Which is Better : Working in OPT or H1B Visa

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Interesting Question : Work for 27 months in OPT or Apply for H1B Visa?

I am currently on my first period of OPT. End date of first OPT period would be on 6th Spet ,2013.  After applying for the STEM extension, my opt will last for 17 months.  So, the end date after utilizing complete STEM period would be 7th Feb, 2015.

I know that H1B applications are accepted from April 1st. But my OPT ends in Feb 2015 and the only way for me to get H1B is to apply for it in April 2014, which I do not want to do.  I would like to utilize my OPT completely rather than wasting it. Any suggestions?

Can I apply for CPT after Feb, 2105 and file for H1B in April 2015 Or the other way, I can take an MBA course in Jan ,2015 and switch to H1B in April 2015. Does it make sense?  I appreciate your idea behind this blog. Great work and informative.Thanks in advance.

Working in OPT or H1B Visa

I know exactly why you want to work in OPT instead of H1B Visa :  To Save money on your FICA Taxes.

My friend – You are taking a huge risk by not applying for H1B Visa when you have an opportunity.

What is your primary objective?

  • Do you want to gain experience in USA while in OPT and go back to your country?
  • Do you want to continue to live and work in USA for longer period?

Let’s say you find a job in Kentucky for $50,000 per year. You continue to work in OPT for 2 years and you don’t have to pay the FICA Taxes highlighted in Yellow below ( Social Security and Medicare). If you change the status to H1B, then you $119.23 and $27.88 will be deducted from your pacy check.


opt vs h1b

Total Savings from FICA taxes will be = $3,500

Lets say, you are not applying for H1B in April 2014 and your OPT expires in Fe/2015. Which means you have to leave the country or find another way to stay in Legal Status in USA.

If your OPT has expired, then you want to enroll in MBA, then transfer to F1 Visa and then convert to H1B from October.

Which means, you want to pay 2 semester of tuition fees $20,000 to save $3,500?

Let’s say you want to take that route of attending the college.

You apply for MBA and company files for H1B.

First – I don’t see that happening. You need to  job to file H1B. If you convert to F1, you cannot work for your employer.

But, if you have a consultancy filing your H1B in 2015 and if there is a lottery and what-if you don’t get selected in the lottery? Then what are you doing to do?

You will not get OPT after your MBA.

Now, you are thinking, Gosh.. I have to apply for H1B ASAP.

What of there is lottery and What if you don’t H1B in Lottery?

Now, you are thinking, gosh.. I should apply for H1B in April 2013.

Hope, I have explained the pros and cons of trying to save $3500.

You are willing to give-up 3 chances of applying for H1B, but willing to spend lot of money.

Even if I’m a risk taker, I wouldn’t take risk for OPT vs H1B.

What would you do?

If you have opportunity to work apply for H1B and continue to work in OPT, what would you do?

Next – How to get Refund of OPT FICA Taxes?

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