Studying in the US, then working there (Green Card issue)


Hello guys,

I am Greek and I am targeting an ivy league architecture school for my MArch II, applying on January 2014. I recently talked with a friend living in the US and he told me that these days it is quite difficult to get a green card. I wonder if this is true: Lets say I get accepted in a good school. Then I will stay in the US for 2 years having a student visa (or whatever it is called). Then what? Am I obligated to leave the US as my visa expires? And if I get a job, will the architectural firm help me deal with the immigration department to get a green card?

Any help much appreciated,


Sep 21, 13 3:47 pm

yes, after your visa expires you have to leave the country but if you get work there in a good company or firm then you can extend your work permit time.

yes it is difficult to get green card in US but it is not impossible people get it all the time. 

All the best

Sep 22, 13 1:38 am

I think if you find work in most big firms, they can help you with the work permit paperwork.  As for green card, you will probably have to work 4 or 5 yrs before you can apply.

Sep 22, 13 3:50 am
I believe you have 6 months after graduation to find a company to sponsor you on a work visa. Most of the international students in my MArch program took three years to finish so that they had additional time to line up work opportunities after graduation.
Sep 22, 13 7:49 am

thanks for your responses guys!

Sep 23, 13 4:05 am

Some firms pay for the work visa application and a lawyer to help get paperwork sorted out (~$5000), but smaller offices will be unable to do this (and/or have no experience with it).  You can hire your own attorney for the same amount as long as an employer is willing to sponsor you.  Keep in mind that this means you are more expensive than a comparable person with US citizenship or green card.  

Green cards are much harder to get, as you have to prove that there are no Americans who can do your job.

There also may be the option for working in an international office that has offices in Europe (where you could be employed) and US (where you may be actually working).  I'm not sure what tax implication there would be, but the reverse happens, so I would assume it's possible.

Sep 23, 13 10:47 am

3tk thanks for the tips!

Sep 24, 13 7:06 am

Yes, they should be able to assist you with the paperwork...and in terms of architecture generally, job prospects are getting much better in the US.

Sep 24, 13 8:51 am
Lian Chikako Chang

You don't need to jump to the new visa right away. You'd typically have 1 year to work on an F-1 visa (OPT), or I think 18 months if you're on a J-1 (AT). After that you would need an H1B (employer-sponsored) visa (medium degree of difficulty, and not guaranteed), or marry an American for a green card (I suppose this would be either low or high degree of difficulty). 

BTW, in addition to what 3tk said about lawyer's fees, just note that the sponsoring company has to pay the government fees for an H1B--that's part of the sponsorship.

Sep 24, 13 10:38 am

You guys are amazing! Thank you all for your helpful posts!

Sep 24, 13 2:25 pm

I have a question with regards to the sponsorship. Do firms really do this? I mean how high are the chances of a foreigner being sponsored? Does anyone know what criteria the employer looks for in hiring one?

Oct 16, 13 5:02 pm

Firms only hire base upon the quality of the candidate no matter what country.

If you wish to get an offer from a practice for a visa, look to practices that is working in your native country - more likely you will be very attractive to the practice as you bring 'knowledge' of local design, culture, practices.  

Use the summers when you are aloud to work legally on you student visas as an entry point to those practices.  


Oct 16, 13 5:48 pm

you will be given the opportunity to stay in the U.S. longer than you initially expected or even a chance to work or study in the U.S

Durrani Law Firm

Mar 11, 14 10:39 am

Consular processing is another way to become a legal permanent resident of the US. It is the final step before a green card is issued and can be used in both employment-based and family-based immigration processes.


Employment Immigration law firm

Mar 21, 14 2:53 am

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