FAQ

CPT Training

Are you in the completing phase of your studies or internship?
May it be ‘Required for the Academic Program’ or ‘Non-required’, enroll in CPT, if you’re a holder of lawful F-1 status.

1. F-1 student to CPT status
After completing the temporary employment, F-1 students can apply for off-campus employment which, in general terms, can be entitled as internship and cooperative education. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be sponsored by an employer which must come into agreement with the school.

2. Requirement at each stage
Requirement of attaining CPT status
CPT is available for students only prior to the completion of their degree. Students must carry the job offer letter in hand when they apply for CPT. Students are required to enroll for full time at the time of winter and fall CPT which is 12 credit hours for students in undergraduate sessions and 8 credit hours for students in graduate sessions.

3. Eligibility at each stage
In order to follow the process strictly, candidates must check the eligibility of their applications successfully:
Eligibility criteria for CPT:
. Student must be enrolled for at least one year of their academic duration.
. Must carry legal F-1 status
. Must carry a job offer in hand
. Student must not be enrolled for any intensive training program related to English Language

4. Documents at each stage
For CPT:
. Xerox copy of I-20
. Xerox copy of printed Form I94
. Copy of the job offer letter by the employer which must include:
. Company letter head
. Addressed to the students
. Job title along with job description
. Address of the employment
. Number of employment hours per week
. Start date and end date of CPT
. Filled CPT online certificate of course completion
. Recommendation form by the academic advisor of the school/university
. Unofficial transcript reflecting enrollment of CPT form from wolverine access

5. Process at each Stage
Process of applying for CPT:
. Student must take the CPT online form along with their certificate of course completion which must include survey pages.
. Student must collect all the documents and carry the same to the international center when they schedule an appointment with an advisor. Please note that center is open during Monday-Friday from 1-4 PM.
. The advisor will then review your application and if approved, student will receive CPT- I20 form which includes authorization from work.
. Student must bring the U-M ID to the center again in order to pick up I-20 form. Student must sign the form and keep the record of the form issued to them.

6. Is CPT a separate visa status?
No. CPT is a benefit of F-1 status.

7. When should I apply for CPT?
For CPT, apply at least two weeks before you are scheduled to begin work.

8. Are applications for CPT ever denied?
Applications for CPT are denied only when the eligibility or course criteria are not met.

9. How many hours per week can I work?
You are approved for Part-Time CPT you may work 20 hours or less per week while being enrolled for classes. Full-Time CPT permits employment of 21 hours or more per week.

10. Can I change employers while on authorized CPT?
No. CPT is employer specific and you will need to submit another application to the ISO for approval

OPT Training

Are you still under the F-1 Immigration Status? International students apply for the best optional practical training and placement program now. Know the eligibility and disabilities of USCIS form i-20; obtain job opportunities with the qualified skill to extend your OPT status.

1. F-1 Student to OPT status
F-1 Students, international students, must apply temporary employment through OPT. OPT (Optional Practical Training) is for F-1 students where students can realize 12 months of employment authorization during or after their academic studies. Pre-completion OPT is a status of employment for students while they are carrying academic studies and post-completion OPT considered as employment for students after completing their academics.

2. Requirement of attaining OPT status
OPT is available for students only before the completion of their degree. Students must carry the job offer letter in hand when they apply for CPT. Students are required to enroll for full time at the time of winter and fall CPT/OPT which is 12 credit hours for students in undergraduate sessions and 8 credit hours for students in graduate sessions.

3. Eligibility criteria for OPT
To be eligible for OPT, students must follow the mentioned points:
Student must be of legal immigrant with F-1 status
Students must hold a full-time academic status for at least one year of academics
Student must possess health insurance approved by U-M

4. Documents for OPT
. OPT online course completion certificate form which must be filled and signed by the student
. Photocopy of electronic Form—94
. Previous Employment document of authorization, if any
. Process of applying for OPT
. Student must take their OPT online certification course and get it printed and submit the same with rest other documents at the IC . department.
. The documents reviewed by the U-M international center advisor. Students will be asked to send the OPT recommendation to the SEVIS to generate the new I-20 which includes the start date and end date of the training.
. Student must bring their U-M ID when they are notified to collect the I-20 form.
. Student must sign the form, and keep one copy of the same with them.
. The form will be then be transferred to USCIS department for the approval or denial of the OPT application. If approved, students will be notified about the same on their email with the attached EAD from USCIS.

