China Center for Social Policy and International Students Caucus Co-hosted Immigration Seminar for Students and Alumni

Jeoung Min Lee & Renmengya Zhou
November 25, 2017

The International Students Caucus of Columbia University School of Social Work and Columbia University’s China Center for Social Policy co-hosted an immigration seminar on November 15, 2017. Jing Amy Feng, an experienced immigration attorney and founder of Jing Feng Law Group PLLC, was the invited speaker. Jeoung Min Lee, a co-leader of the International Students Caucus and a Master’s student at Columbia University School of Social Work, opened and closed the seminar as a moderator. Professor Qin Gao, director of the China Center for Social Policy, introduced the speaker and facilitated the seminar. Nearly 50 students and alumni—both international and domestic—attended the seminar and participated actively in the discussion. 

Attorney Feng covered the following main topics during her presentation:

  • How to maintain a valid F visa and OPT?
  • How to obtain a non-immigrant work visa?
  • What is the employment-based green card application process?
  • How will Trump’s initiatives on immigration policy influence international students and foreign workers?

A key takeaway from the seminar was that students should carefully plan OPT starting and ending dates to take full benefit of the Cap-Gap rule and bridge OPT and H1B successfully. Attorney Feng also provided guidance on work visas other than H1B and related requirements under each category. She suggested students build their credentials while at school to prepare for future visa applications, including participating actively in academic activities. 

During the Q and A, participants asked questions regarding OPT, work visas, and green card application. Attorney Feng made the following points in response.

  • Students can have OPT at each level of degree.
  • Students can do internship or volunteer work for OPT when it is relevant to their field of study. 
  • Only students in STEM majors are eligible to extend OPT. 
  • The International Student Office is in charge of all evaluations and approvals in relation to OPT.
  • It is not recommended to leave the country when one’s OPT or H1B is pending. 
  • Always discuss your travel plan with your attorney. Don’t travel overseas if you have less than 6 months remaining in your OPT period.   
  • In order to apply for an O-1 work visa, at least 3 requirements under O-1 should be satisfied.

Participants found the seminar to be extremely informative and deeply appreciated the opportunity to learn about immigration regulations and procedures.


Columbia Affiliations
China Center for Social Policy