Post Study Option
Working in the USA
When studying in the US, students have limited opportunities to work on campus and, off campus. The Designated School Official (DSO) can advise you on authorized work you can take up as a student.
However, after graduation in the USA or other countries, securing a job is currently tricky owing to the political scenario. Highly competitive candidates with sought-after skills and experience will make their mark undoubtedly.
Types of Work Permits
There are several temporary work visas that the US government offers. Each facilitates a specific period of stay and has different sets of pre-requisites. An applicant must understand the requirement and choose the best fit. The type of work, the relationship with the employer, the duration of stay are some factors that decide the type of visa.
These are some options to consider:
- E2 and E1 Visas – For individuals who wish to invest in a business or engage in a trade in the US
- H1B Visa – For speciality occupations
- H2B Visa – For non-agricultural, skilled and non-skilled workers
Exchange Visitor Visa (J1 Visa Permit) – Individuals who are in the US for educational purposes like internships, or teaching in a university, and more.
Non-US citizens who wish to be authorised to settle in the US for work must consider being a permanent resident.
A Green card is the permit to live and work in the US for an unlimited period. EB-1, 2, 3, and 4 Green Cards are different employment-based authorizations to live in the US.
The work permit for the USA is also called an Employment Authorization Document or EAD. This is a photo identity card issued by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Process for Getting US Work Permit
- A duly filled in Form I-765 must be submitted. I-765 is an application for employment authorization in the United States of America and can be downloaded from the USCIS website.
- Attach documents that substantiate your eligibility for work.
- Remit the USCIS fees by check or money order. Debit cards, credit cards, or e-transfer is allowed from banks in the US, in the case of e-filed applications.
- The application form with all the supporting documents can either be mailed or be submitted online.
All information about the application process and required documents are available in the Instructions for I-765 which can be viewed in the USCIS website.
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A prominent factor that makes the USA a favorite student destination for many students is the possibility to work after studies. The USA allows international students to stay and work in the country after they complete their studies. There are many work options that enable you to join employment in the USA post your studies of which the most prevalent is OPT (Optional Practical Training). The other options are an H-1B visa and a green card.
OPT is a one-year work permit using which international students can gain some valuable work experience in the USA. OPT is of two types-
- Pre-completion OPT
- Post-completion OPT
The pre-completion OPT is utilized during the studies and post-completion OPT is to be used after the completion of the degree. A pre-completion OPT allows working only up to 20 hours per week (during running sessions).
The permitted stay duration associated with an OPT is one year, however, the visa can be extended up to two years if required.
Please note, the only students pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses are eligible to extend their OPT.
Prerequisites to Get an OPT
- The student applying for OPT must be an F1-visa holder
- The student’s selected employment must be relevant to the course he completed
- The OPT must be applied before the completion of the course. The student must get a job within 90 days of the completion of the study program
The F1 student visa can be transferred to an H-1B visa if the student has a sponsoring US employer. The visa permits you to reside and work in the country for up to six years. The visa does not allow you to change your employer in the associated six years duration and if you wish to do so, you are required to apply for a new H-1B visa.
A green card is a key to permanent residency in the US and is the dream of every non-native resident residing in the US for a long time. The cardholder is free to reside in the country for an indefinite period and work anywhere. Green cards are generally difficult to attain and the process takes a lot of time to complete.