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I have been working for a non e-Verify school in the status of F1 OPT STEM extension since this Aug. This mistake was unintentional and only surfaced when I contacted our international office to transfer my status to J1 (since my F1 status will expire next Feb). As a result my employment will be terminated later this month, and the international office suggested that I should apply for J1 from my home country. According to them, the fact that I am currently out of status means that I will be unable to change my status using I-539 from within the US, but should not prevent me from getting a new J1 visa from outside the US. What do you think about these two options? Are there other ways to legitimize these 4+ months of "unauthorized employment"? Thank you so much for your input.Thanks for your answer, Dr. Capriotti. For your information I am from China. My main concern is that I may be denied reentry indefinitely if I apply from China. Any input is welcome.