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What You Need To Know About Working In The US As An International Student

In this post, we’ll discuss about Working in the US as an International Student

One of the main worries for overseas applicants is the possibility of working while studying in the US. Can a foreign student work in the US? Yes, people can work while they study to supplement their income and get experience, to put it briefly. There are restrictions, though. Rules and regulations must be adhered to strictly. Only those with F-1 and J-1 visas are allowed to work. People with M-1 visas are unable to find employment. The three categories of non-immigrant student visas for studying in the United States are F-1, J-1, and M-1.


Working in the US as an International Student

Below is a brief overview of these three visa categories as well as the requirements for student work visas in the USA:

F-1 Visa

The most common international student visa in the United States is the F-1, which is intended for full-time academic study. F-1 visa holders are qualified for part-time on-campus employment or CPT, which usually entails no more than 20 hours per week.

Furthermore, F-1 students are permitted to pursue optional practical training (OPT) for up to a year following the conclusion of their academic degree.

Students who need to complete their academic program with practical training unavailable in their home country are granted the J-1 visa. As long as the standards stipulated by the exchange visitor program are followed, the J-1 student visa offers equal work opportunities to the F-1 visa.


M-1 Visa

Nonacademic or occupational studies are permitted with an M-1 visa. It is given to a student who plans to enroll in a nonacademic or vocational school in the United States.

M-1 visa holders are prohibited from working in the US while studying there. Students who fall under this visa category must also provide proof that they have the cash to cover their whole stay’s worth of living expenses and tuition.

Students should be aware that up to 120 days before the start of the course, F and M visas may be issued. A student, however, is not permitted to visit the US more than thirty days before the beginning of the study.


Using an F-1 visa to work in the US

F-1 students are eligible for work experience or what is known as “Practical Training” if they have completed at least one academic year of college or university. Practical Training comes in two flavors: Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) (OPT). On-campus employment is typically part of Practical Training. On-campus employment can refer to any work done on the school’s property or elsewhere connected to the institution.

The work must also be pertinent to the program’s or school’s curriculum. As a result, working on campus does not always mean that the employee works only on school property.


F-1 students are permitted to work 20 hours per week while classes are in session and full-time during breaks, holidays, and other periods when classes are not in session.

Curriculum-based Practice (CPT)

Sponsoring employers offer CPT, which students often take for credit to get practical experience in their field of study. You must have finished at least one academic year, declared your major, and received a job offer from the employer to be eligible for CPT.

There might be a few employers taking part in CPT. You must additionally seek authorization through CPT at the time of the job offer.

The organization’s Designated School Official (DSO) grants this authorization after confirming that the position satisfies CPT standards.

You must conduct research and confirm the CPT requirements with the international student office of your university because they differ for undergraduate and graduate students. CPT, which allows you to work 20 hours or fewer weekly, is considered part-time.

However, you can only do so when school is not in session. Remember that you are free to use as many CPT as you like. However, you will not be qualified for optional practical training if you have completed one year or more of full-time CPT. Take note of the hours!

Optional Training in Practice (OPT)

All F-1 students are eligible to receive OPT for one year as long as they finish their program’s first academic year. OPT is intended to supplement academic study; therefore, the work is specifically connected to the area of expertise or significance.

You may be qualified for a 24-month extension of the OPT, for a total of 36 months, if you are enrolled in a degree program designated as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics).

OPT can be completed before and after graduation, unlike CPT, which must be finished before graduation. If you want to work while on OPT, you must visit your neighborhood DHS Service Center to request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

The working conditions and hours for F-1 OPT can change; keep the following in mind for OPT:

  • OPT can be done while classes are in session, but not for more than 20 hours per week.
  • OPT is valid when no classes are in session and during annual vacations and study breaks. In this situation, you must register for the upcoming term or session and meet the qualifying requirements established by the company and the university.
  • You are eligible for full-time OPT employment if all course requirements have been met.
  • After finishing the complete program, you are eligible for full-time OPT employment.

Additionally, consider that OPT is closely tied to your field of study; for example, if you are studying economics, you are not qualified to work as a graphic designer, and the opposite is true.

F-1 visa holders can work off-campus, which may or may not be relevant to the field of study, in addition to the above-mentioned practical training on campus.

Based on specific requirements, students who experience financial difficulties (such as an unexpected loss of a scholarship, robbery, or currency depreciation) or who have a work offer from an international organization may be qualified for off-campus employment.

The DSO’s responsibility is to assess the validity of student petitions for off-campus employment.

Options for employment after OPT: H -1B Visa for F1 students

The most popular type of work visa in the USA is the H-1B visa. After their Want is over, many students opt to return to their home countries, but many others want to keep working.

Non-immigrant visas, known as H-1Bs, are given out or sponsored by US businesses to hire foreign workers in fields like engineering, business, medicine, architecture, mathematics, law, education, and the physical sciences, among others.

F-1 visa holders can switch to an H-1B status or transfer. To do this, a student must work for an American company willing to file an H1-B petition. The business where you first began working on OPT may recruit you.

The employer is responsible for submitting the necessary paperwork to the US Department of Labor and meeting the requirements of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to give the employee an H1-B visa.

Up to 65,000 H-1 B visas may be issued annually; this number is referred to as the H-1B Cap. Furthermore, 20,000 visas are given to people who have obtained masters or doctoral degrees in the USA.

USCIS started using a lottery approach to accept applications in recent years. In other words, getting an H1-B visa is difficult.

Also Read:http://How Many Hours Can International Students Work In USA

Finally, even before you graduate, begin your preparation and career search. Waiting till your program is through is not advisable.

Put up a lot of effort and practice patience.

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