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  • OPT expires June, H1 starts in Oct

    I am an Indian student on OPT(F1) in the United States. My company filed for my H1 which was approved, though it starts only in October 2004. My OPT expires on June 24, 2004 so my grace period would be until August 24th, 2004. Can you tell me if according to the new rules I shall have to go outside the country to get my visa stamped and then come back only in October? If I stay on legally in the United States and start on my H1 in October, will i face problems when i go back to India later to get it stamped?

    I am attaching a copy of the new rules that I believe are coming into effect. I shall really appreciate if you can give me some suggestions.



    Thank you,

    Vishnu Rajan.





    BREAKING NEWS

    FROM DAVID WARE AND ASSOCIATES



    CIS MAY NOT PERMIT GAP IN LAWFUL STATUS FOR NEW H-1B PETITIONS

    As previously reported in our newsletter, the exhaustion of the FY 2004 H-1B quota has left many aliens unable to obtain a change of status to H-1B until the new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2004. Where the alien has a gap in lawful status because of the expiration of the current status (such as expiration of F-1 OPT or J-1 status plus the applicable grace period), there is no lawful status "from which to change" in CIS' opinion. In previous years, CIS' practice was to extend duration of status for such individuals until October 1. However, CIS has not issued any guidance on how they will handle such cases in the present fiscal year.



    We have just learned that at the Texas Service Center (TSC), an RFE was issued for proof of legal status during the gap between expiration of OPT plus grace period and the proposed October 1 start date of H-1B status. Such RFE's have also been issued by the Nebraska Service Center. It remains to be seen if all Service Centers will adopt this stance, and ultimately deny change of status in such cases, requiring that aliens leave the US to obtain H1B visas abroad. Unfortunately, because CIS policy no longer favors allowing aliens to bridge gaps in lawful status with a change of status to B-1/B-2, it can be difficult to overcome this problem. For those aliens whose present nonimmigrant status expires before October 1, 2004, and who are unable to extend or change their current status to fill the gap, it may be necessary to depart the U.S. and process the visa abroad before returning to the U.S. Keep in mind that F-1 students who have completed their academic program or OPT have a grace period of 60 days, while J-1 Exchange Visitors have a grace period beyond their program end date, plus academic training, if any, of 30 days. If you have questions about how to maintain your legal status in the United States until H1B status becomes available to you, contact this office or a qualified immigration attorney.



    We also wish to remind our readers that we anticipate that the H-1B quota for fiscal year 2005 may be exhausted soon, and it is thus advisable that any application for new H-1B employment subject to the quota should be filed without delay, with a request for premium processing.



    DALLAS DISTRICT OFFICE LAUNCHES INTERNET-BASED APPOINTMENT SYSTEM

    USCIS has announced that the Dallas District Office will become the third regional office to use InfoPass, the internet-based system that allows individuals to make appointments for the district office online. Other offices that currently use such a system include: Los Angeles, Santa Ana, San Bernardino, Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.

  • #2
    I am an Indian student on OPT(F1) in the United States. My company filed for my H1 which was approved, though it starts only in October 2004. My OPT expires on June 24, 2004 so my grace period would be until August 24th, 2004. Can you tell me if according to the new rules I shall have to go outside the country to get my visa stamped and then come back only in October? If I stay on legally in the United States and start on my H1 in October, will i face problems when i go back to India later to get it stamped?

    I am attaching a copy of the new rules that I believe are coming into effect. I shall really appreciate if you can give me some suggestions.



    Thank you,

    Vishnu Rajan.





    BREAKING NEWS

    FROM DAVID WARE AND ASSOCIATES



    CIS MAY NOT PERMIT GAP IN LAWFUL STATUS FOR NEW H-1B PETITIONS

    As previously reported in our newsletter, the exhaustion of the FY 2004 H-1B quota has left many aliens unable to obtain a change of status to H-1B until the new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2004. Where the alien has a gap in lawful status because of the expiration of the current status (such as expiration of F-1 OPT or J-1 status plus the applicable grace period), there is no lawful status "from which to change" in CIS' opinion. In previous years, CIS' practice was to extend duration of status for such individuals until October 1. However, CIS has not issued any guidance on how they will handle such cases in the present fiscal year.



    We have just learned that at the Texas Service Center (TSC), an RFE was issued for proof of legal status during the gap between expiration of OPT plus grace period and the proposed October 1 start date of H-1B status. Such RFE's have also been issued by the Nebraska Service Center. It remains to be seen if all Service Centers will adopt this stance, and ultimately deny change of status in such cases, requiring that aliens leave the US to obtain H1B visas abroad. Unfortunately, because CIS policy no longer favors allowing aliens to bridge gaps in lawful status with a change of status to B-1/B-2, it can be difficult to overcome this problem. For those aliens whose present nonimmigrant status expires before October 1, 2004, and who are unable to extend or change their current status to fill the gap, it may be necessary to depart the U.S. and process the visa abroad before returning to the U.S. Keep in mind that F-1 students who have completed their academic program or OPT have a grace period of 60 days, while J-1 Exchange Visitors have a grace period beyond their program end date, plus academic training, if any, of 30 days. If you have questions about how to maintain your legal status in the United States until H1B status becomes available to you, contact this office or a qualified immigration attorney.



    We also wish to remind our readers that we anticipate that the H-1B quota for fiscal year 2005 may be exhausted soon, and it is thus advisable that any application for new H-1B employment subject to the quota should be filed without delay, with a request for premium processing.



    DALLAS DISTRICT OFFICE LAUNCHES INTERNET-BASED APPOINTMENT SYSTEM

    USCIS has announced that the Dallas District Office will become the third regional office to use InfoPass, the internet-based system that allows individuals to make appointments for the district office online. Other offices that currently use such a system include: Los Angeles, Santa Ana, San Bernardino, Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.

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