Recent changes to H1B and F1 Visa for USA

When you receive admission from your chosen academic institute in the USA, one of the first things you will need to do is apply for the student visa in the USA as soon as possible. Commonly known as the F1 student visa, it acts as the port of entry to the USA from where you are open to multiple possibilities such as getting a job and settling in the USA.

There are some recent changes which have taken place to the process of acquiring the H1B visa and F1 visa. Due to the current administration applying these rules, the student visa and work visa acquiring process has slightly tightened.

    • The number of days you can stay beyond the tenure of your F1 student visa in the USA (immigration status) will be kept on record. Students will be considered to have violated their immigration status if they stop pursuing the same academic course as was listed in their visa application, stay in the country longer than their course and grace period, or partake in illegal activity.
  • Before this rule was implemented, a violation of immigration status was only counted when the student committed an illegal activity or if a judge passed an order for the student to leave the country.
  • Once you finish your MS or MBA degree in the USA and receive your diploma or certificate, you will need to change your visa status in the USA from a student visa to a work visa. The work visa is known as an H1B visa, and you can apply for this only if you find a job in a company that is ready to sponsor your H1B visa.
  • As a recently graduated student, you can also take up optional practical training (OPT), which allows you to get practical experience in your field of study. The OPT period is 12 months, giving you more time to look for a permanent position so that you can apply for H1B visa at a later time.
  • Also, if your degree from the USA is from the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), you are eligible to apply for a 17-month extension.
  • During your OPT, you need to find an employer who is ready to sponsor and file your H1B visa for you. After your receive your offer of employment, make sure the employer applies for your H1B visa before your OPT deadline!
  • There is a new lottery system that will be implanted on applications starting on April 1st, 2019. The proposed system will favour applicants who have a Master’s degree or higher from an institute in the USA. This means that 16% more applicants out of the total number of applicants who receive an H1B visa will be those who have a Master’s degree or higher from the USA.
  • As per the proposed lottery system awarding H1B visas, an applicant has a higher chance of obtaining an H1B visa if they have completed their Master’s degree or higher from an institute from the USA.
  • Applicants who are unselected for an H1B visa would be on the waiting list and have a chance to receive an H1B visa if the system does not generate enough visas as per its quota.

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