How to Get a Job on OPT?
Get a Job on OPT

How to Get a Job on OPT?

International students, who are on F-1 visa in the USA, generally start their career planning at least a year before they graduate. Landing a first job in the US is not an easy task, especially for an international student; a student has to put up a lot of effort in researching their job opportunities. As an international student, one has the following two employment options:

Let’s check out in detail, what are they meant for; how a student can benefit from these two options?

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows graduates or undergraduates on F-1 student visa to take up temporary employment for a period of 12 months in their relevant area of study. Since, the application process can take some time (usually, 3-4 months), it is ideal to start with the application process way before their graduation. In order to apply for OPT training, a student doesn’t need a job offer and there are no location-based constraints for Optional Practical Training Program.

F-1 OPT Requirements

A student on F-1 visa has to fulfill some of the requirements in order to be eligible for OPT training and placement. Following are the requirements for OPT Jobs for International Students:

  • Employment that a student takes up must be relevant to his/her major.
  • Legal F-1 status must be maintained by the students
  • Students must decide, whether they wish to take up Pre-completion OPT (OPT while they are still in the University), Post-Completion OPT (OPT after graduation), or a combination of the two.
  • OPT application from a student must be completed before he/she graduates.
  • The period of part time OPT is deducted from the available full-time OPT of a student.
  • A student who has completed Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for 12 months or more is not eligible for OPT training.

How does an F-1 student apply for OPT?

For starting the OPT job search, a student must first receive an approval from his/her Designated School Official (DSO) for pursuing his/her post-completion OPT. Upon this, a student must apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within 30 days. Moreover, a student must start his/her OPT application up to 90 days prior to the end-date of program and no later than 60 days after his/ her graduation date.

Post-completion OPT Rules

In order to attain post-completion OPT, a student must follow certain rules. Following are the post-completion OPT rules:

  • OPT Students must work full time i.e., 40 hours a week.
  • Once a student completes graduation, his/her OPT work must be finished within 14 months from then on.
  • Post-completion OPT applications must reach USCIS before a student completes his/her graduation.
Working Under a H-1 B Visa

One, who intends to stay in the US for a longer period of time, will need a sponsor for H-1 B non-immigrant visa. On H-1 B visa, one can be employed for three years at the companies that sponsor H-1B visa.

Every financial year there is a cap of 65,000 for foreign nationals who receive H-1 B visa. A person will be excluded from this cap if he/she is working as a contractor for a company. In order to get H-1 visa one must have a bachelor’s degree in the fields of Engineering, Physical Science, Health, Education, Architecture, Mathematics and Statistics, and so on.

One must avoid inquiry about the H-1B sponsorship, in the initial stages of an interview or an employment. Since, many employers are skeptical about offering H-1B sponsor jobs in USA, as the immigration process there can be quite daunting at times. Hence, it is ideal to bring up this issue in the later stages of the interview or when an employer has offered one, a position in their organization.

Moreover, one should have a vivid picture of the H-1B process so that he/she can convince the employer for H-1B sponsorship in a simple manner. By doing so, one has higher prospects of getting hired by that employer. In addition, one should apply for the companies that are already operational as H-1 B employers and are familiar with the processing of H-1B visas.

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