10 Options When OPT is Expiring, H1B Visa Not Selected in the Lottery. #1 is Most Realistic.

Raghuram Sukumar H1B Visa 200 Comments

Is your OPT expiring soon and your H1B visa application is not selected in H-1B Visa Lottery?

Is it Game over for you ? Maybe Not. In this article we look at 10 options options after opt expires before next H1B Visa season.

Want to Stay and Work in USA after OPT Expires? Check out H1B Visa Plan B Video Course to learn your options.

Let look at a student who will fall into following category

  • College Degree : Advanced Degree from U.S. University (Masters, PhD, MBA, etc)
  • OPT : OPT is Expiring before next H1B Visa season in April 1, 2015
  • H1B Visa FY 2015 : Not selected in the H1B Visa Lottery.

Following comment from a reader sums up the above situation.

May be we should have same topic published where all Advanced Degree people can discuss what’s next and options.  As I’m not seeing much information on what to do if “OPT is expiring soon and not selected in H1B visa lottery.

I understand the confusion, frustration that each and every applicant who is not selected in the lottery or still waiting to hear the results is going through.

Especially, following comment highlights the issue at large

Opt expiring h1b lottery not selected

So, let’s look at options ( Plan B) when OPT is expiring and H1B visa is not selected in the lottery for Advanced degree holders who went to school in USA.

Options after OPT expires

You can find 10 possible options listed below. There can be several other creative options. If you have alternative options, post them in the comments.


1. Get Cap Exempt H-1B Work Visa from Non-Profit or Academia.Research Based companies like University

get cap exempt h1b visa

Find a job that qualifies for cap-exampt H1B Visa.  Watch the video in H1B Cap Exempt Employers : How to Get H1B Visa After Quota is Full

2. Study PhD (OPT is available after PhD degree)

options after opt expires


via Flickr

3. Have an idea? Start a company, get funding and get H-1B Visa

start company get h1b visa

via Flickr

By the way Lean Start-up by Eric Reis is Awesome.

3.  Second Masters Degree (unfortunately OPT is not available after second MS  degree)

second masters degree opt

Via Flickr

4. How about MBA? (Again OPT is not available for second Masters degree)

mba degree opt stem

Via Flickr

5. Study in another country (like Canada)

study in canada h1b not seelcted

6. Find a job in another country (Canada, Australia, Ireland, etc)

sydney australia

Via Wikipedia

7. Marriage :  Marry H1B Visa holder (will get you dependent H4 visa)

marriage spouse h4 visa

Via Flickr

8. Marriage : Marry an American Citizen or Permanent Resident

asian indian american marriage

via Flickr

9. Enroll in programs (not MS, MBA or PhD) to get I-20 to maintain your legal visa status

learn english

Via Flickr

10. About about converting to J-1 visa in a university?

f1 to j1 visa

via Flickr

So, that’s  10 possible alternative options ( Plan B) for students in F1 Visa when expiring OPT and H1B visa is not selected in the lottery.

Let me know if you have additional questions about any of the above options. As you can see, none of the options is quite easy and straight forward. But,  you are unique and your situation will be unique. I look forward to interact with you in the comments section.

10 Options for F1 Visa students when OPT is Expiring #H1B Not selected in Lottery or Filed. Tweet This.


  1. Can somebody get into a community college after Masters degree in this situation? Community college is not that expensive, so you can pass one year until next H1B without extending financial burden. May be this falls under category#9?

  2. Raghu, can you elaborate option 9 and 10. How about CPT offering school ? What are the pros and cons of CPT at this stage? Do you think enrolling Kaplan to get i20 can affect negatively when someone file for h1 next year ?

    1. There is someone who is in the comments thread did #3, since he was not selected in the lottery last year.

      He got lucky. Got selected in the lottery. No CPT or OPT. Stayed in school, spend $30,000. That’s the risk he took. What would have happened, if he didn’t get through the lottery? He would be left with 30k in loan.

  3. hv says “After all we have to eat, live and pay back our loans” really ?? you get 1 year of OPT and 1.5 year of OPT extension and you are not able to pay Rs 20L of loan?? Also there is 11 month CPT available during Master’s so in total you are getting almost 3.5 years to pay loans and still you are saying you are not able to pay loans and cursing lottery system. The reasoning in your statement is totally lame.

      1. I did my masters from USA. I was on OPT and I was lucky enough to get selected in 2013 H1B lottery. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who had loans. Most of them saved enough money to pay off all their loans within 6 months of initial OPT period. Their average loan amounts where $20k-$25k. So, I agree with the commenter that you should easily be able to pay off all the loans with 3 CPTs and 1 OPT.

        1. I am agree with you Rishi. Same case with lot of my friends. We had ~30K loans average. Everybody paid it during their initial OPT period.

          1. Congrats on paying back your loan. But not everyone’s case is the same.

        2. You are saying that in 6 months, your friends paid 25000 dollars loan. So every month they were paying back 4000 dollars. How much your friends were getting salary in first 6 months of OPT???

      1. Dude I am also AD same like you. and I just put my experience of my own and my friends. Abusing my point of view will not take you anywhere.

        1. It all depends on which stream you are from. With 3.0 GPA EEE and CSE people can get jobs. Of course some EEE n CSE don’t get jobs even with 4.0. Even with 3.8 GPA ChemE, Civil, bio people can’t get jobs. Getting a job depends on location, recommendations and luck too. Salary is another changing factor. Friends in microsoft earn 110k. Friends who work as research assistants in a med schools earn $30k. Some people have edu loans, family medical emergencies and family debts too. Different battlefields dude!

          On a side note, how many of us get internships? CPT is not for everyone! There were 14 Indians in my class and none of us got CPT.

          1. @HV – Finding job in USA is a unique skill that can be learned and honed. Submitting resume to 100’s of employer’s job site is NOT the way to find a job or internship.

          2. Yes, I know. Smart work is way more important than hard work in the states. Learnt is the hard way.

  4. one additional possible option: go back to india, and fix what is wrong with your F’d-up country, so that you then will have no need to stay in America by way of fraudulent means ( the above 10 options ). Go Home H1B job robber, the party is over, and you’re not welcome or wanted here

    1. Darling your the f’d up guys here….we atleast have brains and can make a living. You guys are just scared of the competition.

