If working OPT. F1 expired, change into h1b


I am a business major student . My F1 OPT will start from Feb 2013 to Feb 2014. Since the H1B application will only open  from April and the amount of applicators will reach to maximum cap very soon( Although it's different every year). 

As for my case, i am kinda confusing about the new OPT regulations.

(1) If I didn't apply for OPT extention, is it possible that I find a full time job at maybe Jan or Feb 2014 and use COS to legally stay in the US to wait until the H1B approved?

(2) If (1) is no, is that means I have to find a full time job before April 2013 in order to catch up the H1B Application open time ? Because in recenelty 2 years, the applications had already reached the maximum number in few weeks even the official open application time period will last for few months. 

(3) If I can't find a job before OPT expire,is it the only way I can do is apply for my OPT extention in order to have enough time to apply H1B in April 2014?


  1. I assume you are referring to filing in April 2014 here and missing out on April 2013 filing. Your OPT ends in Feb 2014 and you get 60 day grace period i.e. until April 2014. Your employer can file for H-1 petition along w/ COS in April 2014 in this case. You can continue to stay until Oct 2014 or H-1 denial date (whichever is earlier). However, you cannot work during this time as you will be on grace period and not on OPT.

  2. My suggestion would be to try this year as well. This will give you 2 shots at H-1 and who knows how the rules/velocity will change next year.

  3. You have 2 options. I have mentioned the first in (1) and the other is to file for OPT extension followed by H-1 w/ COS in April 2014. This will again give you cap-gap (just like 1) but you can also work during this cap-gap (as you will have OPT and will not be in grace period).

Does that clarify?

Dear Saurabh,

   Yea. It's very clear. Thank you for your specific explanation. It helps a lot!