Saturday, March 5, 2016

Is it safe to move from H4 to F1?

While there are good news for those who are on H4 and their spouses are on their 6th year extension or have an approved I-140, many others on H4 are still struggling without a work permit (an EAD). As such many have actually opted to go to school where they can ultimately enjoy an OPT (Optical Practical Training) or a CPT (Curricular Practical Training).  The question is whether it is safe to move to F1 student visa from an H4 visa on a change of status or consular processing.  This question can be answered through a case by case analysis. However, few hints and flags can make you determine whether it is good to move to F1:

  • The school reputation - It is very important nowadays to make sure that the school is not blacklisted.
  • Your Goals - Are you planning to take CPT at the outset? This is not a recommended idea. Avoid abusing the CPT.
  • Time to change status - It is taking around 4 months to 5 months for the change of status. Make sure after change of status, if you have already started your school, you will be eligible for the OPT.
  • Ability to get an H4 EAD- If your spouse is close to his approval of I-140 or under AC 21 sixth year extension, we recommend that you do not go for the F1 status.
  • Planning to travel - If you plan to travel after changing status from H4 visa, you will need to get an F1 student visa stamp at the US consulate before coming back. Otherwise, coming back on H4, will require that you file another change of status to F1 visa.
Based on the few points above, it is important that before you move to F1 student visa, you speak to a good lawyer for a consultation. Our law firm has handled many of such cases including H4 to F1 change of status cases, H4 EAD cases, and F1 to H4 change of status cases, feel free to reach out to us at 510 742 5887 for help.