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Working CPT vs OPT in America as Student

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 6:58 PM



Everyone, who wants to come to US or is already here as a student, wonder : can I work as a student legally? If so when ? How should I work after I graduate( before I have employer to sponsor my visa) ? We are so excited to work and mint money…significant number of us are here to work and make those dream dollars :-)

If you are a student in F1 visa, you can work after 9 months after entering US. It is called Curricular Practical Training (CPT) . After you graduate you can work on Optional Practical Training (OPT) .

Differences between OPT and CPT :

CPT : You can work after 9 months (one academic year i.e, Fall & Spring) after entering US. You have to work with the school to get CPT. Typically you get credit for working in CPT. It is legally working for a potential employer who is giving you an opportunity to prove yourself. Typically it is called Co-op or Internship. You can get paid in CPT. You might have to work with the career services at your school too sometimes. Some schools do not allow CPT if you not in the local city. You can only work in CPT until you graduate. You should not work more than 12 months (full time) in CPT. If you do so, you will not get your OPT. So, be careful! Also, based on the program curriculum your DSO may authorize CPT during first semester, you need to check with your DSO.

OPT : A student can work in OPT after graduating from school. You will have to apply to US department of Immigration for approval to work in OPT. You will have to initiate this process approximately about 6 months before graduation as it can take time. Plan your OPT so that you are in OPT after you graduate. You will lose your status in US if you don’t have OPT started within 2 months grace period. You can work for anyone in OPT, there are no restrictions, but it must related to your course field. It is an option that US govt provides to international students for finding their right employers. You get an Employment Authorization Document(EAD) from US immigration to work legally after graduating. It is typically given for a validity of 12 months.  With new OPT rules, if you belong to STEM Category you can get an extension for another 17 months for a total OPT of 29 Months. Read this article for full info : New OPT rules for from USCIS for 29 Months.

Rules keep changing, for up-to date information, check more details at US Immigration website  on CPT and OPT and always check with your school DSO and international students office.

Can you Work on CPT from Day 1 in Second Masters in US ?

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 6:08 PM

Can you Work on CPT from Day 1 in Second Masters in US ? USCIS regulations?

CPT working rules for second masters in USA - OPT regulations
As you know H1B Visa 2014 cap was complete and we had lottery this year. Some of you, who have been working on OPT might be considering Options to work in USA, if not selected in H1B 2014 lottery, of going for second masters. Some of the common questions that can arise are like below.
  • Will I get CPT for second Masters after I have used CPT and OPT in first masters ?
  • Can I start working right away on CPT for second masters ?
  • What are USCIS rules for working on CPT in general ?
  • What do most of the schools comply to for giving CPT authorization ?
  • Do I have to be enrolled full time when I am on CPT for second masters ?
  • What happens to my OPT after Second masters, if I use CPT?
Many such questions…Let me take some time shed some light on the above.
Curricular Practical Training ( CPT ) General Rules by USCIS and DHS
It is very important to understand the basics of CPT before we dive in to intricacies of using the CPT.
What is CPT ?  In generalCPT is a type of employment that is given to F1 students, where it is part of academic curriculum or degree program, and required to be done for completion of degree.  Typically it could include supervised field work, any work that is mandated by curriculum for hands on exposure.  CPT is of three to four types, depending on school.
  • CPT Required to obtain degree, which is for specific field training and experience.
  • CPT available as an elective and available as credit towards degree completion
  • CPT given as part of Thesis/ Dissertation for field experience towards research.
  • CPT for co-op programs, generally combining education with practical work experience.
You will have to be enrolled full time in the degree program at school to avail CPT. Also, it is given only after approval from academic department and your DSO will give you a new I20 indicating the same. It will have to be taken every semester as required.  If you do CPT full time for 12 months will lose the option to utilize 12 month OPT, so you have to watch how you use it. Of course, doing part time CPT work will be fine.   Also read : Working options CPT vs OPT on F1 Visa
What are the general requirements for CPT ?
The basic requirement for availing CPT is that you have to be an F1 student enrolled full time in a program for one academic year ( Fall and Spring ).  The only exception to the rule is that, if a program requires internship/field work from first year/semester, then you can take CPT ahead of time. It has to be clearly defined in the program curriculum that internship/ field work is required from first semester.  Also, this has to be approved by academic advisor and DSO/ international student advisor.
Can I work on CPT from day one in my Second Masters ( MS/MBA) from US ?
The basic rules of CPT applies all the time, unless there is an exception as mentioned above that is stipulated by the academic program.  Below is a requirement on CPT document by one of the schools
CPT cannot work from Day 1 - Need two semesters Masters
What about OPT after Second Masters ? Will I get 12 months of OPT ?
Typically 12 month OPT is given for every academic level i.e., one for Bachelors, one for Masters and one for PhD.  If you have used 12 month OPT after MS, then you will not be eligible for OPT for another MS degree. You will  have to progress to higher level. Read full details on OPT rules for Second Masters (MS/MBA) in USA . Also, basic rule of full time CPT for 12 month still applies here, if you have not used OPT before.  You may be eligible for OPT extension, if you degree falls under STEM Category.
What NOT to do with CPT rules by USCIS or ICE ?
As you can see from above the clear goal of CPT is academic and should NOT be abused to continue your existing work. It should NEVER be used as an option to continue employment.  There have been few schools that have abused the CPT and been barred by ICE and USCIS as fraud. Be cautious when someone says that they offer CPT from first semester for all the programs. There are some programs in some schools that mandate CPT from day one as part of the curriculum, but you would have to execute with caution.
Note : You need to talk to Academic Advisor and DSO ( international student advisor) for any of the CPT related questions because, it directly relates to your F1 student status and ICE and USCIS will have a close watch.  Do NOT assume anything by reading the above article as rules always keep changing and there can be subtle variations.
What are your thoughts ?  Any other CPT rules that everyone should be aware of  ?

