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How can a student visa holder change to an employment visa?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2021 | H-1B, Immigration, Student Visas

International students can come to the United States on an F-1 visa, but that particular visa won’t assist someone seeking full-time, permanent employment upon the completion of their studies. This does not necessarily mean that an F-1 visa holder in California or elsewhere in the US has no options. Changing status from an F-1 holder to an H-1B worker might provide a reliable solution.

Changing visa and immigration status

An H-1B visa refers to a temporary non-immigrant visa designed to allow a foreign worker to seek professional employment in the United States. Those intending to apply for an H-1B visa must have the necessary education to qualify for professional work. An F-1 visa refers to a student visa, and those who hold an F-1 visa likely have qualifications for many jobs. However, changing status becomes necessary to work.

F-1 visa holders must find a sponsoring employer to change their status. The student does not apply directly for the change in status. Rather, the employer petitions on the student’s behalf. The employer must have certain qualifications and follow requirements under immigration law.

Additional steps and considerations

General employment visas are not unlimited, and students must understand that the number of H-1B visas issued each year comes with a cap. Those interested in applying for an H-1B visa must first register for and be selected during each year’s H-1B lottery system. Waiting too long to apply for a visa could leave the student with no options.

Sometimes, the student may apply for an H1-B, and the processing time takes longer than anticipated. Perhaps the student visa will expire before their H1-B visa gains approval. Applying for a “cap-gap” extension could solve the problem if the extension ends up approved.

Other steps become necessary for both the student and the petitioning business. The student might not realize that he or she must fill out and submit Form I-129 to change the visa status. Failing to submit forms or documents or submitting forms incorrectly could result in an unwanted outcome.