How to Land a Job in the US on OPT-Status (F-1 Visa Holder)
I understand that moving to a new country is difficult, and finding a place to call home after graduation is even more difficult, but you can absolutely find work in the US for the duration of your OPT-status, and you can very well set yourself up for H1-B sponsorship success.
F-1 Visa Designation Meaning
F-1 Visa holders are non-immigrant students in the United States pursuing a specific degree; they do not require sponsorship and are eligible to work; however, many hiring managers and recruiters are unaware of this because they are not employment law experts.
F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) Designation Meaning
Students apply for OPT designation 90 days before graduation, with no employer sponsorship required. Allows part-time and full-time work; students on Post-completion OPT must work at least 20 hours per week.
Mistake #1: Waiting to job search until AFTER you receive your OPT status
According to recent studies, the average job search in the United States takes 5 months, so it’s far better to get an offer before your approval letter arrives, so employers can onboard you later or budget your role for a future month if they’re excited about your candidacy.
Mistake #2: Having typos, grammatical errors, and mistakes in your correspondences and materials.
As an OPT status job seeker, your job search will necessitate a little extra effort and attention to your materials, as some employers will view hiring you as a greater risk, knowing that you may need to be replaced when your visa expires, so you’ll need to present yourself as an irresistible candidate.
Mistake #3: Not announcing ‘No sponsorship required’ at the top of your resume and on your LInkedIn profile
Most hiring managers, HR professionals, and recruiters are unfamiliar with the F-1/OPT requirements, and many will assume you need sponsorship and dismiss your application. You can avoid this by clearly spelling it out at the top of your personal branding materials.
Strategy #1: Educate your employer
I didn’t learn what OPT/F-1 visa status was until my sixth year of recruiting, and job seekers would be surprised at how little we learn about various visa requirements. As a job seeker, you must learn how to educate yourself and your employers during interviews.
Strategy #2: Target companies familiar with H1-B Visa Sponsorships
There are companies that provide H1-B sponsorships, and getting your foot in the door of one of these companies is your best bet if you want to stay in the US. There is a database of companies that have historically been successful in hiring immigrants.
Why it’s advantageous for employers to hire OPT students
Employers value job seekers with F-1 visas/OPT status for their unique perspectives and ideas, and there are many companies out there that are very immigration friendly. Find a company that understands immigration law (usually larger corporations with immigrant leaders), because every year counts.
Is it hard to find a job with OPT?
It is difficult to find work as a recent graduate because entry-level students lack experience; even with the best grades, employers value experience, and employers prefer experienced employees. As an international student, you already have the disadvantage of work visa sponsorship.
Can I work any job on OPT?
You may work for multiple employers (including short-term gigs, self-employment, contract work, or work for hire), but your OPT employment must be active if you work 20 hours per week or more between all of your OPT jobs.
Can you be self employed on OPT?
“Students on OPT may start a business and be self-employed,” according to SEVP, “but they must be able to demonstrate that they have the necessary business licenses and are actively engaged in a business related to their degree program.”
What companies hire opt students?
List of International Student Employers
|Amazon Corporate||798,000 (2019)||Web Services|
|Google Inc.||114,096 (2019)||Internet sevices & products|
|Ernst & Young||270,000 (2019)||Professional Services|
|Cognizant Technology||292500||IT Services|
Can I work 2 jobs on OPT?
Multiple OPT jobs are permitted once you have completed your studies at a college or university. You may work for more than one employer or job, but all employment must be related to your degree program, and the total number of hours worked per week must be 20 or more.
How long do I have to find a job on OPT?
If you are unable to find work within 90 days of starting your OPT, you must either leave the US immediately or change your status to something else in the US. Keep in mind that the 90-day unemployment period applies to the entire OPT period.
Can I work for more than 40 hours on OPT?
Students on OPT can work full time (21 hours or more), but there are no hard-and-fast immigration rules about how many hours an OPT student can work per week; if necessary, a student can work more than 40 hours per week.
Can you work part time on OPT?
You may work part-time (20 hours or less per week) while school is in session and full-time when school is not in session if you are authorized for pre-completion OPT. If you are authorized for post-completion OPT, you may work part-time (20 hours or less per week) or full-time.
Can I drive Uber on OPT?
Can I drive Uber or Lyft on an F1 visa or OPT/CPT? You cannot drive Uber or Lyft on an F1 visa or OPT. Driving is not an eligible CPT training work.
Can I leave us during OPT?
Traveling while on OPT or OPT STEM Extension In general, an F-1 student on post-completion OPT may temporarily leave the United States and return to resume F-1 status and employment for the remainder of the period authorized on his or her EAD card.
How do I change my employer on OPT?
Employer Information can be edited.
- Click OPT Request to open the OPT Employment page.
- Click Edit next to the employer whose information you want to change.
- Edit the information that needs to be changed.
- Review the information and click Update OPT Employer or Cancel:
Can I start a company on F1 visa?
International students are not permitted to own a business under the F1 program; however, international students are eligible to apply for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program instead of starting a business on the F1 visa.
Can I apply for a green card while on OPT?
You may be able to apply for a green card if you are an F-1 visa holder who participates in OPT. While optional practical training allows you to find work in the United States that is directly related to your degree, the OPT program only provides you with temporary employment authorization.
Does Tesla hire H1B?
From fiscal year 2018 to 2020, Tesla filed 38 labor condition applications for H1B visas and 0 labor certifications for green cards, ranking 6519 among all visa sponsors. This does not mean that Tesla received the visa and hired the workers. Tesla filed 38 LC and LCA from fiscal year 2018 to 2020.
How can I stay in US after OPT?
While the OPT may only allow you to stay in the US for a year after graduation, your employer may choose to petition for H-1B status on your behalf, and instead of starting with OPT, you can apply for H-1B visa status or a green card.