Work Visas

Getting a job as a international student can be a tedious process in terms of getting hired by employers as well as the process of applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT)

🔴 Getting a job as an international



How you going to get that job

A question to ask yourself where applying for a job in the US is that:

"Why should I hire you (an international student/alien) when it is cheaper to hire a citizen or national of a given country?

The answers are:

  • You are extremely good at where you do

  • You possess highly-marketable or in-demand skills

  • You bring something new to the table that only you or a limited few can do

So start thinking about what makes you special, and how that unique selling point can be used in your interviews.

Curating data and information for OPT application

Optional Practical Training is a work authorization benefit that is given to F1 visa holders for the purpose of gaining practical off-campus work experience. If you graduating soon, you should start preparing some materials for a smooth OPT application.

Here is what you need:

  1. G-1145 e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. Use this form to request a text and/or email when USCIS accepts your I-765 form. Clip this form to the first page of your application Package.

  2. The original I-765 form signed in black. If applying for pre-completion OPT, use code (c)(3)(A) in line 16. If post-completion OPT, use (c)(3)(B). Students will upload a copy of the I-765 when completing the OPT Request e-form in iStart.

  3. Copies of 1st and 2nd page of all I-20s including the new I-20 containing the OPT recommendation on the 2nd page. Be sure to print, sign and date the bottom of all I-20s before making copies. Students who attended another institution prior to coming to GA Tech (including English language schools and high schools), will need to submit those I-20s as well. Students who no longer have copies of one or more I-20s should contact their previous institution’s international student office and ask if they can send copies.

  4. Copies of any previous Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) (if applicable)

  5. Copy of I-94 record. If you have traveled and no longer have a paper I-94 record, obtain and print the electronic record at If you still have a paper I-94, include a copy of the front and back of your I-94 card. The paper I-94 card is the white card typically stapled in the passport.

  6. Copy of the most recent F1 visa. Students who do not have a F1 visa because they have changed status in the US should include a copy of their most recent visa.

  7. Copy of the most recent passport biographical page. The passport should be valid for the period of OPT if possible, but at least 6 months into the future from the time the application is being reviewed by USCIS. If it is not, students will need to obtain a new passport before applying for OPT. Students who have received an extension of their passport, should include a copy of the biographical page and the page that shows the extension.

  8. Application fee of $410 in the form of Check or money order, payable to Department of Homeland Security. If paying by check, do not use a starter check which does not contain one’s name and address printed on the top left corner of the check. Be sure to sign and date the check as well as put the I-94 number in the memo section. If the address is incorrect, do not cross out and change – leave it as is. Students who do not have a check with a name and address should use a money order.

  9. Two US-style passport photos with name and I-94 number printed in PENCIL on the back.Lightly print the applicant’s name and I-94 number on the back of each photo.


Recommended reading:

Curating data for your employment

Here are some handy information you have ready for your potential employers and interviews. While some information are obvious to you (such as graduation date), it's good to list it down when you are emailing employer pertaining to hiring you. Use the template below wherever possible.

Here is information which you can forward to your HR / Administration department regarding legal employment of international students like me:

  • Graduation date:DATE

  • Willing to relocate and have the intention to work in the U.S. for many years

  • With Optional Practical Training (OPT), I am eligible to work from DATE, and this permits 12 months of work.

  • I am eligible for STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT), granting me a 24-month extension of OPT *


*For STEM extension eligibility,

  • Companies need to be under the E-Verify program

  • Digital media degrees should fall under CIP code 09.0702 Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia (it is listed under your I20)


Be aware that the chance of you getting your EAD before your OPT start date is rather slim. There is often a delay in the processing and delivery.

  • For me, after sending in my application on March 07.

  • On 11 March (4 days later), my case was received.

  • On 15 June (96 days later), my EAD was being prepared.

  • On 21 June, my EAD was delivered to my place.

  • The duration for the whole process is about 100 days / 14 weeks.

  • Using this standard and if you are graduate in June, the optimal start date of your new job should be July onwards.

Check your EAD case status here

  • Enter your receipt number you got for your I-765 application

  • Register for an account to receive through text and email alert

After graduating from SCAD SAV, it is highly recommended to stay in Savannah, take a break, sell your furniture, reevaluate where you are going in life till your EAD arrives because it is going to take awhile.

Background check

Some companies may run background checks before employing you, some information you should have ready would be:

  • Employment history for past seven years (Company name, address, department contact number, documentation of your employment such a letter of offers, and paystubs)

  • Education history for past seven years

  • Every place you have lived for past seven years

  • References (at least 3)

🔴 Stem Extension


Information you should have prior to filling out i983

  1. Employer /company's legal name

  2. Company's EIN

  3. NACIS code


  1. Fill out the I983 form and send it your school with

  2. a verification of your employment history during your OPT. It needs to match what is in your SEVP portal. If you have missed entering any of this information please log in now to update it before proceeding with your application.

