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How do I maintain valid status once I am on OPT and my I-526 is approved?

I am on an F-1 visa right now, and soon will be on Optional Practical Training (OPT). I already filed an I-526 petition and expect it to be approved soon. After I get my I-526 approved, am I allowed to work while doing an Adjustment of Status? What will I need to do to maintain a valid status in the United States?

Answers

  • Avatar

    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should ensure you maintain your underlying immigration status in OPT. When your I-526 is approved, you should file for adjustment of status and will be eligible to apply for employment authorization and advance parole (travel document) as part of your adjustment of status application. Please consult your immigration attorney who assisted you with your I-526 filing to discuss the specifics of your case.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    On the basis you are maintaining legal status under OPT, you can file an application for conditional permanent residency when your I-526 petition is approved. You can obtain employment authorization while you are waiting for the decision by USCIS on your conditional permanent residency.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It will depend on when you receive the approval. If you are still in the United States and can adjust here, you should be okay. If it is close to the time of the OPT expiration, you have a grace period to leave when OPT expires. If not, you will have to return to your country to receive a visa to return.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You will want to file your adjustment paperwork promptly after your I-526 approval. If approved for OPT, you will get a 12 month EAD card which you can continue to use until you get your work card through the adjustment and ancillary work authorization filings.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In order to maintain your OPT status, you must continue in your employment. Once you file for adjustment of status (assuming an approved I-526 petition and a current priority date/available immigrant visa number), you are eligible to apply for temporary work and travel permission while waiting for your green card to be approved. It is very important for you to maintain your underlying nonimmigrant status (OPT) while waiting for your I-526 petition approval and your eventual I-485 (adjustment of status) approval.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You may need to take a break from work until you can obtain your employment authorization document (EAD), which may take up to 90 days to be approved. Please consult with an immigration attorney who can review your entire immigration history and future goals.

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    Karen-Lee Pollak

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If your I-526 is approved soon you should file for adjustment of status. At the same time you can apply for a travel permit and work authorization. You will receive employment authorization within 90 days of filing for adjustment of status.

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    Denyse Sabagh

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You will apply for work and travel permission at the same time you file your application to adjust status to permanent residence. It takes about 90 - 120 days for the Immigration Service to make a decision and send it to you. You will receive an an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). It looks like a driver''s license. Typically, the EAD and the travel permission are in the same document. Once you receive it you may work.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This is a question that your immigration counsel who filed the I-526 could easily answer. Your status after filing the adjustment application is "pending adjustment" and OPT. OPT gives you work authorization for one year or longer, if you are STEM qualified, and after 90 days of filing the adjustment you should receive an employment authorization card combined with travel permit, which is what you work with if your OPT has expired. However, just in case your I-526 does not get approved or not on time, I would recommend that you maintain your status as F-1 after OPT expires, which does not let you work. Or, your OPT employer could sponsor you next spring for H-1B and hope you will be chosen for the lottery and get approved.

  • Avatar

    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    After you have filed for the Adjustment of Status you are in VALID/LAWFUL status as a pending adjustment applicant during the pending period of the application. Also, you can at the same time file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which will give you work authorization during the time your adjustment of status to permanent resident is pending so that you can work, as well as an Application for Advance Parole, so that you can travel during the pending period.

  • Avatar

    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you file for adjustment, you can apply at the same time for employment authorization. Once approved, you can work based on the employment authorization document.

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