International Students Immigration Blog

Navigating Your Future After Day 1 CPT: Visa Options for International Students

Visa Options After Day 1 CPT


After enrolling in a Day 1 CPT Program and taking advantage of the opportunities to work and intern in the United States while pursuing your degree, the next step is crucial - what can you do about your visa status post-enrollment? It's a common concern for many international students, but fear not, as there are several possibilities to explore. Let's delve into some options that can help you navigate your visa status and make informed decisions for your future in the U.S.

1. OPT

If your Day 1 CPT program is at a higher level than your previous degree, you can qualify for OPT with your new degree. Opting for a STEM program can grant you a 3-year OPT extension, allowing you to further extend your work opportunities in the U.S.

It is crucial to note that engaging in full-time CPT employment for a year (defined as over 20 hours per week) can disqualify you from obtaining OPT, even with a higher-level degree. To secure a new OPT, students may work full-time using CPT for 11 months and then transition to part-time employment.


2. H1B

If you previously held an H1B visa but transitioned to an F1 visa due to termination or seeking new opportunities, you can easily switch back to H1B once you secure a job and sponsorship, without the need for a new lottery. It is important to note that once you submit your status change application to the USCIS, you enter a pending period for review. During this time, you can stay in the U.S. but are not authorized to work.

If your OPT expires without securing an H1B, you can discuss with your employer about continuing to apply for H1B during the Day 1 CPT period. If your H1B application is approved, you can transition from F1 to H1B. 


3. Green Card

The immigration authorities do not specify any particular visa type required to apply for a Green Card. If during your Day 1 CPT program, your employer is willing to sponsor your Green Card application, or if your partner is able to assist in the process, obtaining a Green Card could indeed provide a viable pathway for you. This opens up opportunities for individuals seeking permanent residency in the United States, allowing them to explore different avenues towards achieving their immigration goals.


Upon enrolling in a Day 1 CPT program, your journey opens up to a world of possibilities. Whether you decide to prolong your stay with OPT, transition to an H1B visa, or aim for a Green Card, meticulous planning and staying updated on immigration regulations are key. By doing so, you can seize the opportunities available in the U.S. while adhering to immigration policies.

Keep in mind, each person's circumstances are unique, so seeking guidance from an immigration attorney can help you navigate the best path forward for your situation.


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