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Ask Judith Ludwic Your Own Question
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 28677
Experience:  34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
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I am currently on H4 visa and want to transfer to F1.

Customer Question

Hi,
I am currently on H4 visa and want to transfer to F1. I have secured admission in a University and will receive my I20 soon. My classes will start on 1st June 2015 but I am getting the I20 issued for 24th August, 2015 for the Fall semester. It is a one year program from June 2015 to May 2016.
My questions are –
1. Can I start the semester on 1st June on H4 visa and immediately apply for Change of Status to F1 at USCIS?
2. Should I file for Change of Status within US or file from India for F1?
3. Would it be an issue if I file for COS within US? Keeping 90 days period in between filing and start day of program mentioned on I20 i.e. 24th Aug.
4. What happens if I do not get COS to F1 from H4 by 24th of Aug.
5. Would it impact my OPT if I am not on F1 for an entire year?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It is an American University based in Los Angeles.
Expert:  Judith Ludwic replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is Judith. Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions. I have 34 years experience as a licensed immigration attorney.
1. Can I start the semester on 1st June on H4 visa and immediately apply for Change of Status to F1 at USCIS?
Yes, you can. School on an H4 should be incidental to being here accompanying your spouse and not engaged in full-time studies towards a degree program. But that is seldom enforced.
2. Should I file for Change of Status within US or file from India for F1?
COS will take 2.5 - 3 months. The sooner you have the F1 the better. Even for Master program you have to be F1 for 2 complete semesters.
3. Would it be an issue if I file for COS within US? Keeping 90 days period in between filing and start day of program mentioned on I20 i.e. 24th Aug.
You mean just file the COS and do nothing while still on the H4 status? That is what you are supposed to do.
4. What happens if I do not get COS to F1 from H4 by 24th of Aug.
You should plan ahead of that if you don't have it by Aug 10th to depart for visa stamping. You can make your visa stamping appointment from here before you leave.
5. Would it impact my OPT if I am not on F1 for an entire year?
Yes, I wondered why you didn't bring that up? You have to be on F1 for 2 semesters to qualify for OPT.
I am so tired. I will answer follow-up questions in the morning.
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Judith