    2. Common dude…holy godd!!Now you talk about india as a ** country. Plz think..are you quite eligible to talk about india and it’s intellectual capability..we pay (throw the money) to stay in united states with all the rights…plz fix your ability to compete at the highest education level (INDIANS) and comment on this forum again..
      till then bye 🙂

      1. “godd” is spelled “God”, as in, “you are a Godd*amn d&mnsh&t job robber”…stay home Raja , get the F out of the U.S., you aren’t welcome here

    3. haha if we had internet back in the day wont pissed off red indians be crying over your white ass being here illegally ..

  5. Option 5,6 seems seems more likely to me . I have been posting the same question on diff posts but havent got any replies till date about ‘ finding a job in the Canada after MS in US ‘ . Will we be able to get a job in canada if we have a masters degree in the US . I have heard that some companies may shift employees to canada temporarily if they cant extend their visa .

    Is it true ??

    Raghu sir pls do reply

  6. Is it possible to get job in usa after completing B.E.In information technology and experience of 4years.what should I do to get the job?

    1. Study hard. Like real hard. Like seriously. No BS. Ace your class

  7. Hi, I want to do my MS from US. I have read lot of posts of you, that really helped me to learn better.

    I just have 1 question regarding jobs in US. Is it really so hard to get a job in US after completing your Master’s. As I am going to do MS in Construction Management which is a technical field, even thought is it hard to get a job? Because without a job in US I wont be able to repay my education load which would be about 25Lakhs. Please guide.

    1. It is hard to find job and H1B sponsors, especially for non-IT fields. Thats the truth.If you are worried about loan payments, then why take it at the first place. Work in India.

    2. Jeet. Its a risk. Not denying that. Look at the reputation of the college your opting in. Even if you land up with a Job once your OPT expires you have to rely on lady luck.

  8. I got selected this year in the lottery. But I just did not sit and wait to get selected. I had applied for my PhD in December and got it in UV with a free ride. Let me point out that most of the PhD intakes are in Fall and you need to apply by jan to get considered.
    So people who are in OPT and planing to apply next year. Plan 6-7 months in advance.

    1. Thanks. Have a friend whose struggling after MS and thinking of opting in for PhD to maintain his status.

  9. @hv comment – Featured by happy schools. I thought happy schools is very useful blog for many of those who aspire to study in US. But i do not have any idea why did you feature the comments like this?!?!?! If this guy thinks he is super smart brilliant than all of the IT guy who out there then he mush write to Obama administration to introduce new Visa type to keep him as a King in US.!!! you talk about what IT people think of you? what do you think of IT people.? All IT guys studied thier UG without any loan? andthey sit simply without working hard? I accept few companies misusing the Slots which in fact it is very much important for the guy like you who desperately need to stay there and payback your Study Loan. and then what? you throw off your rest of earnings in the street? you did not think of this before you go study there? then its your mistake! Just don’t blame others for our bad time Guys.! Also almost all of my friends completed their Loan within a year.! Just don’t be Ignorant – including happyschools Raghuram.!

    1. First – Thanks for sharing your opinion.

      Second – Don’t call people ignorant when you haven’t gone through the process of coming to USA for higher education. Believe it or not, folks who have gone through this process are much better in handling lot of situations in life, since they have faced lot of challenges that’s so unique to studying abroad. You can argue against it, but that’s the FACT.

      There’s difference between saying I paid-off my loan in 1 year vs my friends paid off. I have heard so many friends stories and you are probably read 20 of the comments in this blog and I have read over 100,000 comments and questions. So, I’m in better position to talk about paying-off loan than someone who haven’t studies here in USA.

      Ask a Biotech Grad with $35,000 in salary living in Washington DC and see how long it took them to pay off $30,000 loan.

      As I said I value your opinion as any other 60,000 comments in this blog, but if you haven’t lived, worked, studied in USA and paid the loan, then you can’t really talk about what someone have gone through life in USA. If you have been through this process, my guess is that your comments will be much different.

      Featuring Comments : I will continue to feature comments that I think adds value to the discussion.

      1. Sorry for calling Ignorant in first place and being ignorant. Yes i did not study in USA like anyone else who left 1,00,000 comment. ofcourse you are in better position in commenting than anyone else in this blog. That is why so many people including me who aspire to study in US come to this blog to gain experienced ppl suggestions. I respect you for this service you provide for free! No doubt in that. Now for the featured comment: I work in IT company, who studied his UG by getting loan and after studies was forced to go to work to support family rather than going abroad for higher studies. Why? it is not that i do not want to do my higher studies. It is because i was forced to support family and payback my UG loan. Now do you think hv is in crucial state of his life than guy like me who was expecting his H1B to work abroad to safeguard his family first and then pursue his Higher Studies? With your experience do you think there is no point in comparing people? If so i would like to apologise to all those hurt due to my comments.! i wish best of luck to everyone who deserves and waiting for Lottery!

        1. Have you worked at a restaurant, did research, did a part time job on campus and study at the same time. If no, stop talking.

          1. No! i have not been through that part of your life! I had my own reasons to claim my point! As i said earlier i would like to apologize to all those hurt due to my previous comments.! Stopping now! wish you all success!

          2. Were you not aware that you will have to work at a restaurant, do research and also carry out part time job on campus before you opted for this ????
            If No. Welcome to the doofus club

        2. You fight your battle. I fight mine. You wanted to safe guard your family first and then come for higher studies. Well, we didn’t do that. To talk about who is in a more crucial situation. Let me tell you a little bit of what I went through. Some people may have had it worst.

          HV is a she 🙂 . I am not a family in which women are sent abroad before getting married. So lets just skip that part of mys struggle. I have a BTech in biotech and joined MA in chemical engg to do research in bioprocess (mixture of both). I worked 20 hrs part time, worked on a thesis, did voluntary research in school of medicine to improve my resume. My clasmmates were IITians and NITians and brilliant Chinese. Struggled to cope up. Some how afetr 1st sem I got used to the system and brought up my GPA.

