Atlanta, GA – For most foreign students, a study visa for the US is the golden opportunity to build a career and a life in America. A good student can gain valuable work experience and find a job with a US company, which opens a path for an employment-based visa. The most important thing, though, is to know the rules and follow them to the dot so you don’t get yourself deported. If you’re currently studying in an Atlanta or Athens-based school, contact an experienced Georgia immigration lawyer to understand what your rights are.
Can I work on an F-1 school-based immigration visa?
International students can come to the US for an undergraduate or graduate course on an F-1 visa. This is a non-immigrant visa, but you can be allowed to work under certain circumstances.
Depending on the type of your studies, you may be eligible for curricular practical training (CPT) or optional practical training (OPT).
Curricular Practical Training
The first thing you need to do is talk to your designated school official (DSO) as early as your first semester. Your DSO will provide you a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status, that shows that the school has approved you for this employment which is required for your training. You can work on CPT either full-time or part-time.
Keep in mind that if you get 12 months or more of CPT, you will be ineligible for OPT. However, anything under 12 months is fine.
Optional Practical Training
Once again, you will have to talk to your DSO and the job you have in mind must be related to your studies. You can apply for 12 months of OPT at each education level. This means that you can work for 12 months at bachelor’s level and for another 12 while you complete your master’s degree. You will have to fill in an I-20 Form, as well as an I-765 form, which is necessary for your EAD, or Employment Authorization Document. You shouldn’t start working until you get your EAD and keep in mind that you’re only allowed 20 hours of work per week while school is in session.
What is the STEM extension?
This is very important to those participating in OPT who have received a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). While you’re completing your OPT, you may apply for a 24 months extension. Ask an immigration lawyer what forms you need and when you need to file the extension so you get a new EAD allowing you to work legally for an additional two years.
Keep in mind that you need to notify your DSO of any changes in name, address, employer or loss of employment within 10 days of the change.
If all goes well, you can use this time to look for an employer willing to sponsor you for an H-1B employment visa. This allows you to stay and work in the US for another 3 years, extendable to 6 years, under certain circumstances.
If you have any problem concerning immigration, you need to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney at the Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC law firm in Atlanta and let them help you start a new life in Georgia.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC
365 Northridge Road
Atlanta, GA 30350
Tel : (404) 816-8611