Using OPT for Internship Year - International Med Student in the U.S.

ShiraShira

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Hi,

I am currently a non-Canadian international student on an F1 visa going to a U.S. medical school. I am planning to go into radiology and would like to do my internship year on the OPT extension of my F1 visa with the goal of ultimately getting H1B sponsorship by my advanced radiology program.

Since I was not able to find a lot of information on this topic and my medical school is not very helpful, I wanted to ask and see if anyone on these forums have gone through the process.

Did you encounter any difficulties along the way? Did your internship program accept your OPT? How did the timing work out in terms of the OPT start and end dates?

Thanks a lot for your help! I really appreciate your insights/experiences!!!
 
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UBC2014

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Hi,

I am currently a non-Canadian international student on an F1 visa going to a U.S. medical school. I am planning to go into radiology and would like to do my internship year on the OPT extension of my F1 visa with the goal of ultimately getting H1B sponsorship by my advanced radiology program.

Since I was not able to find a lot of information on this topic and my medical school is not very helpful, I wanted to ask and see if anyone on these forums have gone through the process.

Did you encounter any difficulties along the way? Did your internship program accept your OPT? How did the timing work out in terms of the OPT start and end dates?

Thanks a lot for your help! I really appreciate your insights/experiences!!!
Your medical school should be able to help you with this.

Im assuming you are at a US based MD program, so you should be fine - you will ofcourse have to find residencies willing to sponsor H1b - but should be doable.

I will ask a peer who just matched AOA on what the process of getting the OPT is, as they are sorting it out right now.
 
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I am in a similar situation regarding the OPT, only I am on an F1 visa for a business degree. I understand that the employment for the OPT must be related to the field of study, however I've been seeking this business degree to complement my medical education and most students in my class are from different fields.

Is there a way I can prove that my field of study is in fact related to my medical residency? I briefly read that a letter from the employer (program director in our case) stating that my master's degree (Leadership) is in fact related to medicine and can serve as proof. Are program directors willing to give out such a letter? Has anybody been in a similar situation or knows how strict that rule is?

Thanks a lot!
 
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UBC2014

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I am in a similar situation regarding the OPT, only I am on an F1 visa for a business degree. I understand that the employment for the OPT must be related to the field of study, however I've been seeking this business degree to complement my medical education and most students in my class are from different fields.

Is there a way I can prove that my field of study is in fact related to my medical residency? I briefly read that a letter from the employer (program director in our case) stating that my master's degree (Leadership) is in fact related to medicine and can serve as proof. Are program directors willing to give out such a letter? Has anybody been in a similar situation or knows how strict that rule is?

Thanks a lot!
Can you clarify? Did you do your medicine degree also in the US?

From my interpretation you are saying that you did a med degree somewhere else, came to the US to do the masters and now want to stay on the OPT-f1 for residency? I'm going to venture and say no since you can only use the opt-f1 if you actually did your med degree in the US.

A 1 year masters will qualify you for the OPT just as any other degree on f1 would...but you would have to work in relation to that degree.

That's a huge stretch, and I'd say hell no, to allow one to use that as a way to do residency on the opti. You'll have to do the j1 like everyone else, as I assume you won't have time nor the leverage to get the h1b.

But I could be very of base here, especially if you did the med degree in the US immediatly prior to the masters.
 
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No, I graduated from abroad. I figured it's sort of a stretch, but I'd like to know I did all I can to get time to sit Step 3, qualify for an H1B and avoid switching to a J1 for residency.
 

UBC2014

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No, I graduated from abroad. I figured it's sort of a stretch, but I'd like to know I did all I can to get time to sit Step 3, qualify for an H1B and avoid switching to a J1 for residency.
Yeah, i highly doubt they would give you the F1-OPT so you can do residency on it.

Since you are already graduated, if you're able to find a program that will be willing to sponsor h1b, just take step 3 and ask them to have it done before you start. You don't have to do PGY1 on the OPT to be able to get h1b.

I assume you want H1b so you can move towards citizenship and stay in the US indefinitely? Because otherwise j1 is still fine too and what most people are on, if you dont intend to want to stay in the US etc.
 
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Yes, I'd like the H1b because it's a dual intent visa. I'm currently going through the match and won't be able to pass step 3 before starting to process my visa. I have to do some more reading about timing for H1b applications/Step 3 results. Thanks for your help!
 