          I got phone interviews from leading companies in chem and bio but they rejected me because I have a student visa. There were times in my life when I had to send money home out of my meager $700 per month. I haven’t been home in 3 years. I worked full time in the summers to pay for my semesters and send money home. I used to live on just lunch. Just eggs and milk sometimes.

          I learnt to drive to get a job (people get rejected if you don’t have a car to travel to the chemical plant). Now I have a well paying job and I am sending money home and saving for my brother’s education. Now what would have happened if my H1B got rejected this year and next? I would have gone home after paying off my car loan with just a year or 2 of experience and should face the people who kept telling “don’t waste money on a girl child”. My parents are not vey well off and I would have been just a huge loss.

          But I have friends who graduated in May and don’t have a job and don’t know how to survive here. I know people with expired leases, no jobs, hefty loans and I know a person whose father lost his job when we were studying. what will happen if we don’t get our H1Bs. Now tell me can we speak about for who H1B is crucial. Filing multiple positions may be legal but is not moral. You are robbing someones chance when more than one of your petitions get selected.

          Again, not trying to hurt. Just explaining that not all of us are rich. Some of us are from same financial level as you.

          1. Oops. At current state it’s your petition which should be selected than mine. in 2 to 3 years i will be in someone else position which u mentioned. You guys deserve to work there as there is no scope for your guys in India. For that reason i support your point. I misjudged your position based on your featured comment. I wish you best of luck to get picked up to continue your carrier!

          2. Thanks! I got mine actually even before I wrote the comment in the other post. My company rarely sponsors H1B . But many of my friends are still waiting. We have faced everything together. So I just wish they could get it too! Best wishes to you too. It is brave of you to accept someone else’s view.

          3. Congrats! May I know what category you fall under: AD/PP/CA? If so, did you receive the notification from the attorney today? Thanks in advance :).

          4. Thanks. AD RP VT. I received it last week. My lawyer’s office is two hours from the centre. My personal opinion is since RP results come through regular mail, distance between the centre n lawyers office determines when u get your receipt to a certain extent. I am not sure though. Anyway good luck. Some of my friends are waiting too.

          5. And not every company submits more than 1 petition. and i am against it too.

          6. HV,
            Don’t take it personally. To summarize all your content together. You thought of higher education in the ‘US’ as an investment. Having said that you also mention the return you were expecting (You know like having money saved up for your brothers education).
            Tell me one thing honestly. Were you not aware of the risk of H1B lottery rejecting your petition out ?

            What is even more confusing. You do compare apples to apples right ? How is you comparing your luck to any Indian IT guy different ?

            The probability of selection of H1B is anyways much higher than regular petitions. You have a 20K only masters and then your petition is entitled for the remaining quota.

            Look no body has anything personal towards your case. So should you, point fingers and cry about how it is unfair that you took a ‘RISK’ which you were totally ‘AWARE’ of. It didn’t play out even though you had higher odds then an IT guy from India. But it the IT guy. He has robbed me off ‘MY’ job. The job I don’t know how you inherently/morally have a right to more than an ‘IT guy from India’.

            Plus I am sorry. But don’t bring the being a girl play card. Last I would ever want to hear about is US introducing special quota for ‘Girls’ from ‘India’ with ‘Middle Class Families’. I am sure you wouldn’t want that too

          7. Let’s talk about the ‘girl playcard’. Are you saying that we have a special quota for girls in India.

            Let me first tell you how useful my ‘girl playcard’ was when I was trying to do internships in India (Only my internship phase. I can email you my UG phase, school phase and extra curricular activities phase).

            I have had the joy of standing in the bus stop closing my eyes and praying that I should not be groped by a stranger today (atleast) as I have a presentation and can’t take the emotional torture today.

            I have had the joy of watching my friend’s shocked tearful eyes looking at me silently pleading to push the groping drunk away from her. I just witnessed her get down 4 stops before our research institute and sit down and cry on the pavement.

            After getting our certificates for our final project I went home at 10 and listened to my friend crying behind closed doors because she doesn’t want a girl baby in the future because of what she went through that day by a prodding stranger in a crowded bus on our way back home.

            These are just few benefits of being a girl. Do you think a half priced JEE and a free GATE hall ticket are enjoyed by all the women in India.

            Before you ask I would like to make it clear that I didn’t write this in my SOP to get an admit. No, I didn’t narrate this in my interview to get a job. No, I didn’t submit this as a part of my H1B application.

            If I had a dollar for every minute I had regretted being a girl I would have easily paid for my H1B and premium processing!

            Don’t take it personally but in 2-5 years when you have a daughter tell her not to play her ‘girl playcard’ when she goes out to play hide and seek. We don’t just hide we try to be invisible.

          8. Its interesting how you deviate topics from one issue to another. Can call it an art. You ll bring up issues which has remotely to do anything with your OPT or H1B and gain a sympathetic vote over the audience. I am sorry whatever you ve written above is all factually correct but got nothing to do with the discussion here.
            Call me hollow but an IT guy has all the equal rights to deserve a dream that you share. Unfortunately your so stuck with the social enigma you ll just bring hunger n dowry in the picture to earn sympathetic points. I don’t really think that is how one should confront such discussions.
            Don’t even bother replying back. You ll sack and portray an image of me similar to the sick people you talk about. I am afraid you win. Please take all our H1B s. You out of all ‘deserve’ it the most. Very sarcastically because women are not that privileged here and you ll just say anything now.

          9. I didn’t say that an ‘IT guy from India’ robbed my chance. It was a comparison question and I just gave my opinion. I didn’t write a separate article.

            IT people say that we also have dreams to come to US and all that. When you sat for placements didn’t you think that you may not get a chance to work in the US. Did you think that if you get a IT job you are entitled to get a ticket to US?

            In a perfect world a MS/PhD grad with everything to lose if she/ he doesn’t get a H1B after all the struggle and hard work should get a receipt. Because we just have two chances before our OPT ends. Why don’t you understand that we will lose our job!

            You people can apply even after 3 years or apply 4 times. This is not in anyway affecting your life. You are not going to lose anything you may just miss a chance. You can go on with your life!

            And still so many people proudly say that they submitted 4 applications and got 3 acceptances thus wasting 2 receipts!

