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Post Study Work Permit in USA: How and When to Apply for Work Permit After Studying in USA?

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Yocket Editorial Team
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Who doesn’t want to work and settle in a promising country like USA? Most of the international students studying or opting to study in USA have the desire to become a part of this economically, technologically and culturally rich country. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities in USA is expected to grow by 7.7% from 2020 to 2030. Such growth will definitely enhance the career prospects for job seekers in all sectors of the economy.

But as easy may sound, acquiring a post-study work permit in USA requires prior planning and preparation. If you are an international student willing to stay back and work in USA after completing your studies, this blog will guide you in the right direction. Here we have discussed about work permit in USA after masters or any other course, along with the process and documents required to apply for the same.

Table of Contents

Types of Student Visas Required for Post Study Work Permit in USA

F-1 visa, M-1 visa and J-visa are the three different types of US student visas through which you can apply for a work permit after study in USA. International students willing to study at US universities must have one of these visas for admission. Let us have a brief idea of them below:

  • F-1 Visa: A non-immigrant visa issued by the US for students willing to pursue full-time education in the United States. Therefore, applicants for the F-1 visa are those who wish to attend University, seminary, language training programs, private elementary school or any other academic institution in the US. This is the visa required for work permit in USA after masters.
  • M-1 Visa: It is another non-immigrant visa for international students who wish to pursue a course of study that is not fully academic in nature at an established vocational or other recognized non-academic institution such as a post-secondary vocational or business school. Cooking classes, technical courses, mechanical classes, flight school, etc. are considered vocational studies.
  • J-1 Visa: A temporary visa issued to foreign nationals intending to participate in an approved exchange visitor J-1 program in USA. This could be for the purpose of teaching, lecturing, studying, instructing, conducting research, demonstrating special skills, or observing. You may opt for this visa to receive medical training or education too.

Suggested: Difference between J1 and F1 Visa

Now, the F1 visa allows students to stay in USA for up to 12 months after completing their studies, whereas the J1 and M1 visas provide permit a grace period of 30 days to stay in the country. Out of all the three visas, F-1 visa is the most convenient way of applying for USA post graduate work permit. Let us go into details about it below:

US Work Permit After Study on F-1 Visa

If you are looking for temporary employment based on your area of study, an F1 visa is mandatory. After receiving the F1 visa, you can also stay in the USA for a year after completion of your course. As an F1 visa holder, you are eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which permits international students to stay and work in USA for an entire year. OPT is temporary employment directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. Eligible students can apply to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies (pre-completion) and/or after completing their academic studies (post-completion). However, all periods of pre-completion OPT will be deducted from the available period of post-completion OPT.

To apply for OPT extension, you must qualify for the following criteria:

  • Employed by an employer enrolled in E-Verify, as evidenced by either a valid E-Verify company identification number or if the employer is using an employer agent to create its E-Verify cases, a valid E-Verify client company identification number.
  • Received an initial grant of Post-Completion OPT employment authorization based on your STEM degree.

But you must apply for an OPT extension within one year of graduating and by providing your STEM degree from a university that is authorised by Student and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP).

Suggested:  Difference Between OPT and CPT for International Students

When to Apply for STEM OPT Extention?

If you are confused regarding when to apply for a post study work permit in USA through STEM-OPT, we have made things easier for you here:

  • Must apply after your DSO enters the recommendation for OPT into your SEVIS record.
  • Must apply within 60 days after your DSO enters the recommendation for OPT into your SEVIS record.
  • May apply up to 90 days before your current OPT employment authorization expires.

This is for STEM OPT extensions. But what about non-STEM OPT? Let us find out:

When to Apply for Non-STEM OPT Extention?

It is vital to apply for a visa or OPT extension at the right time. Here we have discussed the correct timelines to apply for non-STEM OPT extension:

  • Must apply after your DSO enters the recommendation for OPT into your SEVIS record.
  • Must apply within 30 days after your DSO enters the recommendation for OPT into your SEVIS record
  • May apply up to 90 days before you complete your degree, but no later than 60 days after you complete your degree

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How to Apply for OPT Extension?

To apply for USA  post graduate work permit you need to provide some important documents to the concerned authorities to grant you an OPT extension. They are as follows:

  1. Submit form I-765 with the required application fee. You must also mention your employer’s name as listed in E-Verify, E-Verify Company Identification Number or valid E-Verify Client Company Identification Number.
  2. Submit Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, endorsed by your DSO within the last 60 days.
  3. Submit a copy of your STEM degree

Work Permit in USA on H-1B Visa

Apart from opting for work permit after study in USA, you may also work in USA through H-1B visa. H-1B Visa is an immigrant visa that permits foreign nationals to work for American companies. But before that, you must get a job offer from one of the US-based companies and must work in a field that demands specialized knowledge and skills. Any job that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher comes under the H-1B visa for speciality occupations. The interesting part here is, the employer applies for an H1-B visa with the US Immigration Department on behalf of the candidate. The validity of an H-1B Visa is of 3 years and can be extended for 6 years.

To be eligible for a H-1B visa, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from a recognized university.
  2. Have received the job offer from the petitioner ( employer).
  3. Work in a field that demands both logical and practical knowledge.
  4. Possess a state license that permits him or her to work in the speciality occupation field.

Suggested: Who can Sponsor a Student Visa in USA?

So this was all about work permit in USA after study and other criteria.  There are multiple student visa options available in USA that allow students to work while they are studying and after they have completed their degree. So, it is important to analyze each of them carefully to determine which one is best for you to study in USA and helpful in subsequent employment. For more guidance and assistance, do get in touch with our counselors at Yocket.

Frequently Asked Questions About US Work Permit After Study

Ques. How long can a student work in the USA after completion of the course?

Ans. The work permit in USA after study can be availed for a duration of 24 months after graduation under US student visa, with an additional 12 months for OPT.

Ques. What is the duration of USA post graduate work permit through OPT-STEM extension?

Ans. Students graduating in STEM courses can extend their stay in the USA for a duration of 2 years which makes it a total of 3 years.

Ques. Can I apply for STEM OPT with a non-STEM degree?

Ans. If you are an F-1 student participating in a 12-month period of post-completion OPT based on a non-STEM degree, you may be eligible to use a previous STEM degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to apply for a STEM OPT extension.

Ques. How to apply for work permit after MBA in USA?

Ans. After you graduate from your MBA program, you’re eligible for optional practical training (OPT), which is a 12-month period in which you can stay on and work in the US. Graduates from STEM-certified MBA programs are eligible for an additional 24 months (three years in total) for their OPT.

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