Career Tips for International Students

Finding Visa Sponsors When 90-Day OPT Unemployment Allowance Is Running Out

To learn more about job search strategy for F-1 international students, visit

In this episode, I’ll share with you the right strategy to look for jobs when your 90-day OPT unemployment allowance is running out.

One important thing that makes International Students’ job search different from domestic students is work authorization.

To be eligible to work after graduation, international students need to apply for their Post-Completion Optional Practical Training or OPT.

Whether you are a STEM or non-STEM student, US federal law limits the period that you can be unemployed when your OPT starts.

The limits are 90 days for post-completion OPT.

It counts both weekdays and weekends.

If you travel outside the U.S. like visiting home, your time spent outside the U.S. also counts as unemployment.

I want to focus on this topic because there has been a lot of career advice out there for international students on social media channels

Recently, a few students of mine shared a post from a social media influencer on Instagram.

This person shared a job search tip for international students who need to find jobs within 90 days

They gave this advice.

Quote Unquote “Put all your effort and time into companies that will actually sponsor your visa”

This is totally misguided.

Be careful of wasting your time by following the advice from content creators out there who do not actually have hands-on experience coaching international students.

They just post the content because you want to hear it and it’s not necessary to be good advice.

With your OPT, remember that you don’t need a company that promises to sponsor you right away.

Your OPT is your work authorization.

You can start working part-time or full-time without sponsorship.

You don’t need to ask for sponsorship right away.

Job hunting within 90 days is a time crunch if you’re not familiar with the US job market.

Even for domestic job candidates who do not have work visa barriers, securing a dream job within 90 days could be challenging.

First, know the options that allow you to stay past the 90-day period.

The term “employed” for your OPT is not as specific as you might think.

First, this employment needs to be related to your field of study.

But whether it is Paid or unpaid job – it doesn’t matter!

As long as the responsibility is related to your major, this employment will help stop the 90-day unemployment allowance clock.

If you cannot find a paid full-time job, look for other options, such as temporary jobs, volunteering positions, or internships that will allow you to remain in the USA.

Maintain your status first and continue your dream job search!

Please always contact your International Student Services Office at your college or university. Your DSO is the person who can approve if the job is compatible with your OPT.

Now, let’s listen to this episode to learn more about how to find jobs within 90 days.

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