Below is basic information regarding F-1, J-1 and H-1B visas. For more detailed information, please contact the International Students and Scholars (ISS) office located in Schleman Hall, Room 136.
***For all employment opportunities, international students MUST contact ISS.
Practical Training (PT), which is employment for one academic year related to academic field of study, is available to F-1 students who have completed one full-time academic year. There are three types of PT. Details and guidelines for each can be found by visiting http://www.iss.purdue.edu/Current/F1/Employment.cfm
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT) See Basic Guide: 7 steps to know when applying for CPT | Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Certification Form
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- OPT S.T.E.M. Extension
Academic Training (AT) is available to J-1 Students and MUST be related to the curricular area of study. AT is available for a total of 18 months and J-1 students who obtain a Ph.D. may obtain an additional 18 months of AT employment. Details and guidelines for AT can be found by visiting http://www.iss.purdue.edu/Current/J1/Employment.cfm
F-1 or J-1 degree-holders (B.S., M.S. or Ph.D.) may be eligible for continued employment in H-1B status. H-1B applications are the sponsoring employer's responsibility. Petitions for H-1B employment may be requested for up to 6 years. Students can not apply on their own behalf. Details and guidelines for H-1B employment can be found by visiting
What you need to know about H-1B
If you have already decided that your career plan is to obtain an H-1B visa, there are a few things you should know first. This document will provide you with SOME BASIC information and a good plan for a future H-1B application. There is no guarantee that you will obtain an H-1B visa by following these suggestions. In fact, there are a very limited number of H-1B visas available each year and you should prepare for an alternative career path in case you do not find yourself in a situation where an H-1B is possible.
There are 85,000 H-1B visas awarded each year through the CAP system. There are about 900,000 international students studying in the United States this year. Not all applicants are students.
NOTE: there are not enough H-1B visas for all candidates. In 2014 there were more than twice as many applicants as visas available.
About the H-1B Visa
H-1B is the most common work visa in the United States. Using this category, U.S. employers are permitted to hire international graduates who have at least a four-year college degree, if they will work in a position requiring their specific college degree.
Duration: An H-1B visa is valid initially for up to three years and can be extended an additional three years for a total of six years. There are also complicated rules for seeking extensions beyond six years for foreign nationals who have started the process of applying for lawful permanent residence.
Procedure: Only an employer can file an H-1B petition with USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Services or "CIS"). Employers usually file the H-1 B petition while the employee is working using OPT. Filing an H-1B petition does not obligate the employer to keep the employee fo r the entire duration requested (usually three years). The employer retains full authority to terminate the employment.
Costs: The cost of the H-1B consists of the legal fee (if an attorney is used, which is advisable), plus the CIS filing fee. The CIS filing fee is $2,325 for employers with more than 25 employees, and $1,575 for employers with 25 or fewer employees. These fees are regularly increased by Congress. The U.S. government considers all fees and costs for the H-1B process to be employer expenses.
H-1B Quota: CIS issues 85,000 new H- 1B approvals each fiscal year (October 1through September 30). Graduates with U.S. advanced degrees have special an allocation of 20,000 H-1Bs of this 85,000 quota. Exceptions to the quota are university jobs. Employers should file an H-18 petition by April1 for the October 1 quota. HOWEVER, to file byApril1, your employer needs to agree to sponsor you ideally several months before this date so that there is sufficient time to prepare you r application and file it by April1.
How to best communicate your Visa status with an employer:
Be familiar with your status i.e. F1/ J1 and options. Educate and communicate this to an employer clearly and with confidence.
- Research international employee friendly companies or Top Employers for Purdue International students
- Disclose your status in the second round, if it was not already discussed.
- Remind employers of your CPT/OPT eligibility which allows them a 'trial run' with you before petitioning for your H1B visa.
- Convey optimism about your chances for work permission approval, if you have begun the process.
- Set yourself apart from your competitors—market the skills and qualities that you will bring to the firm that will make you stand out from the crowd.