Information and Resources for Foreign National Students

Thayer school students have access to counseling and career-related resources through Thayer School Career Services, the Graduate Career Office and Dartmouth's Undergraduate Career Services office.

The following resources are available to foreign national students.

Overview

If you are an international student and hold an F-1 student status or visa in the U.S., you may, unfortunately, find that you are ineligible to apply for positions that require U.S. permanent residency and/or U.S. citizenship. This is particularly true of defense contractors and U.S. government agencies, which are often unable to consider any applicants who do not have U.S. citizenship.

Many companies use internships for two reasons: first, as a method of training, and secondly, as a "test drive" for future full-time hires. In applying for positions, you may come across employers who are unable to consider your candidacy because of their own limitations for hiring foreign nationals.

The Big Picture

Unfortunately, two factors complicate the hiring process for international students:

Limited H-1B visas available.

  1. Increased government regulations and restrictions on foreign national hiring = more of a "burden of paperwork" on behalf on the employer. (Note: It is also a costly process.)
  2. Limited H-1B visas available.

The U.S. Congress has established an annual H-1B cap of 65,000 visas per year. This congressional cap restricts the number of foreign workers allowed to work in the U.S. through the H-1B temporary worker visa program. The cap affects new applicants for H-1B visas trying to work in the U.S. The H-1B visa is an employer-sponsored, non-immigrant visa for a foreign worker coming temporarily to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation. Note this cap applies only to for-profit, private companies, and does not apply to Colleges, Universities, and non-profit research institutions.

For FY2006, the cap was extended to include 20,000 additional visas for recent graduates of U.S. Master's and Ph.D. programs. Still, visa availability is limited and foreign nationals should pay attention to current news and information. (Note: Students on F-1 Visas who are graduating remain eligible for employment through the Optional Practical Training Program, and may still apply for practical training time of up to twelve months.)

We strongly urge internationals who are interested in staying in the U.S. to work following graduation to discuss their options with a good immigrtaion attorney. The Office of Visa and Immigration Services can help to refer you to such an attorney. In addition, the Office of Visa and Immigration Services invites immigration attorneys to campus each fall and spring term, to give a workshop on post-Dartmouth visa options for students and researchers. Please monitor the Office of Visa and Immigration Services blitz "Immigration" bulletin for more information on these workshops.

The Office of Visa and Immigration Services website provides an overview of visa and immigration information. The office also publicizes updated information on USCIS and government hiring in general through their Blitz Bulletins: "International - Immigration Updates" and "International - Programming." We encourage you to monitor both the website and the bulletins for current news.

You may also wish to see the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration office website for additional information.

The Silver Lining (Resources and Pre-Existing Programs That Can Help)

Each year, many of our international students find jobs with employers who are willing to sponsor visas for new employees. The process is not impossible, but it is strongly suggested that you meet with Career Services and the Office of Visa and Immigration Services to discuss your strategy, as not having citizenship can make the application process more challenging.

Career Services is committed to helping you find opportunities that are commensurate with your needs; the Office of Visa and Immigration Services can help you get through your paperwork as painlessly as possible if you provide them with the requisite information in a timely manner. Note: As Career Services neither professes nor possesses expertise on visa regulations and application information, please use Dartmouth's Office of Visa and Immigration Services as your "one-stop" shop for information in these areas.

If you are at Dartmouth on an F-1 visa, you may still apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) for a limited period of time following graduation.

Thayer School students enrolled in ENGG290 or ENG390 are also eligible to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) to meet coursework requirements.

Detailed information on OPT and CPT is available through the Office of Visa and Immigration Services. Note: In applying for CPT and OPT, you must pay close attention to application deadlines and requisite paperwork requirements.

Information regarding past H1-B applications may be helpful to you in your search. We recommend the following site:

Dartmouth Office of Visa and Immigration Services

Website: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ovis/

The Office of Visa and Immigration Services is open from 9am to 4:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and Thursday from 10:30am to 4:30pm. The office is closed for lunch from Noon to 1:00 p.m. Walk-in hours are posted on the International-Immigration Updates blitz bulletin. During walk-in hours, appointments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Currently advising hours are as follows (no appointment needed):

Tuesday: 10:00-12:00 and 12:30-2:30, Wednesday: 1:30-3:30, Thursday: 11:00-12:00 and 1:00-4:00.

A Note on the Importance of Language Skills

Surveys conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers frequently cite communication skills as a factor of primary importance in selecting new hires.

If English is not your first language, Career Services encourages you to regularly practice writing and speaking English during the course of your studies at Dartmouth. This is important as Thayer School employers will evaluate you not only on the basis of your technical skills, but also on your abilities in writing, oral comprehensive, and speaking.

Dartmouth has multiple resources for speakers of English as a second language. These resources include:

Additional ESL resources

Resources for Foreign National Students

Websites of Potential Interest

Interviewing Resources

Lawful and Unlawful Interviewing Questions

U.S. government agencies provide guidelines for employers on lawful and unlawful interviewing question. See the following NOAA Workforce Management Office guidelines for examples:

For general information about lawful and unlawful interviewing questions, see the following:

Library Resources

The Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries and the Directory of Foreign Firms Operating in the United States are two excellent resources for learning about offices of multinational corporations, both in the U.S. and abroad. Published by the New York World Trade Academy Press, both books are available in Feldberg Library and provide websites as well as phone and fax numbers for each company listed.

The Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries contains information on 2,600 U.S. companies with 19,000 subsidiaries and affiliates in 127 countries.

You may also find Dun and Bradstreet's Directory of Principal International Businesses to be helpful. This directory is published annually and covers approximately 50,000 leading firms throughout the world.

For more information on e-resources that may be of use in your search, see our resources for "Conducting Employer Research"

English as a Second Language (ESL) Resources