Sorry about the long post I am about to post, but I am so confused.
I was enrolled in a PhD program in NJ while my husband was working in MI. Last year he had some health issues, so I decided to graduate with an MA and look for jobs in MI.
I contacted the International student services (ISS) about OPT and they have me the forms required and general instructions and said I had 60 days to apply for OPT. I was leaving for MI immediately, so I asked them to mail the new I20 for OPT to me.
Because of holiday, postal service and what not, I received the new I20 on 1/13/12. It took me a few days to make all the photocopies and send out the application. I thought I had 60 days, so I was not in a big hurry.
In the meantime my husbands Green card is being processed by his employer, and his date became current. His lawyers said that I could be added to the application and they also applied for an EAD on my behalf.
Today I received a notice that my EAD under OPT was rejected since I had not applied within 30 days of the endorsement of the I20. I am quite shocked as I was totally unaware of this rule. The date on my I20 is 12/16/11.
I realize lack of knowledge is never a good defense, but I was not aware of the mistake. My question is, am I currently out of status and do I need to leave the country immediately? My husband has to have back surgery at the end of this month, so that will be very difficult. Can I reapply for EAD under OPT? Will the other EAD application also be rejected because of my current status? Or can I change my status to H4 legally? I am currently still on F1 and have an I20 valid till 12/15/12. Does this rejection immediately invalidate the I20? What can I do to legally stay in the USA?
Any help is greatly appreciated. I won't be hearing from ISS or my GC lawyer till monday at the earliest and my head is literally spinning.
Thank in advance.