5. OPT Jobs and Training
International students’ study in United States under various visa categories. Majority of the students enroll under F-1 category and they are permitted to work under OPT. Let us understand what OPT is. Optional practical training (OPT) is an opportunity given to the international students to pursue employment in the field of their education. They can apply the theoretical knowledge learned in the course into practical work. This opportunity is given to the undergraduates and graduates who have completed nine months or pursuing their education are permitted by the USCIS. To work under the optional practical training, students should hold F-1 status.
The F-1 visa status is flexible and administered by the school/college authorities and by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Advantages of OPT
The advantage of taking up Optional Practical Training is that students can get work opportunity in their respective study field along with work. Working in USA is prestigious and the work experience will add weight to your resume. Students who completed graduation from schools or colleges authorized by the United States Citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) can apply for extension for OPT for another seventeen months. Students who completed their graduation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) domains are eligible. Some degree qualifications which specifically qualify for the extension of OPT are:
Physical Sciences
Actuarial Sciences
Computer Science Applications
Engineering
Engineering Technologies
Life Sciences
Mathematics
Military Technologies
The extension can be given for an additional seventeen months which sums up the total OPT period with post-graduation to twenty-nine months.

OPT Process
Applying for optional practical training is a technical process and cumbersome process. Being an international student is important for you to be well-versed with the process thoroughly. To apply for OPT opportunities, an international student, you should enroll as a full-time student in any school or college authorized by the United States Citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) for a period of at least nine months before you apply for OPT. You cannot start your employment till you receive approval document of employment authorization document (EAD) from USCIC.

There are two kinds of Optional Practical Training
You can participate in OPT in two ways.

Pre-completion OPT
As an international student, you may opt for pre-completion OPT. You should enroll yourself as a full-time student for one full year in any academic institution certified by the US immigration and customs enforcement (ICE)and students and exchange visitor program (SEVP). You need not have F-1 visa status for applying for pre-completion OPT. However, you should satisfy the “one full year requisite” to apply for the Pre-completion OPT. It is fine if you hold other non-immigrant status during that period. To participate in pre-completion, OPT, you can work part-time (less than 20 hours) per week when the college is in session and full-time during vacation period.

Post-completion OPT
As an international student, you can opt to work for post-completion OPT once you completed your course enrolled. You can work on the post-completion OPT either part-time or full-time. For part-time you can work for 20 hours or less per week.
If you decide to participate in Pre-completion, then the number of hours worked will be deducted from the post-completion OPT.

How to get OPT
Any international student holding F-1 visa status, who enrolled legally under USCIS/DHS approved schools/colleges are eligible for OPT. Students enrolled for English language training are not eligible for OPT. To apply for OPT, you should request your designated school official(DSO) to recommend you by endorsing your I-20, eligibility for nonimmigrant student status, and make appropriate note at : Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You should file all the documents correctly with the requisite fee. The documents needed are I-765 form, employment authorization application with USCIS.

How to apply for OPT if you are a STEM degree holder?
If you are applying for pre-completion OPT, with a STEM degree then you should apply for OPT after your DSO applies and recommends into your SEVIS record. You can apply 90 days before you complete your one-full academic year education. However, you should not take up employment before you complete one academic year.
If you are applying for post-completion OPT based on your STEM degree, you should apply within 30 days your DSO makes recommendation and enters in the SEVIS. Another way to apply is you can apply 90 before you complete your degree, however it should not be later than 60 days after completion of your degree.
In case you are applying for STEM OPT extension, then you should apply within 60 days of your DSO entering the recommendation in your SEVIS record or apply within 90 days before your present OPT expires.

How to apply for OPT if you are a non-STEM degree holder?
In case you are a non-STEM degree holder and applying for a pre-completion OPT, then you can apply after your DSO makes a recommendation in your SEVIS record. You also have an option to apply before the completion of 90 days before the completion of your degree. Remember that you should not take up employment till the completion of full academic year.
If you are a non-STEM holder and applying for a post-completion OPT, you can apply within 30 days of your DSO entering recommendation in your SEVIS record. You can also apply in a time frame of 90 days before completing your degree and not later than 60 days after you complete your degree.
In any of thee above mentioned case, you can start your OPT only after receiving the approval from I-765 and employment authorization document (EAD).
If you got transferred to another institution for the current level of education or completed your graduation and moved to another institution for Masters, then your present OPT gets cancelled automatically. Your SEVP will inform the USCIS about the termination date and your EAD will get terminated accordingly. Once your EAD is terminated, you cannot work in United States. You have to wait for a fresh approval. In case of unlawful employment based on the expired EAD, the consequences can be leaving the country and no more reentry. Read USCIS Changing Policy on Accrued Unlawful Presence by Nonimmigrant Students and Exchange Visitors . For additional information read: Unlawful Presence and Bars to Admissibility page. The student becomes eligible under the following circumstances mentioned in the links. H-1B “Cap Gap” extension or the 24-Month STEM degree extension.
The change of educational institution or cancellation of OPT does not impact your F-1 visa status.

