My wife is currently on F1 OPT which expires in Feb 2023 and was not picked up in her last H1 attempt this year. Even though we are aware that there might be multiple H1 lottery rounds, we don’t want to risk waiting longer to start the H4 transition process owing to the long transition times for a change of status and EAD card. Can someone help answer a few questions?
- What is the best strategy we can take given we have about 10 months till the end of OPT?
Scenario 1: We apply for a change of status immediately and file for EAD concurrently. Do we risk the case where the COS happens first and EAD arrives later? In such a case she might have to take a gap from her work.
Scenario 2: Can we apply for COS and EAD concurrently with Feb 2023 as the effective start date in the future? The lawyers mentioned that we can only set a future reference date 180 days from the date you file.
Scenario 3: We apply in August (Feb 2023 - 180 days) to send concurrent applications for COS and EAD. We get lucky if both are approved together but risk running into a gap in employment if the COS happens first and we don’t receive the EAD card. In that case, we might have to move to a remote country and wait for the EAD to avoid gaps in employment.
When the COS and EAD application are filed concurrently, are they always approved together or there is a gap in getting both approved? If there is a gap, is there an average timeline for that?
While the whole transition stuff is in play, at what point (if any) can I switch jobs?
Thanks in advance! Appreciate any help.