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I’m currently a second-year Ph.D. student holding an F1 visa. Due to the bad relationship with my advisor, I quit from the current Ph.D. program in April (actually, my adviser stop my funding to force me to leave the US.). However, I found a company that willing to sponsor me a work VISA. My sponsor submitted the H1B petition in April and finally, I luckily got picked in the pool and the petition got approved (Case status: On May 23, 2019, we approved your Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. We will mail your approval notice. Please follow the instructions in the notice). Now I’m waiting for the official documents.

As you all know, it is almost the fall semester when the regular international student must register the courses. To maintain my F1 status before I get the work VISA, I must register 9 credits hours as a full-time student in fall. Here come to my questions:

  1. Do I have to register the course as usual to maintain my F1 status to stay in the US? (Since my VISA status is changing, I don’t know if I got some special period that I can legally stay in the US without registering as a full-time student.)

  2. In this summer semester, I registered 2 credits of CPT so that I could work for my sponsor in the summer. Can I register 2 or 3 credits CPT course in this upcoming fall as a part-time student and work for my sponsor again while maintaining my legal immigration status?

I do investigate the possibility of doing a part-time Ph.D. while holding an H1B. There is no confliction between H1B VISA and part-time student (It could be either self-supported or company sponsorship.). I hope I could register as fewer credits as possible but legally work for my sponsor to compensate for the living expense. My question is how can I maximize my benefits in the transition period (assuming I will receive the official H1B VISA by Oct 1st).

My case and description may be wordy, but I do need your help and advice. Please feel free to leave anything. Thank you in advance.

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I believe that, as long as your F1 status (including grace period) lasts past when your H1b petition was filed in April (and it has), if your F1 status ends in the meantime (e.g. if you don't register for classes and don't do CPT, etc.), you can get a "cap gap" extension of your F1 status until October 1.

Although "cap gap" is usually used in the context of OPT, where someone whose OPT ends after H1b is filed in April will have OPT extended until October 1, it also applies to the case when one is still in F1 status but not in OPT when H1b is filed in April, in which case the person's F1 status will be extended to October, but they will not be able to work as they do not have OPT.

  • Sorry for the late reply! I totally understand your point and it does help me a lot! – Peter Sky Sep 23 at 1:42

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