Importance of Social Security Number (SSN) ?

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 5:58 PM

Importance of Social Security Number (SSN) ? Identity Theft ?


I assume,  you might be reading this if  either you do not know what is Social Security number (SSN)  is or You want to know more about the details. I have seen many of my friends who do not remember their SSN.  They do not realize the importance of  SSN.

What is Social Security Number (SSN )?

SSN is a 9 digit number in the format XXX-XX-XXXX. It is given to all US Citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents who work in US. Its primary purpose was to “track individuals income for taxation”. Lets see the structure : AAA-GG-SSSS. First four are for area where it was issued, middle two are group number for administrative purposes with specific pattern and final 4 are serial number from
0001 to 9999.

Why is SSN very  Important ?

It is VERY IMPORTANT to remember your SSN, as it is the only proof your identity. The law assumes that, NO ONE other than you except your Employers, Banking person, Credit card companies  and other Financial related people knows that number. It is FRAUD if someone in the above list steals these number and distribute or use for something else. So, the only way to identify your IDENTITY is by SSN. Typically, people ask for LAST 4 digits of SSN on phone. You should say only last four. NEVER EVER say FULL SSN on phone to anyone or tell it to anyone. It is supposed to be maintained secretly and you should only know it.  It is used to track your personal info in a lot of places, especially your financial, immigration related info like your credit history, driving history, rental history, etc. Honestly, it is part and parcel of your life in US. Almost every single detail of you is tracked by SSN.  ( just an analogy, think of it India nowadays we have PAN card for everyone who work. Similar, but million times more important than PAN card )

Identity Theft  with SSN

People can steal your identity if they knew your SSN and Date of Birth completely. Just imagine a simple example,  someone pretends just like you and calls up a bank or other place and says all the info including your SSN and date of birth, they get along and can get anything done like wire transfer or what not ? This is just a trivial example. Think of other possibilities what they can do So, your identity is stolen in fact. That is the reason, SSN is private and should be guarded.  Refer to federal government website for more details on Identity theft of SSN
So, you have to REMEMBER  YOUR SSN  BY HEART and LAST 4 for sure and keep the number PRIVATE.  NEVER PHOTOCOPY your SSN and store in your wallet.  Just remember it.

H1B Visa 2015 Receipt Number? Meaning ?