UBC2014

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Yes, I'd like the H1b because it's a dual intent visa. I'm currently going through the match and won't be able to pass step 3 before starting to process my visa. I have to do some more reading about timing for H1b applications/Step 3 results. Thanks for your help!

Well, did you ask any of the programs that you interviewed with if they would be willing to sponsor H1B? Its a moot point even if you somehow could get on OPT if they aren't willing to sponsor H1B.

J1 is going to be your best bet, and then trying to get a waiver job afterwords to then switch to the GreenCard pathway.

Good luck.
 

NotAProgDirector

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Remember that it's the school that has sponsored your F1 that would give you the OPT. So I would recommend talking to the visa office at your current school.
 
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PistolPete

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Hi,

I am currently a non-Canadian international student on an F1 visa going to a U.S. medical school. I am planning to go into radiology and would like to do my internship year on the OPT extension of my F1 visa with the goal of ultimately getting H1B sponsorship by my advanced radiology program.

Since I was not able to find a lot of information on this topic and my medical school is not very helpful, I wanted to ask and see if anyone on these forums have gone through the process.

Did you encounter any difficulties along the way? Did your internship program accept your OPT? How did the timing work out in terms of the OPT start and end dates?

Thanks a lot for your help! I really appreciate your insights/experiences!!!

I used my OPT for intern year, and during that intern year my GME applied for the H1b on my behalf. The OPT is essentially automatic and shouldn't be a problem for you. I had no problems. The H1b is more complex but as long as your radiology program applies for it around January of your intern year you'll be fine. Make sure you complete your Step 3 prior to applying for the H1b.
 
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sotto

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I used my OPT for intern year, and during that intern year my GME applied for the H1b on my behalf. The OPT is essentially automatic and shouldn't be a problem for you. I had no problems. The H1b is more complex but as long as your radiology program applies for it around January of your intern year you'll be fine. Make sure you complete your Step 3 prior to applying for the H1b.
Hi, I just found this useful piece of information. Since you used your OPT for your intern year, I will appreciate if you could help me clarify a few things. I just matched and I am in the visa process.
 

Giovanotto

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I noticed there is no April 1st deadline for applicants for Cap exempt H1b visa. Given this, by when should we have Step 3/Level 3 done during intern year on OPT?

@pistolpeet
 
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Guessman

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I noticed there is no April 1st deadline for applicants for Cap exempt H1b visa. Given this, by when should we have Step 3/Level 3 done during intern year on OPT?

@pistolpeet

By the time you submit your petition, all passing of USMLEs will be required. You're correct that there is no deadline for Cap exempt H1B, however it should be approved before July 1st so you can continue your residency. Unless premium processing (which is cancelled during this COVID outbreak), the usual time for approval will be months.

In conclusion, have your STEP/LEVEL 3 done as early as possible.
 
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Giovanotto

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By the time you submit your petition, all passing of USMLEs will be required. You're correct that there is no deadline for Cap exempt H1B, however it should be approved before July 1st so you can continue your residency. Unless premium processing (which is cancelled during this COVID outbreak), the usual time for approval will be months.

In conclusion, have your STEP/LEVEL 3 done as early as possible.
It is however, also true, that if you graduated from medical school in the US, even as an international student on a student visa, you do not require level 3/step 3 for H1B. Posters here have said as much. I understand its doing so at your own peril. I obviously plan to take it, but worse case scenario I'll prob have my sponsor submit the petition even without step 3/level 3. What do you think?
 

Guessman

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It is however, also true, that if you graduated from medical school in the US, even as an international student on a student visa, you do not require level 3/step 3 for H1B. Posters here have said as much. I understand its doing so at your own peril. I obviously plan to take it, but worse case scenario I'll prob have my sponsor submit the petition even without step 3/level 3. What do you think?

Correct. However I believe this was mentioned in other posts that, if you do so, the petition may be delayed/rejected by authorities; more time will be consumed to fix that.

Besides, if you are in a residency which requires a preliminary year, most of the institutions ask for passing of step 3 before entry as PGY2 (usually with a deadline in January/February). So take it early and let it pass is obviously the best.
 
