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F-1 OPT Visa for US: How to Stay in the US After Your Degree

Enhancing your professional credibility before stepping into the vocational world is one prudent way of acquiring a cutting edge above the others in this era of competitive employable reality. However, most F-1 visa holders in the United States are often faced with the concern of the lapse of their visas as soon as their degree program comes to an end. This is where the significance of Optional Practical Training (OPT) comes into play. This provision has been crafted by the United States government in order to allow professionals like yourself to extend their stay for a period of 12 months after the completion of degree programs. This means that you, embarking on your career, opting for F-1 OPT will enable your F-1 visa to be extended for an initial period of 12 months allowing you to secure employability or internships related to your area of study, as per your requirements. Further, in case you are pursuing a degree approved by STEM, then the F-1 OPT visa can be extended for as long as 24 months, thereby ensuring that you get to explore more plausible options of employability in the US.

What are the benefits of opting for an F-1 OPT visa?

Before you go ahead and opt for an extension of your F-1 OPT visa, it is essential to take a look at the reasons as to why you should opt for OPT and how exactly it is meant to benefit you, as a whole.

1. Enhance your professional relevance

It is essential to understand that nothing strengthens your credibility as a professional more than practical, real-time experience in the field. With OPT and the extension of your F-1 visa, you will be able to secure employability or internships immediately after the completion of your degree before you step out into the global vocational arena. Programs such as the Global MBA and Global MS in Finance offered by the Richard DeVos Graduate School of Management are great options.

2. Concentrate on your academic program

One vital factor that sets apart OPT from other schemes such as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is that it provides you the opportunity to focus on your academic curriculum for the time being and allows you to devote your attention to vocational experiences, post the completion of your degree program. With an F-1 OPT visa extension, therefore, you will have the time and the space to gradually build your professional trajectory, one step at a time, without having to focus on variegated aspects altogether.

3. Build a lasting professional network

The extension that comes in with an F-1 OPT visa for US is the period during which you get to foster connections that will benefit your career progression in the days to come. The vocational openings that you can avail yourself of through OPT provide you a range of opportunities to develop networks and connect with acclaimed professionals, each of which must be optimized and utilized to further your career objectives, in the long run.

Read: How to Make the Most of Your Alumni Network

4. Explore more with an added 24-month STEM extension

Gaining a strong foothold in the professional world requires due time and persistence. This is precisely wherein the F-1 OPT visa once again emerges as a crucial remedy. It provides you with an additional window of 24 months if you pursue a STEM-certified degree thereby enabling you to strengthen your vocational foundations better than ever before.

5. Optimize employable opportunities directly related to your program

One crucial advantage of opting for an F-1 OPT visa for US is that you get to gain practical expertise directly related to your area of study. This means that you can directly benefit from real-life experiential knowledge, understanding the demands and the challenges that come with the role that you are seeking, even while you are on the F-1 OPT extension.

Opting for OPT is one of the most viable avenues to strengthen and further your prospects while you are in the United States. The F-1 OPT visa extension offers you just the adequate amount of time that you require so as to gain the necessary expertise and credibility before you step into the vocational world as a business professional.

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