F-1 students’ ability to work in the United States is limited. Review the following types of employment and practical training that may be available to F-1 students.
Students are eligible for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session (fall and spring semesters). During semester breaks, such as winter, spring and summer break, students are eligible for up to 40 hours per week (dependent on Human Resources’ regulations). Examples of on-campus employment are positions at CGU, through The Claremont Colleges Consortium (TCCS) locations such as the library or bookstore, as graduate assistants, research assistants or teaching assistants.
On-campus employment is not recorded in your SEVIS record or listed on your I-20. If offered an on-campus position, you do not need permission from SLDL. Students with a job offer are eligible to apply for a social security number.
Use Handshake to search for on-campus positions across the 7C consortium, and ask around at various offices on campus. F-1 students are not eligible for jobs designated as “federal work-study,” as those are federally funded positions available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
CPT Key Points:
- The practical training occurs before your degree program end date listed on your I-20.
- The practical training cannot delay your time to completion of studies.
- The practical training must relate directly to your program of study.
- It must be an integral part of the curriculum (either graduation requirement/milestone, or required for a course).
- The position can be paid or unpaid. Please note that some practical training opportunities may be advertised as volunteer opportunities. If you are unsure whether the volunteer opportunity requires CPT authorization, contact the SLDL Office before beginning.
- The position may be part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours).
- More than 12 months of full-time CPT eliminates your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- CPT authorization is granted for each employer and each period of time. CPT extensions or renewals must be processed each semester for students enrolled in coursework; and every 12 months, for those enrolled in doctoral study or continuous registration.
- F-1 student was enrolled on a full-time basis at an SEVP-certified school for at least a full academic year prior to the start of the practical training;
- F-1 student is not currently enrolled in the International Scholars Program; and
- F-1 student is completing a graduation milestone/requirement and/or enrolled in a course that requires practical training.
- F-1 student submits the completed CPT Authorization Request forms and job offer letter to the SLDL Office.
- Student waits for CPT endorsement on their I-20 before beginning work.
- If approved CPT period on I-20 ends, student must resubmit CPT Authorization request forms to the SLDL Office.
Students should keep records of all I-20s issued and employment records related to CPT.
IMPORTANT: CPT is not intended to be used for continuous off-campus work. Students approved for multiple CPT authorizations may cause USCIS to review their authorization with more scrutiny, especially if submitting applications for benefits like OPT, STEM extensions or changes of visa status.
OPT Key Points:
- There are two types of OPT: pre-completion and post-completion. Pre-completion OPT can be used during your degree program. Most students who are not eligible for CPT will apply for pre-completion OPT. Post-completion OPT can be used after graduation.
- Twelve months of OPT is available for each degree level of study.
- You do not have to have a job offer before applying for OPT.
- The application window opens 90 days before your I-20 end date, and closes 60 days after the I-20 end date. Eligible students should expect the review process to take 3-4 months before receiving a response from USCIS.
- Students are not eligible to begin working until they receive their EAD card.
- Once approved, F-1 students receive 90 days of cumulative OPT unemployment time. If the 90 days of unemployment expires before the EAD end date, the student forfeits their remaining OPT period, and must leave the U.S. immediately.
- While on OPT you are required to submit the OPT Reporting form to SLDL Office if there is a change to your contact information and/or employment information.
- Students who complete their OPT period have a 60 day grace period to (1) remain in the U.S.; (2) transfer their SEVIS record to another university; (3) begin a new program at CGU; or (4) apply for a change of visa status.
- F-1 student was enrolled on a full-time basis at an SEVP-certified school for at least a full academic year prior to the start of the work authorization;
- F-1 student has an active SEVIS record/ I-20; and
- F-1 student has not participated in more than 12 months of full-time CPT.
- Attend an OPT workshop, or watch an OPT workshop recording;
- Review the OPT Application Checklist, and the I-765 Instructions form (specifically pages 1, 7-8, and 19-31);
- Compile all required documents (see step 2);
- Schedule an appointment with an SLDL Advisor to review OPT application and receive updated I-20 with OPT endorsement;
- File OPT petition electronically;
- Check status of OPT application
CGU’s STEM Designated Programs/ Degrees:
- Institute of Mathematics (all programs)
- Center for Information Systems & Technology (all programs)
- Botany (all programs)
- MS in Financial Engineering
- MS in Finance
- MS in Global Commerce and Finance
- MS in Applied Data Science & International Studies
- MA in Economics
- PhD in Economics
STEM OPT Key Points:
- F-1 student earned a degree from a STEM designated program.
- F-1 student must currently be in post-completion OPT.
- STEM OPT application window opens 90 days before the end date on EAD card. Applications received after the EAD card end date are automatically denied.
- Students must have a paid job offer working a minimum of 20 hours a week from the STEM OPT employer at the time of application. Compensation should be commensurate with similarly-situated U.S. workers.
- The STEM OPT employer must enroll in the E-verify program by the time of application and continue participation throughout the student’s employment period.
STEM OPT Eligibility:
- F-1 student should have an earned degree from a STEM designated program. This could be a prior degree or your most recent CGU degree.
- F-1 student must currently be in post-completion OPT.
- Attend an OPT workshop, or watch an OPT workshop recording (STEM OPT reviewed during workshop);
- Review the STEM OPT Application Checklist, and the I-765 Instructions form (specifically pages 1, 7-8, and 19-31);
- Complete the I-983 Training Plan with your employer, and compile all required documents (see step 2);
- Schedule an appointment with an SLDL Advisor to review STEM OPT application and receive updated I-20 with STEM OPT endorsement;
- File OPT Petition Electronically;
- Check status of STEM OPT application
For more information, visit the Study in the States hub for STEM OPT.
Key Points to Know:
- F-1 student was enrolled on a full-time basis at an SEVP-certified school for at least a full academic year prior to the start of the intended work authorization.
- F-1 student should be in the good academic standing (not on academic probation).
- F-1 student must demonstrate to USCIS that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship.
- F-1 students are not eligible to work off-campus until receipt of the employment authorization document (EAD) card.
- If approved, students can work off-campus in non-academic related positions.
- Review the Study in the States website, and the I-765 Instructions form (specifically pages 1, 7-8, and 19-31);
- Complete the I-765 application, and compile all required documents (see step 1);
- Submit a letter to an SLDL Advisor demonstrating eligibility for economic hardship;
- Schedule an appointment with an SLDL Advisor to review economic hardship application and receive updated I-20 with off-campus endorsement;
- Mail in economic hardship application;
- Check status of economic hardship application