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I am leaving my current job to go to grad school for a PhD. I have been at my present job for a little more than a year, and my co-workers and manager all like and respect me, and consider me quite a valuable member of the team.

However, my quitting strategy is quite messy because I am on an H1B VISA (employment VISA). Here's the issue: I am flying back to my home country to get a student VISA (F1). If I resign and go, and for some reason get rejected for the student VISA, I cannot come back to the US, since my presence in the US is contingent on either my holding a job or my having a valid F1. So I do not want to resign BEFORE going back home. However, once I get my student VISA in my home country, and re-enter the US, I cannot still be employed by my present employer as it will be a violation of the F1 status, so I cannot resign AFTER re-entering the US either, it has to be done before that.

So in light of this awful situation, here's my strategy to resign: I'll tell my manager (in person) the whole situation 10 days before I fly out. I'll request him to accept my official resignation over email once my student VISA is in my hand, and also request him that if the F1 application gets rejected, then I be allowed to continue working here.

I know this is terrible and ugly. But can someone tell me if there is any other option I have?

Underlying facts/assumptions to the problem: 1) I do want to continue staying in the US for a while. 2) I have funding for my PhD, and it's from a top-20 school in Electrical Engineering, so likelihood of having the F1 rejected is very low.

Please help

EDIT (june 26)-- Ten days ago I told my manager the whole situation. And he was simply fantastic about it. Firstly, he was really happy for me, and even went so far as to candidly admit that he wished he could go back to grad school but can't since he has three kids now. Secondly, he agreed with my plan. I'll hand him over all my company stuff - laptop, badge, etc- before flying to my home country. On July 7 I have my interview and will hopefully get the result right away. I'll then email him, and if I get my F1, I'll resign, if not, GOD I don't want to think about it.

Tahnks a lot, people!

  • 4
    I think your plan sounds professional and very well thought out. – andi Jun 1 '15 at 20:24
  • @user1096863 okay good. Sounds like you've covered all your bases adequately then. It's not entirely up to you whether you are allowed back into the country and i'd hope that your employer would understand this and would (if you're the awesome employee I know you are :D ) allow you the opportunity to continue working with them. You're essentially warning them, not really resigning. – easymoden00b Jun 1 '15 at 20:46
  • If he'd need the official resignation is writing not email you could leave a resignation letter with a colleague you trust before you leave, for them to deliver at the right moment. But it seems crazy to me you can't organise changing your visa from inside the US, but I don't know the system. – Rup Jun 2 '15 at 6:10
  • @Rup Thanks for that idea. Yes, that does seem pretty good. I'll ask him about this when I talk to him. Actually there IS a way to change the STATUS from inside the US, but the VISA, by definition, is used to only re-enter the US, and can only therefore be changed from outside. – user1096863 Jun 2 '15 at 6:46
  • Are you flying home JUST to get the F1 visa stamp??? (Are you confusing visa with visa stamp???) Because that's not necessary. If you are already in the US, then changing your permit from H1B to F1 is just a matter of USCIS updating your status. When you do finally go home to visit family or something, then you'll need to get an F1 visa STAMP. – Zoomzoom Jun 26 '15 at 17:17
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Your situation was similar to mine where I decided to go for my Masters while having a valid H1b visa ( I was not in USA at that time but my visa was still valid).

Now the thing to note is that that when you quit your company, your company can revoke your H1b immediately or they can do it later. Also if they don't choose to revoke it, your H1b will stand (you cant use it but you can get it transferred). However if the visa consulate decides to approve your F1 your H1b visa gets automatically cancelled without Prejudice. So here would be the suggested steps

  1. As mentioned, talk to your manager
  2. Inform them that you would love to continue working for them but you want to go for your Phd
  3. Ask them to not revoke your visa until you have confirmed that you have got your F1 (which is redundant since the consulate will cancel the H1b in any case once you move on to F1). This is to only cover your base where you didn't get your F1 and you need to rejoin your company on the H1b.

Lastly this is based upon my experience and understanding of the H1b system, to prevent misunderstanding have a quick chat with an immigration lawyer to find out the options available to you.

  • Thanks a lot for your answer and also for sharing your experience. I actually did talk to an immigration lawyer who told me this is legally fine. I just wanted to make sure it's ethically (and otherwise) not an asshole move on my part. Thanks! I think this is exactly what I'm going to be doing. – user1096863 Jun 2 '15 at 6:43

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