            My answer was in response to who deserves it more? That guy said that his situation is more crucial. I was just explaining to him how it is more crucial to me.

          10. Yes you are absolutely right. You took a higher risk knowing what your worst case scenario would be. Still the system should favor you. And why is that ? Oh sorry because again you took a higher risk which you were totally aware of. BTW the way you portray about jobs it sounds like your unemployable back there in India. Which might not be so true. Everybody has something to lose.
            Anyways forget it. I am sorry even to have said anything about it. You ll just nuke me down to the category of sick people who do all odds to women. So I ll just say ‘SORRY’. I AGREE yours dream is more important than theirs 🙂 There you go

    2. AD/PP/CA: No receipt yet: I feel so helpless and miserable right now. It’s so difficult to focus on my tasks at work right now but I have to. What was my fault? Coming to the US, studying and working hard/smart? Please, people who haven’t gone through this process and still have another chance to stay here in the U.S., don’t comment on this. Walk in my shoes first and then talk. What about people whose STEM extension expires in a
      month or so? What’s their fault? We’re not blaming you guys, we’re just saying that the process is not fair. And it’s not just about paying loans. For some people, it can be supporting the family along with the loans. We’re used to challenges by now, whatever life throws at us, but that does not mean it should always be this way!!! Get this clear in your mind or else stop BSing.

      1. And yes, we neither need anyone’s sympathy nor wishes. It is what it is.

      2. Agreed! no sympathy nor wishes for you. But i understand your situation. just stay calm and do what you need to do now. as you deserve H1B you will get it! i do not want to get into argument on who deserves H1B. I blame on system and company who misuses system and make people life difficult and AD people’s life much more difficult.!! If you still want to blame others then mistake is not mine! you go ahead and NAIL Others which might be satisfying you.. If not cool down and pray for yourself!

        1. FYI. Nailed it means: “You couldn’t have described it with better precision!” This is from the web. I’m not blaming others. I don’t have time for that and don’t wanna do that.

          1. Exactly. This is what i meant! You couldn’t have described it with better precision!!!!

          2. My response “You nailed it” was for Raghu’s comment. By that I only meant that he couldn’t have described it better. Other than that I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t want to argue with you.

          3. I Wont feel much sympathy for MS people because US is providing 29 months OPT stem , CPT , additional quota that is far enough

  10. My OPT is going to expire soon and I want apply for OPT extension, I currently work full time for a org which is not e verified, I read in a forum I can transfer to an E verified employer and still continue working with my current employer? what are my options? What does it mean by transfer my employment, please advise so I can talk to my current employer.

    1. You should be working for an e-verified employer to get STEM extension. Maybe work for an everified as a contract.

      You – Everified (employer) – Client of current employer.

      Or ask you employer to see if they can become everified.

      1. I requested them to register in E verify, and was very positive they would, so did not think of plan B, but for some reason they think its a huge task and want to do it next year, so now I need to quickly think of a solution, I do not want to leave this full time job, they have filed my h1b, received my receipt number and I am waiting for the results. I want to use OPT extension as back up if my h1b gets denied, I read someone continued to work full time by just transferring their employment to an e verified employer. I am curious to know what it meant to transfer(I have an e verified employer who is willing to help me out).

        1. My company was reluctant to get everified too. My HR didn’t know that they were already everified. But my company said that they cannot give me their everification number if my receipt gets selected. I really don’t know why verification is such a big issue when it is free. But within two years uscis is making everification compulsory.

          When all your credentials are in order n u have proof I think the chances of denial is pretty low. Don’t just transfer for opt extn as u already have a receipt. compare the two companies n c if it’s worth it. N my other thought is …. If u transfer now ur current employer can revoke ur h1b application as it is not fully processed then u r stranded. Ofcourse u can extend opt n apply next year but the competition may b higher next year n a bird in hand is worth two in the bushes.

          1. I don’t think the applying company can revoke your petition. They can chose to not respond if the petition heads in for an RFE asking details about the company of the petitioner. An L1A/B can be revoked. Not H1

  11. Hi Pooja, please send me your email ID ? I missed it in one of the conversations 🙂

        1. @Navya:disqus: I will reply to you via email most likely by 6pm. I’ve to work at least 8 hours every day as I’m hourly. Sucks, but this is just an FYI. Let’s discuss via email now…

          1. Sure, that time works works for me too, we can discuss more on it.

    1. do you think that you can just come into my country, and take advantage of loopholes in laws, you’re common beggars and thieves

  12. IS thr a Way to apply for J1 if i am working ?

    Who can apply for J1?

    And also is every comp eligible for L1.

    I am on payrol for X comp which is Indian based but has its sister concern or main comp in US but with different name.

    Can i apply for L1?

  13. These Advanced Degree students who came to the USA on the pretense that:

    1. They would go back to their home country after doing their MS.

    2. That they have enough funds to do Masters.

    Now, they are complaining that they don’t want to go back to their home country and want to continue working here because they have a burden of clearing their loans they took for Masters.

    I’ve heard people being denied the F1 visa griping that the F1 visa system is absurd. People who got it are now complaining that H-1B visa system is absurd.


    If all of this is so absurd, just stay in your home country and spend your efforts in the betterment of your home country rather than complaining about the immigration system of a country that clearly doesn’t care about you.

    1. It works both ways. USA is giving admission to International students because Universities want to earn money. Not only that, how much money US earns from Visa fees, GRE to rent, utilities etc. 20 billion dollars every year from Foreign students. American Corporations earn while hiring H-1B workers as it keeps salaries in check. So you should look at the profit which US is getting.

      1. US is not getting any profit, all profits are being earned by corporations and universities. US could care less about the profit from international students, 20 Billion $$ is pocket change for the US economy.

        Universities want to earn money, if universities have the final say, they would let every one study once the student has the qualifications. Universities don’t care how you get the money or what your plans after MS are. That’s where USCIS comes in. USCIS has a bigger responsibility to make sure that the immigrants don’t create an economic burden. USCIS is giving admission to International Students because they claim that they would go back to their home countries after MS and that they have enough money.

        Try getting the visa by stating that you will stay here, get the H-1B and are funding your education all through loans and show me where you get.

