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I Asked Our Attorneys: If I’m Here on a Student Visa – Is It Easy to Get a Work Visa if I Am Offered a Job?

If you are in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, there are certain restrictions on your ability to work. Per USCIS, you may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but you may work on-campus subject to certain conditions and restrictions.

After your first year, you may engage in these types of off-campus employment:

a) curricular practical training (CPT);

b) optional practical training (OPT);

c)science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT); and

d) severe economic hardship.

CPT = training relates directly to the student’s major area of study

OPT = temporary employment directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study

Unauthorized employment while in the U.S. on an F-1 visa is taken seriously. The off-campus training employment must be authorized prior to starting any work.

If an F-1 visa holder graduates and then gets a job, they can adjust their status to an H-1B work visa. H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the holder to work legally in the U.S. for a period of 3-6 years. It also allows the holder to bring their spouse and children to the U.S., they may travel in and out while H-1B status is valid, and apply for a green card.