USCIS allows H-1B 2009 petitioners on F1 Visa to request for change of status

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced today it would allow F-1 students, whose H-1B petitions have been selected for fiscal year (FY) 2009, to request a change of status in lieu of consular notification. This is a short-term measure taken to accommodate the changes introduced by the recent Interim final rule on F1 students and OPT students.

Short term measure to benefit H1B 2009 petitioners currently on F1 status

The interim rule, among other changes, allows F1 Students having a pending H1-B to cover the period in-between the end of their non-immigrant status and H1B work start date by automatically extending their F-1 status till October 1 (H1B work start date). The extension is subject to USCIS decision of the petition i.e. the extension is not valid if the H1B application is denied or rejected.

To avail this extension, the student needs to have applied for H1B for the following fiscal year and have requested a change of status.  However, since the rule was published on April 8th, a day after the last date of applications for H1B 2009, most F1 students filed their H1B with request for consular notification under the assumption that they will receive their H-1B visa at a consular office abroad.

USCIS has therefore decided to grant this year’s beneficiaries the change to avail the benefit of the new rule by allowing employers to request a change of status on behalf of the F1 students who have received their H1B receipt, within 30 days of the date of issuance on the receipt notice.

How to request a change of status?

To request a change of status, petitioners or their representatives must send an e-mail with the request to the USCIS Service Center where their petition is pending, within 30 days of the issuance of the receipt notice.  Special email addresses have been assigned for each service center (see below).

The email request must include

  1. The receipt number
  2. Petitioner’s name
  3. Beneficiary’s
    • Name
    • Date of birth
    • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) number, and
    • Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) number.

NOTE: The request will not be accepted without a valid receipt number.  Any F-1 student with a pending request for change of status to any other status than H1B, cannot request for a change of status to H1B without withdrawing the previously filed request.

E-mail addresses for requesting change of status are:

Vermont Service Center
Premium Processing cases:  VSCPPCAPGAP.Vscppcapgap@dhs.gov
Non-Premium cases:  VSCNONPPCAPGAP.Vscnonppcapgap@dhs.gov

California Service Center
Premium Processing cases:  CSC.ppcapgap@dhs.gov
Non-Premium cases:  CSC.nonppcapgap@dhs.gov