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Denial of H1B after 12 Months of CPT/OPT

USCIS has issued some RFEs and denials for H-1B change of status petitions where the beneficiary has used more than 12 months of combined CPT and OPT at the same degree level. USCIS claims that “by accepting more than 12 months of CPT and OPT at the same educational level, particularly where CPT occurs after the foreign national has used same-level OPT from a degree program at a different institution, the foreign national has failed to maintain valid F-1 status.”


This interpretation has not yet appeared to be affecting all cases. It seems that USCIS is targeting RFEs and denials at cases where the foreign national is enrolled in a second master’s degree at an institution that authorizes immediate CPT. In other words, these tend to be cases where a foreign national, upon completion of his or her OPT, continues working for the OPT employer by enrolling in an institution that will immediately authorize CPT to do so.

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