Change of status H4 to f1 denied

Hi my wife started her masters on H4 and her H4 is valid till September 2019. We applied for change of status in April 2018 and she got her denial today stating

Section 214.2(f)(5)(i) - An F-1 Student may be admitted for a period of up to 30 days before the indicated report date or program start date listed on his Form I-20

Section 248.1(b) - a change of status may not be approved for an alien who failed to maintain the previously accorded status or whose status expired before the application or petition was filed.

Additionally they said the program start date mentioned which is March 1,2019 has elapsed and is in the past. It is not a valid start date. University mentioned this date on i20 and we don’t know why.

Now I have the following questions:

  1. The 30 day period won’t apply here because my wife was already on valid H4 visa when she started right?
  2. If we correct the start date on the i20 do we have a chance to reopen and get it approved?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  1. Yes, the 30 day will not apply here as that is for first time students entering US.
  2. Yes, it could work.

Check with DSO regarding the SEVIS status and then proceed. I am assuming that the officer thought that with your I-20 start date being March 1st, you already moved to F1 due to some system mis-information in SEVIS or any other place… You should consult your DSO, discuss these things and submit an explanation letter along with the proofs, so that officer can get clarity. You can consider to work with an attorney and get this sorted out as well.

Thank you Kumar! Yes we are meeting with the DSO and hopefully we can draft a letter explaining the date being incorrect and getting a new i20 which will help us get the approval.

Will a letter explaining the error and a new i20 as a documentary evidence suffice for form i-290B?

That’s good approach. You may attach copies of your spouse documents of H1 approval, I-94 and your I-94 as supporting documentation indicating that you and your spouse are maintaining proper status. Your DSO should guide you with the process.

Good Idea. Thank you for all your help Kumar!

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