For many, there is a common road to follow once you enter college. Study, find an internship, gain work experience, and graduate, ready to embark down your chosen career path. However, for those studying in the U.S. under student visas, there are stipulations that can add a few turns to this path. Knowing what your visa allows and how you can work around those restrictions will help you reach your goals.
The facts about student visas
If you are studying in the United States under a student visa, you are most likely using an F-1, which encompasses all academic institutions from elementary to college, seminary to conservatory. This visa allows you to travel outside the U.S. and transfer schools if necessary.
While an F-1 visa gives you the opportunity to study the subjects you are passionate about, it also limits your work experience. During your first academic year, you can only work on campus, provided you meet your school’s certifications.
Once you’ve reached your sophomore year, you can become employed through three different outlets: Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension. While working under OPT, you can be self-employed or work for someone else, as long as it matches your field of study. For example, if you’re going to school for mathematics, you can’t get a job as a newspaper editor.
There are also time restrictions to these outlets. STEM students are allowed 27 months employment, however, CPT and OPT students are only given one year.
While the government may allow you to work for certain durations, you also have to follow your university’s guidelines. So check with your advisor or counselor to make sure you know the rules at the school you attend.
By taking the time to fully understand your F-1 visa options and how they affect your working status in the U.S., you’ll be able to find the ideal position to help you get the career you’ve always wanted. For more information on holding a student visa, contact Kyle Mandeville at 765-742-9066.
The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.