Are you an international student that just graduated and not sure what to do next?
Do you want to stay in the United States? If so, this article covers 3 options that may be available for you.
If you came to the United States with an F-1 student visa, you have 3 way to stay in the United States:
1. OPT – Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an option for F-1 Visa students who have recently graduated.
OPT is temporary employment authorization, and your employment must be related to your F-1 area of study. Students who are eligible may apply to receive up to one year of OPT employment authorization.
If your degree is in certain science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, you may apply for a two-year extension of your OPT.
2. Apply for a Non-Immigrant Work Visa
H-1B Specialty Occupations
The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows immigrants to temporarily work in high-skilled occupations. Immigrants applying for an H-1B visa are required to have specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent.
Most H-1B occupations are in fields such as science, engineering, and information technology.
E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor
The E-1 visa is a treaty trader visa, and it is for immigrants who come from countries that have a treaty of commerce with the United States. Applicants must have “substantial” trade in goods between the United States and their home country.
The E-2 visa is also for immigrants who are from countries that have a treaty of commerce with the United States. They must have invested, or are actively in the process of investing, a “substantial” amount of capital in a U.S. enterprise.
L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa
The L-1 is another nonimmigrant visa, and it is for workers who are employed outside of the U.S. and are transferring to the U.S. This visa also allows a foreign company to send an executive or manager to the United States to establish a U.S. office.
While these visas will allow you to remain in the United States, they will not allow you to stay permanently. If you wish to stay in the U.S. longer, obtaining a Green Card may be necessary.
3. Apply for a Green Card
Adjustment of status is the process through which temporary immigrants in the United States (such as students, tourists, foreign employees, etc.) can become lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) without ever having to leave the U.S. (If you are outside of the United States, the only path to immigrate to the country is through consular processing).
The best options for obtaining a Green Card as an international student are through immediate family sponsorship, asylum status, the Green Card lottery, employment sponsorship, or select military service.
For more info about getting a green card, go to our Comprehensive Guide on How to Get a Green Card.
Are you eligible to apply for a Green Card?
Are you currently living in the United States?
Have you lived in the US for more than 3 months?
Did you enter the United States with an active visa or green card?
Are you married to a US citizen?
Do you have an immediate family member that is a U.S. Citizen or is a Green Card holder?
You are probably not eligible to apply.
If you would like to apply for a Green Card, instead of a Renewal, we can help you.
You are eligible to apply online for a Green Card!
Photo Credits:Billetto Editorial Helloquence Juan Ramos