Immigrants can apply to study in the United States under three different nonimmigrant visas, and they can work under two of those visas. The most popular of these visas is the F-1 visa, which allows students to work while studying in the country. F-1 visas also permit individuals to continue working in the U.S. after their studies. Those individuals with degrees in a STEM field can extend their visas to work in the U.S. for up to 24 months.
However, there are limits on work even for F-1 visa holders. They typically only can work on campus, and only if they are attending school full-time and making good progress toward a degree. These individuals have to get special authorization under an available program to be able to work off-campus. F-1 visa holders also are limited to working no more than 20 hours per week and no more than 40 hours per week during vacations and school breaks. Finally, on the date that a student completes a course of studies required for a degree, a 60-day grace period for leaving the country begins to run. Students may not work during these 60 days.
Another alternative for students to work in the U.S. is the J-1 visa. This visa allows international students to participate in work-and-study-based exchange programs in the U.S. Sponsoring programs must have accreditation through the Exchange Visitor Program of the U.S. State Department. These programs allow students to gain practical training related to their academic studies that is unavailable in their native countries. J-1 visas are available for various programs related to different occupations and vary in length.
The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your situation. We intend to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.