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Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 105572
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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I am on 17-month extension OPT expiring in 2 months. My

Customer Question

I am on 17-month extension OPT expiring in 2 months. My employer screwed up my GC filing and won't be able to file before my OPT expire. What are my best options to maintain my legal status and be able to continue working?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 14 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help.

What country are you from? What category of GC do you believe you would qualify for?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I was born in Saudi Arabia and have nationality from that country. My experience post graduation in the US is 2 years. I have worked in the IT sector for about 7 years before coming to the US and starting my bachelor degree here but my company believe that my experience overseas wouldn't count and thus I would not qualify for EB-2. In short, I believe I would qualify for EB-3.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Here is a detailed background:Before coming to the US:
I worked in several computer science related positions for 3 different small businesses since high school until I worked at the headquarter of a group of companies with 3000+ employees until I received a fully paid scholarship to study abroad.Coming to the US:
I got to the country on 2007 as an F-1 student. Studied English then became an undergraduate student. I graduated in May 2014 with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Information Systems.Working in the US:
I applied for OPT in March or April and received the OPT card on August but it already started on Jun. I got employed right away with no pay for 2 weeks period to evaluate my skills and prepare me and my resume for the job market. Then, I became a full time consultant and landed my first contract (software engineering consultant at a telecommunication) in mid August. I applied for a 17 month extension and got approved and my contract got extended; so, I am still working on that same project. I have maintain my F-1 status the entire time and never went into an illegal status.What I have considered:
-I explored the possibility to extend my OPT. I cannot apply for another extension. The deadline to turn my 17 month extension into a 24 month extension has already passed.
-I checked if my company can sponsor me for a H1-b visa. But I do not think this is possible before April 1, 2017. which about 5 months after my OPT expire.
-I checked if there is enough time to file for a green card. But based on the flowchart I was given, there is barely enough time to finish the labor certification process. WITH the 60 days grace period, there is barely enough time for the recruitment process.
-My employer suggested me getting into a Master degree on the same visa and apply for another OPT (pre completion) so that I can continue to work. However, I am not sure if I would need to finish 1 academic year before I'm eligible for OPT or if my previous studies would suffice. Could you please address this for me?
- Are there other options I haven't considered?Today, I had to turn down a very appealing contract at one of the biggest US telecommunication companies, that I spent 3 months of tests, interviews, and conferences trying to land, because I'm not certain I would be in position where I can work legally in the US.
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Hello Aman. Is there any particular reason that you cannot leave the U.S. to wait for GC processing outside? Also, if you get into a master's program, this would be your first master's program?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I have a family to support. My wife is on an F1 visa as a full time graduate student (Master) and 2 kids (US citizens aged 8 and 2) with 1 of them attending school. My work is our only source of income not to mention me taking care of the kids after work while my wife is attending classes.Also, filing for GC while on OPT would automatically extend the OPT and allow me to work in the US until the GC process is over.As for Master's program: yes, I never signed up for a master's program before. But I'm not changing my F1 student visa because it is already valid. I'm requesting a transfer of F1 record.
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Well, you could go into a master's program and if it is the right program, you could get CPT rather quickly. Here is a link:

https://www.ice.gov/sevis/practical-training

Also, filing for a green card will not automatically extend OPT. However, since you are legally in the U.S., if you can find an employer willing to do it, they could start the GC process and as soon as the PERM is approved, they could file the I-140 and I-485 together and also the I-765 to get you a work permit. The problem with that as you already know is that the PERM will take too long, and also, even if you could get everything filed in time, the I-765 would still take 3 to 5 months to process, so there would be a time when you could not work. Unless you are going to apply for Asylum or similar protection, it looks like your only reasonable option to continue to work legally is getting into a master's program and getting CPT, then when you finish, if you haven't gotten an H-1B later or a GC later, you should be able to do more OPT through that higher level program.

I wish I had better options for you, but the timing is an issue.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions and there is no additional charge. Also, should you need to chat on the phone, private email or need help reviewing documentation, I am happy to do so for a small additional cost. Let me know if you are interested in these – I am happy to give you more details! If you have no further questions (at this time) please leave a positive rating for my service. I would sincerely ***** ***** You can do that by clicking on the 3rd, 4th or 5th stars or smiley faces if you see them. If you do not see any stars or smiley faces, you may have to scroll up to the top of the page or click on my name and they should come out. Also, your session does NOT close when leaving a positive rating, so you can continue to ask additional questions without additional charge. Thank you for your understanding.

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Hello Aman. I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help? Please let me know. Thank you!

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for your kindness and respect. Good luck to you.

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