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PistolPete

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Hi, I just found this useful piece of information. Since you used your OPT for your intern year, I will appreciate if you could help me clarify a few things. I just matched and I am in the visa process.

Sure. What questions do you have? You can only use OPT for 12 months (assuming you didn't use any of it during a master's program or med school), so it's good for your intern year, but then for PGY2 year and beyond you will either need a J1 or H1b. The OPT is basically automatic. It's a student visa extension, and you apply for it via your med school, the residency doesn't need to do anything.
 

sotto

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Sure. What questions do you have? You can only use OPT for 12 months (assuming you didn't use any of it during a master's program or med school), so it's good for your intern year, but then for PGY2 year and beyond you will either need a J1 or H1b. The OPT is basically automatic. It's a student visa extension, and you apply for it via your med school, the residency doesn't need to do anything.

Thanks for your response. Had a few questions
1. Did you try to travel out of the US/renew your student visa stamp during the first year of OPT?
2. At what point/month did your program begin the H1B application process for you and how soon did you get your H1B visa after that?
3. Are there any short or long term benefits to starting with the F1 OPT before converting?

Thank you so much !
 

PistolPete

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Thanks for your response. Had a few questions
1. Did you try to travel out of the US/renew your student visa stamp during the first year of OPT?
2. At what point/month did your program begin the H1B application process for you and how soon did you get your H1B visa after that?
3. Are there any short or long term benefits to starting with the F1 OPT before converting?

Thank you so much !

1. No. Plus, as a Canadian, I didn't need to renew any visa stamp. I don't think that's true for most other foreign nationals.
2. The H1b process was started early, after I passed my COMLEX Level 3 and I got my medical license early for that reason. I don't remember exactly when they started the process but I think it was around January of my intern year. I passed my Level 3 of Sept of intern year. My state, California, only gave me H1b approval for 1 year. I got my license in Sept of 2nd year, I believe, and then I sent that to the lawyers and California extended my H1b for the regular 3 years.
3. The OPT is already included as part of your F1 student visa from medical school and there is no downside to using it and any place can take it, so why not use it?
 
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kinematicKid

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1. No. Plus, as a Canadian, I didn't need to renew any visa stamp. I don't think that's true for most other foreign nationals.
2. The H1b process was started early, after I passed my COMLEX Level 3 and I got my medical license early for that reason. I don't remember exactly when they started the process but I think it was around January of my intern year. I passed my Level 3 of Sept of intern year. My state, California, only gave me H1b approval for 1 year. I got my license in Sept of 2nd year, I believe, and then I sent that to the lawyers and California extended my H1b for the regular 3 years.
3. The OPT is already included as part of your F1 student visa from medical school and there is no downside to using it and any place can take it, so why not use it?

Thanks for all the great information! I'm a canadian USDO student applying for residency right now. I was planning on applying for OPT even for programs that don't offer the H1b. Will programs accept students on OPT even if they don't offer H1b? in that case I would be transitioning J1.
 

Giovanotto

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Thanks for all the great information! I'm a canadian USDO student applying for residency right now. I was planning on applying for OPT even for programs that don't offer the H1b. Will programs accept students on OPT even if they don't offer H1b? in that case I would be transitioning J1.
Yes, at least that was my experience.
 

PistolPete

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Thanks for all the great information! I'm a canadian USDO student applying for residency right now. I was planning on applying for OPT even for programs that don't offer the H1b. Will programs accept students on OPT even if they don't offer H1b? in that case I would be transitioning J1.

Yes. OPT is basically a free 12 month extension of your F1 student visa (or at least has been pre-Trump era). So you could do OPT in intern year then either H1b or J1 starting your second year of residency. You just have to ensure that you figure out the exact start date of your internship.
 

Giovanotto

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Yes. OPT is basically a free 12 month extension of your F1 student visa (or at least has been pre-Trump era). So you could do OPT in intern year then either H1b or J1 starting your second year of residency. You just have to ensure that you figure out the exact start date of your internship.
Yeah... Good luck with that. You're likely going to have to guess as you won't really know where you match until March.
 

Giovanotto

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So what is the solution to this last problem? What if you guessed wrong?
There isn't one. Don't "guess", be conservative. I pretended like residency was going to start as early as possible so I wouldn't screw it up.
 
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