Students can apply for off-campus employment ONLY if they are able to demonstrate severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen factors. These circumstances may include any of the following:
- Substantial fluctuations in the value of exchange rates or national currency
- Inordinate increase in tuition and/or living expenses
- Unexpected and substantial change in the financial conditions of the student's source of support, medical bills, or other expenses
Students are eligible to apply for off-campus employment authorization if they meet all of the following conditions:
- Must have been in F-1 status for nine months
- Must be in good academic standing
- Employment opportunities on campus are unavailable or insufficient
- Can demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with their ability to carry a full course of study
- Students may work a total of twenty hours per week when school is in session. All on and off-campus employment is counted toward this twenty-hour limit.
Employment authorization is granted in one-year intervals. The USCIS will only authorize renewals if the student is maintaining good academic standing and the Employment authorization is automatically terminated if students fail to maintain status.
Curricular Practical Training
|What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?||CPT
CPT is either a paid or unpaid temporary employment for international students. It allows F-1 students to work off campus. The employment must be directly related to the student's major area of study. The employment can be, for example, an internship or a research project. Mainly, CPT needs to be part of an established curriculum.
|Eligibility for CPT||
Offer of Employment
Students should have a job offer.
Letter of Employment
A student cannot start working until a letter of employment is submitted to the International Program Office stating that the student is offered a part-time or full time employment. The company offering employment should also submit a list of the CPT duties and responsibilities.
Students who are approved to participate in CPT can work either full-time (more than 20 hours a week) or part-time (less than 20 hours a week). The International Program Office at OTC will contact the department to make sure that CPT is part of the student's degree program and to discuss the student's eligibility and academic needs.
Students must be enrolled in a course that requires employment, such as an internship. The course should be taken for academic credit. After completing all degree requirements, students are no longer eligible for CPT, and they should instead consider Optional Practical Training. Completion of studies or degree program should not be interrupted or delayed by CPT.
students are required to maintain full-time status as F-1 visas holders. In addition, students are only eligible for CPT after being enrolled as full time students for at least one academic year.
CPT Application Procedures
The student must first secure a job or position.
The course instructor or academic advisor completes a recommendation form (please submit the form below).
The student then submits a letter of employment from the employer stating the job duties, the organization’s address, and beginning and end dates of the employment.
The International Program Office will process your CPT application and contact you to pick up a new I-20 with the CPT’s authorization.
|Things to Keep in Mind||
Optional Practical Training
What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
International students might wish to gain work experience while attending college or after finishing their program of study. OPT is authorized employment for F-1 international students permitting them to benefit from a work experience related to their field of study. Students should continuously be in full time status to be eligible for OPT. That is, they need to be enrolled on a full-time basis and have been in good status for at least one academic year. OPT allows students to work for 12 months. Students do not need to have a job to apply for OPT. They can apply for a job after their OPT application is approved. Students apply for OPT through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and they are responsible for paying application fees. F-1 International Students can engage in OPT before or after the completion of a degree program.
Pre-completion OPT: Students who have already completed one academic year (at least one fall semester and one spring semester), can apply for the pre-completion OPT. Students who have not yet completed the full one academic year can also file for the pre-completion OPT provided that they are within 90 days of attaining a full academic year. Students cannot work more than 20 hours a week when doing a pre-completion OPT or before completing their program of study. However, they can work up to 40 hours while school is not in session (winter and summer breaks).
Standard post-completion OPT: Students can apply for OPT up to two months before graduation or during the two months (grace period) following graduation. Students can engage in post-completion OPT upon the completion of the degree. USCIS must receive the I-765 and OPT I-20 no sooner than 90 days before the program end date.
Both pre-completion OPT and post-completion OPT must be related to the student's major area of study.
How does an international student apply for OPT?
There are four steps to apply for OPT:
1- The student makes a request for OPT to the DSO.
2- After eligibility is determined, the DSO will update your SEVIS and recommend OPT.
3- The DSO will prepare an I-20 form with the OPT recommendation and the required signatures.
4- The student files a form I-756 including a fee, and a signed form of I-20 showing that OPT has been recommended
If OPT application is approved, students will receive an Employment Authorization Document, which allows them to start engaging in employment anywhere in the United States.
Please visit the official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to learn more about the eligibility requirements for an F-1 student OPT application.