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VISA questions...only for internationals I guess

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VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2008, 07:55
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As we have a significant number of internationals on this forum, I think this will be a useful thread for a whole bunch of us.

Let me start out:

I am currently on a H1 Visa (and so is my wife). Is it better for me to convert to a F1 or H4 visa (dependent visa, I am under the impression that H4 visa holders can go to school). Is there a benefit one way or the other?

Also- is it ok to get the Visa stamped in Mexico or Canada?
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2008, 08:53
I can think of a couple of things - assuming you want to continue working in the US after graduating.

1. On H4, your stay is counted towards the 6 year limit. So if on graduating, unless your company is able to sponsor your greencard within your 6 year limit, that might be one thing against it.

2. however, if your wife's green card is being sponsored and you expect to get on 485 before graduating that may not be a bad idea. you'll have the green card or ead when you graduate. I dont think you can be a dependent on a 485 while on F1 since F1 is not dual intent...but Im guessing here, confirm that with a lawyer.
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2008, 09:17
Does anyone have a good resource on all the different visa types?
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2008, 09:19
I have been referring to these websites for information:

http://www.path2usa.com
http://www.immihelp.com

and a couple of other forums.
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 19 Jan 2008, 09:20
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2008, 00:03
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Ok, this is my take on the visa situation since I am on the same scenario...

I would not suggest a H4 visa status. Stay on F1. Your wife is on H1, and if for any reason, she has to change her status, yours can get affected too.

The biggest drawback of H4 visa, for MBA students will be that you cannot work part time. that means
1. No assistantship for you. You cannot be a TA/RA
2. No CPT (curriculum practical training - issued by the school only to F1 students) that allows u to work in the summer on ur internship. If you are on H4, you can only do volunteer unpaid work.
3. No OPT (optional practical training) - a one year program after u complete school where you can work for any company. Again. OPT is crucial for all international students. Sicne H1-B kicks in at October 1, you have to work on OPT from May to October and even longer if your H1-B visa does not get issued in the same year as you graduate. PM me for any additonal details on this process.

When you go to F1, the transfer happens immediately. So if you plan to go to school on aug 15, and quit ur job on Jul 15 to switch from H1 to F1, the F1 visa kicks in from Jul 15. You need to file an application with USCIS. Its an easy process but make sure that you decide on your F1 start date in advance so you can get your I 20 also.

You can get ur new visa from any BORDER posts in Canada/Mexico. Mexico would be Matamoros, Mexicali and Tijuana. Canada is Tornoto and Vancouver (few others more, cant recollect). however, to go to Canada border posts, you need a tourist visa and the Canadian consulate on certain occassions has refused to issue tourist visas to Indians (some say, its coz Indians immigrate - but that used to happen 20 years ago.. the Canucks need to wizen up a bit)

For Mexico, you dont need a tourist visa to get into the border posts, provided you carry a valid US visa (in this case unexpired H1 visa).
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2008, 06:32
So, just to clarify, you can do a paid summer internship with an F1 visa? Are there additional requirements that an F1 visa needs to get such an internship versus a citizen?
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2008, 14:35
dox,
Ya u can do a paid summer internship on ur F1. The school issues a document called a CPT, which allows u to work. There are no other restrictions. Its a very sweat free porces that takes a signature from admissions/rrgistration department of the school and thats about it....

Internships fall under the summer semester, where all students (international included) can work 40 hrs/week.
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2008, 14:41
guys on H1..Have any of you guys been in F1 before? If you have been in F1 before for a post graduate program and used your OPT completely (1 year) after you graduated,what are your choices for an internship while doing your MBA?
I think OPT is issued only once per advanced degree. Since MS & MBA come under similar advanced degree category, I'm not sure how one can do his/her internship?

Can we use CPT as an option?

Any one is similar situation
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2008, 14:49
I believe CPT and OPT are two completely different things. OPT comes into effect AFTER the completion of your degree. CPT is in effect while you are still a student. So, yes, you should be able to do an internship on a CPT.
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 20 Jan 2008, 18:25
can some have an approved H1 but not stamp it and do the MBA on F1 and post MBA use the approved H1 ? or is it that as soon as you apply for F1 and are granted the visa all other approved Visa are voided ?

I raise this question as with the bad H1 situation, if its possible to have an approved H1 and study, we could keep trying luck at the lottery for the next 3 years which gives a better shot than the one chance after MBA.

anyone has any idea about this ?
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2008, 09:39
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Ok for all F1/H1 folks.. this is how the process works.

If you are on H1, and want to switch to F1, you CANNOT keep both vias active... These are the guidelines.

