Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

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eljefe_dy
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Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:14 pm

Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby eljefe_dy » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:22 pm

I'm sure there are fellow Canucks/foreign students who went through the process already.... Please enlighten me.

My background:
I am a Canadian citizen (Naturalized).
I have a wife (Canadian permenant resident) and a child (4 month old, Canadian citizen)
I have a B.Sc and a PhD from a Canadian university.
I will be enrolling in a US law school in 2013.
My family (wife and child) will move to the US for my school.
I would like to also write the Patent Bar ASAP.
I would like to work part-time during the school year (technical
consultant) and full-time during the summer months (June-Sept) at a
law firm in the US (summer associate)

I would like to live/work in the US after graduating. Let's assume that I get a job offer before graduation or within a few months after
graduation. My plan is to be granted a permanent resident status in the US and live there long-term. I will most likely work at a US firm, but there is a possibility that I will open my own law practice.

I would like to know the following:
Can I write the Pat Bar with just a part-time/temporary job at a law firm?
What is the process of getting an F-1 like?
Will I need a temporary work permit to work part-time and/or in the summer at a law firm?
Should I get TN-1 or apply for EB-2 for work after graduation (IP Law, so I think PhD will be relevant)?
Can I apply for TN-1/EB-2 while I am in school if I have a sponsoring law firm (even if I work part-time or summer only?)
What are my options if I do not have a job offer after graduation? (Return to Canada or can I extend my stay in the US for job searching?)

Thank you in advance for your attention.

Anonymous User
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:40 pm

So just the immigration part:

The f-1 is super easy and your school will walk you through the process. You can apply for OPT to work part-time or full-time off-campus, but you only get 12 months of OPT total (pre- and post-grad) so it's something to think about. Each OPT application has a fee ($300? $500? something like that) but opinions are split on whether OPT is necessary if you are volunteering. Probably not, though. Generally you can work on-campus with an F-1 without OPT, so you could be a research assistant.

lol @ getting an EB-2 right out of school. It's silly and unnecessary, when a TN is cheap and easy. You won't qualify for either while on an F-1, but once your F-1 and OPT status has run out, you can apply for a TN. All you need from a law firm is a letter stating you have a job and describing it and a few hundred dollars, and you get up to three years + it's renewable.

If you don't get a job in the US post graduation, you need to leave within a few months after your F-1 finishes. But you can come back down as a visitor without any status for up to six months. If you got a job offer during that time, you'll need to leave the US, go back to Canada, and then re-enter under a TN.

Essentially, though, your plan to work part-time during the school year is not feasible. Also, I know nothing about Canadian immigration law but this may have serious and permanent consequences for your wife's immigration status in Canada, so that's something to consider if you, like almost half of all US law grads, end up without a job in the U.S.

eljefe_dy
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby eljefe_dy » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So just the immigration part:

The f-1 is super easy and your school will walk you through the process. You can apply for OPT to work part-time or full-time off-campus, but you only get 12 months of OPT total (pre- and post-grad) so it's something to think about. Each OPT application has a fee ($300? $500? something like that) but opinions are split on whether OPT is necessary if you are volunteering. Probably not, though. Generally you can work on-campus with an F-1 without OPT, so you could be a research assistant.

lol @ getting an EB-2 right out of school. It's silly and unnecessary, when a TN is cheap and easy. You won't qualify for either while on an F-1, but once your F-1 and OPT status has run out, you can apply for a TN. All you need from a law firm is a letter stating you have a job and describing it and a few hundred dollars, and you get up to three years + it's renewable.

If you don't get a job in the US post graduation, you need to leave within a few months after your F-1 finishes. But you can come back down as a visitor without any status for up to six months. If you got a job offer during that time, you'll need to leave the US, go back to Canada, and then re-enter under a TN.

Essentially, though, your plan to work part-time during the school year is not feasible. Also, I know nothing about Canadian immigration law but this may have serious and permanent consequences for your wife's immigration status in Canada, so that's something to consider if you, like almost half of all US law grads, end up without a job in the U.S.


Thanks for the insight. My wife can get her citizenship at any time - she's just been putting it off. She'll be a citizen before we leave Canada. Bigger issue is whether or not to sell my condo in Toronto, and/or buying a home in the US.

My reason for considering on EB-2 is because I want PR status ASAP. If I eventually need it, might as well do it from the beginning.

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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:06 pm

eljefe_dy wrote:Thanks for the insight. My wife can get her citizenship at any time - she's just been putting it off. She'll be a citizen before we leave Canada. Bigger issue is whether or not to sell my condo in Toronto, and/or buying a home in the US.

My reason for considering on EB-2 is because I want PR status ASAP. If I eventually need it, might as well do it from the beginning.