6. Why I need to choose the above listed sponsors for OPT?
Whether it be the additional expense the employer had to endure or any concerns, majority of the employer in the US will not show much interest to hire non-US citizens. And then it’s not at all easy to find sponsors for OPT jobs. Thus, choosing the above listed OPT sponsors is the wisest option thrown at you. Also avail free counselling on OPT sponsorship!

7. What type of OPT Jobs can I apply for?
Since you’re strictly regulated to relate your employment with your field of study, you must seek any types of work that directly related to your field of education.

8. Currently, I’m doing my Master’s degree, is it possible for me to apply for jobs related to my bachelor degree?
No, unless your Bachelor’s and Master’s falls under same field of study, you cannot apply for any OPT employment that is related to your Bachelor’s degree.

9. Can I continue working in OPT employment after graduation?
Yes but only for 12 months from any date between the date of completion of studies and 90 days after completion. However, the student can apply to extend the working permit to 17 more months based on the OPT regulation published in 2008.

10. Is it possible to apply for OPT as soon as I join my studies?
No, the earliest possible date to apply for an OPT job is 90 days before the date of educational course completion. And it’ll take some months for student to actually receive the OPT employment card from the offices.

11. Is it mandatory to hold a job offer in order to apply for an OPT job?
No. You don’t need a job offer from the employer or any employment authentication document in order to apply for an OPT employment. But once you start working, you’ve to notify the respective office about your employer and employment.

12. Should the location of my employment need to be closer to my college?
No. You can be hired as OPT employee by any employer across the United States and work at their office. However, the place and nature of employment must be disclosed to the respective office.

13. I’m already employed in OPT employment. If I begin a new higher-level degree program, will I get additional OPT visa?
Yes, you’ll definitely get 12 months OPT employment opportunity. However, you cannot apply for 17 months extension which you’ve applied prior. For more queries, click here to get a free counselling on OPT.

H4 EAD Eligibility 2020

1. Is i140 Approval Required?
H4 EAD eligibility: i140 is approved or H1B 7th year extension applied with PERM. H4 physically in US. Cannot be filed from India. Job offer not required.
You can get H4 EAD work permit if you are currently in US on H4 status with your H1B spouse.
You can use this step by step H4 EAD eligibility checker test to find if you fulfill the H4EAD i765 application requirements. Your answers to simple questions will decide if you fulfill all USCIS requirements for H4 EAD.

2. Who is Eligible for H4 EAD?
As per the official USCIS rule for H4 wife or husband, you are eligible to work in USA if H1B spouse can fulfill any one of these two criteria:

a) H1B Spouse has I140 Approved OR
The approved i140 can be from any past or current H1B employer as long as it has not been revoked by USCIS for fraud, misrepresentation or errors.
If the previous i140 has been withdrawn by old employer but has not been revoked for any the above mentioned reasons, you can still use the i140 for filing H4 EAD application.
The i140 category is not relevant for filing H4 EAD. All three employment based categories of EB1, EB2 and EB3 are eligible to file H4 EAD.

b) H1B Has been Extended Beyond 6 Year Quota
You can file H4 EAD even if your H1B i140 is not approved yet using AC21 rule by USCIS.
This is possible when H1B has already spent 6 years in US but is waiting for PERM approval.
H1B can work beyond 6 years in USA by filing 1 year extensions if

PERM is Pending for 365+ days
PERM is Approved
PERM Audit is Pending for more than 365 days
i140 is pending after PERM approval
The pending or approved PERM allows you to file H1B extensions in 7th, 8th and further years.

The H1B spouse should have worked in US for at-least 6 years in USA using H1B visa. The total time should be added including vacation time outside USA. Do NOT add the time when the person was on any other visa like F1, L1 etc in USA either before H1B or between H1B time.

3. Can I file H4 EAD from India?
You cannot file H4 EAD application from India. You should be physically present in USA at the time of filing H4 EAD application.

4. Can I travel out of US while H4 EAD is pending?
You can file H4 EAD application and then travel outside USA.
There is a chance of getting H4 EAD RFE if your travel but it can be managed by your family if they are in US.

5. Can I file H4 EAD with Revoked I140?
You can file H4 EAD with revoked i140 as long as USCIS has not revoked it for fraud, misrepresentation or errors.

6. Can I file H4EAD with Old Employer’s i140?
You can file H4 EAD application with old employer’s approved i140.
It does not matter if you have changed jobs using H1B transfer after the i140 approval from previous employer.

