F1 Visa renewal issue

Uber LgEh64
Jan 16 15 Comments

Someone I know is in a bit of a spot. He has an F1 Visa expiring in May and is also in the final year of the PhD program and looking to graduate in june. So he is thinking of going for renewal in April immediately after his thesis defense. Reason for renewal is so that he has flexibility to travel home in case company doesn't file h1b in first year or he doesn't get the lottery. Now there is a high chance of 221g also. Also he is expecting a job offer soon. How should he go about it so that there is no chance of Visa rejection or any risk of not being able to come back and start working. Friend is not on blind hence posting. Also friend from India. Any context or experience is helpful. One option I suggested is get the opt and then travel for renewal.

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TOP 15 Comments
  • Microsoft jncgu
    Yup OPT is the way to go. Once he has the job offer, he can file for OPT. I would suggest he does it before traveling home. Once he gets the OPT approved, the travel will involve less risk .. visa wise
    Jan 16 7
    • Microsoft jncgu
      You mean without OPT?
      If he is expecting a job offer anytime now, he can immediately apply for the OPT after getting the offer and go home after it’s approved. Once OPT is approved, f1 expiry doesn’t matter
      Jan 16
    • Uber LgEh64
      OP
      Are you sure? Because I've been told that if F1 expires you can't travel and return back even if you have an EAD. You do need to have a valid visa right ?
      Jan 16
    • Microsoft jncgu
      He can get 221g anytime :)
      Higher chances if he is doing something quirky, like job in different field than study, being affiliated to those shady consultancy firms, not being in STEM
      Jan 16
    • Uber LgEh64
      OP
      Yeah he is in an area of research which can trigger a 221g. Job will be in STEM so no issues on the relevance to study
      Jan 16
    • Oracle doznuts
      He cannot travel if his F1 visa expires even if he has an opt approved. You need an unexpired visa stamp in your passport to enter the country and I’m not sure if he can get an F1 visa renewal after graduation. He should be able to enter the country before his visa expires if he has an approved opt and a job offer though. I’d consult an immigration attorney.
      Jan 16
  • Uber LgEh64
    OP
    So basically let the f1 expire and then go once the OPT is activated. Are you saying that once the OPT is activated you don't have to explain non-immigrant intent?
    Jan 16 2
    • Oracle doznuts
      No that is not correct. Your friend will not even be allowed to board the flight from India if he doesn’t have an unexpired visa in his passport. Even after having an approved OPT, i was strongly advised by my university’s international students office to have a job offer in the US before travelling so that I can explain to the immigration officers why I was returning in case they asked.
      Jan 16
    • Uber LgEh64
      OP
      Yes, so my friend will have a job offer. His concern is that if he goes for the F1 Visa renewal post expiry when on OPT. It will be tough to justify that the person will return back to the country after OPT period is over. Plus if H1B filling has taken place that will also show in his record. Will clearly show immigrant intent
      Jan 17
  • Uber LgEh64
    OP
    I just learnt that to be considered in the Masters cap of 20k in the h1b you need to have completed a Masters degree. The lottery filling happens in April and graduation will typically happen in May or Aug. so I've been told that unless you have the Masters or PhD then you won't qualify. Is this true ? Sounds pretty unfair.
    Jan 18 1
    • Google / Eng Bluths
      It’s true. Don’t like the system? Go home.
      Jan 18
  • Google / Eng Bluths
    Visa is a privilege, not a right. There is always a chance of your application getting rejected and you not being able to come back.
    Jan 16 0
  • Microsoft Microsofti
    yes, F1-OPT is the safest option.
    Jan 16 0