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Old 06-02-2010, 01:57 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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No. As far as I know, those are specifically prohibited. You cannot do any form of work (other than a few specific types of allowed university work like being a part-time Teaching Assistant) while on a J-visa, paid or unpaid.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:01 AM
 
Location: Acworth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sponger42 View Post
You need a J-1 visa with an OPT training option if you want to work on your "student" visa. You cannot work on a J-1 alone or while you are in school. After you finish school you will have a 1-year Operational Professional Training period where you can take on full-time employment, get paid, etc.

During that year, you need to start your H1-b visa application QUICKLY. Applications open in April and usually fill up fast. They are first-come basis. There are 65,000 slots and if the economy is recovering, you can expect them all to go in the first week. Maybe even on the first day, so get your application in prior to the deadline to be in the pool if they do a 1st day lottery system.

The H1-b visa is good for 2 years, after which you must apply/renew (not clear on the details) for another H1-b and/or have your employer sponsor you for an employment-based Green Card (LPR). This is a long process, but eventually you'll get a 10-year LPR which will allow you to live and work in the USA permanently and apply for citizenship after 5 years.

Other options:
Yes, a company can apply for a H1-b for you while you are in school. The H1-b visas take effect in October. You'll probably have to leave the country briefly if your J-1 or OPT expires before the H1-b activates.

Caveats:
You need to have a technical degree. Engineering, computer science, physics, etc. are best. Design work is good too. It must be a BS or higher. There are no caps on H-visas for MS or PhD postgraduates.

You must work for the company who applies for your H-visa. If you change companies you must have the new company apply for your H-visa FIRST. If you lose your job, you must leave the country immediately. You are out-of-status from the second you are fired if you are on a H-visa. You have a grace period of 6 months before you'll be hit with a 3-year bar if you don't leave quickly.

Good luck.
somewhat

H1 goes from 1-3 years, max of 2 terms with a 7th year extension based on form 485/140 approval (good luck with that!).

The duration given is at the discretion of the issuer (aka us gov) and you can't do a thing about it!

When you switch employers, you are only up the creek if your job/duties significantly differ from your old ones - upon which the visa was issued or if the company you are switching to is one of fraud interest - consultancy firm for instance. Otherwise approval takes 1-3 weeks and you generally need the basics (job description, salary etc). The company you are switching to should be the one filing for the transfer.

You can do it after you switch jobs. Accept job, have them file, as long as you aren't actually working for them without approval that is, its ok.

You don't have to have a technical degree. You need an advanced degree of BS or higher. It makes 0 difference what your degree is in. You need to show competency and relevancy.

The law says nothing directly about getting fired. Technically as long as you get paid, you are in status, even if you are not working. Just something to keep in mind. Your "status" ends the moment you stop receiving paychecks. So if they fire you but keep paying you (i know i know, but its a hypothetical) you are good. What they can do however is revoke your visa at any time for any reason though.

And another interesting tidbit. H1s haven't been full for the past 2-3 years. Currently they are still taking apps for 2011 and last year they were doing so until august i think it was. The days of 2-3 days slot filling are long gone! Long gone.
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