Immigration status

I’ve titled this page “immigration status” because that’s how many people would talk about it, even though my status since 2007 is a non-immigrant status.

If you enjoy this sort of bureaucracy, you might also be interested in my taxes page.

Since September 2007, I began in student status (F visa status) in the United States. This status was associated with my graduate studies (mathematics Ph.D.) at the University of Chicago. Here are some dates:

  • July 10, 2007: I appeared for my visa interview at the US consulate in Chennai. My visa application was approved, and I picked up my stamped passport a day or two later from the pickup location.
  • September 8, 2007: I entered the United States at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and officially began my student status.
  • August 31, 2011 was my last entry to the United States in student status. My last I-94 as a student dates back to that date.
  • July 8, 2012: My five-year visa expired. However, I was still in authorized status, because my I-20 was still valid till June 2013.
  • Mid-2013: I extended my I-20 twice, first to August 2013, and then to December 2013, because of delays with writing up my thesis.
  • October 28, 2013: I sent my Optional Practical Training application, requesting a start date of January 15, 2014.
  • Early December 2013: My OPT application was approved.
  • January 15, 2014: My Optional Practical Training began.
  • October 19, 2014: I submitted my OPT STEM extension application, associated with my job. This was received on October 21, 2014.
  • December 16, 2014: My OPT STEM extension application was approved. I received my EAD card on Sunday, December 21, 2014. This extends my status to June 14, 2016.
  • July 13, 2015: The Form I-129 petition for my H-1B status associated with my job was approved by the USCIS. I received the authorization documents the next week. The application was made at the beginning of the Fiscal Year 2016 application season. I was in the advanced degree quota, and got through the lottery on April 13, 2015. I did not apply for the Premium Processing Service.
  • October 1, 2015: I transitioned to H-1B status. The status expires on August 19, 2018.
  • November 15, 2017: During a vacation in India, I obtained a H-1B visa from the Chennai consulate associated with my H-1B status. The visa expires on August 9, 2018. You can read my visa interview notes here.
  • November 28, 2017: I entered the United States for the first time in H-1B status. My most recent CBP Form I-94 is for this date.
  • May 2018: I received an I-797A approval notice extending my H-1B. The second period of H-1B would be from May 25, 2018 to January 1, 2021. The approval notice also included a USCIS Form I-94.
  • February 7, 2020: I received an I-797 approval notice for my EB-2 Form I-140 petition filed by LiftIgniter, my employer. The priority date was August 1, 2019, and the petition date was November 13, 2019 (the priority date is based on the date of filing for PERM labor certification).
  • November 6, 2020: I received an I-797A approval notice extending my H-1B (the official approval date according to the online case status is November 2, 2020). The third period of H-1B would be from January 2, 2021 to January 1, 2024. The approval notice also included a USCIS Form I-94.

Thus, from September 8, 2007 to September 30, 2015, I was in F status in the United States, and since October 1, 2015, I am in H-1B status. I am an Indian citizen but due to my lengthy absence from India, my status in India is now that of non-resident Indian. In the United States, I am a resident for tax purposes, but this is not to be confused with “permanent resident” which is a term used for immigration purposes. I acquired residency for tax purposes in 2012, after five calendar years (2007-2011) of exemption based on the Substantial Presence Test. See also my taxes page.

Basic information