2+ Year Member
Feb 8, 2017
I have a fairly specific question regarding OPT and H1b which I've been having a lot of trouble trying to get answered: I am a 4th year Canadian DO student going into residency this fall. Three or four of the advanced programs I interviewed at should be able to offer an H1b, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can match at one of them. I'm planning on doing my intern year at a prelim/TY using the OPT F-1 extension. If I match at one of the H1b programs then great, and if not then I'll end up with the J1. I do not have any prelim/TY and advanced interviews at the same institution, and only one categorical interview (which was J1 only).

My question is, what date should I be using as a start date for OPT? I am worried that if I use a start date of July 1, 2021, then I will not be able to attend orientations or trainings that whatever prelim I match at might have scheduled. However, if I use something like June 14, 2021 for example, then the OPT will expire two weeks before PGY2 and I wouldn't be able to finish my intern year. Since I will be applying for the OPT before Match Day, so there's no way for me to know what the tentative start date for my intern program actually is. If the intern year and the rest of residency were at the same institution I imagine it would be easy to switch from the OPT to H1b relatively seamlessly, but since for me they would be at difference places I'm not quite sure what to do.

I'm sure this isn't a unique situation; anybody have any advice? Thanks!


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10+ Year Member
Oct 11, 2006
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You're describing a dilemma without any clear solution. If you match at a prelim at the same institution as your rads, then no problem -- start on OPT, they convert to H. But if your prelim is somewhere else, you get stuck. You'll need the visa to go to orientation, but the visa is only good for 12 months, so you run out of time. You can ask if you can start on Jul 1, but they may require orientation first and not start giving you credit for 2 weeks.

Techically they are match committed to start you on Jul 1. If you refuse to start until that date, they may not be able to fire you. Although if they made it clear in the interview that the start date was earlier, they might.

In any case, the die is cast at this point. See where you match, and ask. You might end up with a J visa, or they might find a way to make it work.
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