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F1-OPT unfamiliar situation

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I just graduated from my master's in music performance last June. Months prior, I wanted to continue to do my doctorate in the same university, so I applied and got accepted. Towards graduation, I changed my mind because I figured I wanted to have the year off so I could take lessons, gain more teaching and performing experience, and later apply to more competitive schools. So I applied for OPT.

Anyway, I returned back to my home country right after graduation (with OPT application still pending) because of my brother's wedding and there was also a summer music festival in Europe. During my travels, my OPT was approved and I got my EAD (my friend back in the States sent me the card via Fedex). Little did I know, I realized I'm still enrolled in the doctorate program and my intention is to do my OPT instead.

In a few days, I will have an interview with the consulate for a new visa (my current one is no longer valid). Would the interviewer know that I'm still enrolled in the doctorate program, even though my intention is to do OPT? Should I tell the school, that I'm no longer interested in the doctorate program. How does my rescinding my doctorate program affect my F1-OPT status? I just don't want the interviewer to be confused.


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The OPT is part of the F1 international student program. If you leave the program, then there is no OPT. Post-completion OPT is for after you graduate. Pre-completion OPT is for when you are still a student. If you drop out of school, you can use neither. I believe what you are describing fits pre-completion OPT(?). I'm not really sure about how F1 works; but they let you just take a year off and hang around and still be in F1 status? That sounds weird.

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It doesn't sound like precompletion OPT. But it doesn't sound well due to travel and being accepted to the PhD program. When did you graduate? May or August? Traveling on OPT without an employer is risky at POE and even more when you apply for F1 extension. When did/will your OPT kick in? Are you aware you have up to 60 days after graduation for your OPT to kick in and up to 90 days to find an employer? You cannot spend a year off without work.

The most reasonable is to contact your ISSS and clear this issue with them.

Edited by KaeR

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