1. H1 b visa allows you to study PART TIME, not FULL TIME.

2. Do not confuse stamping a visa on the passport with the issual of a visa. These are 2 different processes. Stamping the visa on a passport is done so you can enter or leave the US at ease. When visa documents are generated, USCIS will look at any previous visa status issued by them. So, if you want to keep both F1 And H1 visas active that will not work. H1B visas have to be sponsored by a company. Unless you are working for that company, that visa will not be held valid. Also, when you will be issues a F1 visa or H1 visa, while stamping the visa at the consulate, the consul officer will look at prior visas and cancel the remaining ones that dont fit your current profile.

3. Nobody knows what the visa situation will be 3 years later, so dont try to bother about it. There is a separate quota under the H1-B visa status where 20,000 students who complete their masters degree get the visa under the "advanced degree" quota. The caveat - you must have your necessary graduation paperwork (transcripts, degree certificate) with you when you file for the visa. You will be filing in March, so the best way to help your situation is to ask the school to issue you a degree in progress or intent to confer degree document that states this student is pursuing a grad degree. CLEARLY EXPLAIN to the company that is sponsoring you for H1 about these documents. Some of them only ask for a degree certificate and if you dont provide it they go bonkers and place u under the 65000 quota.

4. OPT & CPT are 2 different things. CPT is issues by the school, OPT by the govt/USCIS.

Summer internships are done on CPT, not on OPT (CPT does not have any time limit, but OPT has a 1 yr time limit, so do not wate your OPT on a summer internship)

MS & MBA are similar degrees, but some school consider them to be separate degrees. Check wirh the school on this matter.

I was on F1, used my OPT.. so i know the drill.

hope this helps.. :wink:
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2008, 10:30
Great post Avi- very informative. I have another question regarding the H1 quota. I have heard that if you are on a H1 and move to an F1 visa, when you get back to a H1 after an MBA, you are not subject to the 65,000 cap? I know there was some discussion a while back but I have different opinions from different people. Anyone have any idea how that works?
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2008, 11:19
I guess I was wondering if anyone is in the same tricky situation I am in - I filed for 485 adjustment of status in August but now the numbers are retrogressed for the forseeable future. Means I am not getting my green card anytime soon and I am stuck in a limbo. My current employer would never dream of sponsoring me for an MBA - its beyond them and I would never go back to them anyways.. I am not sure if I will run into issues after withdrawing the 485 and then applying for an F1. Anyone in a similar situation?
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2008, 12:01
ok, what you can do is..

withdraw your application. Dont do it now, do it 2 months before joining school. You can always go to school on your 485, but I am very sure, you will run into a huge hassle.

The procedure to withdraw is easy, but make sure that you consult with an immigration lawyer, You have to spend about 500-1000 bucks on consultation fees and paperwork. This is a rough estimate (one of my friends did this process)

You will not run into issues IF YOU WITHDRAW your 485 application. Hoever, you will definitely run into issues if you stay on 485 and then try to get your F1 visa....
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2008, 14:46
aviroop wrote:
ok, what you can do is..

withdraw your application. Dont do it now, do it 2 months before joining school. You can always go to school on your 485, but I am very sure, you will run into a huge hassle.

The procedure to withdraw is easy, but make sure that you consult with an immigration lawyer, You have to spend about 500-1000 bucks on consultation fees and paperwork. This is a rough estimate (one of my friends did this process)

You will not run into issues IF YOU WITHDRAW your 485 application. Hoever, you will definitely run into issues if you stay on 485 and then try to get your F1 visa....


Thanks aviroop - Not to sound too complicated but did your friend apply for a change of status in the Us and then later got a visa stamp? He didn't have any issues I assume getting his visa from the consulate since he withdrew his 485? (F1 should have no intent to immigrate).
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 21 Jan 2008, 15:59
I dont know if he got the visa stamp. I think he did not, since he did not leave the country.
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 20:40
aviroop wrote:
I dont know if he got the visa stamp. I think he did not, since he did not leave the country.


Hey Aviroop - Thanks for the above comments. I just sent a PM to you.
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 21:11
Hey summer I got your pm. I will ask my friend to send out some details
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Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2008, 21:42
aviroop wrote:
Hey summer I got your pm. I will ask my friend to send out some details


Thanks a lot man! BTW I am in the Boston area. Looking forward to hearing from your friend. Best of luck with the apps. Let me know if you need any info on Columbia.
Re: VISA questions...only for internationals I guess   [#permalink] 22 Jan 2008, 21:42
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