F-1 to H-1 to green card

F-1 to H-1 to green card

Written by Overseas Education Consultant and Study Abroad Career Counsellor in Mumbai, Karan Gupta


Want to live and work in the US after you graduate? Karan Gupta tells you how

A green card is not a green colored card (infact it’s white). However, it is the most sought after card in the US - a permanent residency card with which you can live and work in the US indefinitely. A green card allows you to maintain your Indian passport while at the same time you are classified as a permanent resident of the US. A few years after having a green card, you can apply for US citizenship.

The process of getting a green card: 

A student studying in the US is on an F-1 visa. After completion of your education you have one year to work anywhere in the US in your field of study. Students studying STEM fields (Science Technology Math Engineering get 3 years to work in the US after their study. This period is called Optional Practical Training or OPT. After you complete your OPT, if your employer agrees to sponsor your work visa, you will get an H-1 visa. Your H-1 visa is valid for three years and can be renewed once making the total validity of the H-1 six years. While you are in H-1 visa status, your employer can sponsor your green card. Some employers want you to have worked with them for at least a year before they will sponsor your green card. Green card applications can take time ranging from 6 months to 10 years for approval. If you change employers while your green card application is in process, your process will be cancelled and you will have to start the application process for a green card again.

Some states such as New York, New Jersey, and California have longer green card processing times because of the large number of applications in process. Keep in mind that in some cases, reputed employers are able to get green cards approved faster.


The green card lottery programme

Through this programme 50,000 applicants are granted an ‘instant’ green card. The programme aims to increase diversity in the US. Since there are already a large number of Indians in the US, applicants of Indian origin are not allowed to participate in this programme.


It may be a wise idea to employ a reputed immigration attorney. Try and talk to the attorney’s past clients to get a clear picture of how ‘good’ and reliable your immigration attorney is.

Make sure that when you are a student, you never violate your admission status. If you do, then your green card application may be delayed or even rejected. Besides, if you have engaged in unlawful activities while you were in the US, you can be sure to have problems in your green card processing.

The process may seem tedious and overwhelming. But if you have a good job and are earning lots of green money, the process may be well worth its wait.

Karan Gupta is the leading international education and career consultant in Mumbai, India. Since 1999, he has given career counselling and has helped thousands of students with study abroad and get admission and visas to universities and colleges in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore and EU and also helps them get scholarships, loans and financial aid. In addition to aptitude tests and career counselling, his firm also provides training and coaching for the GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE exams. Karan Gupta is the best study abroad career counsellor, consultant and career guidance expert in Mumbai.

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