Discovering employment opportunities after academic programs, F1 visa holders in the USA can obtain work authorization through OPT (Optional Practical Training). This allows engagement in work relevant to their educational degree program.
Various OPT Programs and Allowed Employment:
1. Pre-Completion OPT Jobs Allowed:
Pre-Completion OPT is for F-1 visa students who haven’t finished their degree. It permits them to work for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during breaks. Jobs allowed under Pre-Completion OPT are related to their field of study, and no job offer is required.
2. Post-Completion OPT Jobs Allowed:
For F-1 visa students who completed their academic program, Post-Completion OPT allows full-time employment related to their field of study for up to 12 months. It must be applied for within 90 days of degree completion, maintaining F-1 status and working at least 20 hours per week.
3. STEM OPT Jobs Allowed:
STEM OPT is a 24-month extension for STEM degree holders. It requires working for an E-Verify employer and gaining training directly related to the STEM degree. This extension aims to boost STEM-related industries and provide practical training for international students.
Types of OPT:
The OPT program offers Pre-Completion OPT for students still studying, Post-Completion OPT for those who finished their degree, and STEM OPT for STEM degree holders. Each type has specific eligibility and job requirements.
Post-Completion OPT Jobs:
Post-completion OPT offers opportunities for candidates to work in self-employment, via agencies, in paid employment, for multiple employers, in short-term employment (performing artists), or work for hire (contract-based relationships).
Proving Employment on OPT:
To prove employment, candidates should keep records of job offer letters, agreements, contracts, job descriptions, pay stubs, bank statements, W2 forms, and proof of volunteer or unpaid work.
OPT programs provide international students with valuable work experience. Understanding Pre-Completion OPT, Post-Completion OPT, and STEM OPT, along with the allowed employment types, is crucial. Keeping proper documentation ensures a smooth OPT experience.