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RIT Global

Which visa should you apply for?

Please read this carefully to determine which visa is the right one to apply for when you come to the US as a Global Scholar.

J-1 Student Visa (with form DS-2019):

Who should apply for this visa:

  • You are coming as a Global Scholar for ONE semester only AND
  • You want to do a co-op in the US immediately following your semester

Things to consider:

  • You should have a clear idea on how to secure this co-op
  • After your co-op you will be going back to your country to complete your degree.
  • You will only be able to co-op the same length of time that you are a full-time student in Rochester: so, your co-op can’t be longer than 15 weeks, with no chance of extending.
  • You may be subject to the 2-year home residency rule. This means that after your J-1 program ends, you must either obtain a waiver of the rule, or live in your home country for a total of 2 years, before you would be eligible for certain types of visas or applications (H, L, or K visas; US permanent residency; change of status applications). 
  • If you don’t find a co-op or decide not to co-op, there’s a limit on how long you can stay after the semester ends: you have to return to your home country within 30 days of the DS-2019 program end date (aligns with end of semester)

F-1 Visa (with form I-20):

Who should apply for this visa:

  • You are applying for one semester and are going back home once the semester is done OR
  • You are applying for the Global Scholar program for one full year OR
  • If the two semesters you are applying as a Global Scholar are your last two semesters and you are interested in a work experience in the US after graduation.

Things to consider:


About Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • When you complete the full year, you will be eligible to do a co-op/internship and apply for a CPT. You cannot co-op or use CPT after you have complete your degree requirements. You cannot use more than 364 days of full-time CPT if you want to preserve eligibility for OPT (work authorization after graduation).
  • If you don’t find a co-op or decide not to co-op, there’s a limit on how long you can stay after the semester ends: you have to return to your home country within 60 days of the I-20 program end date (aligns with end of semester).
About Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • If the two semesters you spend at RIT as a Global Scholar are your last two semesters, you will be eligible to apply for an OPT. This will allow you to work for 1 year in the US in F-1 status in your major field of study.
  • During the year of OPT, you have a limit of 90 days of unemployment. If you haven’t started a job within the first 90 days of OPT, or if you ever exceed a total of 90 days of unemployment during OPT, your F-1 status automatically ends and you must depart the US.
  • If you graduate from a STEM field and meet other specified requirements you may be able to apply for a 24-month OPT extension at the end of your first year of OPT.
not a trap