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Off-Campus Employment Authorization

International students in F-1 or J-1 status must have employment authorization before working off-campus.   Off-campus employment without proper employment authorization is a violation of an F-1 or J-1 student's immigration status. For the following types of employment authorization, the employment must be related to the student's academic field of study:

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment authorization for F-1 students. F-1 students must be enrolled full-time for one academic year before being eligible for CPT. CPT is authorized for a specific employer. The academic advisor's recommendation on the Advisor's Recommendation for Curricular Practical Training form is necessary for CPT.

Before signing the recommendation form, here are some tips for academic advisors to review:

    • - The employment for CPT needs to be an "integral part of an established curriculum" (8 C.F.R. ยง 214.2(f)(10)(i)).   ISSS relies on the academic advisor to show that the employment is directly related to the student's major. If the internship is not required for the degree, the student needs to be enrolled in a course for the degree. It may be an internship course or independent study, depending on the department. The course may be for credit or zero credit, if the department provides 0-credit internship courses. The academic course needs to be entered into Banner before the student applies for CPT.
    • - CPT is authorized by the quarter. The student must enroll for a course each quarter that he is eligible for CPT. The course number for the CPT will be included in the employment authorization on the student's immigration document.
    • - CPT may be part-time (20 hours or less) while school is in session and full-time (over 20 hours) during the student's vacation term or official school breaks. Full-time CPT during the academic session may be authorized with special recommendation from an academic advisor. The academic advisor completes the Advisor's Recommendation for Curricular Practical Training form.

Optional Practical Training for F-1 students

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is employment authorization for F-1 students. F-1 students must be enrolled full-time for one academic year before being eligible for OPT. The student does not need a job offer to apply for OPT. F-1 students are eligible for one 12-month period of OPT per degree level. Students in STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) may be eligible to apply for an extension of an additional 17 months.

The academic advisor's recommendation is requested on the Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) Request form.

The following information may of interest to academic advisors:

    • - The OPT employment must be in the student's field of study.  
    • - OPT may be pre-completion or post-completion OPT.
    • - Post-completion OPT depends on student completing degree.
    • - Post-completion OPT recommendation is based on the program end date (usually the last date of final exams for the term, rather than the date of graduation).

Academic Training for J-1 students

Academic Training is employment authorization for J-1 students. Academic Training may be used before or after the student completes his degree. The employment must be directly related to the student's academic program. Degree-seeking J-1 students are eligible for 18 months of Academic Training (includes pre- and post-completion Academic Training), or the duration of the program, whichever is less.   Doctoral students may be eligible for an extension of an additional 18 months. Non-degree students should be referred to ISSS for an explanation of their eligibility for Academic Training.

The academic advisor recommends Academic Training by completing the Advisor's Recommendation for Academic Training form.