I just graduated with a Bachelor's (or Master's) Degree.
If you are close to graduating from a United States institution of higher learning, you can apply for a year of time in Optional Practical Training, better known as OPT. (You will need your school's consent and cooperation.) OPT allows you to legally work in the United States in a field related to your completed studies for a year following the attainment of a degree. If you have graduated with a degree in a STEM major (science, technology, engineering, math), you can apply for a two-year extension of your OPT time, known as a “STEM extension”.
Furthermore, if you decide to continue your education in the United States, you may receive another year of OPT following graduation with each new degree, as long as the degrees are increasingly advanced. It should be noted that OPT is employment authorization, and not a valid visa status, meaning that you will need to have a current F-1 visa (and an update I-20) for the duration of your time in OPT, especially if you are planning on traveling outside the United States.
In order to apply for OPT, you should contact your school’s International Student Office a few months before graduation.
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