  3. Get your pay for the shipment of your new I-20.

  4. As soon as your school have your documents ready, I will mail them to you.

  5. Once I have your updated I-983 and employment history I will send you the list of documents you need to prepare for you application.

  6. You will be responsible for gathering and compiling the rest of the application and mailing it to USCIS.

Notes for SCAD students

To request the shipment of your documents, please visit eShip Global’s website,, to create an account. You must use the Web site provided above – please do not go through DHL, UPS or FedEx directly, as this will delay the shipment and cost more. eShip Global allows you to enter your own shipment information, to ensure the address and other details are accurate and will reach you without a problem. Once you order the shipment, our office will receive notification and will arrange for the pick-up of your package by DHL, UPS or FedEx. You can then track the progress of the package through your eShip Global account.

Place a Shipment Order:

  1. Create and activate your eShip Students/Scholars account

  2. On the homepage select “Receive Documents from University”

  3. For “Step 1 – Select University”: select “Savannah College of Art and Design”

  4. For “Step 2 – Department Selection”: • International Student Services Office • Please be sure to make the appropriate choice as failure to do so will delay document shipment 5

  5. For “Step 3 – Shipment Creation”: • Enter your Campus ID – this is your 9 digit SCAD Student ID number (ex: 002223415). You can find it on your SCAD ID card or MySCAD Account • Your address is automatically generated based on your e-ship profile. Please review it to ensure accuracy • Select the document to be mailed. Ex: I-20, OPT application, etc.

  6. For “Step 4 – Carrier Selection, Cost and Transit Time”: • Review your address and select your preferred carrier • If everything is accurate, select “Continue”

  7. After placing your shipment order, you can return to your eShip account to track the status of your shipment. Documents typically arrive 3-5 business days after your shipment leaves our office

Please pay close attention to the information submitted, as submitting incorrect department or address information will result in a delay in the mailing of your documents.

If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please use the eShipGlobal/UEMS “Help” link for step by step instructions. If you have additional questions about how to use this service, please email

Shipments to Iran SCAD has worked with eShip Global and we are approved to mail packages to Iran through DHL courier service, though please note these often take longer than the typical 3-5 business day delivery time. Why eShip? SCAD only offers international shipments through eShip Global because regular mail to many other countries is extremely slow and unreliable, and sensitive immigration documents such as an I-20 can be lost, stolen or delayed. eShip offers tracking, so students can plan appropriately for their visa appointments and all the other next steps that depend on the receipt of the I-20.

Once your school has review your I-983 form and printed your STEM I-20. It will be mailed out to you with a tracking number. Once you receive your I-20's, please use the following check list to gather all remaining items for your STEM application:

  • A copy of your transcript showing degree conferred and major**

  • 2 passport photos (Print I-94 number and your name on the back of each in pencil or ballpoint pen. These photos should be recent photos taken within the past 3 months. Photos that were used on your previous EAD card will not be accepted.)

  • Money order for $410, made payable to Department of Homeland Security or you may pay by personal check.

  • OPT Extension I-20

  • Copy of passport ID page showing picture and expiration date

  • Copy of I-94 entry record (obtain at

  • Copy of your F-1 visa in your passport

  • Copy of current EAD (OPT work authorization card) front and back

  • G-1145 recommended form which will allow you to receive electronic notifications about your application


  • A copy of page 1 of your employer's e-verify memorandum for confirmation of number 21 on the i765 form. Ensure the e-verify number is correctly listed on the I-765 form. (This form is recommended but not required).

  • Do not take the photos yourself. Visit a Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS or FedEx store to request passport photos to be taken. They will be the correct size. Ensure you cut them out (2x2) and list the required information on the back. **Note: Your transcripts will be included in the packet along with your new I-20s. Once you have completed the check-list, you will mail the full application to USCIS. The appropriate address for mailing will be found in the I-20 packet being mailed to you.

🔴 O1 Visa


  1. Get a good lawyer

    • they will usually charge a fee for reviewing your case

    • The standard processing fee of an O1 visa is $460. If you opt for premium processing, you will have to spend an additional $1,410 on top of the standard fee. The USCIS holds the right to either approve or deny your case. It can also ask for additional evidence (RFE).

  2. Join a union - big help for 01 application


  1. Is there any specific number requirements of artwork for O1 applicators?

  2. Does an O-1 visa require a sponsor (the company you’re working with?) And if so, would you have to stay with the company while under that visa?

  3. Are you allowed to freelance under an O-1?

  4. How many proof do we need to build O-1 case (assuming projects that were published/giving a talk/articles etc maybe?)

  5. How long before my OPT ends should I ideally start preparing to apply for my O type visa?

    • 4 to 6 months talk to the lawyer

  6. For the credentials, to show extraordinary ability, do all the publications/awards have to be for the same exact field? Or can they be from any field (like, past work in the sciences, and current publications in different art fields, etc.)?

Curation to build your case

  • History

    • achievements

  • Recommendation letters

  • publication

  • IG post feature

  • Good relationship with faculty and community

  • Award recognition

  • club partipation