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Post-Study Work Visa in USA for Indian Students


The United States is a leading destination for higher education, renowned for its esteemed academic programs. Yes, but you're not just here to study; you're here to thrive, explore, and transform your dreams into reality.

And at the heart of this adventure is the key to your future – the Post-study Work Visa USA.

Post-study Work Visa USA. is not just a visa; it's a golden ticket to career advancement that can make you transition from caps and gowns to employee badges, ensuring a seamless shift from academic life to professional strides in the land of opportunity.

With the US offering various post-study work visa options, such as the much-coveted Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, graduates from India can extend their American dream, gaining valuable work experience in the global market.

Stay tuned as we explore the ins and outs of the Post-study Work Visa USA, helping you understand how it can shape your post-graduation life in the United States. 

Types of Student Visas Required for Post-Study Work Visa in the USA

In the United States, there are three types of student visas: F-1 visa, M-1 visa, and J-visa.

So, any international student studying in the USA must have one of these visas.

Let's see a detailed explanation of these:

F1 Visa

The F-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for international students who want to study full-time in the United States.

So, individuals willing to pursue any academic or language training programs at American universities or other accredited educational institutions should apply for this visa. F-1 visa is mandatory if you want to apply for a work permit in the USA after completing a master's degree.

M1 Visa

M1 visa Visa is another non-immigrant visa for international students who wish to pursue a course of study that is not entirely academic, such as vocational or technical training.

Therefore, applicants for an M-1 visa are the ones who want to learn specific skills or trades, like automotive repair, cooking, or computer programming, rather than traditional academic subjects.

J1 Visa

Imagine you're a student or a professional who wants to experience life in the USA while learning about American culture or gaining practical experience in your field. In that case, you need to apply for a J-1 visa, which allows you to participate in these exchange programs for a specific duration. This includes studying at a US university, research, teaching, or interning at an American company.

Related Reads: USA Student Visa

Time Period of Post-study Work Visa

For students looking to extend their stay in the USA after completing their studies, the post-study work visa, commonly known as Optional Practical Training (OPT), is the rescue.

OPT or Optional Practical Training is a 1-year temporary work permit for international students that allows them to stay in the USA and work part-time while studying or after completing their degree.

There are 2-types of OPT in the USA, namely,

  1. Pre-completion OPT: Used during the study period.
  2. Post-completion OPT: Used after completing the course.

The F-1 visa is the most common type of visa for academic students and provides an Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension of a minimum of 12 months after completion of studies.

However, STEM graduates can apply for a 24-month USA student visa extension, which means they can stay and work in their field of expertise for up to 3 years after graduating.

The M-1 visa is for vocational students and includes a grace period of 30 days after completion of studies.

The J-1 visa is for exchange visitors, which may include some students, scholars, and interns, and also permits a grace period of 30 days after the completion of the study or program.

Out of all these, the F-1 visa stands out as the most flexible for those seeking to gain practical work experience post-graduation in their field of study within the United States.

Key Points to Keep in Mind Before Applying

Maintaining good behaviour is the key to obtaining and keeping your USA student visa status secure.

Here are some insights for upholding your USA post-study work visa:

  1. English Proficiency: The interview will be in English, so practice accordingly.
  2. Documentation: Have all supporting documentation ready and ensure it's clear and concise. This includes Form I-20, passport, acceptance letter, etc.
  3. Understand Your Study Program: Clearly articulate how your course aligns with your long-term career goals.
  4. Country-Specific Requirements: Be aware of any special requirements for applicants from your country.
  5. Employment Intent: Make it clear that your primary reason for entering the US is to study, not to work.
  6. Financial Proof: Show proof of sufficient funds to cover at least one academic year.
  7. Honesty: Always be truthful in your application and interview.

The United States is renowned for its world-class educational institutions - the dream country of every professional. So, having a strong academic performance is a cornerstone for those aiming to secure a post-study work visa and eventually transition to permanent residency in this country. So, students, hit those books, keep those grades up, and engage in extracurricular activities to enhance your personal and professional development. 

When Should You Apply for STEM OPT Extension?

  • You should apply for a STEM OPT extension in a timely manner before your current OPT expires.
  • If you are confused regarding when to apply for a post-study work permit in the USA through STEM-OPT, here is what you should do:
  • Pre-completion OPT: You must apply after your DSO enters the recommendation for OPT in your SEVIS record.
  • You can apply up to 3 months (90 days) before you complete the academic year.
  • Post-completion OPT: You must apply after your DSO enters the recommendation for OPT in your SEVIS record.
  • In addition, you have to apply within 30 days after the entry of the information. You can apply up to 90 days before you complete your degree but not later than 60 days after completing the degree.

Who can apply for an OPT Extension?

An OPT extension is available to students who are currently on their regular 12-month OPT after completing their studies in the United States. These STEM students can extend their stay in the USA for 2 years, which makes it a total of 3 years.

Process to convert Student Visa to Work permit in the US

Obtaining a work permit after studying in the USA is a strategic move for international students aiming to apply their knowledge in the real world. So, to turn your student visa into a work permit in the US, follow these steps and guidelines:

  1. Utilize OPT: After graduation, you can work for one year under OPT. If you are a STEM degree holder, you will be eligible for a 24-month USA student visa extension.
  2. Mind the Deadlines: Apply for your work permit within the timeframe: not more than 90 days before graduation and no later than 60 days after graduation. The processing time can be 90-120 days, so plan accordingly.
  3. Seek H1B Visa Sponsorship: If you wish to stay longer, find an employer to sponsor your H1B visa, which allows you to work for 3 years, extendable to 6 years. Remember, the H1B has an annual cap and is competitive, so apply early.
  4. Look for Cap-Exempt Jobs: Certain organisations, such as universities and nonprofit research institutions, can sponsor H1B visas without being subject to the annual cap.
  5. Consider Long-Term Options: If you want to stay beyond the H1B visa, explore pathways to permanent residency, such as employment-based green cards or family sponsorship.

Work Permit in USA on H-1B Visa

  • The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ international employees in occupations that require specialised expertise.
  • So, securing work opportunities after studying in the USA is a sought-after path for many international graduates, and the H-1B visa serves as a critical gateway for this transition.
  • To obtain an H-1B visa, you must secure a job at an American organisation, and the employer will apply for an H1-B visa with the US Immigration Department on your behalf.
  • The H-1B visa is valid for three years and can be extended up to six years.
  • This visa also serves as a bridge to permanent residency in some cases, as some H-1B holders may be sponsored by their employers for a green card.
  • There is an annual cap for H-1B visas, so early application is crucial due to the high demand.
  • Applying for an H-1B visa is usually faster than applying for a USA Green Card; therefore, this is a popular option among US companies that wish to bring in a skilled workforce for long-term assignments in the USA.

For any further questions: Feel free to Connect with AECC - Your Study Abroad Expert, Today! And let's turn dreams into degrees!


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