Note: Foreign Students' Additional Preparations
If you are an exchange or foreign student in the United States, you must take additional steps in the preparation stage. Here are the critical preparations needed.
Be familiar with the visa process and update your immigration papers. Speak with others who have been through the same process in regards to OPT and H-1B visa, to better understand what you need to do to get employed.
Study in a STEM field, given the rising demand for STEM related jobs. STEM majors also have the option to extend stay in the U.S. after graduation.
Actively visit online communities and forums that provide valuable real-life advice and examples regarding what actions to take as a foreign student. Ex. www.internationalstudent.com/study_usa/
Note: Three Stages of Obtaining a Work Visa
A work visa grants foreign nationals eligibility to legally work in the United States. There are 3 stages to applying and obtaining a work visa here in the U.S.
Labor Condition Application (LCA) Unlike other work visas, a LCA must be approved through the U.S. Department of Labor to obtain an H-1B visa. The process takes about one week, and the appropriate wage for specific positions are then determined.
Work Visa Petition All work visa petitions must be submitted by the corporate sponsor and approved by USCIS (except “E” visas). Form I-129 is required for the petition, which can be downloaded for free at www.uscis.gov. When submitting a work visa petition, following documents must be prepared.
Applicant: Passport, resume, diploma, certificates, and licenses.
Sponsor: Approved LCA for H-1B, documents of establishment, EIN or tax documents, company intro, required skills for job position.
3. Residence Status and Visa Application If the applicant current holds a different immigration status, the sponsoring company can apply to change the applicant’s status during the work visa petition. Any applicant, who is overseas, must submit an I-797 and apply for a visa through the Korean Embassy.
Refer to Appendix: Visa for additional information and tips on work visas.
Case Study 1
Case Study: STEM Major for OPT
If you are an international or foreign student in the United States, OPT gives you the ability to work in the U.S. in the field of your major after graduation. If you are unable to find a job, however, then you will need to return to your country of origin.
With a STEM major degree, your chances of landing a job after graduating is significantly higher given the stronger job market, and you will also be able to extend your OPT length from one year to three years.
Candidate “HJ” was a Marketing major while attending Stony Brook University. As an international student with limited proficiency in English, HJ knew that finding a job in the marketing industry will be difficult, especially since marketing requires great communication skills. In order to tackle this issue, HJ changed majors from Marketing to Applied Mathematics & Statistics (AMS), which is a STEM major. With a STEM major, HJ was able to find work after graduating, and was able to extend their OPT for an additional two years.
He understood that majoring in marketing with limited English proficiency will make it difficult to find a job after graduating.
He understood the difficulties of finding a job after graduation, and switched to a STEM major, Applied Mathematics & Statistics.
After graduating, HJ was able to find a job with the AMS degree. Since this was a STEM major, he was able to extend his OPT for 2 additional years.
As a result, HJ was able to find a job as a marketing analyst, combining his original interest in marketing with his AMS major.