OPT eligibility requirements, F-1 status for one academic year, and Change of Status or visa stamping from back to H-4

Question details

My spouse is a dentist from India and converted to F-1 from H-4 on Sep 29, 2022. She pursued a few courses for MBA (non-stem) between March 2022 and Jun 2022. Now she is completing the remaining courses of her MBA on F-1 for the next 12 months.

My queries are-

1. Does she need to be on F-1 status for a min 365 days to be eligible for OPT?

2. If we ever need to change to H-4 status again (stamped till Aug 2024), can she travel to India and come back without F-1 stamping? or a COS application from F-1 to H-4 ( that may take 6 months) could be a better option for EAD application.


Video URL
FAQ Transcript

1. The 365 days requirement is not required.  What you need is one academic year or two if there is a need to change to H-4. 

2. If she has an H-4 stamping already there is no need to go to India. All she has to do is drive to Canada or Mexico and return showing her H-4 visa stamping.

Note: To be eligible to apply for OPT, you must:

  1. Have been in full-time student status for at least one academic year by the requested OPT start date,
  2. Be maintaining F-1 status at the time of applying for OPT, and 
  3. Have not used OPT at the same degree level previously.



Unless the context shows otherwise, all answers here were provided by Rajiv and were compiled and reported by our editorial team from comments, blog and community calls on immigration.com. Where transcribed from audio/video, a verbatim transcript is provided. Therefore, it may not conform to the written grammatical or syntactical form.

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