        The USCIS has a system in place to check for this. The H-1B system works well if the F-1 system is not misused. Once you lie and mislead in the F-1 interview, the H-1B system fails and we are seeing what happens.

        As far as US corporations and H-1B are concerned, they have a job that they need to fill. They don’t care if the job need is filled by a F-1 student or someone from India.

        You’ve seen corporations lobbying for more H-1B visas but have you seen them lobbying for letting F-1 students get permanent residency or having US educated F-1 students in a different category than the H-1B? No, they don’t because for them the advantage is only by having more and more H-1B employees who can be controlled easily because their visas are tied to jobs.

        1. Everything in this country is for profit of Corporations. Look at Expensive Health care or lack of Public Transportation or expensive college Education, Low minimum wages, Low interest rates, Bloated Defense spending on wars. Read US History-Slavery was rampant because it brought Profit. Every War brings Profit for Defense Contractors or Oil Lobbyists.You cant blame immigrants for all that. H-1B visa saga is also another chapter in US History where Corporate Profit is earned. This country is run in such a way so that top 1% population become more rich by making all other Americans more miserable. Immigrants are also sacrificing a lot for this country. From taking Bank loans to working odd jobs at pathetic wages to earning below par in H-1B visas while Spouses sit at home on Dependent Visas and waiting for 10 years or even more for Green Card.

          1. yes, exactly. you are totally right. being an immigrant in a different country is a tough deal but the USA makes it tougher.

            people who are skilled workers have to come to the USA on a H-1B visa and have to live an extremely frugal life because the H-1b holder and the spouse have to life on one salary. Couples having average incomes but a job each have a better standard of living than skilled workers due to this stupid rule.

            It shows the US attitude towards H-1B holders. We don’t care about your spouse or your standard of living, all we care is that you save us money by bringing us cheap labor.

            In my state in India, Andhra Pradesh, it is a matter of pride for parents if their son is in the US. I was pressured a lot because of this and despite all this ridiculous immigrant rules, I came to the USA.

            Things were better for Indian immigrants 10 years ago with less waiting times, now the waiting times are absolutely deprobale.

  14. Who deserves more: Yes i agreed every reason of you to get your H1B visa got selected instead of some loafers you pointed. and i apologized for talking in general and i am happy you people. I am not comparing Deserving AD guy with me. I am just comparing myself with AD Loafers(I hope there are few people, if not im sorry again) and Loafers in IT(who i see everyday and it is burning me in.). You went there to complete your AD and you are forced to work there to payback loan else you will loose your entire carrier. you did not know this is coming? well i know this will be my state too in few years and i don’t blame in general. i blame system which do not have separate Visa for AD people and i blame IT company who misuse and waste slot. At this point Of course people like you and your friend deserve more. H1B cap of 65000 is for Foreign workers to US. 20000 is for AD who studied in US. Now i hope you did not mean all AD people deserve 85000? there are deserving people in IT too. Situation like mine might look stupid for few people. This is the reason why i called ignorant in first place. Later i apologized to everyone for saying that.

    Loan: My UG loan is 6Lakh. Rate of interest is 14%. It is equal or almost same to pay 6Lac from India and paying 30-40Lakh from US(Source: My friend have 40Lakh loan for his MBA AD and he got selected in H1B too. He paid 40% of his loan in 1 year!) It is been 3 years and i am still paying my UG Loan. I do not compare with Bio tech/other skilled who getting paid less. This is FACT.

    Loosing my Job: No i do not loose my Job. If i did not get my H1B i will end up in here for rest of my carrier. As my employer is not ready to initiate H1B next year as others are waiting in queue. Reason: my H1B not selected in lottery last year and applied for 2nd time this year and now i am waiting for stupid Lottery.

    Hope you getting it. sorry again to you and your friends if i hurt anyone.!

    1. I wrote this reply before I wrote the other one. It just got published late on this page. Sorry, it is repetitive

  15. Any inputs you can help me with, in finding jobs in other countries like you stated Cannada,Australia, Ireland? Like nay best consultancies to get the visa or job they help in and procedure for relocation etc.Any clues?

  16. @happyschools:disqus: Hello Raghu, I believe that you created this particular article to address the concerns of those AD applicants whose OPT is expiring and haven’t heard anything from USCIS yet. People need to understand here that this section should be to discuss those options. This is getting messy here the way people are commenting. Guys, we have no problem with what you think about us. Please do not argue here but let’s make it a little constructive so people who are worried and want to discuss their options can do so without any issues. Thanks all!

      1. I am sorry I just put up one before reading this post. Flag mine. I think the confusion came with the tone the featured post was written in. Really sorry once again

  17. @happyschools:disqus: Is it true that all H1-B jobs (cap-exempt or non-exempt) have to provide a minimum wage of 55K? I’m asking as I’m trying to find a job in some NPO as part of my plan B. Thanks for all your help!

    1. Is this particular to this article? all your replies shows you u are selfish!!!!!!!!

      1. Hey you! I don’t have time to deal with your bullshit anymore, you get me? I AM NOT TALKING TO YOU. Mind your own f****n business before commenting about me. I asked a question related to this forum. If you don’t like it, do not pay attention. I’m done dealing with a****** like you. And don’t blame me for my language. I don’t talk to anyone like that. So you know what kind of a person you are. It’s you who started it. And I don’t need to know why you called me selfish…coz you know what? I DON’T GIVE A S**T ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK.

  18. Don’t forget to apply for a green card guys! Registration opens October to November and results come out May 1 the next year. 50,000 quotas each year! I’m nonAD/RG. No news from h1b yet, so I can only hope for the lottery is Thursday 🙁

    1. Which country are you from? People from India are not allowed to apply for Green card lottery. All the best for your lottery results.

    2. judging by your name, Henry, my educated guess is you are from France?

      India, China, Philippines and Mexico are not a part of the Diversity Visa lottery.

  19. Are there any colleges in US who approve CPT in the first semester for example i enroll in june and allowed to get CPT with in a month or so.

    1. There is Goldy Beacom University in Delaware, that gives you CPT from Day1. I applied there last year for some visa issues, though I didnt end up enrolling in the program.

