Dear Sophie: What are the scholar and work visa processes for grads? – Thealike


Here’s one other version of “Dear Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at know-how firms.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration legal professional. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

Thealike+ members obtain entry to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.


Dear Sophie,

I’m in India. I’m curious about making use of to American universities subsequent yr to check pc science and synthetic intelligence, and ultimately work within the U.S. Can you please clarify each the visa course of for college students and for professionals who need to work within the U.S. after graduating? Is there something I can do to plan forward?

— Spirited Student

Dear Spirited,

Thanks for reaching out to me along with your questions! I commend you for considering forward! Before I dive into your questions, let me first offer you just a little context about pupil visas.

Student visas

There are three foremost kinds of visas for college students:

  • The F-1 pupil visa is for full-time college students enrolled at an American school or college or an English language program within the U.S. The program should result in a level or diploma and be permitted by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP) of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • The J-1 academic and cultural alternate visa is out there to full-time school or college college students who want sensible coaching that’s not out there of their house nation to finish their tutorial program.
  • The M-1 pupil visa is for college students who’re attending a technical, vocational or non-academic faculty.
A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a Thealike logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

Based in your plans, you’ll in all probability be eligible for an F-1 visa so long as the college is permitted by SEVP. Reference this checklist of SEVP-certified schools, or you possibly can seek for a college on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s school search map.

The F-1 visa permits for part-time on-campus employment (lower than 20 hours per week) or as much as one yr of OPT. Under OPT, you possibly can work half time when you’re getting your diploma, and when you’ve graduated, you possibly can work full time. Most college students select to finish their diploma after which work full time for one yr beneath OPT. Students who graduate with a STEM diploma, corresponding to pc science, are eligible to proceed working for one more two years beneath STEM OPT.

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