The USA, home to a large international student population, offers various stay-back options post-completion of education for its international students. Student Visa for USA (f1-type) allows you to stay in the country for 60 days after your graduation date, it hence becomes important to have a course of action well before.
An international students path to employment-based citizenship for US or staying back in the country after studying in the US can involve-
Pursuing higher education in US- Masters (if you have completed your UG studies in the USA)
Exploring research opportunities in the USA
Optional Practical Training
H1-B visa (non-immigrant visa)
Higher Education in USA
Higher education in the USA includes pursuing degrees like masters and doctorates. Home to the world’s top universities, the USA offers a wide range of degrees and specializations to choose from when looking for options. There are a lot of factors to be considered before making such a decision. The availability of enough funds to finance a study in the USA is one important factor.
The US is the leader in many areas of technology and research. Universities like MIT allow students to join or initiate research projects for academic credit pay. The work is often published, leads to patent applications, or contributes to ambitious start-up companies. Universities, like UCLA, have over 350 research labs. Yale University allows involvement in fields like black hole studies, neuroscience, and climate change research. Even undergraduates have the opportunity to attend Bachelors that involve research.
Some of the popular courses among international students include:
MS in USA
PhD in USA
MA in USA
MS in Data Science
MS Computer Science
MS in Business Analytics
MS in Data Analytics
Masters in Management
MS in Civil Engineering
MS in AI
MS in Engineering Management
MS in Mechanical Engineering
MS in Information Systems
Masters in Project Management
MS in International Business
MS in Automotive Engineering
Masters in Project Management
MS in Data Analytics
CPT/Curricular Practical Training is an off-campus employment option available to F-1 visa holders. Authorization from the institute’s International Student Help Desk and also U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service is required. Employment under CPT offers monetary benefits.
CPT Rules for F-1 Visa Holders:
Obtain CPT training leading to the attainment of the academic credit
Must be studying in the US for at least one year.
Have a job offer in a relevant field before applying for CPT authorization.
OPT (Optional Practical Training) after Studying in USA
OPT Extension allows recent graduates to work in the US for up to 1-year. Unlike CPT (Curricular Practical Training completed while you are still studying), OPT can be completed either before or after completion of your degree.
STEM-OPT Extension- For students who have pursued STEM courses in USA can opt for the STEM-OPT extension. This allows students to stay and work in the US for twenty-four months after graduation.
International students must note that OPT allows only 1 month of practical training in total. So, for those who have used their 12 months while pursuing the degree, an extension post-completion of the degree will not be offered. However, if you enroll in graduate schools in the USA, you will again be available for this extension.
How to get OPT-Extension after studying in US?
For international students to get an OPT extension, they must fulfill the following:
Having an F1 student visa
Employment must be in alignment with your field of study in the USA
OPT-Extension must be applied before completion of the course
Complete a certificate course at the US Universities for your case to be put forward for OPT.
A DSO (Designated School Official) must recommend you for the OPT.
You Need to fill Form I-20 to apply for the OPT. Your university sends an application to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to generate the form.
Submit work authorization forms to USCIS to be deemed eligible for the program.
Find a job within 90 days of completing the program for an extension.
If accepted into the program while you are still a student, you are only allowed to work up to 20 hours a week while school is in session.
When to Apply for OPT-Extension after studying in US?
Submit your I-765 form, or request post-completion OPT as early as 90 days before the end of your course.
Before applying for DSO, enter a request to SEVIS.
Post DSO requests OPT, you have 30 days to submit the form.
DHS provides a post-completion OPT-planning tool that can be used by students to identify timelines for their OPT-extension applications.
There are 60 days after completion of the course to file the I-765 form.
OPT-Extension must be applied within the F-1 visa grace period after graduation.
It takes around 80-120 days to get OPT-Extension, however, increased demand may result in an extension of the timeline.
International students in the USA can get to work with reputed international organizations with their OPT-Extension. These include- Red Cross, Organizations that are in the Official State Department list, Asian and African Development Banks, World Health Organisation or WHO, World Trade Organization, etc.
An OPT-Extension or STEM Extension allows you to stay back for 12-24 months. After your graduation, your employer may file an H-1B status for you. You can also apply for H-1B visa or green card instead of OPT, however, the same will allow you to created invaluable connections which can support you with sponsorship down the line.
H-1B Visa after Studying in USA
With an H-1B visa, you can live and work in the US for up to six years. For being eligible for H-1B status, you need to prove to USCIS that you are uniquely qualified for the position in the firm as of your field of study and skilled labor.
The transfer of F-1 student visa status to an H-1B status with the help of a sponsoring US employer can also be obtained. In either case, in the 5th year of employment with a firm, the employer can file employment-based PR. This extends the H-1B visa past six years. If changing jobs within the six-year period, an H-1B visa needs to be re-applied.
Working in the USA offers lucrative opportunities to international students. Jobs for MBA in USA can offer salaries up to $115,000 a year. Similarly, those with an MS degree can earn as much as $100,00 a year. MS Jobs in US are diversified depending on the choice of degree specialization you attain.
Salary after Studying USA
Pursuing jobs after studying in the US is an attractive option as it is home to some of the most reputed brands and industry giants. Some of the top recruiters are discussed below:
JP Morgan Chase
McKinsey & Co
BOA Merrill Lynch
Green Card after Studying in USA
Getting a green card in the USA is often an ultimate goal for some. International students get an advantage in receiving green card status as they have been accepted to spend an extended amount of time living in the US legally. A green card is your key to PR in the US. With a green card, you can work anywhere in the country and receive monetary benefits. There are 4 major categories under which it is possible to get a Green card in the USA. Having family ties with a US resident, Employment sponsorship, Diversity immigrants and Refugees, and asylees.
After completing your degree in the USA, you can apply for permanent residency under the employment sponsorship category. For that one first needs to have an H-1 B visa which is a permit to work in the USA after degree completion. The most preferred candidates for the green card are the following:
People with extraordinary ability in the field of Art, Science, Education, Business or Athletics.
Outstanding Professors and teachers
Multinational Executives and managers
Professional with Labor Certification
After completion of your studies in the USA offers a competitive edge as you enter the job market. Not only nationally, but internationally the employers seek graduates from US universities. Pursuing higher education in any of the other study abroad destinations is also considered easy after studying in USA. Studying in the USA allows you to interact with a diverse range of people and enhance the ability to interact with people from varied cultures and analyze issues from a global perspective.