F1 to H1B and travel in-between


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Dear All,

I started my PhD in Aug 2008 and I am nearing completion.

My current GPA is 4.0/4.0, I have two high profile publications, my own predoctoral fellowship that funded my PhD research.

I have accepted a postdoctoral offer in prestigious university in the east coast.

I am planning to defend my thesis in June 2013 and start my postdoctoral position around dec 2013.

My postdoc supervisor has agreed to sponsor a H1B visa for me. My F1 visa expires in June 2013.

The problem is I have to travel to India in november for attending marriage of my sibling.

My question is which is the best strategy for me:

Defend my thesis in June 2013, start H1B visa process and hope it will get approved by november. Travel to india and get H1B stamped there.

If I choose this route, should i apply for OPT after I defend?Is there any problem for applying for OPT and H1B at same time?


Go to Canada or India in the summer and get my F1 visa renewed there. I feel this is risky as many of my friends have been given a pink slip and have got delayed in India for at least 1.5 months.

Please suggest a clear solution for me.

I would be very grateful.


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Thanks for your reply t75.

1. I want to finish some work in my lab that will help me get another publication in the future.Thats why the 4 month delay.

2. I specifically asked the university and PI to sponsor a H1B visa for me and both have agreed to do the same.

Its easier to be on a H1B visa as postdoc for filing green card application later.Green card is require for industry jobs in our field now.

I talked to the DSO and they advised me to start OPT application with a start date after my defense date in June 2013.

So I will be in OPT when I start my H1B application.

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As long at they university international office is agreeable, you should be fine. I know faculty members are often not up to date with policies governing international students or employees.

The DSO is always the best resource for a student. It sounds like you have it covered. If the timing is right, I suggest H1B stamping so that you are prepared for any international travel opportunities.

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