EB-2 can take over a year for the application, there is a huge backlog for it, it's quite expensive to process, and as a first year associate you will not qualify because your job description couldn't possibly require 5+ years in the field.

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Lincoln
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby Lincoln » Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:29 pm

I know very little about your immigration issues, so I'll leave that to others more knowledgeable.

With respect to your plan to work here, I would not count on being able to work as much as you plan on. First, as the anon above mentioned, you get only 12 months OPT total. You may not want to waste it on part-time work. Second, and related to my first point, the ABA limits you to working 20 hrs per week. Third, you will likely have almost no time to work during your first year. It is a lot of work, and your fellow students, with whom you are competing for grades and jobs, will be working incredibly hard; don't jeopardize your hiring prospects. It is also work that is structured very differently from other academic pursuits. There are no research papers to write or presentations to prepare for, just practically identical days of lots of reading. That means you have less leeway in scheduling your time. Lots of people pick up something part time in the third year, or second year, depending on extracurricular commitments, but I don't know a single person who felt like they could have worked in addition to the 1L workload. Last, paid work during 1L summer is hard to come by, as 1L SAs are rare. Most people in my class interned for a judge or governmental organization. You can usually do so for class credit.

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deadpoetnsp
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby deadpoetnsp » Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:49 pm

I'm an international 2L, interested in patent law.

1. You will get an F1 as long as you can show that you can pay for law school, and living expenses for you and your dependents. Having a substantial scholarship helps. It is not really difficult: as long you explain that YOU INTEND TO RETURN TO YOUR HOME COUNTRY after your education is complete. If the visa office has any grounds to believe that you intend to continue residing in the US after your study is over, YOUR VISA WILL BE DENIED. Technically, if you intend to reside in the US, you need to apply for an immigrant visa and not the non-immigrant F1. However, in practice, apply for the non-immigrant F1, intend to return to Canada while applying for the visa, and then you may choose to change your mind later.

2. When you apply for an F1, your spouse and child can be co-applicants for the F2 (which will only let your wife live with you. She won't be eligible to work or even attend a university. If she wants to join a grad program as well, let her separately apply for an F1).

3. By ABA rule 304 (f) no law student can work for more than 20 hours/wk in any semester in which the student is enrolled as a full-time student. Practically speaking, it is extremely difficult to work in the 1L year because of the course load (assuming you would find work as a tech/patent specialist, which itself is difficult, even with a PhD, unless you have prior demonstrated experience with US patents). Working during 2L and 3L year is easier, but finding work is not.

4. You can work as an international student either by applying for an OPT or the CPT, which allows you to work on an F1 without needing additional visas. Google for "F1 OPT" and "F1 CPT" for more details. The OPT allows you to work up to a year after graduation without needing additional visas. The CPT allows you to work while you are a law student (up to 20 hours/wk in fall/spring and 40 hours/wk in summer). However, if the total time you have worked on CPT exceeds 12 months, you cannot use the OPT. Therefore it is recommended to use CPT only for summers, so that you can still use the OPT to work after graduation. In the one year after graduation you are working on your OPT, you can apply for a work visa (H1, TN, whatever).

5. You can only take the patent bar if (1) you are a US citizen (2) you are a US permanent resident (3) you are a registered Canadian patent agent (4)
you are on a work visa. Technically, the USPTO says that your visa should not be inconsistent with you working, but most people agree that you have to be employed as a tech specialist or a patent attorney to be eligible for the patent bar. Search for "patent bar foreign student". Your visa needs to be sponsored by an employer and the papers need to specifically state that your employment is as a patent agent/attorney. You will get a special limited registration number (the "L" number) which allows you to practice while employed by the sponsoring employer.

6. That said, the patent bar is only a plus. It won't get you a job if you don't have great law school grades. Great law school grades = top 10% to top 25% of the class. It is OK if you have not cleared the patent bar. Many firms pay for you to train for and take the patent bar after employing you as an associate.

7. Unlike science/engineering exams, your performance on law exams have little relation to how well you understand the subject. It will be related to how better than your classmates will you present legal analysis of a fact pattern in a manner that your professor likes. I am emphasizing this so that you realize that only 1 in 10 students in a law school class are in the top 10%. Again, getting good grades is not guaranteed even if you understand the subject matter very well, unlike engineering/science classes, since you are graded on a forced curve.

8. Luckily, foreign applicants can take the regular law bar exam to be recognized as an attorney (which you will need to in the third year or soon after graduation) without any proof of employment.

eljefe_dy
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby eljefe_dy » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:33 pm

Thanks for all your comments. To recap:

F1 visa to study.
OPT to work - limited to 12 months, which would be sufficient for 2-3 summers.
Forget about working in L1 during the school year.
SA positions are competitive.
Can't write Pat Bar until employment is secured.

