What Can I Do to Avoid the Out of Status
after the End of My Optional Practical Training?

Dr. William:

As a F-1 student, I have a Master degree in science, and my Optional Practical Training will end on May 20 of this year. I have applied the H-1B visa submitted by my current employer of Optional Practical Training, but I can not start to work for the employer with the H-1B visa before the October 1, 2007, due to the year 2007 H-1B cap number allocation. What can I do to avoid the out of status after the end of my Optional Practical Training and before the October 1, 2007?


In your case, there may be no difficulty to obtain the employer's H-1B petition approval, if the employer is in a real business and you also have a temporary state permit for internship of Optional Practical Training. But, there may be a question whether your application for change of nonimmigrant status from a F-1 student to a H-1B worker is approvable by USCIS, because you can not maintain a valid status until October 1, 2007.

During the H-1B cap gap, the rule requires that the alien's nonimmigrant status must remain valid on October 1 of that year, which is October 1, 2007 in your case. The F-1 student has a grace period of 60 days after completion of F-1 program or OPT training, but it still can not cover to October 1, 2007 after the end of your Optional Practical Training. So you may have to apply for a H-1B visa at a Consulate in your home country, and return to the U.S. to work for the U.S. employer. 







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