Can an F-1 Holder Get an H-1B After Graduation?
An international student studying in the U.S. A. on an F-1 visa may have the chance to get an H-1B visa status for specialty work on a temporary status once they have graduated. An H-1B visa needs sponsorship from an employer and the F-1 student needs to have a specialism.
What is an H-1B visa?
The basic requirement for gaining an H-1B status visa is that the "beneficiary" (who in this discussion is the student on an F-1 visa) intends to gain a job as a professional and will be remunerated by the employer at the prevailing wage. In the U.S., a position that has professional status is one which requires a bachelor’s degree as a minimum and in a specialist field. The pay, which is decided by the Department of Labor, for a job is referred to as the prevailing wage and is calculated in reference to the experience that the job requires and the duties to be undertaken.
The H-1B visa, as it requires employer sponsorship a petition by the employer, has to be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Completing the procedure and obtaining all the necessary documents that are needed from the beneficiary has to be done by the employer. However, an experienced immigration attorney can complete all the paperwork on behalf of both the employer and the beneficiary.
Optional practical training can act as a stepping stone for gaining an H-1B Visa status
F-1 students with the desire to gain H-1B status sponsorship following graduation may file an application for Optional Practical Training (OPT). This is a type of work authorization made available for every F-1 student who has maintained his or her status for the time they have been enrolled in a school. With an OPT authorization it is possible to change employers allowing the student the flexibility when pursuing job opportunities that resemble their degree course without being afraid of losing their status when a job does not seem suitable.
OPT is great for students who do not have an employment offer after completion of their studies or if they do but the employer is not sure about sponsoring the person for an H-1B visa until a period of employment has been completed.
As there is a limit to the number of H-1B visas annually it gives the chance for an OPT person with his or her employer to be prepared to file an H-1B application well in advance as the student will have 12 months on the legal OPT visa to decide his or her preferences for employment . If the decision between the student and the employer is to progress to an H-1B visa status, then altogether the student will be permitted to work for 7 years in the USA. The OPT can be extended too up to 17 months particularly for holders of degrees in mathematics, engineering, science or technology, engineering, or math.
Finally, an F-1 student must remember that the F-1 status remains current while working under OPT. Reporting regularly to their DSO and maintaining F-1 status is necessary until such time an employer files a petition to change his or her status to an H-1B visa.
Return to "The H-1B Visa" to learn more.