Can international students legally work in the US after graduation?

Yes, F-1 students have full U.S. work authorization as part of Optional Practical Training (OPT) for up to 12 months post-completion of the MBA program.

J-1 students have full U.S. work authorization for up to 18 months as part of Academic Training (AT) work authorization. Employment must be directly related to the student’s major area of study.

What is OPT and how can it be obtained?

OPT is a temporary employment authorization designed to provide students with an opportunity to apply knowledge acquired at Kellogg to a work experience that is directly related to the student’s major area of study.

Most students have a maximum of 12 months of OPT authorization, during which time they may transition to another visa type such as H-1B.

The employer is not responsible for filing any forms or fees. Students can obtain an OPT recommendation from Kellogg's International Student Advisor, then mail the OPT application to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). Within 4 months, USCIS approves the application and issues an EAD (Employment Authorization Document), a card which indicates the period of OPT.

If applicable, students can apply for F-1 STEM OPT (additional 24 months of work authorization). Kellogg's MMM program (2-year dual MBA and MSDI degree) and the Management Science major are STEM designated. Students in a STEM field are potentially eligible for an additional 24 months of STEM F-1 OPT with an E-Verify employer, which makes them eligible for a potential total of 3 years of work authorization under OPT.

Can international students work long-term in the US?

After a student’s OPT or AT status expires, an employer can hire or continue to employ international students through an employer-sponsored temporary working visa (H1-B) for foreign nationals employed in a “specialty occupation,” which includes any position that calls for an MBA degree. In a majority of cases, an individual may remain in H-1B status for a combined total of six years.

How is an H-1B visa obtained and are there limits on the number available annually?

An employer must first electronically submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor. Once the LCA is approved, the employer must then file the form I-129 (the "H-1B petition") and supporting documentation with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The number of new H-1B visas issued each year in the United States is subject to an annual quota. Each H-1B quota (or "cap") applies to a particular fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1. Applications for the upcoming fiscal year are accepted beginning on the preceding April 1 (or the first working day after that date).

As soon as the quota is reached, no petitioner can obtain an H-1B until Oct. 1 of the following fiscal year.

Students who have held H-1B at some point in the past six years before starting the MBA program are not subject to the cap. Not all H-1B petitioners are subject to this annual cap.

Please note that the time required to reach the quota varies each year.

Are there other options for hiring international students?

Yes. Certain country-specific long-term working visas offer advantages, such as no quotas and in some cases lower fees and quicker processing. Such visas include:

  • H-1B1 Citizens of Singapore or Chile
  • E-1 Citizens from a treaty country hired to carry out substantial trade with the United States
  • E-3 Citizens of Australia
  • TN Citizens of Canada or Mexico

Other options to the H-1B temporary working visa include:

  • L-1 visa if the foreign national is employed overseas for one year and then transferring back to the United States
  • O-1 visa for the foreign national with a national or international reputation in his or her field
  • E-2 visa for foreign-owned companies employing an individual with the same nationality

Can international employees work permanently in the United States?

Yes. U.S. employers can sponsor a foreign national for permanent residency ("green card"), which allows them to live and work in the United States permanently. For more details please see USCIS guide on sponsoring an employee for an U.S. permanent resident status.

Other pages in Hiring International Students:

Pages in Career Management Center for Employers