The US is home to some of the best educational universities in the world. Hence, studying in the US has been a dream of countless students worldwide since time immemorial. However, when your studies are about to finish, it is wise to think about the future. Once your OPT (Optional Practical Training) is expected to end in the upcoming months, you should consider looking for ways if you plan on continuing to stay in the country. H-1B visas for students are the best option you have in such situations. Let’s understand everything about the H-1B visa in-depth here in this article.
H-1B Visas For Students: What Is H-1B Visa?
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa with working rights in the United States. It is categorised as a work permit that allows foreign workers to stay in the US and work for American companies. If you plan on getting an H-1B visa then you must possess specialised knowledge required in a specific field, for which the employer cannot find a US-based worker.
The most common applicants for H-1B visas are international students. These students could be studying at an American undergraduate or graduate school and they hold an offer of employment at an American company. If you are also one such student then do note that the competition is tough and there are way too many people applying for this visa.
If you want to know in-depth about all the types of US visas then do check out our blog: Different Types of US Visas And Its Importance Explained!
Outlook On H-1B Visas And International Students
Now before we proceed ahead to understand other details about H-1B visas for students, let’s see what influence the recent political changes have had on this visa.
The Trump administration was rather harsh with the immigration policies. Nonetheless, Joe Biden is expected to view immigrants as a positive force and enact policies that reflect the same. The difficulties experienced by the consulates in the US have made it evident that foreign nationals are an integral part of the US workforce. It is just a matter of time until the Biden administration will have enough proof to support their opinion which states that the suspension of entry applied to certain foreign nationals is no longer detrimental to the interests of the US. This new administration has already made a statement that it will end the ban on the entry of individuals from Muslim countries. Other proclamations, including those connected to travel and coronavirus, are expected to be undone soon.
Long story short, there is hope and only good news for you if you are looking forward to getting an H-1B visa.
Recommended Read: A Comprehensive Guide To The US Student Visa System
H-1B Visas For Students: H1B Selection Process
Let’s now see other important aspects of H-1B visas for students and understand its selection process.
Few important things you must know about H-1B visas are:
- H-1B visas are often viewed as an intermediate step between working on the OPT extension of the F-1 visa and a Green Card. However, this may not necessarily always be the case.
- The H-1B visas for students are initially valid for three years. They can be extended up to six years in certain situations. Some exceptions also allow applicants to further extend their visas, depending on the type of work being done.
- Unlike other visa types where you can apply for yourself, the H-1B visa requires your employer to apply on your behalf. USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) doesn’t accept applications from any individual. You will have to find an employer that is willing to make the effort for you.
Bonus Tip: Students enrolled at US universities often find H-1B sponsors through internships. The advisable time to find such opportunities is during your second and third years of university that is before beginning your job search in your final year of school.
If you are looking forward to becoming an international student and need assistance with student loans, all you have to do is fill this form ➡️
Now let’s see the selection process of H-1B visas for students.
The US government has capped the number of new H1B Visas issued annually. The present immigration law allows only 85,000 new H-1B visas per year. This number includes skilled foreign workers and those with an advanced degree from any US institution. It is broken up as:
- 20,000 visas reserved for students who obtained a master’s degree (or higher) from an American university in the US.
- 65,000 visas issued to qualifying workers, irrespective of the level of their university education or where it was obtained.
When the number of visa applications exceeds the annual cap, the USCIS uses a lottery system to randomly pick the required number of petitions allotted. The luck factor plays a crucial role here. The lottery is a computer-generated random selection process. It was put in place in response to the very high number of H-1B applications that were received which surpassed the visa quotas.
Also Read: J1 Student Visa Process
Getting Your H-1B Visa After Masters
If you are a student who has a Master’s degree from an American university then you have an incredible edge over all the other applicants. Your application is first entered in the lottery pool along with other master’s applicants. After the cap on master’s visas is met through the previous lottery pool, the remaining applications that weren’t selected enter the general pool and go through that selection process again. This means you simply get two chances of being selected for H-1B visas for students.
Must Read: Do’s and Don’ts For Obtaining The US Student Visa
Whether you have just got your post-completion OPT work authorisation or you have landed your first post-grad job offer or you are about to begin the second year of your degree in the US; it’s never too early to begin thinking about your H-1B visas for students options.
H-1B Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of occupations qualify for H-1B status?
A wide range of professional occupations qualifies for H-1B status. Generally, professional-level occupations in engineering, physical, biological, social sciences, mathematics, and business administration will qualify for H-1B.
What are the documents required to apply for an H-1B visa?
You will be asked to provide several documents at different stages of the H1-B application process and interview, including the following:
- All old passports
- Original passport with a validity of at least six months after the interview date.
- Visa interview appointment letter
- Original Notice of Action I-797 Form
When is the best time to submit the H-1B application to the USCIS?
The earliest an H-1B application can be submitted to the USCIS is 6 months prior to the selected start date. For all the employers who are subject to the cap (because the cap may be reached early every year), it is best recommended to submit the H-1B application in April for the start of the new fiscal year on October 1 when the new batch of 65,000 H-1B visas become available.
Thank you for reading this blog ‘H-1B Visas For Students: Everything You Need To Know’. If you enjoyed reading this blog and would like to continue reading more about visas then do check out our following blogs.