Are you a student sourcing information on study and work visa in USA? Source no more, as this article comprises all the information you need.
You will require a student visa if you want to enroll in full-time studies in the United States. There are two non-immigrant visa types available to anyone who wants to study in the US. The F and M visas are frequent names for these documents.
If you meet the following requirements, you may enter on an F-1 or M-1 visa.
- You have to be enrolled in an academic educational program, a program for language learning, or a program for vocational training.
- The Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration and Customs Enforcement must approve your school.
- You have to be a full-time student registered at the university.
- You must be a native English speaker or enrolled in classes to become one.
- You must have enough money set aside to maintain yourself for the duration of the desired course of study.
- You are required to keep a residence overseas that you don’t intend to give up.
Student Visa Type F
You can enter the country with the F-1 Visa (Academic Student) if you’re a full-time student at an approved college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution, as well as in a program for language study. You must be registered in a program or course of study leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate, and your university must hold official US government authorization to admit foreign students.
Student M-1 Visa
Students enrolled in vocational or other non-academic programs, with the exception of language instruction, fall under the M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category.
F-1 students, during their first academic year, are not permitted to work off-campus, but they are permitted to take on-campus jobs by obeying certain conditions and limitations. Following their first academic year, F-1 students are permitted to work in three different off-campus jobs:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion)
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)
On a case-by-case basis, F-1 students may also be qualified to work off-campus due to unique circumstances like extreme financial difficulty or special student assistance. Only M-1 students who have finished their coursework are permitted to participate in practical training.
Any off-campus training employment for F-1 and M-1 students must be relevant to their field of study and have approval from the Designated School Official (the person in charge of managing the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS) and USCIS before beginning.
US Employment Rules for F1 Students
The majority of foreign students studying in the US have an F1 visa, which is a non-immigrant student visa. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has complicated rules and regulations that must be followed in order for F1 students to work in the country (USCIS).
In general, keeping to the conditions and limitations of your F1 visa is a requirement for every employee. Throughout the duration of your F1 student visa stay in the United States, you may work in a number of different categories. The most readily available employment is on campus. There are four types of off-campus employment:
The USCIS requirements are most lax when it comes to on-campus employment, which is permissible without prior USCIS permission. Although F1 status allows for on-campus employment, there are typically few opportunities available at most institutions. Even if you can find work on campus, you shouldn’t rely on it to show that you have the money you need for the year because, most of the time, these positions have nothing to do with your studies. Before accepting any on-campus employment, many institutions demand that you get approval from the international student office. Some schools can even forbid such employment during a student’s first semester or year.
An F1 student must adhere to the following guidelines for on-campus work:
- You must keep your F1 status active.
- While classes are in session, you are permitted to work up to 20 hours a week.
- If you plan to enroll in classes for the next semester, you are permitted to work full-time on campus during breaks and vacation time.
- An American citizen cannot be replaced (have their work taken away) by the employer.
Optional Practice Training (OPT)
International students in the US with a valid F1 immigration status are allowed to work off campus throughout and after their degree is completed in the form of optional practical training (OPT). The OPT program is implemented in accordance with rules set forth by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), and all OPT employment requires prior authorization from both USCIS and the office for international students at your school.
Once you have been enrolled for at least nine months, you are eligible to apply for OPT, but you cannot start working until you have obtained your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS and have been enrolled for at least a year. To apply for an OPT EAD, you do not need to have a work offer, and your OPT employment can take place anywhere in the US. Begin as soon as possible—USCIS might take 90 days to process your application. They make sure you collaborate closely with the office for international students at your school. Permission is predicated on maintaining legal F1 status, as it is with everything you will do while in the US Your International Student Office is available to assist you in doing so throughout your stay.
General OPT requirements.
- Employment must be “directly connected” to the student’s major.
- Students must continue to hold a valid and lawful F1 visa.
- A student must apply for OPT before finishing all requirements for a degree.
- OPT is not available to students who have completed 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training (CPT).
- OPT is allowed for a maximum of 12 full-time months. While still enrolled in school, part-time OPT uses up half as much full-time OPT as part-time work does (for instance, if you work part-time for six months, you can work full-time for up to 9 months)
OPT prior to degree completion
- Students must be enrolled full-time in school.
- While in school, students may only work 20 hours a week.
- During the summer and other breaks, students may work full-time (as long as they student will return to school after the break)
- After finishing all coursework, if a thesis or dissertation is still needed and the student is making regular progress toward the degree, they may work full-time.
OPT upon degree completion
- Following graduation, OPT employment must be full-time (40 hours per week).
- After receiving your degree, you have 14 months to finish all of your OPT.
- Before the degree is awarded, USCIS must accept applications for post-completion OPT.
You should note that you need to be aware of the travel guidelines that apply to F1 students on OPT. You might not be readmitted if you leave the country after acquiring your degree but before getting your EAD and finding employment. If your EAD and job are available after receiving your degree, you are allowed to leave the country. However, make sure you pack everything you’ll need to return (including a valid passport, valid EAD card, valid F1 visa, all your I-20s with page 3 endorsed for travel by your international student advisor within the past six months, and a letter of employment, including dates of employment and salary).
