For those international students who are planning on working in the US after graduation, here are some strategies and resources to help navigate finding employers who can sponsor you once your student visa expires.
Student Visas & OPT
Students in the U.S. on an F-1 visa have 12 months of OPT (and an additional 24 months if they are eligible for the STEM Extension), which can be used to work during school or after graduation. Note that you do not need to have a job offer before applying for OPT; you do however need to apply for OPT while in the U.S. and while you are still a current student. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is the central resource Penn for guidelines, resources, and advising on navigating student visas, including:
- OPT – including webinars, FAQ, and other resources
- STEM OPT Extension
- CPT – which in some instances can be used for work/internships before graduation, so students can save their OPT for post-graduation
Tools for Researching Employers
Researching employers who have sponsored in the past can help clarify both which employers are likely to sponsor, as well as the types of roles they are more likely to sponsor for. Not all industries are equally able or willing to sponsor, so these tools & resources can help you navigate the process.
The International Students community on the Career Services website groups together resources for international students. The resources below are specifically useful for researching employers who have a history of hiring or sponsoring international students:
Some job boards also include a search filter for H1B. For job boards that don’t, use the tools above to research the organization, or look for language in the job posting like “Willing to Sponsor”, “Accepts OPT,” or “US Work Authorization Optional or Not Required”.
- Career Shift – Advance Search -> “Check to Filter H-1B Visa Sponsorship”
- Handshake – All Filters -> “Work authorization”
If you need help remember you can make an appointment, come by for a drop-in, or reach out to ISSS for questions about visas, OPT, & more.