if USCIS approves your application now, you should still try to obtain a decision by USCIS in the near future. If your application is approved while you can still be in valid F-1 status (i.e. until the OPT EAD ends plus 60 days of grace period), you should be able to change your F-1 status to any other nonimmigrant status for which you may be eligible, including H1B. Since your OPT authorization, if approved, would expire in March, you would still be in valid F-1 status within the grace period when your H1B is filed in April. Because being in valid nonimmigrant status at the time of filing an application or petition is one of the eligibility criteria for changing to another status, an approval of your OPT will still be very important for your ability to remain in the U.S. in the future. (13.Feb.2015)

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