Curriculum-based Practice (CPT)
CPT is an off-campus work option for F1 students where practical training is an important element of the established curriculum or academic program. CPT employment is defined as “any other sort of mandatory internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring firms through cooperative agreements with the school.” Work experience must be required for your degree, or academic credit must be granted to qualify. And, yes, you can be compensated for CPT work. Prior authorization from your school’s International Student Office is essential, as is a notice to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
To qualify for CPT employment,
- You must have held a valid F1 visa for one year and be enrolled full-time in school (except for graduate students where the program requires immediate CPT)
- The CPT employment must be a requirement for a course for which you get academic credit or an essential component of your degree program.
- Before submitting your CPT authorization request, you must have obtained a job offer that is acceptable.
- The employment you’re offered must be related to your study area or major.
You must receive CPT authorization from your international student office. Once you get CPT authorization, you may only work for the designated employer during the designated dates (unlike with OPT or severe economic hardship off-campus employment, where you can work anywhere in the US). Your CPT permission will also state whether you are permitted to work for CPT either part-time (less than 20 hours per week) or full-time (greater than 20 hours per week). You can only be given permission for part-time CPT while you’re in school.
There is no time restriction on CPT, whether you are authorized to work full- or part-time. However, you are ineligible for OPT if you have worked full-time on CPT for 12 months or more. You are still qualified for all of your permitted OPT even if you work part- or full-time on CPT for less than a year. So be sure to pay special attention to the dates and times – don’t risk your OPT!
You should collaborate closely with your international student office, as you do with any job. The broad guidelines can serve as a general guide for undergraduates, graduate students, and Ph.D. candidates. The office can assist you in determining your CPT eligibility, verifying that your employment offer is acceptable, and ensuring that you complete all required USCIS application stages.
You have to cooperate with them because they must also approve your CPT. However, they are experts, particularly with regard to USCIS laws, so take advantage of them; they are there to assist you.
Severe Economic Hardship
Any F1 student who is experiencing “extreme economic hardship,” as defined by USCIS, is permitted to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the school year and full-time during the summer.
A student must meet the following requirements to be considered for “extreme economic hardship”:
- Have a valid F1 visa for at least one academic year (9 months)
- You must be in good academic standing.
- Provide proof of financial difficulty caused by unforeseen events beyond the student’s control.
- Demonstrate that on-campus employment is neither plentiful nor sufficient.
- Before applying, make a good-faith effort to find employment on campus.
You must apply for an “employment authorization document” (EAD) with the assistance and advice of your International Student Office; you do not require a work offer to do so. However, various paperwork and documents, as well as fees and pictures, are necessary, and processing can take up to 12 weeks or longer – and you cannot begin working until you obtain the EAD. Once you have received your EAD, you are free to work for any employer in the United States. When a student fails to retain valid F1 status, his or her employment permission is automatically terminated.
Working for an International Organization
Working with a “recognized international organization” is the final category of employment for international students in the United States on F1 visas. An organization must be on the official State Department list to qualify, and organizations on the list include the Red Cross, African, and Asian Development Banks, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and many more similar but lesser-known organizations. This type of work is frequently neglected because it does not have the universal application of OPT or CPT. Students who have a job offer and sponsorship from one of the organizations listed are eligible. However, there are evident advantages to this career category for those fortunate students who receive such sponsorship.
Work requirements for an international organization
- The student must do an internship or be employed by a “recognized international organization.” A current list of all “recognized international organizations” can be found here.
- The employment must be related to the organization’s sponsorship and the student’s subject of study.
- The student must have had F1 status for at least one academic year.
- The student must have a strong academic record.
If you meet these conditions, you can apply to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (USCIS). You can begin working only after receiving your EAD, which can take up to three months.
FAQs On Study and work visa in USA
What type of US visa permits both work and study?
There are various limitations on foreign students’ ability to work in the US. In general, F1 visa holders are permitted to work up to 20 hours a week on university campuses.
Can I get a work visa after studying in the USA?
You may work and train in the US for up to 12 months if you apply for OPT after graduating. Students who have earned a degree in a STEM field may additionally apply for an additional 24 months of OPT.
How long can someone with a student visa work there?
Even though students on an F1 visa are only permitted to work 20 hours per week solely on campus, most merely work 10 or 15 hours per week. The maximum number of hours you can work each week is 20, depending on the job you choose.
How long may you remain in the US after graduating?
Many foreign students who study in the US ask if they may use their F1 visa to remain in the nation after they graduate. International students may stay for up to 60 days after graduating or after the program’s end date in order to finish up their business, go on vacation, or for any other reason.
What does a student make in the USA?
In the United States, the average student pay is $36,575 per year or $17.58 per hour.
Conclusion On Study and work visa in USA
As a foreign student in the United States, you may wish to work to supplement your income, gain valuable work experience, or simply have some spending money while you’re here.
However, as an international student on a visa in the United States, you are restricted from working at will.
Bear in mind that the US government treats having a side business as full-time employment if you’re considering doing so.
As we’ve already explained, you’ll need to meet the requirements for and apply for OPT in order to do so legally.
Keep in mind that working without formal authorization might lead to deportation and the inability to return to the United States as you continue your job search.
It’s best not to take any chances. You must abide by the established norms. If you decide to work illegally in the United States, you will face severe consequences from the government. That’s an outcome no one is seeking.
It wouldn’t be wise to risk everything you’ve accomplished and earned so far. Start with the tools in your local school and expand from there. It’s required that you follow the guidelines laid out. The United States government severely punishes those who engage in unlawful work. No one wants it to happen.