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OPT Question (illegal work on F1)

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  • OPT Question (illegal work on F1)

    I am new to the forum - seems like a lot of people really know what they're talking about here. I've been on F-1 status for a long time (over 9 years) - I got my B.S., and will be getting my Masters Degree this December. Now here's my situation. I was advised by a friend of mine to finally apply for OPT. I did so at the end of the September, and now I'm having second thoughts about it. Since I've been in the U.S., I made sure I was allways a full-time student. But, a few years ago I was able to find a job in my field, and let's just say my employer never really cared about my status, because I was doing a really good job. At that time I had nothing to lose, because I didn't have any money left to pay my tuition, and I figured, I'll work as long as I am not caught, and hopefully finish my degree. Let's just say, it's been almost five years now, and I still haven't been caught. Not only I was able to finish my undergraduate degree, but I was also able to make it through master's.
    How was I able to get away with it? I'm really not sure. I do get paid in checks, and have always paid my taxes - so unfortunatelly there's some serious paper trail behind (and the gross income before taxes over all these years, will be well over quarter million). I think, the reason INS didn't catch on to me, was because I was always careful to stay as a full-time student - so they really had no business looking at my tax returns. Although - wouldn't they need to look at my tax records when I was applying for graduate degree I-20? But now I'm getting worried - I have a lot to lose - I've pretty much built my life here, and can't even imagine going back to my country - I'd feel like a foreinger there - this IS my home.
    At the same time, I got tired of the uncertainity. That's one of the reasons I finally decided to go through with the application for the OPT. My employer wants to sponsor me for an H-1, but I was advised that it's better if I go with OPT first, to serve as a little "buffer"-legal-work time between my illegal years, and the application for H-1.
    I've already sent the application for the OPT, so in a way it's all out of my hands, and I can only wait now - but my question to you is this - what do you think are the chances of me getting the EAD card (authorization for OPT year), and what are my chances of getting deported? How likely is the INS to look into my tax records? I just checked on their website, and they are checking applications from mid-september now - is it a good thing, that they're not backed up on my type of an application - or is it a bad thing, because they have more time to go through each one? Did anyone ever hear of a case, where and F-1 student got caught working illegaly for years and got deported, or will I be the first case? Thanks for any comments, and good luck with your processing...

  • #2
    The first reason why I-20 is required for F1 VISA is to prove the financial backing to cover the course of the study. This ensures that students can meet the financial requirement to study aboard without needing an additional source of income.

    Since you have worked illegally without a proper qualification, this will cause you problems at some point.

    I would think it might not throw a flag for OPT and even H1 process, but I am assuming you would
    want to take your H1 and do AOS to a permanent status (green card).

    It will definitely come up when they do a background check and go through your tax records as the process is required. Unless you and your employer didn't file your tax record (that means, everything was cash based), the record is waiting to be discovered.

    Unfortunately, I don't have any advise as to what you will have to do to fight this. My advise is to find out what your tax record indicates.


    • #3

      did you use your real SSN?
      Did you filed taxes with your real SSN?

      there are people who got caught while working illegally and got deported. ( not in your case because you were not caught).
      IRS hardly look for your status if you file taxes, then will never ask your status if you are paying taxes, IRS may only check your status if you have taxes return coming back to you, they won't even bother for that also. so you were safe.

      In OPT you will not have any problem and wil get OPT but when you go for adjustment, there you will be checked thoroughly and it will come up that you worked without permission. you may need waiver that time..
      Its a discussion, not a legal advise..


      • #4
        ECS - when it comes to I-20, I pulled the ages old trick of borrowing money from a bunch of friends, putting them into my bank account, and after getting bank statement of my current funds, returning the money to my friends...

        Yes - I did use my real SSN, and filed taxes under my real SSN. I'm not worried about IRS - I know that as long as I pay my taxes, they won't go after me - it's the INS that worries me.

        It's pretty encouraging that you mention that I shouldn't get caught getting OPT, and H1 process. I actually plan on leaving the country during my OPT, and then apply for H1, and re-enter. I was told by one lawyer, that if I got H1 that way, my illegal work from previous stay, could not be used against me when getting a green card. And even if it weren't true, I don't even plan on converting H1 to Green Card - from what I've heard it takes forever, I'm planning on marrying a citizen, the time that OPT, and H1 will buy me should be more than enough to find somebody compatible...


        • #5
          S12 -
          Were you elected the spokesperson for "we" or are you self-appointed? You're yet another example of the break down of the U.S. public high-school system (though the level of your post makes me doubt you even got that far). The credibility of your argument is completely lost in your lack of proper grammar and profanity. You sound like an idiot trying to write something intelligent but not even having the education to spell. And trust me - as much as I like it here, I'll have no problem starting a good life in Ireland/England/New Zealand/Canada, at least I won't have to deal with ignorant retards like you over there... You on the other hand will get to enjoy an influx of 3rd world immigrants, because those are the only people I see having no problem getting through... Signing your post "loser!" would be the perfect touch...