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COS denied from H1B to F1 on 212(a)9(B) - what are my options?

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So my COS from H1B to F1 has been denied recently. It happened because at the time when the USCIS started working on it, my H1B had expired and the program starting date is still more than 30 days out. However, at the time of application, I was still in status and they took a long time (>6 months) to even request for an RFE (by then my H1B was already expired. It is surprising that they did not deny it at that time, instead asked for a new I-20 for the fall semester—which was provided.



And now they finally after more than two months declined the COS based on that I am out status at the current moment.


Anyway, I see no recourse but to return to my home country and re-apply for a VISA. Fortunately, the unlawful presence clock starts with their date of denial.


But now there are certain questions I need to figure out.


First, I have a valid driver’s license but since I am currently out of status – is that license still valid meaning can I drive for the rest of the few days before I leave?


Second, what happens to my existing bank account? Am I allowed to access its funds?


Third, most concerning—can ICE show up and begin deportation so quickly? If that does happen how can I make sure that my belongings and other personal, sensitive information are kept safe? Or can I carry them with me during the detention procedure?


Fourth, can I travel internationally to my home country while being out of status? I do have a valid passport but wondering if the TSA would give me a hard time?


Fifth, in the denial letter, USCIS has suggested I am allowed to request to reopen or reconsider my case within 33 days of receiving this letter. Is that advisable? And if indeed I file for that, and till a decision is pending, can my presence be considered under “pending” clause or it would still count as an unlawful presence?


Sixth, how severe are the implications for unlawful presence (I am less than a week into this situation)—is it similar in severity as being an illegal alien?


In general, outside the scope of these specific questions, I would appreciate any candid advice to navigate this situation with least possible impacts.


Thank you.

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Banks are not the government. Of course you can access your money.

The DL stays also stays valid.

You can exit the country just fine. TSA doesn't check immigration status, they check id.

And sure, ICE could show up at your door. If that happens, you won't be able to take anything with you. Unlawful presence means that you are illegal.



Edited by JoeF

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Thank you JoeF. I am planning to leave next week and booked the flight for that. But what you said that means--I could drive to say a grocery store or rent a car with the DL. 

And if I can't take anything with me, then I will designate some person over here who could come and take care of my belongings if that happens. OK, then that is what I need to arrange for. 

Thanks again.

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