About Me

Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Hello, I'm Karla Mitchell. Going through a legal case can be very expensive and challenging. I won't go into details, but I recently underwent my own legal battle that lasted several years. It is finally over and I successfully received a settlement, but I had to spend so much time studying law in order to play my role in my own court case. While I found a great attorney at one point, I felt completely lost initially and I don't want anyone else to experience the same thing. So I decided to create this blog for those who would like to know more about law.


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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Visas And Vocations: Limitations And Possibilities For International Student Employment In The United States

by Andrew Martin

If you're an international student currently attending or planning to attend a higher education institution in the United States, you'll have to deal with some red tape surrounding your visa and whether or not you can plan on a career in the U.S. after graduation. Working during school and finding employment after school is over is highly dependent on what type of visa you have and what your home country prefers for students studying overseas. 

The F-1 Visa

This visa is the most common for students who come to the United States. It is issued for traditional curriculum-style schools: accredited universities and colleges. Usually, the visa is good for several years, as many students pursue undergraduate studies. This type of visa allows you to work on campus only, for no longer than 20 hours per week. Your visa will allow you to apply for a social security number, allowing you to legally work in the Untied States. If you work, you must be sure to file your taxes each year, as avoiding taxes can hinder you later if you want to immigrate after school ends. Also, you must be in school full time in order for your visa to be valid. 

However, if you don't return to your home country for employment during breaks between semesters, you can increase your working hours to full time-- on campus-- if your visa is current and you are enrolled in classes for the coming semester. 

After graduation, there is a short grace period where you can either move back to your home country, apply for graduate school and renew the visa if needed, or seek for immigration and employment opportunities in the United States. You cannot work or live in the U.S. on your F-1 visa, so you will need to find a sponsor and an immigration lawyer to help you to apply for permanent residency following graduation. If you have family who is living with you during schooling residing on F-2 visas, they will also need to apply for residency in order to legally stay in the country.

The M-1 Visa

The M-1 visa is more strict than the F-1. It is offered for non-traditional courses of study in the United States. These include culinary programs, trade schools, apprenticeships, or hair school. Non-accredited universities will also use M-1 visas. These are usually only offered for one year segments (you need to renew them), and even though it is tough to get by as a student, you cannot work on this visa, even on campus. 

After your visa expires, you are obliged to either apply for a different visa, such as an F-1 if you are going to graduate school, or to immigrate to the United States by applying for permanent residency. 

The J-1 Visa

These visas are special. They provide schooling opportunities for students who come to the United States on cultural exchange, or for students who come to learn a specific skill that is needed in their home country. These visas are often given for students in medicine, or for those who are learning engineering or business. The students are backed by a private company that is investing in their education or by the government, who has made an agreement to educate students for specific programs at home or abroad. They can only work during school if the sponsor allows it. 

Unfortunately, if you are coming on a J-1 visa, you need to follow the stipulations of your stay and return to the letter. Usually, J-1 students cannot marry and apply for permanent residency, or find jobs in the United States after graduation. They need to return to their own country, or to wherever their sponsor agreed to send them, for the period of time the student agreed upon when applying for a J-1 visa as a student. However, these people are more than welcome to apply for immigration after the set period of time has passed. 

For more information on these visas, contact an immigration counseling lawyer.