View Full Version : worked out of status while on F1/CPT

01-20-2011, 02:32 PM

My situation is a bit complicated and I was told by my advisor that things have settled but Im still worried. Lots of issues from past coming back to bite me. I came to this country on F1 visa (MS course) in 2008. I got a full time job in April 2010 and filed for CPT. However what I didn't realize is that my advisor filed for CPT only from April to August. Between work pressure, school work, negligence and lack of proper transport (school is 30 miles from work place, residence) I was losing track of this important fact. I went back to my university in August and registered for CPT in the FALL session. I went to my international advisor and asked me if there were any formalities I needed to complete and it seems like he was in a hurry and said "no". What should have happened is that I should have read my I-20 date and asked him to give me a new I-20. Little did I know that from August - Dec I was working without a proper I-20 even though I was registered for CPT at school. Then in December, I called my advisor and said I wanted to file for OPT. He said angrily that:

a) I had been working without any authorization from Aug to Dec. Even though I registered for CPT with my department, I should have seen him and got the correct I-20. I don't really absolve my self of this fault. I admit I screwed up but it should be noted that I met him, presented my case and asked if there was anything I needed from him.

b) I was late for filing OPT and now my application will not be processed within 2-3 months earliest. i.e. if it was filed in Dec, I would get it in Feb at least.

So, he tried working out this issue with my department. He asked them to give me some time to complete my independent study, thus buying me Dec, Jan, and 2 weeks of Feb to receive the OPT card. So now again I'm on CPT since Dec 2 and this will end on Feb 13.
On Feb 14, I was scheduled to get my OPT card. He seemed very happy doing this and said I've nothing to worry about now. He also said that he was doing this for me because my company promised to file my H1b at the time of employment.

However, now when I check on the USCIS site, my OPT application is still in "initial review". There's barely 20-23 days left until my CPT expires and things are not looking good. I don't think I would be able to take more than 2 weeks of leave and wait for the CPT. Maybe USCIS has found out about my unauthorized status from Aug - Dec and is investigating that.

Also, I've received W2 forms from my company but I'm not sure what to do. If I file the tax returns then it would easily alarm IRS that I've earned money between that period. If I travel outside the country, I might even face deportation.

Please help me and give some suggestions. I'm paying for my negligence and carelessness.

01-20-2011, 04:44 PM
Buddy, Relax!! I'm sure USCIS is just being slow in processing your EAD ( I assume by OPT card, you mean EAD). The GC related EADs are taking 3-4 months to process, and I am sure this is the case for OPT related EADs too. If they are investigating your unauthorized working they will send you an RFE (request for evidence). There's nothing you can do but wait.They'll entertain an enquiry from you only if your application is outside their stated processing window(i believe it's 90 days).

If sadly you do not get your EAD in 20-25 days, you will have to go on unpaid leave till the card arrives. There's unfortunately nothing you can do abt that. Take it as a hard earned vacation after having worked so hard towards your Masters.

Further, there is no automatic link between IRS and USCIS. You can be completely illegally in the country and file your taxes, and IRS would be none the wiser about your immigration status, unless you're audited or file 1040NR. There is no obligation from IRS to report to USCIS - they're just happy you paid your taxes. USCIS may use your tax returns to prove unauthorized work, but for that they have to ask you your tax returns through the above mentioned RFE, and this is very unlikely to happen. So go ahead and file your taxes, you'll be creating more problems for yourself by not filing them.

01-24-2011, 01:35 PM
Hello Vinzak,

Thanks for answering my doubts.

I've one more question. I've valid I-20's for the 2nd and 3rd CPT extension but haven't really given these documents to the company. My company only asked for the first CPT I-20 for authorization purposes and never really asked for any papers after that. Should I give a copy of remaining documents to them as well ? My fear is that my company may eventually ask me about August - December period I-20 which I don't have.

08-13-2014, 05:58 PM

I am in a similar situation and I would appreciate any help or suggestion I can get right now.

What did your university do when they found out that you were working illegally? Did they not report to USCIS because that's what my advisor is telling me right now.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you.