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HR GUIDE: How to change status from H-1B to F-1 (Day-1 CPT)

How to change status from H-1B to Day-1 CPT
Day-1 CPT allows full-time work on F-1 visa

What is Day-1 CPT?

Day-1 CPT is a special program that allows foreign nationals to work full-time with a US employer. Thus making it an attractive option for the employees who may soon be maxing out of their work-visa term and don't have an approved I-140.

Which universities allow Day-1 CPT?




On-Site Visit

CPT Renewal

Avila University

Kansas City, Missouri



Campbellsville University

Campbellsville, Kentucky




Alhambra, California



Dallas Baptist University

Dallas, Texas



Harrisburg University

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania



Humphreys University

Stockton, California



McDaniel College

Westminster, Maryland



Monroe College

Bronx, New York



National Louis University

Chicago, Illinois



New England College

Henniker, New Hampshire



Ottawa University

Ottawa, Kansas



Saint Peter’s University

Jersey City, New Jersey



Sofia University

Palo Alto, California



Sullivan University

Louisville, Kentucky



Trine University

Angola, Indiana



University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky



Westcliff University

Irvine, California



What role does the company play in the change of status from H-1B to Day-1 CPT?

This process needs to be led by the foreign national employee. They can work with their school's DSO on the necessary steps.

Does the company need to provide any documentation to the employee?

No. The foreign national employee should not need any documentation from you. However, at times the school may request a valid job offer before they issue a Day-1 CPT I-20.

I-9 verification: What documents do I need from the employee?

You will need to verify the employee's I-20 and keep a copy of it for your records.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I-20s usually show the dates for the entire degree. So, you should always look for the dates on the second page for the most recent or current semester/term and the associated expiration date.

Does the employer need to pay for the F-1 visa and tuition?

No. No regulation suggests that the employer needs to pay for the transition process or the tuition fee. However, if your company has a policy to assist employees further their education or there's a business need to do so, you can provide financial assistance.

Can Day-1 CPT affect green card eligibility?

Day-1 CPT may affect the green card eligibility. Therefore, it is important to consult with an immigration counsel. Know, however, that the adjudication of your Green Card (I-485) application depends on the officer and the counsel may or may not be able to provide 100% confidence on how the officer would adjudicate your case.

What's the process to change status from H-1B to F-1 (Day-1 CPT) visa?

The change of status from an H-1B to an F-1 (Day-1 CPT) status is a straightforward process, however, it still requires due diligence and attention to ensure everything is correct before submission.

STEP 1: Get admission into a U.S. university

Before initiating the transition, secure admission into an accredited university* in the United States. This is crucial as you'll need an I-20 form from the institution to change your status (and apply for an F-1 visa, if applicable).

NOTE: *If you intend to pursue Day-1 CPT, please ensure the university offers this as part of their program as not every university offers this option.

STEP 2: Pay the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) Fee

The SEVIS I-901 Fee is a one-time fee that must be paid by all students seeking F-1 status. Filling out the online Form I-901 is the fastest and likely most convenient method of paying the SEVIS fee.

  1. If you don’t have a credit card, you can pay by check or money order.

In case you have any questions regarding this fee, the university DSO will be able to assist you. The receipt of this payment is a mandatory document to submit together with your Form I-539 (please see below).

STEP 3: Submit Form I-539 and provide documents to support your application

File Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

This application can be filed online, directly through myUSCIS.

The process online is very straightforward and easier to complete than the paper version of the form.

However, if you prefer to submit the application by paper (mail), please ensure you use the most recent version of the form.

DOCUMENT CHECKLIST: Here’s a checklist of which documents you will need to submit online or include in the application package. In case of any questions regarding the documentation, the DSO will be able to guide you.

STEP 4: Wait for Approval

Once USCIS receives your application, processing times may vary. It's essential to monitor the status of your application and respond promptly to any requests for additional information.

The estimated timeline is around 6-12 months

PREMIUM PROCESSING AVAILABLE: This will reduce the waiting time to 30 days.

NOTE: Please ensure you submit your application within due time to avoid losing status.

STEP 5: Attend Visa Interview (if applicable)

Once your change of status is approved, if you are traveling internationally, you will need to apply for an F-1 visa at the U.S. consulate abroad in order to be able to return to the U.S. This is not required if you do not have any international travel plans.


Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a WayLit-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.


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