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Methods to Legally Stay Longer in the U.S. (Chicago)

Hello All!

The past six years have been a wonderful experience in the U.S. I've established a new life with great friends, went back to school, changed careers, and found the job that I wanted. As you can probably tell, I'm not ready to give up this life and move back to my home country. That's why I'm reaching out to you and I hope somebody is willing to share his or her experience and provide some advice.

My OPT (optional practical training for one year after graduation) will expire in the beginning of July. The company I work for doesn't sponsor visas because it is against their company policy. I've been researching the different visa options; however, the more I look at them, the more confusing it gets. How did other people manage to legally stay in the U.S. without getting married? Going back to school for a Master is not an option because in my industry (hospitality and tourism), employers don't care about a Master degree. Practical experience, in combination with a CMP (Certified Meeting Professional), is far more important.

I know that chances for getting a H1B visa are very slim since I'm not a manager and I'm not in a position that requires special knowledge, such as engineering. Still, it would be great if somebody could tell me how they were able to find a way to continue living and working here in the U.S. for a couple more years.

Any help/advice would be truly appreciated. Please feel free to reach out to me via a message.

Thank you very much,