        1. Yes, it is. I applied last year and got an admit though I did not have to use it. You need to contact the admissions office directly and let them know you want to get onto CPT from Day 1. Be cautious about this route, as I have been seeing a lot of people posting against this method. Looks like it is a little risky. Talk to your DSO before you take any step.

          1. I’m covering about this in detail in today’s webinar ( 9;30 PM EST). there is a huge pitfall in this approach. Beware before going forward with Day 1 CPT colleges.

          2. what about it? i am planning to enrol in sullivan university. They said they will give me CPT end of sem 1 .

          3. Yes i did get an email from their advisor. How ever they want me to find a job close to NY or washington only.

    1. Thanks for your reply, I got admission into Harrisburg University, They are offering full time CPT from day 1, I am worried if this is a pitfall and may haunt me back during next year H1b or some where down the line.

      1. Author

        There is contact form at bottom of all pages of the blog.

  20. Hi Raghu,

    If spouse is on F1 OPT and did not get picked up, can we convert her visa status to H4 dependent by staying in US or she has to go back to India? I’m on H1B visa and also working. Can you explain about the H4 visa option in detail.


      1. Hi Raghu,

        Yes, COS is there. My question is whether it requires to leave the country?


  21. There is a 11th option. Go back to your home country and start a new life. After traveling so much of distance and doing do many hard things to get a job in US and not getting opt to H1B conversion due to the lottery, returning to home country is a great option. Atleast we have got experience with hardship which will help our life there. I didn’t get H1B this time. Next year(April 2016) is my last chance. This 11th option is will be my decision if I don’t get H1B

    1. Author

      I thought I listed that. Good luck for next year.

  22. Hi Raghu,

    I applied my h1B but no luck till date, so planning to join a college – like Harrisburg university PA . I have heard they do offer CPT from day1, so by this way I can be back in Industry and can utilize my education and experience.

    You have more experience in Immigration stuff, so thought to ask you. Please guide me..
    1 will it effect if I apply h1b next year
    2 is it legal to work on day1 of CPT
    3 will i get OPT- EAD easily or it will also effect my H4 status
    4 later on in case my husband applies GC and got I140 next year- then 1 day CPT will effect me to get H4 EAD at that time.
    5 And will I be maintaining two status H4 and F1 in case of this university

    I am really frustrated now and want to start work. I searched on NET abt Non profit organization too but no luck..

  23. My OPT period expires 31 May, grace period 60 days after that. I am self employed after my MFA in Fine Arts. I am almost through to transfering to a PhD program in Expressive Arts Therapy. But that is just so much more expense for me. I applied for a job in a profit based wellness center to teach Art. My question is
    if I get the job at this center, what visa can i get to transfer to work? I would prefer to have a job as it supports my family. is OPT to HIB cap exempt and is that easy? what is cap gap extension?does that apply to me? Thanks, Gopika

  24. i am currently working on OPT Stem which is about to expire on july 18th.
    I would like to do my second masters in management from this fall.
    Can you please tell me if i need to leave US for the time between july 18 and august till my second masters begin ? Or can i stay here till my classes start in August? If i get my i20 before july 18th am i legal to stay here till august 18th till classes start ?what if i get i20 after july 18th ?

    1. Hi Kiran,

      I have been in the same situation as you are now. You can stay in the US as long as you have an i20 from the next University (the one you would pursue your MBA in), before the end of your 60-day grace period after your OPT expires. This is the information I have and am implementing in my case, after checking with my current DSO, attorney, prospective schools etc, but again, you might want to check with your DSO for confirmation.

      Good luck!

  25. Hello Everyone, Hope all you guy’s are doing good 🙂

    Well I would appreciate if anyone can help me with my query below.

    I have done my masters in Electronics and Mobile comm in UK back in 2011. I tried to get a job with in my field in UK but unfortunately it was quite hard and because of financial situation i started working as an sales consultant. My visa got expired last year and came back to India and with my previous exp, started working in DELL as a sales consultant and SAP BIBO consultant as well.

    Now I am planning to come to US to do my second masters but this time may be in marketing (as I have sales exp) or in information technology. I consulted one of the lawyers and he suggest to apply on work-study program as this gives me an opportunity to work full-time and study part time.

    He works for an non-profit organisation, a trust, who helps in getting offer letter from US companies(after getting selected interview through skype) before I file for a Visa. He says that I can work on OPT rather than CPT as i already done my masters in UK. Is this true?

    Secondly, In case if i get selected in interview and work on OPT till my course finishes, can i still continue working even if I finish my masters?

    I neither been to US nor I know there rules and regulations, So I would be thankful for anyone who can reply with answers.

    1. Author

      Man, your lawyer gave you a “messed up” plan. I wouldn’t go with Work Study program. Schools that offer such program is really low quality. Plus, you need to consider the possibility for this question during visa “You already have Masters from UK, why do you want to study second Masters”. In other words, you are already seen by them as “Potential Immigrant”. Please setup a coaching call, we can sort things out.

      1. Thanks for your reply Raghuram.
        You can inbox me your contact number or help me with your email address so that I can drop my contact number if that is easy for you.

          1. Hi, I couldn’t find an option on the above website to schedule the coaching call.

          2. Author

            Scroll all the way down. You will see Coaching and Consulting. Click on Learn More 🙂

  26. Adding to the above queries, In order for me to do OPT or apply for H1B later on in the future, do i need to graduate from Public university or non profit universities? Is Merrimack college in Boston a good university?

    1. Author

      For-Profit university will not get you into Advanced Degree Cap. But, you can apply for General Cap.

  27. Hi Raghu,
    I didn’t get selected in the H1B lottery this year. Right now i am on my STEM extension period which expires in Nov 2015. After that, is there a way I can work for a firm which is US based and has clients in India. So that next year US based company can apply for my H1B again? I hae completed my masters. next year, if I apply for H1B will i be eligible for Masters quota or Regular processing?
    If i would like to go for second masters degree, which college you would suggest? Are there any 1 year Masters program in USA?
    Awaiting response.
    Thank you.

    1. Author

      Hello Niki,

      You should buy H1B visa Plan b course. Link can be found at top of this Blog post or under Courses Tab at the Top.

