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F-1 Optional Practial Training (OPT)

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows international students in F-1 status to gain off-campus work experience in their field of study before or after completion of studies for a maximum of 12 months.
  • F-1 students who received a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) field may apply for a single 17-month extension of their 12-month OPT period.
  • International students should work with their graduate and faculty advisor to determine an appropriate completion date and then the student should apply for OPT at least 90 days in advance of their completion date if they plan to remain in the US to work following their completion date and graduation.
  • International students can usually work through end of the semester in a student position as long as their OPT has been approved and they have received their EAD after their completion date (generally defined as the date that all revisions are complete for their defense).  After the end of that semester, the recent graduates must be hired into a non-student position while on OPT.

Exchange Visitor Program JI Visa

  • International visiting scholars are required to obtain a J1 visa
  • Provides foreign nationals an opportunity to collaborate and designed for temporary educational and cultural exchanges
    • Visitors come to teach, conduct research, observe, consult or demonstrate specialized knowledge or skills
  • Understanding is the visitor will return to home country at the end of the program.
  • Visitors must have sufficient funding of at least $1200 per month while they are in the US. If visitors will be brining dependents, they must provide proof of additional monthly funding of $350 per month for a spouse and $200 per month for each dependent child.
  • The process of requesting a DS-2019 is initiated by the Physics HR office after you contact us with your intent of bringing in an exchange visitor.
    • ISSO will not take requests directly from a faculty member or a visitor – only from the designated department contact
  • Once we have the request from you, we will work directly with the exchange visitor to gather all the required documents and submit to ISSO
  • We must provide the visitor with a letter of invitation to visit ASU. 
  • Within about two to three weeks, we will receive the DS2019 and send it via FedEx to the exchange visitor.

H1B Visa Requests

  • The process to obtain an H1B visa can be time-consuming, so please plan ahead.
  • Please request at least six months in advance of employment start date. 
  • If a request is submitted less than six months to the start date, either the start date will have to be delayed, or premium processing will have to be requested at an additional expense of $1225.
  • H1B visas should only be requested for individuals you intend to employ for at least 1 – 3 years.
  • There are additional expenses every time a new petition is filed.             
  • If you intend to fund someone for at least three years – the initial petition should be for three years.
  • If you do not have the funding or anticipate funding for an extended amount of time, the petition should be requested for the time you anticipate funding.
  • Petitions have to be amended in advance and require additional filing fees for the following items:
    • Change in job responsibilities (ex: original petition indicated research only, now you want employee to teach)
    • Change in job location (ex: original petition indicated ASU as work location, and now you have a collaborator at another university in California where employee will go to physically work)
    • Title changes and salary increases may require an amendment.
    • Employee is currently on H1B at another University, and you are hiring them at ASU

Permanent Residency/ Green Card Process

  • The process to obtain a green card can vary due to individual circumstances. There are two routes based on school sponsorship:
    • Outstanding Researcher/Professor (ORP) – estimated cost is between $7,500-$10,000 depending on the complexity of the case.  Processing time is between 1-2 years.
    • Labor Certification process – involves a job posting and typically takes a little bit longer than ORP, however, the cost is much less, typically less than $1000.
  • Please contact Melinda to set up a time to discuss the processes if you or a member of your lab is looking into applying for permanent residency (green card).

TN Visa ( Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Worker)

  • Canadians and Mexicans may be eligible to work in the United States as NAFTA professionals under the following conditions:
    • Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico;
    • Profession is on the NAFTA list;
    • Position in the United States requires a NAFTA professional;
    • The applicant will work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job for an employer (seeRequired Documentation).
    • Applicant has the qualifications, meeting the specific requirements, education, and/or experience, of the profession.
    • With some exceptions, each profession requires a baccalaureate degree as an entry-level requirement. If a baccalaureate is required, the experience cannot be substituted for that degree. In some professions, an alternative to a bachelor's degree is listed. For some professions, experience is required in addition to the degree. For a complete list of professions with minimum education requirements and alternative credentials, seeAppendix 1603.D.1 of NAFTA Chapter 16.
  • The Physics HR office will prepare the required TN letters used when entering the US at a Port of Entry (usually and airport or border crossing).


For more information, please see: https://international.asu.edu/tn