Stay Back Period and Post Study Work Permit in the USA

By Subhashri Roy Updated On - Feb 14, 2022 04:38 PM

Want to work in the US post graduation? Here are the stay back and post-study work permits in the US that you can apply for, with each demanding different requirements to be fulfiled and offering different benefits for a specific period of time. Read on to learn about all of them. 

For years, the US has been the first choice for young talent from across the world not only for higher education but also for their desire to be part of the American workforce. 

Well, in the US, your ticket to staying back post-graduation may vary depending on your immigrant status, length of stay as well as course of study. So, if you decide to stay back in the US post-graduation, you will have a few paths that you can take to remain in the country and pursue employment. 

If you ask us, applying for a post-study work permit in the US will only help you prosper in today’s competitive job market. But, identifying the right post-study work permit, landing the ideal job opportunity can be pretty daunting. This is a quick guide to exploring your stay back and post-study work permit options in the US

Thousands of students have been assisted by our Study Abroad Experts with post-study work permits in order to extend their student visas in the USA. We are delighted to know that a large number of these students have been offered admission to their desired universities. Know More.

Want to Know If You Can Work Post-Study in the US? Find Out Now!

Stay Back and Post-Study Work Opportunities on an F-1 Visa

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) is the one stay back opportunity right after you have completed your program of study in the US. As an F-1 visa holder, you can complete up to a year of temporary work directly related to your field of study. Apart from this, in case you have earned a degree in STEM fields, you can apply for a 24-month extension of your post-completion OPT employment authorisation.

Stay Back in the US With OPT Authorisation

OPT is temporary employment for eligible students who have an F-1 student visa and find employment in their area of study. This 12-month OPT employment authorisation could be taken up either before pr after completion of your academic studies. However, all periods of pre-completion OPT will be deducted from the remaining period of post-completion OPT.

Also Read: What to Do if You're Denied Student Visa

What is Post-Completion OPT?

Post-completion OPT is the type of OPT that can be authorised only after you have completed your studies. Once you have been authorised for post-completion OPT, you can work part-time or 20 hours or less per week) or full time.

Stay Back in the US With STEM OPT Extension

This is for you if you have completed a degree in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field. You may apply for this 24-month extension to your post-completion OPT employment authorisation if you:

  • Are an F-1 student with a STEM degree included on the USCIS list.

  • Have received an initial grant of post-completion OPT employment authorisation based on your STEM degree.

  • Are employed by an organisation that is enrolled in and is using E-verify.

Also Read:

 Stay Back Period and Post Study Work Permit to Study Abroad- All You Need to Know! 

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When to Apply for Post-Completion OPT Based on STEM and Non-STEM Degree?

If you are applying for initial post-completion OPT based on a STEM degree:

  • Apply after and within 30 days after your DSO puts the recommendation for OPT into your SEVIS record.

  • Apply up to 90 days before you are scheduled to earn your degree, but no later than 60 days after you earn your degree.

If you are applying for STEM OPT extension based on a STEM degree: 

  • Apply after and within 60 days after your DSO puts the recommendation for OPT into your SEVIS record.

  • Apply up to 90 days before your current OPT employment authorisation expires.

If you are applying for Post-completion OPT based on a Non-STEM degree: 

  • Apply after and within 30 days after your DSO puts the recommendation for OPT into your SEVIS record.

  • Apply up to 90 days before but no later than 60 days after you complete your degree.

Also Read: Difference Between OPT and CPT for International Students

Post-OPT Work Permit in the US

Wondering if you can work in the US beyond OPT? Well, quite simply, the answer is yes, you can. While OPT is the first stay back and post-study work option that every international student is offered in the US, many believe that OPT is not the best option for them. So, post-OPT, these are the work permits that you can apply for in the US:

H-1B Visa: An H-1B Visa is a non-immigrant visa for temporary employment in a speciality occupation. The H-1B visa program allows companies and other employers to temporarily recruit foreign workers in occupations that demand the theoretical and practical application of specialised knowledge and a bachelor’s degree in the field or its equivalent. These specialty occupations may include fields such as mathematics, social sciences, medicine, law, theology, engineering, architecture, physical sciences, social sciences, education, health, business specialities, accounting and the arts.

An H-1B visa is granted for an initial period of three years, which can be extended for an additional three years but not beyond six years. 

In order to apply for an H-1B visa, you must fulfil the following criteria: 

  • Have a US employer to sponsor you,

  • You have a bachelor’s degree from the US or its equivalent,

  • Your job roles and responsibilities and your education and work experience are interlinked. 

The H-1B visa classification has an annual cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. An additional 20,000 petitions for those with a master’s degree or higher from an institution in the US are exempt from the H-1B cap. 

How Many Years Can You Stay in the US After Graduation? Ask Our Experts Today!

Post-Work Permits Beyond H-1 B Visa:

  • Non-immigrant O-1 Visa: This is not an alternative to the H-1B visa, which is open to those with outstanding skills or ability in your field of study/expertise. For this visa, you may require an employer sponsor although you might also have the option to self-sponsor. The visa is only for those with extraordinary ability in the fields of business, education, athletics or sciences.

  • E-2 Investor Visa: The visa is for graduates who want to run their own business in the US, or wish to start or buy a business in the country and are from selected treaty countries. Additionally, the applicant should also wish to make a substantial financial contribution/investment in it and they might need an immigrant status in order to run the business. Again, this investment amount would depend on the type of business.

  • Obtaining Permanent Resident/Green Card Status: If you want to live and work in the US, you can be a permanent resident by applying for a ‘green card’ status. The same can be secured through an offer of permanent employment with around 140,000 such immigration visas issued every year. It is usually done with your recruiter obtaining a labour certification and a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. In total, the US has five categories of employment-based immigration visas. These include priority workers, professionals with advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability, ‘certain special immigrants’, immigrant investor visas and professionals with a bachelor’s degree or skilled workers.

Have further queries about staying back and post-study work visa in the US? We are there to help you navigate towards your dream job in the US post-graduation. Get in touch with our US study experts on 8882068888 or today to find out all about your scope of staying back in the US. Our Study Abroad Consultants' have helped a great number of students to get placed at our partners' institutions around the world. Know More.

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