  28. Hello Raghu!

    I completed my MS in finance back in 2011 from US and applied for an OPT but did not use it. Came back to India after my courses in some months. Now I am going again for a two year MBA this year (August 2015).

    Since I will not have an OPT, I wanted to understand the following:

    – If I get a job by April 2016 and my employer files for my H1B visa in April 2016, is it possible that I maintain my F1 status till I graduate (June 2017)? Basically is there a way that I can ask for a change of status from F1 to H1 only to occur the following year when I have graduated?

    – Since my first masters course was a MS in finance, am I eligible for the Masters quota for H1B?

    Highly appreciate your help!

      1. I did a BA in Economics and Statistics from India and then an MS in Business with a concentration in Finance from US. Thanks!!

      2. Raghu, thank you for the resourceful article.
        With regard to 9 months to 1 year specialized MA or MS programs in the US, would I be eligible for a Masters’ Cap in H1B filing or does it have to be a 2 years MS program?

        Look forward to hear from you.

  29. Hi,

    My Qualification:-

    UG : Engineering in ECE from Thapar University (Patiala)

    PG : MBA in Marketing from SIBM, Pune (2010-2012 batch)

    Work ex : 3 years as a Area Sales Manager with a MNC

    Suggestions needed : Is it worth doing another MBA in USA/Canada or a 1 year specialised course in Marketing/Business Management/Integrated marketing communications etc.
    What are the jobs prospectus post that?
    What are the chances of my visa getting rejected in USA/Canada since i already have a masters?
    Which country is a safe bet ? USA/Canada ?

    1. Author

      Very thoughtful questions and I cant do justice to you by answering in one line. Schedule a consulting call to discuss pros and cons and options.

  30. Hey Raghu,

    first of all: very helpful selection of different options. I did my Master degree in the USA and was on OPT the last year. It is going to expire in a month. I applied for an H1B visa, but didn’t get picked in the lottery.

    Could you please tell me what my best options are to stay in the country. Unluckily I don’t have enough money to stay in this country without any job. I went to school on a Scholarship. So going back to college is only an option if it would be an affordable school.

    Would a Spanish language program for 3 months work? Or does it has to be English? Also I heard that I can work part-time if I was already on a F1 visa for 9months.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. Author

      Hello Mincal, Please schedule a 45 minutes consulting call to discuss this.
      I have been talking to so many over consulting on the same topics. Check under Products ( go all the way down to Consulting info).

  31. what to do if:
    My OPT expires on May 1, 2016
    My F1 visa expires on May 15 2016
    My company has applied for H1-B already in April 2016. But result is not yet declared.

      1. Hello Raghu,

        Is there a way to access your plan B video. It is saying page is unavailable.


  32. Dude! Whoever wrote this!What is wrong with you. I went through this situation and I understand the pain but some of the suggestions are pure neurotic! “Marry a US citizen” People in this situation are very vulnerable stop playing with their heads. Have a filter and get your thoughts straight before you post. I wouldn’t suggest anyone to follow or even give serious thought to these particular marrying “options”. The rest of them are fine especially finding work with non-profit or may be think of a PhD or MBA (if that interests you, I can not stress enough on the interest part). Good job there. But don’t suggest people to marry for legal status. People look up to your posts for guidance.

    1. Author

      Aravind- I totally understand your opinion against marrying based on where you ( and I come from culturally) but don’t forget that fact that over 30 million visitors have come to this site and I have real examples of what folks have done. There are things people have consulted with me which I can’t share. But l can say with 100% certainty, people have done that, so don’t be surprised .

  33. Another option you can add here, O-1 visa. If you have a PhD, would definitely be a good option.

  34. Can you give an insight into option 9 like, what are the programs available and their duration?

  35. Hi guys,

    How about if you quit from your job during an OPT, does the immigration give you enough time to find another job, in the same way if the company fired you, how many day does immigration give you to find another job?

    1. Author

      ​Same unemployment period rules apply for days you are not employed. ​

  36. Hello All,

    I am currently working here in the U.S. under my OPT after my undergraduate degree.

    My OPT expires in February 2015, and my H1B petition is not going to be filed until April1, does any one of you know what options I have available to stay and continue employment.

    Thank you

  37. Pingback: Home Loan H1b Visa Holder Vs Holder

  38. My opt is expiring on 22nd of this December. My opt extension packet is going to USCIS on 15th December. I am worried that I would go out of status if they don’t send the receipt before 22nd. It could also be delayed by some rfe request. Please give me suggestions.

  39. The 3rd option- “Have an idea? Start a company, get funding and get H-1B Visa”. Are you sure about it? Did you know anyone who gained H1B by this option?

      1. Raghuram Sukumar,

        Could you please elaborate on the problems with English courses ?

        1. Author

          Your CPT will not be related to your course of study. SO, when you eventually apply for H!B, there could be RFE.

      2. Can you give me some examples of this? I am googling it, as I don’t have any network of such people and have little success in finding such.

        Thanks Raghuram for writing such an informative piece.

  40. I am having 5 years of Development experience in IT and currently married is it a good decision to take up MS at this point of time and what are the chances for my F1 visa and my wife for a F2 visa ?

    1. Author

      Sometimes you have to take a decision thats as bold as this to change the course of your life, future and family. Go for it.

  41. Great work.

    Can you elaborate more on OPTION #9?

    9. Enroll in programs (not MS, MBA or PhD) to get I-20 to maintain your legal visa status.

    1. Author

      There are programs like English language courses that will give you I-20. I don’t recommend those programs.

    2. Great work,

      Can you elaborate more on OPTION #8?

      8. Marrying and American Citizen or Permanent Resident.

      (Seriously, so if our OPT is expiring and we need to stay here, we should find an American to marry!)

      1. Author

        I recommend this only if you truly fell in love with someone ( not for pay for GC).

  42. What happens when I am out of status? I will have to leave US eventually or still can try something else while I am here.

    1. Author

      If you are out fo status then you have to leave the USA or find a different legal status.

      1. Hi Raghu,

        Currently my 2014 H1-B is still pending (2years) and my STEM extended OPT have expired.

        I re entered US on H4 as my spouse is on H1-B.

