COS(F1-H4) + H4 EAD + H1B Extension Premium processing - Concurrent filing. F1 opt expiring soon- Day 1 CPT vs Unknown H4 wait time

Hi Team,

My spouse’s F1 OPT is expiring in July. H1B lottery final attempt - didn’t get selected. We have applied for COS F1-H4 + H4 EAD along with my H1B Extension in Premium processing. Given the current timelines, not sure when H4 will get processed. Once OPT expires, there will be employment gap until H4 EAD is approved. Need to go on Leave of absence from current employment but cannot take more months. So we are looking for options to reduce the employment gap.

1.Can he enroll in Day 1 CPT (phd/ second master’s) and continue employment while H4 is pending. Then once H4 is approved, he can take employment gap until H4 EAD gets approved, but still continue the Master’s /Phd.

  1. If uscis runs second lottery this year, and if his H1 gets picked up while H4 is still pending, but F1 OPT has expired, he will be out of status - can H1b filed for consular application for approval since COS from H4-H1 is no possible, H4 is still pending?

  2. Having a Day 1 CPT, H4 pending and if H1B gets picked up in second lottery , will it cause any issue in H1 approval / stamping? Will continue and finish the Master’s / phd

  3. If H1B is stamped, H4 gets approved later , I hope COS from H4 to H1B can be applied in Premium processing

  4. Is it okay to apply for Day 1 CPT while h4 pending to avoid employment gap OR quit of leave of absence & wait until H4 , H4 EAD gets approved (which is not a known timeline as of now)?

Really appreciate the suggestions on our critical visa situation.

Thanks!!

Day1 CPT is not recommended and have caused issues for people transitioning from F1 to H1B later on. 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10) clearly states that F1 is eligible for any practical training after 1 full year of enrollment. That said there are only handful universities who offer day 1 CPT and these institutes are always on USCIS radar.

You spouse will not be out of status, he will be in what is called ‘authorized period of stay’ as you already applied change of status from F1 to H4 while F1 OPT is still valid.

You can still file COS from H4 to H1B even if H4 is pending. If the H1B is filed in premium processing along with change of status, USCIS will be forced to adjudicate F1 to H4 change of first and then approve H4 to H1B COS.

There is no premium processing if changing status from H4 to any. Once H1B is stamped and the F1 to H4 COS is still pending, you can send a letter to USCIS with copy of H1B I-94 and request to withdraw the COS application.

Other option is to visit India and get H4 stamping done 9probably may qualify for dropbox), using copy H1B I-797 after your EOS is approved, if you get an appointment before June. After entering back, just send the updated I-94 to USCIS and request expedite on the EAD application citing economic hardship in case of job loss.

Thanks Kalpesh for your reply. Quick question,

1.you had mentioned get H4 stamping before June. His F1 OPT is valid till July. Why we need to get the stamping before June?

  1. In this scenario, I only apply for H1B Extension in Premium and he will get h4 stamped and come back to US to apply for H4 EAD or since we apply all 3 together, once if he travels after receiving i797, his current H4 pending will get void right? Can you please tell me what is the right process?

  2. Also, I saw H4 dependents are not eligible for Dropbox. Is that true? Is there any criteria for H4 first time stamping? Since he was on F1 OPT visa prior, will that cause any issue in h4 visa stamping?

  3. “After entering back, just send the updated I-94 to USCIS and request expedite on the EAD application citing economic hardship in case of job loss.” - If we do this what is the timeline it takes to receive EAD. Will our previous h4 initiated along with H4 still be pending/ void - not clear on that.

Thanks a lot !!

Mis-stated, read July.

In your post you said you applied for H1B EOS, H4 & EAD already. So, I did say what steps can be taken. Copy-paste from above…
After entering back, just send the updated I-94 to USCIS and request expedite on the EAD application citing economic hardship in case of job loss.

Yes, F1 to H4 COS will be denied once you travel outside of the US while COS is pending.

Where did you get this information from? If you have a prior US visa, you may be eligible for IW till 31st Dec 2022 however it is at discretion of the consular officer.

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/important-announcement-on-waivers-of-the-interview-requirement-for-certain-nonimmigrant-visas.html

Check US Visa Dropbox Eligibility 2022 (With App) - USA.

There is no timeline. You just request and see if USCIS will approve before the normal processing time.This has worked for some people so you can try.

Thanks a lot for the response Kalpesh. Since we have already filed applications, Can you please tell me how does Expedite request processing work?

At what stage of the application we can request for expedite processing?

Is it possible to request expedite processing for both H4 & H4 EAD together?

Really appreciate your help. Thanks.

You can call contact center and request expedite with a live agent.