Can I work?

 

We often get questions regarding working in the United States.

Here is the overview of the answer to the question: “Can I work?”

 

F-1:

F-1 Visa holders cannot engage with off-campus employment in the first year of the academic stay in the US.  After the completion of the first year, F-1 Visa holders may seek for off-campus opportunities by using either CPT (Curricular Practical Training) or OPT (Optical Practical Training). 

 

For more information, please refer to the Immigration Handbook (p 13).

 

You can also find information on USCIS Website.

 

F-2:

F-2 Visa holders cannot work, but an F2 child (under 21 years old) can attend elementary or secondary school. The spouse of an F-1 with an F-2 Visa cannot study, but would be able to do so by changing status to F-1. 

 

For more information, please refer to the Immigration Handbook (p 6).

 

You can also find information on USCIS website (Page 37)

 

J-1:

A J-1 Visa is granted only for those who are approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the U.S.

 

For more information, please refer to the Immigration Handbook (p 16).

 

You can also find information on Travel.State.Gov. 

 

J-2:

J-2 Visa holders cannot work unless they have filed Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization).  J-2 holders may study without obtaining J-1 status.

 

For more information, please refer to the Immigration Handbook (p 6).

 

You can also find information in the Spouses and Children” section of Travel.State.Gov. 

 

Generally, all F and J Visa holders can travel outside of the US during their stay, but please make sure to keep with you all the documents that prove your status in the US (i.e. I-20, DS-2019) so that you can return to the US with same status.  Recent signatures on Certificates of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) are required for international travel and re-entry. 

 

H-1B:

An H1-B visa is granted for to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation up to 6 years.  H1-B is valid as long as the employee stays at the sponsor employer.  When you change the jobs, you need to transfer your H1-B visa to the new employer. 

 

You can find more information on USCIS website 

 

H-4:

H-4 dependents cannot work, but would be eligible to obtain driver’s license and to open a bank account.   H-4 dependents may also study in the U.S., as long as their primary purpose in the U.S. is to accompany the H-1B status holder. The duration of their study depends on the H-1B’s period of stay.  H-4 dependents will follow the similar procedure when travel and reentry.