        This year I am planning to file a fresh H1-B. As my OPT has expired, will the fresh H1-B falls under MS Quota or Regular Quota?

        1. Author

          If you have MS degree, you would always fall under Masters Degree cap (provided your degree is qualified). Some for-profit school degree doesn’t qualify for Advanced degree cap.

      2. Dear Raghu, thanks for your feed back on so many aspects would like to know, presently my daughter is working as physiotherapist but unfortunately she did not get selected in h1 visa lottery . She has already done her masters …phd she does not want to pursue ..non profit she has applied to so many but to no avail… her opt expiers aug 31/16 what other alternative .thanks

  43. So, my OPT expired January 19,2016. I received my bachelor degree. I am trying to switch back to F-1 to pursue a Master in Finance because i’m still in the 60 days grace. If I get accepted for summer 2016 within the 60 days period and transfer my SEVIS to my new school, I don’t have to leave the U.S. Am i correct ? I read somewhere that I must start school within 5months.

    Thanks in advance

  44. Hi Raghu,

    I am currently on Non-STEM OPT EAD which expires in August 2016.
    Doing job also, but cannot afford to again enroll for Day 1 CPT courses (costing around $30 K) to maintain the legal status.
    Can you please suggest me some cheap Day 1 CPT courses (around $10 K -15 K) & the required details of the University.
    Also, any other better & efficient option is more than welcome.

    Thank you.

  45. I am thinking about start my own company since thearly company I am working for is not going to sponsor me.
    My concern is.. how big the company must be? How much money should I invest? And will I be able to keep my visa?
    Also I was thinking about to change to tourism until I figure out something else.
    Can someone help me?
    Thank you

  46. Hi. My Opt(MBA) is about to expire ( October 2016) and the company that I am working for is not going to sponsor me.
    I am trying to find a way to stay here. I was finding about open my own ( small) company but how big it should be? How much should I invest? And will have the right to work in it legally?
    I am also thinking about changing my visa to tourist until I figure out something else.
    Is there any other option?
    Thank you

    1. Author

      It’s almost impossible to start your own company and sponsor H1B for yourself. If it was that easy, most of OPT folks will be doing that. But, it’s possible if you have an investor and right idea. You may have to consult an Immigration Attorney (via Ask an Attorney Service).

  47. Hi Raghu,

    Please help. My OPT is expiring next month and I am currently employed. I am eligible for a special category visa, H1B1 (which can be applied anytime of the year). However, I just discovered I will not be sponsored because the agency called Pro Unlimited (PRO) that manages me claims they don’t sponsor visas which was totally in contrary to what has been communicated to me upon accepting the job offer when I specified I was under OPT and will require sponsorship after the expiration.

    They assured about moving on to next steps for my visa with the immigration specialist when I got hired. There is no reason for PRO to deny being aware of my OPT status when I’ve turned in my I-20 and EAD card during orientation. The profile and forms I’ve filled out with them clearly includes my OPT and expiration as well. I’ve relocated for this job and spent a ton of money moving out(they did not cover any relocation expenses). If they don’t actually sponsor me, I will need to give up the job. I’m so frustrated, am I able to take legal actions against them?

    Thank you Raghu.


    1. My OPT expires Feb 14, 2017. My company already filed H1B (cap exempt) in Aug 2016. What are my options other than premium processing in case my visa doesnt come before Feb 14?
      I can’t do STEM extension as well as my major is non stem.
      Please shed some light.

  48. Hi!

    Im aplying for H1b this april. My OPT expires in june. If i dont get selected in the lottery, can I still finish my OPT time left until June? And then have the 60 day grace period?

  49. Raghuram,

    My company applied for my visa application last year but unfortunately my application did not get picked up. I have already submitted all the documents and company will apply again for me but again its a lottery so not sure if it will picked up. My stem extension is ending in may this year. I do have a girlfriend I live with and is willing to marry. But the question is after marrying her will I still be able to work and stay in the country after may


    1. Hi Rak
      my boyfriend going through same thing (it’s his last year in OPT STEM extension). I am a USC. did you marry your girlfriend? what was process like?

  50. Raghu,
    Can we schedule a consulting call? The link above didn’t work.

      1. Hi Raghu,
        I m on f1 visa and completed my one masters in health science and already used opt. Then I did all my science prerequisites in associate college for my physician assistant program. Finally I got admitted in to PA program which is starting in June 2017. My question is. It’s a two years Professional program…is it possible for me to transfer to another college after completion of my physician assistant program so that I have enough time to give my national license exam and search for h1 b jobs.

  51. My opt expires on Feb 16th, 2018…
    If I get a cap gap extension of 60 days, Can I apply h1b for FY2018?

    1. I’m in the same situation. My company is applying for H-1B, but I’m not allowed to work until approval in October.
      What path are you taking ?

      1. Author

        Why can’t you work until OCT? OPT Cap Gap would apply that will let you work.

  52. Hi
    Enroll in programs (not MS, MBA or PhD) to get I-20 to maintain your legal visa status
    which programs can we enroll for this ?

  53. Spending lac and lac of money and not getting H1B visa for middle class family it is very difficult So why to study in USA We all are fools

  54. Hi Raghu,

    I did a certification after which I got an OPT for a year which expires on 1st Aug, 2017. I want to start doing a masters in September. Will I have to apply for F1 again or do I have to convert to H4 and then apply for F1 fresh?


  55. Hi Raghu I finished my masters and opt got expired in April 2017.i got a problem of college lost accridation in acics.we are getting extensions.so can I take admission in community college for esl without credits.as I finished all my money in my masters.

  56. Hi Raghu, for 9) “Enroll in programs (not MS, MBA or PhD) to get I-20 to maintain your legal visa status”.

    Can you list such programs for us ASAP?

    1. Author

      It used to be a viable option when I wrote this article few years back where students were enrolling in English Language programs to maintain status. It’s not applicable any longer.

  57. Hello everyone,

    My F1 expires this December (yes, it been 5 years I am in US). My opt expires end of January 2018. I have 3 months to wait for h1 to get approved. But am considering joining school to be prepared for worse.

    Can I join school for Spring even though my F1 visa is expired?

    Thank you.

Leave a Comment - Your Thoughts Counts