There are few things for all international students to consider prior to seeking employment
Students on the F-1 visa are permitted to work on campus. The work is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session or full time during official breaks and vacation periods.
There are two types of student worker positions on campus – federal and state. International students who are here on a visa are only allowed to work under state student worker positions
You can access the Student employment webpage, to search for current available on campus positions,
If hired you will then need to bring to the International Student Services office a letter from your prospective employer stating that they are hiring you for a state student worker position. We will then issue you a letter which you will carry to the Social Security office in order to obtain a Social Security number.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that gives the F1 student an opportunity to apply knowledge gained from their academic program to practical work experience off campus.
There are two types of OPT:
May be obtained while in school. Student is allowed to work 20 hours per
Week/part time while school is in session. May work full time during school
Breaks and holidays. Using pre-completion OPT deducts time from post-
Is intended for students to use after graduation. You receive up to 12 months of OPT after graduation, pending that no time was used from CPT or pre-completion OPT. Students in a STEM degree may receive a 17 month extension. Please see the ISO for further details.
1. be a full time registered student for a least one full academic year
2. be physically present in the US
3. be maintaining valid F1 status at the time of application
4. Intend to work in a position directly related to the major field of
study – You do not need an offer of employment at the time of
To apply for OPT, please gather the following materials and make an appointment with the ISO for further assistance:
1. Form I-765
2. $380 Filing Fee. Make check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security
3. Two 2” X 2” passport sized photos with a white background
4. Copy of current I-20, I-94 card, passport pages, and visa page
You may also find the OPT Instruction Guide useful before making your appointment. It will answer many of the questions you may have.
Bring all materials to the ISS Office for your appointment. We will issue a new I-20 to be signed and mailed to the USCIS service center.
*It is important to apply early! USCIS can take up to 90 days to process applications. The best time to apply for OPT is 90 days before your graduation date and no later than 60 days after your completion date on your I-20.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization that allows an F-1 student to gain work experience off- campus that is considered an integral part of an established curriculum or academic program. The Code of Federal Regulations defines CPT as “. . . an integral part of an established curriculum,” and further defines it as, “. . . alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” 8 CFR §214.2 (f) (10)(i)
Eligibility for CPT
In order for an F-1 student to be eligible for CPT, the following requirements must be met:
- Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (i.e. two full consecutive terms). If you are a graduate student and the program requires immediate participation, this requirement is waived;
- Be in F-1 status at the time of submitting the CPT application;
- Have a job offer and offer letter;
- Be enrolled in a program or course that requires an internship.
If the training is not required by your major degree program, ISS requires you to receive academic credit from an internship, cooperative education program, practicum, or similar course through your academic department. CPT. The credit must be earned in the same semester for which CPT is authorized. You must earn at least one CPT-related credit for each semester of authorization granted.
Applying for CPT
To apply for CPT, you must make an appointment with the ISO and bring the following documents with you:
- Copy of your official offer letter on company letterhead that is signed by the prospective employer. A photocopy is acceptable. The letter should include the employer’s name, address, and dates of employment.
- A letter from the department head stating that the job offer meets the requirement for an internship course.
- Copies of your current immigration documents: passport, I-94 card, and I-20’s.
If you are eligible for CPT, International Student Services will authorize CPT by issuing a new I-20. You may engage in CPT employment only after you have received the I-20 with your CPT authorization noted. This work authorization is only valid for the specific employer, location, time period on a part-time or full-time basis as approved and recorded by the ISO. You may not continue employment beyond the date authorized unless you apply and are granted an extension of your permission.
If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request off-campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.