What You Need to Know About Post-Graduation Life in the USA

  • Graduating from college and deciding to stay in the USA requires careful consideration of the pros and cons.
  • To remain legally in the US after graduation, one must take specific steps, such as obtaining a DACA immigration or valid visa status.
  • It is essential to start looking for job opportunities early to have enough time to apply for positions before your OPT expires.
  • International students must also understand their rights and responsibilities when filing yearly taxes.

Graduating college and entering the “real world” is daunting for many. It can be incredibly intimidating if you are an international student in the United States. This guide is here to help you understand what needs to be done to continue your life in the USA after graduation. Read on to learn more about the legal steps you must take as an international student.

The Benefits of Staying in the US

Graduating from college is a significant accomplishment, and many students are faced with the question of whether or not to stay in America after graduation. This decision has advantages and disadvantages, so weighing all your options carefully before making a final decision is crucial.

Career Opportunities

One of the most significant advantages of staying in the US after graduation is the potential for career opportunities. The American economy is one of the strongest in the world and provides plenty of job opportunities for recent graduates.

Additionally, many employers prefer hiring employees with experience living and working in the US, which gives you an edge over international candidates when applying for jobs. Of course, this does not guarantee success, but it can be an advantage when competing for employment.

Accessibility to Networks

networking concept of diverse people from different countries

Staying in America also gives you access to networks that could help advance your career. This includes professional associations, business contacts, mentors, and potential employers.

Building relationships with these individuals can be invaluable as they provide helpful advice, introductions to other professionals, potential job leads, and more. Making connections like these takes time, but staying in America after graduating gives you more time than if you were to move back home immediately after graduating.

The Steps You Need to Take

Staying in the US after graduation requires a few legal steps. Here are a few of the most common:

DACA Immigration

DACA immigration, or “deferred action for childhood arrivals,” is one of the most common paths taken by international students who wish to stay in the US after finishing school. DACA immigration allows you to remain in the US and apply for work authorization.

To qualify for DACA immigration, you must meet specific requirements, such as having been in the US since 2007, having graduated from an accredited college or university, and having no criminal record. DACA immigrants are also eligible for certain benefits that can help with the transition to life in America after graduation.

Visa Status

If you are an international student, you must ensure that your visa status is up-to-date and valid for as long as you plan to stay in the US. You may need to apply for an extension or switch visas depending on your current visa status.

The most common way for students who want to stay in the US after graduation is to obtain an Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa or an F1 visa with Optional Practical Training (OPT). Other visas, such as H1B Visas, J1 Visas, and Green Cards, may be available depending on your situation and qualifications.

Finding a Job

Once you have taken care of your visa situation, the next step is finding a job. It is essential to start looking early to have plenty of time to research different opportunities and apply before your OPT expires. If you are having difficulty finding a job, there are resources available such as career counselors at university career centers and professional networking events that can help connect you with employers who may have openings.

Additionally, many companies offer internships or mentorship programs specifically designed for international students, which can provide valuable experience and contacts in your field.


young Indian woman filing her taxes

In addition to applying for visas and searching for jobs, all international students must understand how taxes work in the US. Even though some students might be exempt from taxation due to their immigration status or other factors, it is still crucial that they know their rights and responsibilities when it comes time to file taxes each year.

This includes understanding which forms need to be filled out (such as Form 1040NR), when taxes need to be filed by (April 15th), what deductions may be available (such as the Foreign Tax Credit) and more.

Final Thoughts

Continuing life in the USA after graduation isn’t easy, but with proper planning, it’s doable! By taking care of any necessary paperwork related to visas or taxes early on and networking with professionals within your field of study, you can set yourself up for success during this transition period.


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