Is it possible to change from H1-B(non-profit) to H1-B (profit)/ O-1?

Hello Sir/Madam,

At present, I am on OPT in USA after graduating with a Ph.D. degree from a US university in 2013. My OPT is going to expire on May 10, 2016. I work for a non-profit organization and they are willing to apply for a H1-B(non-profit) for me as early as Jan, 2016. As my goal is to get a job in industry where they mostly offer H1B (profit) and in exceptional circumstances, the O-1 visa, I was wondering if someone in this forum could provide me some answers to the questions below that will help me take an informed decision:

  1.  Can my present non-profit employer request a specific date for starting of my H1-B(non-profit) or it is not for either of us to decide but the immigration officials would decide based on my OPT end date?
  2.  I am already on my OPT STEM extension which will expire on ~May 10, 2016. Say, I could find an employer willing to file H1B(profit) for me by April 1, 2016 but after my current non-profit employer filed H1B(non-profit) petition on my behalf. At what point I should submit a request to the immigration department, via my non-profit employer, to withdraw the H1B(non-profit) petition so that (a) I do not lose my OPT cap-gap benefits which will allow me to work for my new employer on OPT cap-gap extension and also (b) file a H1B(profit) petition for me?
  3.  Say, I plan on asking for a H1-B (non-profit) start date of May 1, 2016, i.e., 10 days before my OPT expires and the petition is submitted by my present non-profit employer as early as Jan/Feb, 2016. Meanwhile, I find an employer who is willing to apply H1-B (profit) for me by April 1, 2016 but before they could file the petition on my behalf, the approval for my H1-B (non-profit) comes with a start date of May 1, 2016 (as I requested) or with May 11, 2016 (the day after my OPT expiration dates). In that case, can I join the new H1-B (profit) employer before my OPT expiration date of May 1 or May 10, 2016 (whichever it is after H1-B(non-profit) has been approved), cancel the already approved H1-B (non-profit) with my previous non-profit employer, have my new employer submit a H1-B (profit) petition for me by April 1, 2016, continue to work for my H1-B (profit) employer till October 1 on OPT cap-gap extension, and then finally, work for them from October 1, 2016 on H1B (profit)? What are the risks of me getting out of status here?
  4.  When exactly I lose my OPT cap-gap extension? Is it as soon as my H1B(non-profit) petition is submitted or as soon as it is approved? If I still have some days remaining on my OPT but my H1B(non-profit) is already approved, can I still request for availing the cap gap extension in case a new employer (for profit) files for my H1B(Profit) petition?
  5.  If I try to change from H1-B(non-profit) to H1-B(profit) at a later stage and if the H1-B petition is not approved, does my H1B(non profit) gets cancelled automatically and am I required to leave the country then?
  6.  Is it possible to change from H1-B(non-profit) to O-1 at a later stage? If so, how long the process may take? How common is O-1 visa for persons working in industry after obtaining a Ph.D. degree from some US university? If O-1 application is not granted, does my H1B(non profit) gets cancelled automatically and am I required to leave the country then?

With regards,


  1. When applying for H-1, your employer also needs to apply for COS (change of status) from F-1 to H-1. They can mention a specific date which can be at most 6 months in future. For example, employer can request June 1, 2016 as start date. If H-1 is approved w/ COS prior to Jun 1, then it will have an effective start date of June 1 and will remain dormant until then. If it gets approved on July 1, then July 1 will be the effective start date

  2. Once your H-1 non-profit starts, your status will become H-1 and you will lose OPT and cap-gap. If you want to use OPT cap-gap, then you need to remain on F-1 status and not H-1.

  3. Like mentioned in #2, you cannot use cap-gap once your non-profit H-1 becomes effective.

  4. You will lose on the day H-1 non-profit goes into effect. There is also pending question of what happens in Feb based on the recent court ruling related to OPT extensions. If all previously approved OPT extensions are deemed void, then you may lose OPT status even prior to H-1 approval date.

  5. No impact on non-profit H-1

  6. Not sure