F-1 Employment Option An Overview

Optional Practical Training (OPT)
F-1 Students
• Off-Campus work in field of study.
• 12 months of OPT per Academic Level
• Can use part of the 12 mos. before completing
• Or save it for Post Completion (POST OPT)
• All PRE OPT is deducted from 12 month-total
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Eligibility for “PRE” or “Post”
• F-1 status for one academic year as Full-Time
• New Form I-20 is issued by the ISSO/approved
by USCIS before student can work.
• USCIS issues an Employment Authorization
Document (EAD - employment card).
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• Student is initially given 12-months of Post
• Any time already used for Pre OPT will be
• Students in the STEM fields will be able to
apply for an additional 17-mos. of work
authorization, if the following two conditions
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• Major is in STEM fields (Science, Technology,
Engineering, Mathematics).
• Student has a job with an E-verify employer.
• Can only be authorized for STEM “once”
Determining your Completion Date
• Completion Date for Graduate Students refers
to date student anticipates to actually
complete program (i.e., finish with, Project,
Thesis, Dissertation, defense, necessary
revisions, etc.
• Completion Date is not necessarily the same
as Commencement or Degree Conferral Date.
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When to Apply for “Post” OPT
• Within 90 days prior to Completion Date
• Within 60-days from Completion Date
• Must be in the U.S. at the time of applying
for Post OPT and remain in the U.S. until
receiving approval of Post OPT.
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Post OPT
• You need to receive the OPT card
(Employment Authorization Document)
before you can work;
• You can work after you receive the card
and once the effective date of the card has
been reached;
• It is not legally appropriate to work
without pay while waiting for the card.
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Documents to be submitted to ISSO when
applying for “Post” OPT
Refer to the Employment section of ISSO website,
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Regulatory Requirements
Can only work in field of study
Must have received an approved EAD card before beginning work and
After the effective date of the EAD card has been reached.
Cannot be a full-time student working towards a degree.
Cannot continue UML employment unless above conditions are met
Notify ISSO of all employment changes within a 10-day period of change:
– Employment information for: new, concurrent, paid or unpaid employment, etc.
– Changes in the following: name, address, citizenship, marital status, etc.
– ISSO will report this information on your SEVIS record to help you maintain status
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“POST” OPT Unemployment time
is tracked by USCIS
• May not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment
time during first 12 mos.
• Time starts counting from effective date of EAD card.
• Students on STEM Extension cannot accrue an aggregate of more
than 120 days of unemployment time during their total 29-month
• All Employment information is reported to SEVIS by our office, so
keep us informed of ALL employment information.
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Travel while on “POST” OPT
• Do NOT travel outside U.S. until you have received
approval of Post OPT (have received EAD card).
• Travel Documentation for Post OPT Travel:
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Valid passport, valid 6 mos. beyond expiration of EAD card.
A valid F-1 visa stamp.
Form I-20 with Post OPT Recommendation on Page 3.
Letter of Employment.
Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
DO NOT RE-ENTER IN TOURIST STATUS, for it will terminate your
OPT Status.
Cap Gap Extension/H-1B Application
Students on Post OPT with pending H-1B Petition
If student is in a 60-day grace period at the time of H-1B petition filing, s/he cannot work
after the EAD expiration date, but can legally stay in the U.S.
Need Form I-20 extending employment from the expiration date of EAD until effective
date of H-1B (usually Oct. 1st) to present to their Employer.
Deadline for most employers to file H-1B petition is April 1st.
Limit of 65,000-85,000 H-1B visas/year (a limited # of H-1B’s are set aside for nationals
of Chile & Singapore).
Non-Profits are exempt from the H-1B cap.
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Curricular Practical Training
• Off-campus work experience in the F-1 student’s
field of study
• Must contain a curricular component
• The concept of curricular practical training is to
bring the learning of the job experience into the
• Must be evaluated & graded by the Faculty CPT
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CPT Allotted Time
• Up to 12 months of “Full”-Time CPT
• 12 months eliminates eligibility for Post OPT
• Part-time CPT does not impact Post OPT
• No limit on part-time authorized CPT time
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CPT Eligibility
• F-1 status for one academic year as a full-time student
• Students in Pathway program must successfully pass pathway and have fulfilled the one
academic year of full-time study requirement
• Job must be in field of study listed on Form I-20/integral to academic
• GPA of 3.0 for graduates or 2.0 for undergraduates
• Cannot have received any grade of “F”, “U”, or “INC”
• Cannot be in last semester or in final thesis defense phase
• CPT must fall within semester dates, and is authorized on a semester-bysemester basis
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CPT Approval
After Meeting Eligibility Requirements
• Obtain authorization from academic department
• Complete “Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Application Form,
• Register for a minimum of a one-credit CPT work experience
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CPT Application Form
Check ISSO Website for CPT Application
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Academic Training (AT)
• Must have a job offer
• Job must be in field of study
• Total time of Academic Training can never
exceed the time spent in full course of
• The maximum a Bachelor’s or Master’s
student can do of AT is 18 months
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J-1 Academic Training
• PhD students can apply for an initial 18-mo period
– then apply for an additional period of 18 months.
• Student can apply for Pre-Completion Academic
Training, after having been in full-time status for one
academic year
• J-1 student must maintain health insurance coverage for
him/herself and all J-2 dependents while on Academic
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J-1 Academic Training
• Academic Training application must be
processed no later than 30 days after
completion date
• Academic Training is always authorized
directly by ISSO
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For Questions, Contact us during
Advising Hours
International Students & Scholars Office
[email protected]
Monday & Tuesday
Wednesday & Thursday
No Appointment is ever necessary during Advising Hours
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H-1B Information
for Specialty Occupations
Paid positions of a highly specialized nature.
Minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree.
Employer pays prevailing wage as per Dept. of Labor laws.
Maximum time of six years (with a maximum initial period of three years).
IF applicant filed a Labor Certification prior to 5th year, OR if an Immigrant Visa
petition is approved/subjected to backlogs, can apply for one-year extensions
Concurrent employment permitted; each employer files H-1B petition.
Employment can be part-time or full-time.
Dual intent is allowed (i.e., person can intend to immigrate to US).
Dependents (H-4 visa holders) are not permitted to apply for work.
Filing Fees:
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$325 for filing a Form I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker;
$500 Anti Fraud Fee paid by employer;
$0 or $750 or $1,500 paid by “for-profit” employers depending on size of workforce;
$1,225 Premium Processing Fee (optional).
Attorney Fees
TN Status
(for citizens from Canada or Mexico)
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Temporary employment classification Canadian/Mexican citizens.
To engage in professional business activities (in limited fields).
Process varies slightly for Canada and Mexico.
Only to be used for temporary employment (no dual intent).
Can be issued indefinitely in three-year increments;
Dependents (TD visa holders) are not permitted to work.
Minimal paperwork/Nominal fees
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Workers of Extraordinary Ability
• Requires considerable documentation.
• Most highly qualified professors, researchers, and artists with a high
level of expertise.
• Top in their field (internationally recognized).
• Concurrent employment, each employer submits Petition.
• Granted for a maximum initial period of three years, with one-year
extensions possible indefinitely.
• Dependents (O-3 visa holders) are not permitted to work
• Filing fees for an O-1 are similar to those for an H-1B.
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