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 5:36 PM

Understand H1B Visa 2015 Receipt Number? Meaning ? Track Status USCIS

H1B Visa Case Number Meaning USCIS
Now that the H1B lottery/random selection is done for FY 2015 and some of you have the receipt numbers from USCIS, you might be wondering
  • What does the H1B case number mean ?
  • What do I do with it?
  • Can I use it to track my case status ?
I see quite a bit of cases in our  H1B Visa Tracker, about 107 cases saying that they don’t know the filing center. If you understand the H1B receipt number, you would easily know that and update the same on the tracker to have accurate reporting.  This article focuses on helping you understand the H1B Visa receipt number and how you can use it to track your case status online.
What is the H1B Case number meaning? Is there a format?
Firstly, H1B Case number is a unique number given by USCIS for tracking a particular case. Think of it like Social Security Number for an Individual in the US or a Hall Ticket Number for a student. The H1B case number is unique for a case.  It is a 13 Character Number and usually starts with a three Alphabets. It follows a certain format as shown below. You can break it down in the below format of
XXX—XX—XXX—XXXXX
The first three characters indicate the filing center of the H1B petition.  It would be one of the below:
  • EAC – Vermont Service Center (old name: Eastern Adjudication Center).
  • WAC – California Service Center (old name: Western Adjudication Center).
  •  Sample format:  EAC- XX—XXX—XXXXX
The second two characters indicate the filing year.  It does not indicate the Fiscal year number. It is the actual year the petition was filed.
  • For H1B Visa 2015 Fiscal year, it would be 14 as you are filing in year 2014.
  • Sample Format :  EAC – 14 – XXX—XXXXX
The next three characters indicate the computer working day of the USCIS fiscal year. It starts from October 1st of the fiscal year.  So, for this fiscal year starting from October 1stof 2013, it would be 001 for Oct 1st, it increments for each working day and does NOT include Weekends and Holiday.  This day corresponds to the day your H1B Case was receipted by USCIS, it does NOT indicate when they received your petition or filed.
  •  If your case was receipted on April 10th, it would be 130.
  • Sample format :  EAC – 14 – 130 – XXXXX
The next five characters indicate the case number that was assigned to your case on a particular day.  For H1B Visa cases, it would typically start with a 5. USCIS typically assigns case numbers for all types of cases processed on a particular day. That’s the reason, we mentioned in article Misconceptions of H1B Processing, that you should not get confused with the case number increments saying that so many  H1B cases were processed on a particular day.
  • Sample format :  EAC – 14 – 30 – 51344
 What do I do with H1B Case Number ? Can I track status  ?
H1B Case number is issued by USCIS to a petitioner to track the status of their case. You can use the H1B Visa Case number to track your petition status.  All you need do is go to the USCIS website at URL : https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard.do  and enter your case number there and click on check status. You will get the status information of your H1B petition.
Sign up for Automatic Email and SMS Updates for  H1B Case Status Tracking
It can be frustrating to go to USCIS website and check the case status every day right ? USCIS has given a nice facility to get automatic updates. USCIS allows you to track your  H1B Case status by signing up for automatic alerts via email and SMS. You can register an account at https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/jsps/selectusertype.jsp  and then enter your details and case number information to get automatic updates.
In the next article, we will cover next steps and additional information…stay tuned
Any questions ? Comments ?

Waiting for H1B Visa 2015 Petition Status Updates, Case Numbers ?

