F-1 to H1B , which is best process COS or Consular process?


I came to US on valid B1 visa and converted to F1 Student(COS). Now my graduation date is on April 2016 and planning to apply H1b even though I am eligible for OPT…

Which is best option for apply H1b through COS or counselor process(CP)?If my H1b approved by COS/CP ? can I still be on Student status and work on OPT(1 yr) + STEM extension (I know STEM ext. approval is in pending decision, but I want to utilize my OPT)If H1b approved by CP , can I eligible to work immediately? Or do I need to go my home country for stamping?If employer agrees is it possible to apply GC , while you are on OPT?Thanks in advance.

  1. COS is preferred as then you can start working on H-1 from Oct 1 and not need to get it stamped immediately.

  2. Once your COS is approved, you can no longer avail F-1 or OPT. If it is filed w/ consular processing, then you can continue to work on OPT until its expiration date

  3. In case of CP, you cannot work on H-1 until you enter on stamped H-1B visa or get a separate COS application approved. You need to have a valid I-94 w/ H-1 annotated in order to work on H-1. You will get it only through COS or entering on stamped H-1B visa

  4. Yes, they can start the process

Thanks for prompt response and answer are very helpful.

In case of CP : 1. If I apply for COS upon approval I can work immediately without entering on stamped for H-1B visa?
2. Prior to what OPT time period, do i need to apply for COS?
3. Apply H1b through counselor process need to apply against April 1st filing?

  1. You can work from COS effective date. If approved prior to Oct 1, then Oct 1 will be the start date. If approved after Oct 1, the actual approval date will be the start date.

  2. COS can take 3-4 months to process. So apply for it at least 3-4 months prior to OPT expiration. In addition, if it gets delayed and your OPT expires, you need to stop working.

  3. Yes, April 1 is the filing date for both CP and COS H-1 petitions.