I-20 expired before filing OPT application, MS Thesis pending


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I have a serious situation. I wanted to file OPT application with MS Thesis pending because thesis completion would require another one and a half month. I thought I could apply OPT even after I-20 getting expired. My concept was based on students who apply for OPT after graduate completion and I-20 is valid till the last date of graduation. So I thought I could have applied for OPT even after my I-20 getting expired and in this case its not. I should have verified with DSO and I didn't do it.


Since I have not yet completed my MS degree requirements, I am currently out of status and in which case I can't apply for OPT. Already I have received I-20 extension for 1.5 years (3 times request granted from DSO) in the past. While I contacted DSO and told them about the matter that I was traveling and gone for interview and so I couldn't able to extend my I-20 or file for OPT application before my current I-20 expired. The DSO replied I can finish my thesis degree in which case I have to register for the current spring 2014 semester and go back home. The reinstatement of I-20 will take another 2-6 months and the University academics will not grant that much time. Could you please tell me what should I do to regain my status so that I can get OPT benefits?


Please reply my situation as early as possible because its very urgent and immediate. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration. Best Regards.


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Face the fact that your OPT may be gone because you did not complete your degree in a timely manner. If you required 3 extensions when there is usually more than enough time granted initially, you have bigger issues - like a job.


Your best bet is to consult an attorney for a game plan since yo and the DSO do not seem to be communicating.

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Can I enroll in the University for the current Spring 2014 and complete my masters degree without I-20 valid status? I want to verify whether it is possible, so that in future if I go back to my country after completion of my degree in out of I-20 status and want to return to US, will I get US VISA again?


Please reply immediately as it is very urgent. Thanks for your time and consideration. Best Regards.

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A reputable university / college will not enroll an international student without a valid I-20 issued by the school.  Another may to look at it is that without a valid I-20 you are no longer considered a student in good standing, and thus cannot enroll in classes.  Further, the school will likely have placed you on registration hold so you cannot enroll in classes.

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  • 1 month later...

What is the chance of getting reinstated of I-20 from USCIS ELIS (online application) applied on 19th March 2014? I didn't finish my thesis work and forgot to extend my I-20 and got out of status. For more than one and half month, requesting Academics administration to allow me to reinstate my I-20, they approved and finally applied for reinstatement on 19th March 2014 to be reinstated till 15th May 2014.

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  • 3 months later...

Dear Sir/Madam,
I was out of F-1 student status on January 30th 2014. Then I applied for reinstatement of I-20 till May 15th 2014 through USCIS the last date of my degree completion. The USCIS approved reinstatement but that reinstatement approval notice came on June 18th 2014 that says that I have been approved to US legal status till May 15th 2014. But I have completed my MS Mechanical Engineering Degree program on 2nd July 2014. During the time May 15th 2014 and July 2nd 2014, I was working on thesis and submitted my thesis on 2nd July 2014. Could I apply for reinstatement of I-20 again to USCIS from May 15th 2014 to 2nd July 2014 after completion of MS degree so that I can apply for optional practical training to work in US?

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

Best Regards.

Prasun Chatterjee

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