7. Can I file H4 EAD and i140 Concurrently?
You cannot file H4 EAd and i140 concurrently.
Some attorneys do claim that H4 EAD and i140 can be filed concurrently but we do not know of a real life case which has been filed.
Hence, we recommend to wait for i140 approval before filing H4 EAD application.
The fastest option is to file i140 in premium and get approval within 15 days.

8. Is H4 child Eligible for H4 EAD?
H4 dependent child is not eligible for H4 EAD work authorization.

9. Do I need a Job offer for Applying H4 EAD?
There is no job offer required for applying H4 EAD card.

10. Is there any Quota for H4 EAD cards?
There is no quota for H4 EAD cards. Anyone can apply and you will get H4 EAD open work permit card if you are eligible.

11. Can I Open my Business or work from Home with H4 EAD card?
You can open a business or work from home with H4 EAD card.

12. Is H4 EAD affected by California AB5 Law?
California’s AB5 law is only asking companies to convert contractors to employees.
If an H4 EAD person is doing the work as a contractor and is doing it for multiple clients, then there should be no issue.

Current PERM Processing Time 2020

1. Current PERM Processing Time for PWD, Audit Case?
Fastest PERM processing time is 45 days. Average PERM processing time is 3 months. PWD approval is taking 3 months. Permanent Labor Certification auditing is done for 30% of cases by requesting job advertisement and employer documents. US department of labor (DOL) also conducts supervised recruitment to find fraud. Audit cases are taking 6 months for approval.
PERM is first step in US green card process. PWD and PERM approval are required for H1B (EB2, EB3) and L work visas applicants based on their ETA Form 9089 filing with DOL.

USCIS does not process PERM.

2. Check PERM Case Status Online
PERM Checker: Use your PERM ETA case number to check your PERM approval status online above. The PERM case number starts with the letter ‘A’ which means your case is at PERM processing center in Atlanta.
The A number has the year and day of the year embedded in it. The number is assigned to your PERM case when your employer or attorney creates the case in online DOL system for the first time. Your employer may or may not submit the case on same day to DOl for approval.

PERM Analyst review means that your case is worked on by DOL Analyst.
ETA Case Number format is A-NNNNN-NNNNN with 10 digits and the Alien number (also called A number) under beneficiary section on I-140 Approval Notice is A-NNN-NNN-NNN with 9 digits. Note that both numbers are different and have different purpose.

3. PERM Application Status Meaning
# CERTIFIED
PERM certified status means it has been approved and is valid for 180 days from the date of approval.

# CERTIFIED EXPIRED
PERM certified expired means that PERM was approved but was not used within 6 months to file i140 with USCIS.

This PERM has expired and a new PERM should be filed to get a new Green card priority date. It is possible to request the same priority date from old expired PERM but USCIS may or may not port the date. It depends on USCIS discretion.

Many people have also reported that their i140 was approved after PERM but the status still shows as ‘Certified Expired’ on DOL website and in above case status check. There is no need to worry as it is possible that DOL database is not updated and is showing wrong information.

# WITHDRAWN
PERM application was withdrawn by employer.

# DENIED
PERM application was denied by DOL.

4. PERM Green Card Priority Date
Your US Green card priority date is the date when you file your PERM application with DOL and not the date when the case was created online.
#1 Employment Based
If your GC needs PERM labor certification, the priority date is the date on which the DOL receives ETA Form 9089 (PERM application form).
If your GC does not need labor certification like EB1 and NIW cases, the priority date is the date of filing form I-140, I-526 or I-360.

#2 Family Based Green Cards
The GC priority date is the date U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives the Form I-130 petition.

5. H1B 7th year extension with pending PERM
How long does PERM approval process can take in not in your hand but you can file H1B 7th year extension (after completing 6 year quota) if your PERM has been pending for more than 365 days including audit time.

6. Experience letter for PERM – Skill Letter
Use PERM experience letter sample to get skills listed on old employer’s letter head as an employment verification. This may be needed to prove your skills for the job description that is relevant for your PERM application, if your case is selected for PERM Auditing. The letter also explains how to write job description for PERM.
Normally, 30% of PERM applications are selected randomly for Audit.

7. PERM in H1B 6th year – Can H1B be extended?
You cannot apply for H1B 7th year extension unless your PERM gets approved before your 6th year ends if you apply PERM during 6th year. PERM has to be either approved or pending (waiting) for more than 365 days on the last day of H1B 6th year.
As a solution to this problem, attorney’s suggest to re-capture vacation time spent outside USA and extend your 6th year end date.

8. PERM Premium Processing
There is no premium processing available for PERM application. i140 application has premium and can be used to speed up filing 7th year H1B extension if you are near your max out time.

9. PERM Approval Delayed
Your employer can contact DOL Helpdesk for a status on the application at plc.atlanta@dol.gov. You cannot call DOL for your PERM status check.

 

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