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 5:33 PM

H1B Visa 2015 Case number status updates USCIS Timeline

Over the past few weeks, many of you have been on the blog constantly refreshing our H1B Visa 2015 Pageor H1B 2015 Status updates page seeking information from one another on the status. Also, with our H1B Visa Tracker, there are about 200 cases that are tracked by our readers.  It is heart touching for us to read and empathize everyone’s situation. We wish we could do more…Let me share some thoughts on some misconceptions that I have noticed in the comments, just to make sure everyone are on the same page.
USCIS Processed 5000 H1B Petitions today ? 6000 Yesterday….2000 previous day at Vermont ? When is my case processed ?
I see some of our readers posting comments that USCIS processed so many ( 5000 , 6000 or 2000 ) H1B petitions per day at a USCIS service center.  They are randomly counting the petition numbers advancement at a service center and concluding that so many H1B petitions were processed on that day. The truth is that USCIS service center processes much more than H1B Visa petitions and the USCIS Case Number that starts with a WAC or EAC, does not explicitly mean that it was a H1B Case number. It could include other cases like Status Adjustment, Alien Registration updates, Address changes, etc.   So, the conclusion that a service center processed so many H1B petitions per day is NOT true, unless someone manually goes through each and every petition and does a tracking by case.   Bottom-line, do NOT get bogged down by the fact that USCIS processed so many H1B petitions per day and my case number is not received, so did I get in the lottery or not.  Try to be patient and do not put yourself into pressure by false conclusions.
Readers Posting questions like AD/PP/VSC  or RQ/RP/EAC …etc. asking for updates . H1B Tracker ?
I do understand, many of us are under tremendous amount of pressure waiting for the petition status update. Many of our jobs and future aspirations are tied to the US work permit…I have been there…I can imagine…It will be nice and helpful for everyone, if we can leverage the H1B Visa tracker and post your case status there…If you can, please try to avoid posting it on the pages and leverage our H1B tracker….
Do I have to receive H1B Premium Processing case number by April 28th ? 
USCIS mentioned that they will start the processing of H1B petitions from April 28th. They did NOT explicitly state that you will get H1B case number by April 28th.  It is very likely that premium processing selected H1B Cases to receive the petition number by April 28th, but due to enormous number of petitions filed with USCIS for FY 2015, the online system that is used to track petitions may not be updated as fast as you imagine.  Check with your attorney or you can call USCIS service center as well. Just don’t lose hope and get nervous. You never know!
Did anyone receive Regular Petition Case numbers ? How Long will it take ?
Some of our readers have indicated in the H1B tracker that they have received the H1B Case number for regular quota. USCIS has started to mail out H1B Case numbers for regular quota as well.  They do NOT have a fixed time or SLA to send these petitions case number. It can take anywhere from couple of weeks to a month or so to get petition numbers… It will only arrive by USPS Mail, so it can take time…Do NOT just conclude, just be patient and wait !
Did anyone receive any H1B visa Petitions Rejection Notices ? NOT selected in Lottery results ?
So far, our readers have not indicated that someone has received a rejected petition, stating that it was not selected in lottery. Also, prominent immigration attorney sites like Murthy have indicated that they No Rejected H1B Petitions were received yet by them.  So, don’t lose your hopes folks. Life is what it is…be patient, if it is meant to be, it is what it is…Good Luck !
Stay Calm…Do fun things you like…
I can imagine it is very difficult time for most of you to be in the waiting phase, days seem longer and you cannot focus on anything…unfortunately, it is life and we do NOT control certain things…Just try to be patient and calm, spend time with your spouse/kids/yourself doing something fun…stay away from reading information that can cause stress….
Good Luck Everyone !
Any questions ?  Comments ?

