I am pursuing my PhD from a well established accredited university in the USA for over 5 years. My PhD is likely to get over by Feb/March 2021. My PhD has a provision of doing day 1 CPT and I have been on CPT since my first semester ( Fall 2015) to date. My CPT is related to my area of PhD. My DSO has been regularly, updating every semester and endorsing my I-20 with my CPT details.
My questions are as follows:
1. Am I violating my status by doing this CPT?
2. Will this CPT for such a prolonged period impact my chances for an H-1B visa?
Answer 1. In my opinion, you are not violating your status. The USCIS interpretation of CPT is flawed. In my opinion, CPT should be available as long as the course requires. That is true even if the CPT goes on for several years.
Answer 2. In the worst-case scenario, if the government continues in their illegal interpretation of the CPT rules, they can make you go outside the United States for H-1B visa stamping. I do not see how the consulate can deny a visa on the grounds of using CPT. You have done everything by the book.
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