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abhksharan

F1 Visa renewal while on OPT

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Hello everyone,

I recently finished my PhD in US in June 2019. I applied for OPT in May and my F1 Visa expired in May as well. I had to travel back to my home country (India) in June after completion of my PhD. Expecting that the OPT will be approved in approximately 90 days I booked for visa appointment for August 22. Recently my OPT was approved but my EAD card will not come to me by August 22. So I have to book a new appointment or look for alternative. The current waiting times for visa appointment in India is more than 45 days. Considering the 90 days unemployment rule for OPT and that my employer (place from where I have an offer) wants me to join as soon as possible, it will be too long to wait for visa appointment for more than 45 days. I want to know what other alternatives that I can have?

Am I eligible for applying for emergency visa appointment?

Can I apply for visa appointment in another country like Nepal where the waiting times are short? Are there any risks involved ?

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Contact your international office.

Some embassies have emergency appointments - contact your embassy for the specific rules and requirements to be able to make such an appointment.

You are allowed to apply in a third country if you can prove strong ties to that country (e.g., your spouse is from there + you have things like a bank account, phonenr, etc. there - always worked for me (note, I also lived in that third country prior to the US)) or you have some other reason why you are there (e.g., studying, working, some other reason other than convenience/travel). You are generally not allowed to apply at another embassy for the sake of convenience.

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On 8/18/2019 at 9:39 AM, abhksharan said:

Hello everyone,

I recently finished my PhD in US in June 2019. I applied for OPT in May and my F1 Visa expired in May as well. I had to travel back to my home country (India) in June after completion of my PhD. Expecting that the OPT will be approved in approximately 90 days I booked for visa appointment for August 22. Recently my OPT was approved but my EAD card will not come to me by August 22. So I have to book a new appointment or look for alternative. The current waiting times for visa appointment in India is more than 45 days. Considering the 90 days unemployment rule for OPT and that my employer (place from where I have an offer) wants me to join as soon as possible, it will be too long to wait for visa appointment for more than 45 days. I want to know what other alternatives that I can have?

Am I eligible for applying for emergency visa appointment?

Can I apply for visa appointment in another country like Nepal where the waiting times are short? Are there any risks involved ?

I am surprised the international student office staff  at your school did not heavily advise you against leaving the country between the end of your F1 and your OPT approval. Even if your F1 has expired, once you have applied for OPT, and are awaiting a decision, your status in the US is fine. Leaving is the problem. It's a bit more difficult to enter the US on an OPT in general, but especially when you haven't even started a job yet.

How come you need a visa appointment? As far as I know, OPT does not allow you to have a special visa sticker in your passport, and doesn't really have anything to do with the embassy. Are you making a visa appointment to change your status from OPT to something else?

I agree with the above post: contact your school's international office to ask for advice, although they might tell you that you should have sought their advice earlier. Also, check to see if the embassy in your country has a contact email, and try asking them about the whole situation and maybe they can suggest something. 

Perhaps you can start looking into Postdocs, or if your job offer is some sort of student job, internship, or exchange program, check out the J1 visa and find out if your job will be willing to help you get that. 

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Posted (edited)

Ahhh I was about to open the same topic and then noticed yours, please keep me updated, I'm in the same boat. I have left the US, my visa has expired and I will be having OPT being mailed to me very soon. Btw, as far as I know, you can register for volunteership (for example, for your advisor) and you'd be fine. Some international students told me that you don't even have to physically be there to fill or sign smth, just do the paperwork online and just let your advisor know.

Edited by oqowa

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Just now, oqowa said:

Ahhh I was about to open the same topic and then noticed yours, please keep me updated, I'm in the same boat. I have left the US, my visa has expired and I will be having OPT being mailed to me very soon. Btw, as far as I know, you can register for volunteership (for example, for your advisor) and you'd be fine. Some international students told me that you don't even have to physically be there to fill or sign smth, just do the paperwork online and just let your advisor know.

be careful about following other students advice - they're not always right.

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