A: Yes, if the DSO issues Curricular Practical Training (CPT) the student can commence employment immediately. If, however, Optical Practical Training (OPT) was recommended, the student cannot commence employment until USCIS issues an EAD (Employment Authorization Document). This request is submitted to the USCIS on Form I-765.
A: One cannot travel with only a EAD card. To return to the U.S. in F-1 status, you should have a valid F-1 visa (unless Canadian national), EAD card, I-20 endorsed by the DSO within the last 6 months from date of proposed entry to the U.S., and letter confirming practical training employment from the employer. Please remember, F-1 status does require non-immigrant intent (you have the burden to show the USCIS upon entry your intent is to complete your practical training and return home after the practical training is completed).
A: Yes. However, by leaving the U.S. while the petition is pending, the H-1 change of status request on your behalf is voided out and the new I-94 USCIS issues with the I-797 reflecting H-1 status is not valid. The new I-94 received upon re-entering the U.S., while the H-1B was pending, is controlling. To effectuate the H-1, you will be required to depart the U.S., apply for the H-1B visa, and return in H-1 status. This must be done within 60 days after the practical training expires. Also, remember that F-1 status requires non-immigrant intent. This may be difficult to prove to the USCIS with a H-1B petition pending.
A: You should ask your company to place you on an unpaid leave of absence and you can return to work when USCIS approves the H-1B petition and the change of status request.
A: Same taxes as LPRs and USC, however, there is a FICA exemption for F1 students.
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