H4 Visa Holder EAD Eligibility Criteria – 2014 Rule

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 5:26 PM


DHS News : Certain H4 Visa Holder EAD Eligibility Criteria – 2014 Rule

H4 Visa EAD rules to work in USA 2014
  • Have an approved I-140. or (The I-140 refers to the Immigrant Petition for Alien work to get permanent residence – aka Green Card – in United states)
  • Have been granted extension to authorized stay beyond 6 years under AC21 Act. (The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21)  allows H1B visa holders seeking lawful permanent residence (Green Card) to work and stay in United States beyond the six year limit, if their PERM/Green Card Processing is pending)
  • This new proposed rule will enable about 97,000 H4 visa holders to be immediately eligible for employment authorization ( EAD)
  • Also, about 30,000 H4 visa holders would be eligible annually going forward to avail this EAD facility.
There has been quite a bit of buzz around this on and off for the past couple years or more allowing H4 Visa holders to work in United States.  There were rules proposed and tracked in the federal register regarding this for some time…Earlier this year, White House announced regarding employment opportunities for certain H4 visa holders as they published a set of measures to strengthen en entrepreneurship in US, but no details were mentioned  at that time.  Today, Department of Homeland Security ( DHS) announced an official press release outlining some details on H4 Visa holder Employment details. Below is the summary of the press release.
H4 Visa Holders EAD Eligibility 2014 Rules
Firstly, NOT all H4 visa holders are eligible for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  H4 Visa holders have to fall under one of the below category to be eligible for EAD.
Also, some stats on the impact about the rule.
The complete details of the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register soon. The above information is on a high level and does not list all the details.
Why DHS is giving EAD for H4 Visa holders  ?
DHS explains in the federal register that the justification to allow H4 visa holders is to reduce the negative economic effects that H1B households face with one income during the lengthy waiting time of adjustment of status to legal permanent residence. Also, this rule will help H1B holders not to quit and leave their Green Card/ Permanent residence application processing because their H4 spouse cannot work.  Also, it explains that the impact of this rule would only have a negligible increase in domestic work force, which should not raise any eyebrows that jobs are reduced for locals.
I think, it is a really good move by the US Govt. to help H4 Visa Holders situation in United States. I wish this rule could apply to all the H4 visa holders, without any restrictions. It could be very challenging for anyone to work after 6 years break…
What happens Next ? When will the H4 Visa EAD becomes a law ? 2014 Year end ?
The complete details will be published in Federal register. It will go through a 60 day period for public comments. Based on the comments, the rules can be modified.  The US Homeland Security officials said that they expect to issue final regulations by end of this year.  Again, this is still a proposed rule, so you need to wait until it becomes an official rule and law, stay tuned for updates.
What are your thoughts ?

Oracle Videos

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 7:51 AM

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Module 2 Oracle Architecture

Module 3 Database Schema


Module 4 Recovery Manager

Module 5 Introduction to SQL

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Microsoft SQL Database Querying Videos

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 7:35 AM

Lesson 1 Getting Started with SQL Server 2012

Lesson 2 Working with T-SQL

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Lesson 6 Querying Data from Multiple Tables

Lesson 7 Modifying Data

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Lesson 9 Programming in T-SQL

Lesson 10 Implementing Stored Procedures

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Microsoft SQL Administering SQL Videos

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 6:59 AM


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Looking for Software Developer Big Data/Hadoop || Parsippany. NJ

Posted by F1-OPT Graduates Career Fair On 4:00 PM




Job Description

  • Software Developer Big Data/Hadoop

Job Title: Java Developers with Hadoop
Job location: Multiple locations
Job type: Full Time

Software Developer Big Data/Hadoop

We're looking for Software Engineers to join the Big-Data and Predictive Analytics team who develops new methodologies and tools to enable advanced modeling and statistical analysis of gazillions of user activities using cutting edge technologies and development tools.

Responsibilities:

* Build, scale and maintain Big Data infrastructure
* Gather product and technical requirements
* Improve the reliability and efficiency of data modeling and processing
* Code using Java EE, Spring, Hadoop
* Wear other hats if needed

Job Requirements:

* BS or MS in Computer Science or related field.
* 3+ years of experience with large scale applications, ideally in a SaaS environment.
* Extensive knowledge in JAVA EE, Spring, HDFS, MapReduce, Pig, Hive, Hbase, Zookeeper and other big data technologies
* Experience with NoSQL (MongoDB, Cassandra) and MySQL databases
* Experience with Tomcat, Jetty and JEE runtimes
* Experience with software engineering best practices (e.g. coding standards, unit testing, code reviews, design documentation, test driven development)
* Proficient in POSIX-based environments such as Linux or Mac OS X

Desired:

* Experience with Amazon Web Services (AWS) - an advantage
* Knowledge and understanding distributed systems
* First-hand experience in test-driven development
* Experience with search frameworks like Lucene, Elastic-search
* Experience with designing and coding large, scalable systems

Attributes:

* Strong initiative and a positive attitude
* Ability to learn quickly and adapt to change
* Professional, organized, efficient and accurate
* Resourceful and creative troubleshooting skills
* Desire to work in a fast paced, growing, deadline driven, startup-up environment
* Strong commitment to quality

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