I completed my Masters in Industrial Engineering (STEM) from NCSU and this is my timeline:

May 2017 - Graduated from NCSU

July 2017 - Started working on F1 OPT

Mar 2018 - Applied for H1b, but did not get picked [did NOT get rejected, it just wasn’t picked]

June 2018 - F1 OPT expired and continuing to work on STEM OPT

March 2019, 2020 - Company will file H1b

June 2020 - STEM OPT will expire

Note: My current F1 visa is valid until July 2020

If my H1b does not get picked in 2019, I plan on resigning and going back to India immediately (to save 11 months of STEM OPT). Then, I plan on applying for a 2nd MS program (STEM, but different university), which will start in May 2020.


  • Can I actually apply for a 2nd MS? Am I missing something big here?

  • F1 visa interview: My current F1 visa expires in July 2020. My 2nd MS will start in May 2020. Do I need to get a new F1 visa (interview again) or will it be a visa renewal?

  • STEM OPT: When I graduate in July 2021 from my 2nd MS and get a job right after graduating, can I use my remaining 11 months of STEM OPT on it?

  1. Yes, you may apply for second masters. In general, you will not get a new OPT for the same level. Read Second masters OPT , you may be eligible for using your remaining STEM OPT. Please validate with DSO at new school you plan to apply, as it can be tricky.

  2. If you come back to India and it is past 5 months on F1 visa, you may need new visa stamping. Check with DSO.

  3. This is again tricky as I mentioned, check with DSO at new school. Again, things may change in the next 3 years, so it is very hard to say…be prepared for any outcome.