If you are an international student in the United States planning on working in the U.S. after graduation, one likely option for you is a H-1B work visa. Your employer will need to submit a petition on your behalf, asking to change your visa status. In order to be eligible for an H-1B status, you must first get a job offer. The position must be professional and paid. This means that it at least requires a bachelor’s degree. If your potential job offer does not meet these requirements, the F-1 student will not be able to apply for H-1B status. However, if your offer does meet these conditions, you employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor and comply with the requirements set by the LCA.

There are further documents that will need to be provided with he petition, many of which will need to be provided by the student. These documents include: the student’s resume, a copy of the student’s school degree and transcript, copies of all the student’s previously issued I-20 forms, copies of the last three pay statements if the student is currently employed through Optional Practical Training (OPT), and copies of the student’s I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, passport biographic page, and F-1 visa stamp.

Along with a copy of the signed and certified LCA form, the employer will have to provide: a support letter that provides information about the job requirements, duties, and salary. This letter must also state the period of time the employer wishes to sponsor you in H-1B status, as well as a statement that it will provide return transportation if it dismisses you before the approved end date and a copy of the original signed offer letter. Furthermore, the employer will need to provide the following forms to the USCIS: I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, I-129 H Supplement, and the I-129 Data Collection. The employer is required to pay for the H-1B filing fee, not the student. All fees must be made payable to the Department of Homeland Security.

Since many students work during their studies by using the OPT (Optional Practical Training) Program, many may be willing to transition into the H-1B visa from their OPT Program. Once a student finds an appropriate sponsor, they may petition USCIS for a new status.