Questions:
Can I work on a TN-1 status while working, apply for EB-2? (TN-1 is not for DUAL INTENT, but looks like you can't still apply for EB-2. Just won't be able to renew TN-1 once you apply to EB-2. Is this correct?)
How about H-1B? Might this be a better route, since it is a "Dual Intent" visa. Can you go from F-1 to H-1B? I'd imagine that there's a bit of backlog for H-1B and so this would be difficult.

Still not sure what's the best way approach to obtaining PR status, assuming that I find a sponsoring firm.

Anonymous User
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:40 pm

You need to worry about getting into a law school AND getting a job before you worry about becoming a permanent resident. What exactly is your rush for that? You can stay on a non-immigrant visa like a TN or H1-B for years before you even apply for LPR status.

And whether (and what kind) of job you get will largely determine what visa you should apply for; a large firm is going to be more willing to do an H1-B while a small one won't be able to afford it.

eljefe_dy
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby eljefe_dy » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You need to worry about getting into a law school AND getting a job before you worry about becoming a permanent resident. What exactly is your rush for that? You can stay on a non-immigrant visa like a TN or H1-B for years before you even apply for LPR status.

And whether (and what kind) of job you get will largely determine what visa you should apply for; a large firm is going to be more willing to do an H1-B while a small one won't be able to afford it.


Actually, PR is a main consideration for me at this point. My decision for going to a US school depends on working there for the long term. If my prospect of gaining permanent residency is low, then I may reconsider going to a US law school.
My biggest concern is having to leave the US (I have a child who will be in school. I would have bought a house, etc) if a there is a gap between F-1 and H1-B/EB-2. I would have to consider renting out my residence in Canada if this is the case. Just thinking long-term.

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Lincoln
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby Lincoln » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:30 pm

Wait, you are going to law school because you want to live in the U.S.? With employment prospects as bad as they are, that seems like a terrible idea. You will be much more likely to find a job in a tech field (depending on what your PhD is in) and moving here that way. That way you wouldn't lose out on three years' income and $200,000 in COA (which you can't borrow from the U.S. govt in the first place, not being a permanent resident.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. If so, explain why you want to be a permanent resident so badly.

eljefe_dy
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby eljefe_dy » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:53 pm

Lincoln wrote:Wait, you are going to law school because you want to live in the U.S.? With employment prospects as bad as they are, that seems like a terrible idea. You will be much more likely to find a job in a tech field (depending on what your PhD is in) and moving here that way. That way you wouldn't lose out on three years' income and $200,000 in COA (which you can't borrow from the U.S. govt in the first place, not being a permanent resident.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. If so, explain why you want to be a permanent resident so badly.


I applied to both US and Canadian schools. Job prospect is a bit better in the US for IP law, and for that, I am considering attending school in the US. So is quality of life (TX, NC)

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Lincoln
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby Lincoln » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:16 pm

OK, and all of that you can get through an H1-B. Green cards aren't just handed out, so your chances having one of those before your F1 expires are next to nil.

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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:38 am

eljefe_dy wrote:Actually, PR is a main consideration for me at this point. My decision for going to a US school depends on working there for the long term. If my prospect of gaining permanent residency is low, then I may reconsider going to a US law school.
My biggest concern is having to leave the US (I have a child who will be in school. I would have bought a house, etc) if a there is a gap between F-1 and H1-B/EB-2. I would have to consider renting out my residence in Canada if this is the case. Just thinking long-term.


That doesn't make any sense. why would becoming an LPR have anything to do with working in the US long term? There are many paths to becoming an LPR that give you YEARS of work authorization, during which time you can apply for an adjustment of status. Lots of people on H1-Bs don't apply for an EB-2 until they've been in the country for 4-5 years. NOTHING can guarantee that you won't have a gap, but I can guarantee that you WILL NOT graduate with H1-B or EB-2 status.

Thinking long term, 80% of biglaw associates burn out by that point, so really you are moving to another country and predicating your entire plan on 1) beating the odds by getting into a good school, 2) beating even worse odds by getting a big law job, and 3) beating even worse still odds by staying on a partner track, which is when most firms are willing to shell out for the EB-2 process. And that's not even considering getting your wife and child status.

Unless you have a really good reason for being in the US, things will be infinitely better for you if you stay in Canada. You just went through a process to naturalize in Canada, your wife hasn't even completed it, and your child is already a citizen. Coming here means all three of you need to go through an extremely lengthy and expensive process to get citizenship AGAIN (at least for your child) that will depend on you getting a job against all odds.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Canadian citizen studying and working in the US

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:48 am

OP: Your intentions are a bit misguided. A US citizen attending law school in Canada can easily achieve PR status in Canada, but the reverse is not true.

Why do you want to leave Toronto ?




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