F-1 J-1 OPT H-1B clarifications pls !

kathiravangg
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:19 pm

F-1 J-1 OPT H-1B clarifications pls !

Postby kathiravangg » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:12 am

Hi,

I will be entering the US this Fall for my PhD (obvi Physics) on an F-1 visa.
After PhD, if I decide to do Postdoc in the US then what are the things I should know.
Does the F-1 become OPT then H-1B ?
I know its not easy to get H1-B ...
Do Univs sponsor H1-B for Postdocs ?

Worst of all, will I be sent back ?

PS: I am not expecting legal advice so please share your thoughts n experiences ! :)

Thanks

Arbitrary
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:05 am

Re: F-1 J-1 OPT H-1B clarifications pls !

Postby Arbitrary » Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:49 am

Right now I'm also considering visa options. Here are some of my insights:

1) The most important difference between J and F visas is whether your (international) spouse may work or study during your stay. This is critical for me, as I am moving to the US with my spouse.
2) The second most important difference is related to "home residency" demand after you complete your studies. F visa holders do not seem to be subject to this demand. J visa holders may be subject to 2 years of home residency, but only if some conditions apply (specifically, coming from certain countires, studying certain professions, and/or being funded by a state entity).
3) Some prerequisites apply to obtaining J visa, mostly related to the expected income. As I understand it, most physics PhD student who get tuition waviers and stipends are eligible to a J visa.
4) Also, taxes seem to be a bit different between these two options, but I don't think my current knowledge of this subject carries any credibility.
5) In my opinion, post graduation options (OPT etc.) seem to be more of a formality than anything else, especially in physics. If you find a post-doctoral position (and "home residency" deosn't apply to you), I hardly think immigration will deny you a visa and work permit.

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: F-1 J-1 OPT H-1B clarifications pls !

Postby TakeruK » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:27 am

Hi,

I am a J1 international student from Canada and what Arbitrary said is right! The most important reason to get a J1, in my opinion, is indeed that our spouses (J2) is allowed to obtain permission to work in the US.

The other differences like Arbitrary said is the 2 year home residency requirement and eligibility criteria for J1. I'll just expand on what Arbitrary said:

2 year home residency requirement: If you have this requirement, then you must return to your home country and live there for 2 years before you can re-enter the US on an immigration class visa. So, if you intend to eventually immigrate to the US and you don't have a spouse, I think there is no benefit to J1 and you should go for F1. I think you can get another J1 visa (e.g. postdoc) without having to return to your home country though, because J1 is not an immigrant class visa. Also, OPT is considered an extension of your J1 status (up to 3 years in our field), so you do not have to return home before you do your first postdoc on OPT.
**Note: This is a requirement from the US government only. For example, I'm from Canada and after my J1 ends in the US, I could do postdocs in Europe and/or move there permanently and never go back to Canada again as long as I don't plan to immigrate to the US.

Eligibility: You need to demonstrate that 1) most of your funding will come from non-personal sources (e.g. tuition waiver, stipend; all Physics PhDs should meet this), 2) that you have funding for the entire degree (F1s only need to show funding for first year), 3) you must meet minimum health insurance standards (easily met through school's plan, usually) and 4) your school has to be willing to sponsor you as a J1 (not all schools will do this despite meeting 1 and 2).

Finally, H1B is a completely separate immigration/visa path than F1 and J1. F1 cannot "turn into" H1B. Both F1 and J1 have post-graduation OPT options and they are the same length. In order to get a H1B, you need to be sponsored by a company or university. However, from my friends who are postdocs, the most common status for a postdoc is J1, not H1B. As far as I know, it seems like schools reserve H1B sponsorship for semi-permanent jobs, not a temporary one like a postdoc. But I think each school may be different and immigration laws may also be different in 5+ years from now.

So, like Arbitrary says, if you don't have a spouse that needs to work in the US while you're there, choose F1 instead of J1. You won't be subject to the 2 year home residency requirement! Neither option directly helps you get H1B or other immigration class visas faster though. Both F1 and J1 students will be required to leave the US at the end of their degree unless they get OPT or sponsored through another visa. But as long as you get jobs, you won't be required to leave the US (except for the home residency thing). If you don't get any jobs and your degree is finished, you will not be allowed to stay very long (30 days for J1, 60 days for F1) to look for future jobs though--so you need to have something lined up before you graduate!

hermitw
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:11 am

Re: F-1 J-1 OPT H-1B clarifications pls !

Postby hermitw » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:47 pm

Arbitrary wrote:Right now I'm also considering visa options. Here are some of my insights:

1) The most important difference between J and F visas is whether your (international) spouse may work or study during your stay. This is critical for me, as I am moving to the US with my spouse.
2) The second most important difference is related to "home residency" demand after you complete your studies. F visa holders do not seem to be subject to this demand. J visa holders may be subject to 2 years of home residency, but only if some conditions apply (specifically, coming from certain countires, studying certain professions, and/or being funded by a state entity).
3) Some prerequisites apply to obtaining J visa, mostly related to the expected income. As I understand it, most physics PhD student who get tuition waviers and stipends are eligible to a J visa.
4) Also, taxes seem to be a bit different between these two options, but I don't think my current knowledge of this subject carries any credibility.
5) In my opinion, post graduation options (OPT etc.) seem to be more of a formality than anything else, especially in physics. If you find a post-doctoral position (and "home residency" deosn't apply to you), I hardly think immigration will deny you a visa and work permit.

Hi

I am in exactly the same situation with you. I would love to have J1 so my wife is able to work. But I am afraid that I may not be able to do one or two posdoc in US after graduation. It seems that J1 student visa may be extended for up to 36 month after graduation for posdoc (I am not quite sure yet) .

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: F-1 J-1 OPT H-1B clarifications pls !

Postby TakeruK » Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:07 pm

hermitw wrote:But I am afraid that I may not be able to do one or two posdoc in US after graduation. It seems that J1 student visa may be extended for up to 36 month after graduation for posdoc (I am not quite sure yet) .


Yes, you can extend your PhD J-1 status for up to 3 years (36 months) after graduation provided that you have this job secured within 30 days of your PhD program end date. At my school, if there is a gap between PhD and a postdoc (e.g. graduate in June, Postdoc begins in October), then if your supervisor has funding, they will hire you as a postdoc for the in-between months, which is also nice so that you don't lose funding for that summer!

Also, as I said above, I think the 2 year home residency requirement only applies to immigration class visas, so we may be able to be on other J-1 class visas while we do postdocs in the US after our first one.




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