Visas, Being Everywhere One Wants To Be, Etc.

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CORRECTION, 9:30 PM: International students with Bachelor’s degrees have, in fact, twelve months (but only 12 months!) after graduation under the F-1 visa’s Optional Practical Training (OPT) . For more information, see here. Bwog staff would also like to note that one of our sources, i.e. The Daily Princetonian, made no note of this either. So there.

For a bunch of international seniors who want to work in the U.S. after graduation, it’s “better luck next year.” The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an announcement Tuesday stating that it has reached enough H-1B petitions to meet the congressionally-mandated cap for the 2008 fiscal year.

The H-1B visa specifically allows non-immigrants to work for U.S. companies or attend U.S. universities for three years at a time (with a max of 6 years). The catch: you need the equivalent to an American Bachelor’s Degree to apply.  Given that most international seniors this year won’t have their diplomas until May, they’ll have to wait until next year to obtain their visas. The cap for H-1B visa petitions — 65,000 — was reached on the same day that USCIS began accepting them, two months sooner than the time it took to reach the cap last year.  The year 2007 also marks the fourth year in a row that the cap has been met in fewer than 12 months. 

Getting a H-1B is survival of the swiftest, although this year’s competition has been considerably stiffer. Check out reports by The Daily Princetonian and The Daily TexanBill Gates has also spoken against the H-1B cap, even having suggested that it be eliminated altogether (you can actually see him speak about it at a Senate hearing here), and Microsoft has reportedly been trying to work things out with Congress itself on the matter. Congress is expected to hold hearings to raise the cap this year.

In the meantime, the best we can do is give ’08 internationals a suggestion: if you really want to stick around and work in this nutso nation, get your act together. This is one assignment you won’t get an extension on.




  1. int student  

    you idiot. graduating seniors can work in the US for up to 12 months as part of their F1 student visas.

  2. ditto  

    international seniors don't need this type of visa, we can apply to have it extended after graduation to work, as our visa is 'f-1,' meaning we have a right to another year of training.

  3. wait  

    Isn't that for part-time jobs, not full-time "professional" careers?

    • int student  

      if you want to read about it, there's optional practical training (OPT) and curricular practical training (CPT). you can use either to work full time or part time. if you work part time (20 hours or less per week), you get double the period allowed (2 years instead of one).

  4. int. junior  

    Yes could you link please? It would be helpful!

  5. Stan

    Erm -- you do realized that your F1 OPT is only good for 12 months, so when it expires the following May, you're screwed until October of that year
    I'm CC'06 and am personally aware of people who are caught in this bind and HAVE to leave the country till Oct 1st.
    Try explaining that to your employer.

    • yes  

      yes, we are. but that was always explicit from the outset, as well as the tapped quotas for the H visas we need if we cant to stay in the US (although I do non-profit, so it does not apply to me).

  6. Andy  

    Just a note - if you're an Australian (and only an Australian), you will qualify for an E-3 visa, which is like an H-1B but better, particularly in that it has its OWN QUOTA THAT DOESN'T FILL UP. Grounds for the visa are disturbing (a "thanks pal" from Dubya to Aussie PM Johnny Howard for sending troops to Iraq), but it is great if you hold an Australian passport.

  7. Visa Issue  

    I work part-time at an investment bank, and I have seen this rule in effect. Two of the first year analysts (that means one year out of college) working in my group have to relocate to England from May-Oct. due to visa issues. The process of acquiring the "F-1" visa is apparently quite extensive. So for those in need of the special visa, be prepared for mounds of paperwork.

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