OPT – Optional Practical Training

Are you an undergraduate or graduate student studying in United States on an F-1 Visa? Would you like to get hands-on experience in your field in the real world? Did you know that there is a program called “OPT” that is designed to do exactly that? OPT stands for Optional Practical Training. It allows someone on a student visa to work for up to a year in the United States, either during school or after graduation. If you don’t have a job lined up after graduation, that’s okay, because you don’t need to have a job offer ready when you apply for OPT. There are some tricky dates and timelines you do need to keep in mind when applying, though. For example, you must start your OPT work within 1 to 60 days after completing your degree. There are also restrictions on international travel during the period from graduation until you receive your Employment Authorization Card. Processing time for OPT can be 3-4 months, and applications won’t be accepted if you submit them more than 90 days before degree completion, so you need to start your application early and also be careful with timing. There is an unemployment period of up to 90-days permitted for OPT candidates, so you do have some flexibility with beginning your training. The duration of OPT is 12-months, but if you majored in certain science, technology, math, or engineering areas, you may be eligible for a 17-month extension to gain more experience in your field by working in the United States. OPT is a great way for international students to spend time in the...

Consular Processing

  Consular Processing is the process under U.S. immigration law that allows a person to apply to immigrate to the United States. The person is required to apply for residency through the U.S. Embassy or consulate in his or her home country. One thing to keep in mind about Consular Processing is that the entire process is done outside of the United States. The process itself includes submitting forms and documents to the consulate, as well as attending an interview there. Consular Processing is the most frequently used method for applying for a Green Card while living over seas. If an immigrant has already been living in the United States, they have the option of applying for legal residency through the Adjustment of Status process. (More on this process in a later post.) For immigrants who have stayed unlawfully in the United States for more than 6 months, Consular Processing is not the way to go when it comes to applying for a Green Card. If you have overstayed and you leave the U.S., you will be banned from re-entering the United States depending on the length of time that you overstayed your visa. The ban will apply if you otherwise qualify for getting a Green Card. If you happen to find yourself in this situation, you should definitely get in touch with us. We will review your specific situation and let you know of the options available to you.   Steps for Consular Processing: Determine Your Immigration Category: There are many ways to become eligible for a Green Card, such as through a family member, an employer, a...

Allergies & Vaccines

  If you are currently working on applying for an immigrant visa for the United States, or an adjustment of status to a permanent resident, you will be required to receive vaccinations for polio, measles, mumps, tetanus, along with quite a few other vaccines. If you are working on Form I-693 and you are missing any vaccinations due to health related, allergy, religious, or moral situations, you may actually have the option to refuse to receive one or all of the required vaccines using a waiver. The waiver is done using form I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. An example of an option for waiving the vaccine requirements falls into the belief-based category. This waiver is only available if: 1. You are opposed to vaccinations in all forms. You can’t get a waiver based on an objection to just one of the vaccines. 2. Your objection must be based on religious beliefs or moral convictions. 3. Those beliefs must be sincere. If you have a medical condition that would prevent you from receiving one of the required vaccines, you will need proof from a doctor explaining why this vaccine is contraindicated. A vaccine falls into the category of “not medically appropriate,” in the following situations: 1. The vaccine is not recommended for your age group. 2. There is a medical reason, such as allergies to eggs or yeast, pregnancy, hypersensitivity to prior vaccines, or other documented medical reasons.   If you find that you fall into any of these categories and are looking to seek a waiver for the vaccine requirements, get in touch with us, and...