International Students- US Employment

International students can be authorized for off-campus employment through authorizations from their immigration adviser. The student can work as soon as authorized. At ORU the International Admissions office handles work authoriations for off-campus employment.  All on-campus employment only requires an F-1 Visa in order to work.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is a position related to the student's degree plan, such as an education major working two days a week doing substitute teaching or a nursing student working as a CNA. The University has an application process the student must follow, but there is no government application. There is a one year limit on full-time CPT, so it is recommended the international student ask for part-time, 20 hours a week or less.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

For every degree level completed, the international student has one year of full-time work authorization they can use called OPT. Most internationals reserve this year of work for when they graduate. However, it can be used any time after the first year in valid student status.

At ORU, undergraduate international students are eligible for off-campus employment after one school year in valid status. Graduate and doctoral level students are eligible for immediate authorization upon valid enrollment.
International students cannot be hired as independent contractors. If the international student has been in the U.S. less than five years on an F-1 or J-1 visa, no FICA taxes need to be paid by the employer or the student.

International students looking for employment off campus can search the Golden Hire Network for listed opportunities.

H-1B Visas

The H-1B Visa Program is the primary USA work visa / work permit.
H-1B visas are for skilled international professionals and international students, from all over the world or already in the USA, who want to live and work in America on a long-term basis.

The H-1B is the most sought after USA work visa, and US Immigration requires every foreign national to obtain a visa in order to legally work in the U.S.  Whether you currently live in another country, or you are already in the USA, the process to obtain an H-1B visa is the same for everyone:

  1. You must 1st find an H-1B job with a company who will 'sponsor' an H-1B visa for you.
  2. Your new H-1B employer (sponsor company) then files your H-1B application.
  3. Your H-1B visa application is approved by the US Immigration Bureau.
  4. You can start work for your new employer (H-1B sponsor company) in the USA.

The most important thing to understand with the H-1B visa / work permit is that only the employer can apply for the visa, and the visa is issued for a particular employee. If you are an individual hoping to work in the USA, you cannot apply for an H-1B visa by yourself. This means you must find an H-1B job with a company that will sponsor (apply) for you.  A list of all US companies that sponsored an International for an H-1B Visa in 2008 are listed here, while recent employer sponsorship can be searched and compared here.

The Fact is: You cannot legally work in the United States without a valid visa.
You must first find a job with a company who will sponsor (apply/file) a work visa for you.

To Qualify for the H-1B Visa Program, you must work in a specialty occupation:
The core Specialty Occupations include: IT, Computing, Finance, Accounting, Banking, Marketing, Advertising, PR, Sales, Recruiting, Engineering (all types), Teaching, Health Care/Medical, Legal, Lawyers, Networking, Telecoms, Business, Management.

The H-1B visa is typically valid for up to six (6) years and is normally issued in for an initial period of 3 years, and then has to be extended.

The H-1B entitles your spouse (husband/wife) and children (under 21) to accompany you and live in the USA on an H-4 visa. However, the H-4 dependent visa does not allow your spouse/children to work.

There are many advantages to the H-1B visa program compared to other USA work visas, and one of the most important is that it is a Dual Intent visa, which means that you can apply for a Green Card (Legal Permanent Residency).