What can a graduate student do in order to have a chance to stay permanently in USA upon finishing studies ?

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  • Thanks for the mention. It does repeat some of the answers that user @user102008 have provided. However, I would like to know more about the so-called 'OPT' or 'STEM'. What are the definitions of these terms and what are the procedures to get a visa through them. Thanks Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 11:46
  • Then you should probably rephrase your question.
    – littleadv
    Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 16:16
  • Are you considering also other English-speaking countries (beyond USA) with more transparent immigration policies, like Canada, Australia or New Zealand? Few questions about Australia/NZ immigration were asked recently, like this New Zealand and Australia questions. Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 23:34

1 Answer 1


There is no guaranteed way.

The most common path is this:

  1. Work on OPT after graduation (OPT is 12 months, can be extended to 29 months for STEM majors, during which you can work for a company in your field of study; there are certain restrictions, like you cannot have more than 90 days without work)
  2. Then find a company to sponsor you for H1b work visa during this time (H1b has an annual quota that runs out very quickly, which basically means it can only be applied for in April each year, and starts in October each year; in many years, there's a lottery, which means you may not get it even if a company is able and willing to sponsor you). H1b is for 3 years, and can be extended for 3 more years.
  3. Then get the company to (or move while on H1b to a company which is willing to) sponsor you for an employment-based green card before your H1b runs out.

Of course, there are other ways, like marrying a U.S. citizen, or asylum, or staying illegally.

  • Thanks for the detailed answer. Definetly I cannot and don't want to marry a u.s. citizen, asylum is not my case as Poland is not having any internal war conficlits or conflicts of any kind (yet...). Staying illegally also is not an option as I don't want to get an irritable bowel syndrome out of stress that comes with staying illegally. You never know when they'll come for you. Not to mention that banks or even mobile companies don't want to talk with you. In regard to your first proposition, can you explain to me a little bit more the procedures ? Also what is this 'OPT' or 'STEM' ? Thx Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 11:42
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    @Danny_Student: OPT is Optional Practical Training. It is something that F1 students can do. There is pre-completion OPT and post-completion OPT -- I was talking about post completion. STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math majors.
    – user102008
    Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 17:32
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    @Danny_Student Right now USA is welcoming illegal aliens (or undocumented Americans as some call them), so there are a number of states where an illegal can get a driver license, as well as open a bank account, purchase a home (if they want), etc. You can form an LLC corporation , get a tax ID number for the LLC, and then get as many mobile phones and bank accounts as you want. I suggest you read this: goo.gl/CLbrNI <--- illgeals can practice law in cali goo.gl/1zUuDP <--- illegals own LLC goo.gl/gXwG6X <--- illegals get NYC identification goo.gl/Sjw0KX <--- wow
    – NickNo
    Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 2:05
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    Thanks for the responses. This is amazing to some point that illegal 'citizens' are having normal rights like if they would be citizens. However, I'm sure there is a hook somewhere. I would prefer to have a legal citizen or student status as I want to save myself stresses from at least this field of life. I think studies + new place + eventually work will be generating enough of them already ;). I'll check your links asap. Thanks again ! Commented Jun 24, 2014 at 9:17
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    @Danny_Student The legal details are a bit more complicated but it's not uncommon to consider that people, not citizens, have rights (not exactly the same rights of course but some), what's amazing in that? I would call it basic decency.
    – Gala
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 11:44

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