H-4 to F-1


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I have got admission in one of the univerisity in US for MBA and received graduate assistanship for shcolarship and the course starts in August 2013. I recently received H4 and planning to travel to the US in mid of May. Initially my plan was to travel to US and then apply for change of status from H4 to F1 , but I have heard that the change of status takes anywhere between 2 to 6 months, so even if I will be able to study while waiting for change of status, I wont be able to work as an assistant in case I do not get the status change before the commencement of the classes, so regarding this I have the following questions.

1) Is there any minimum duration that one should be in H-4 before applying for a change of status to F-1?

2) Considering the time for change of status, is it advisable to apply for F1 from India itself?

3) If I apply for F1 visa in India, would there be any problem in getting a F1 visa, since I already have a H4 visa and considering that my husband will be working there on H1B visa.

Kindly suggest me which option would be better.

Thank you.



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1) No, there is no such minimum duration.

2) This is your call. As you already stated if you come on H4 you can study but no assistance. If you all the valid documents and funds for F1 visa, that would be a good idea.

3) This is difficult to answer. Due to H4/H1 visa the officer may think you can be a potential immigrant.

There is no harm trying for F1. If that does not work you always have the option of H4 to F1 COS. If you can come to US on H4 before May then you can immediately apply for H4-F1 that will give some time to get approval (assuming the school will start some time in August-September)

Good luck

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Meghana,

I am in exact same situation as you. I have an h4 and am planning to travel to US in June. If i get an F1 I cant travel in Aug ( one month before the school start date) - I need to be on F1 to take advantage of GA.

I was wondering what did you end you end up doing?

Did you research on getting an F1 stamp from Canada after you enter US on H4 in march?

Thanks a lot for your help!

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A H-1B visa, while allowing dual intent, does not by itself infer immigration intent. It is the PERM labor certification application and subsequent I-140 petition (while on a H-1B visa) that infers immigration intent. In other words, if a spouse is on a H-1B visa and has not pursued any other immigration processes, then there should not be a problem with a F-1 visa. This assumes that you can demonstrate on-going ties to your home country, such as a residence, bank account, etc.

As for early entry to the U.S. on a F-1 visa and 3rd country visa stamping in Canada, check with your university DSO, and possibility a qualified, experienced immigration attorney. (There is the option of entering on a H-4 visa and then do a change of status to a F-1 visa by application, with the note that the processing time is approximately 6 months.)

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