H-1B lay off and consequences of COS H-1B to F1


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Current Situation

I was terminated from my job and my H-1B status expired on June 13 2016 when my employment ended. I had already obtained admission to MBA for summer 2016 during my notification period and applied for COS from H-1B to F-1 (effective June 14) on June 2, 2016 while I was still on H-1B status. Since the COS is still pending approval, I deferred my admission to Fall 2016. I have been on H-1B for 9 years with an approved I-140. My employer confirmed that they would not revoke the I-140 upon termination.


  1. What happens when my H-1B to F-1 COS is approved after fall semester begins (say by mid September)? I may not be able to attend Fall semester and would have to defer my admission to spring. What will be my status in the US till the spring semester begins in January 2017?
  2. If my COS status is approved in September 2016 and I travel to India and apply for a F-1 visa in November with my spring admission I-20, will I be considered out of status since Jun–Oct 2016 ?
  3. If I get a job in September and apply for a COS  from F-1 to H-1 before I start school.
    1. Can I go out of the US and re-enter on my old H-1B visa (valid till Jan 2019) with I-797 of the new employer
    2. Would there be a problem when I apply for a new H-1B visa if required?
    3. If I a get a job before my COS to F-1 is approved, should I write a letter to withdraw my COS to F-1 and then transfer my old H-1B to the new employer?



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Since your H1 status expired you cannot get a COS to F1 approved. If the H1 I94 was expiring later on even though you lost your job you will be out of status and not in illegal status. The best solution is to leave and return with a F1 visa at the appropriate time. I would strongly urge you to get a lawyer onboard to maximize your chances of coming out of a tough situation. Obviously with an approved I-140 my solution of the F1 visa will not work. Hence get a Lawyer involved. You have spent too much time here to make any errors of judgement now. I agree Lamar is a good university.

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I appreciate your input and recommendations.

When I discussed my situation with an immigration attorney, she said that I could continue to stay legally as I had obtained the COS receipt I-797c before my H-1 status expired.(as discussed on various Murthy forum posts and USCIS website).  I had requested my F-1 to start immediately the day after my H-1B expired since I had already obtained admission for the summer semester.


I agree that applying for F-1 with an approved I-140 is a concern. Although my EB-2 I-140 was approved 4 years back, my attorney said that I had a good chance of approval.  Moreover I have obtained MS and PhD degrees from the US which makes it more easy to study in the US educational system and have a genuine case of pursing MBA.  I had obtained a letter of recommendation from my manager supporting my MBA aspiration couple of months before. I have always been in legal status during my 15+ years in the US.


Anyways, I'll get in touch with my immigration attorney to get more clarity on the matter.



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I disagree with the lawyer on the chances of approval.

An F1 does not allow immigration intent. The I-140 clearly shows immigration intent, though. And with the employer not even revoking the I-140, the immigration intent clearly is still there.

The other stuff about "making it more easy to study in the US" or the letter of recommendation are irrelevant.

That may help to get admitted to a university, but has no bearing on an F1 petition.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I received my approval I-797 for the COS from H-1B to F-1 today.

Although, I may not able to attend Fall semester, I plan to defer my admission to Spring 2017. I am in the process of reapplying and deferring my admission to Spring and obtaining a new I-20. I have informed the international center director and he said he will keep me active in the SEVIS database.

I plan to travel to India mid Oct. Would I be considered out of status till Oct 2016 since I would not be registered for Fall semester?



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