Optional Practical Training Workshop for F-1 Students

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A Guide to Working Off-Campus
for UR International Students

Alternate work/study, internship,
cooperation education, or a required
internship or practicum offered by
sponsoring employers through
cooperative agreements with the school
 F-1
student in good standing
 F-1
status for at least 1 academic year EXCEPT
for graduate students whose programs require
a work experience in the 1st semester
 Must
be a continuing F-1 student; CPT cannot
be used after completion of studies
 Work
must relate to your major(s)




Must receive UR academic credit during
employment period unless work experience is a
program requirement
Must be enrolled full-time during employment
period except for summer and official school
breaks
Paid or unpaid off-campus work anywhere in the
U.S.
Must have employment offer
 No
maximum
 Can
be authorized in 1 year increments
before completion of studies
 Can
be authorized for part-time (20
hours or less) or full-time (over 20 hours)
 Eligible
for CPT at each higher degree
level (Master’s, Ph.D.)
 20
hour per week maximum including
other jobs when school is in session
 40
hours per week or full-time equivalent
during school breaks for continuing
students




Ineligible for OPT at same degree level if you use 1
year or more of full-time CPT; part-time CPT does not
count
CPT is employer-specific; can work for multiple
employers at the same time as long as separate CPT
applications are made for each one
Transfer to another school – CPT ends on transfer date;
must apply for CPT with ISA at new institution
Cancellations can be made prior to employment start
date
 Applications
must be made BEFORE
employment start date.
 Student
Statement
 Employer
Statement
 Departmental
 Students
Recommendation
approved for CPT will receive new
I-20 with authorization.
 December
 May
 CPT
1st in fall semester
1st in spring semester
can be authorized during the
summer at least 5 working days in
advance of employment start date

Work experience directly related to an
F-1 student’s major to provide practical
training during or upon completion of a
degree program

F-1 student in good standing

F-1 status for at least 1 academic year

Work must relate to your major(s)

Off-campus work anywhere in the U.S.


On-campus work after graduation if work relates to your
major
A job offer is NOT necessary except for students applying
for the 17-month extension (includes STEM majors,
psychology, and other fields that are mostly scientific)
 12
month maximum at each higher
educational level (undergraduate,
graduate, doctoral)
 Cannot
combine OPT periods – must use
after each degree level
 29
months for 17-month extension
 Paid, unpaid
 Multiple
 Work
or volunteer positions
employers
for hire as contractor or consultant
 Self-employed
 Agency
business owner
or consulting firm
 Employer
must be enrolled in E-Verify
 Volunteering
allowed but does not count
toward work hours requirement
Pre-completion:
 20 hour per week maximum including other jobs
when school is in session

40 hours per week or full-time equivalent during
school breaks for continuing students
Post-completion:
 At least 20 hours per week

An average of at least 20 hours per week in a 1month period for variable work schedules
Pre-completion:
 90 days before completing 1st full academic
year
 90
days before employment start date if you
have completed 1st full academic year
Post-completion:
 90 days before completion of studies
Students must apply separately for preand post-completion OPT.
 120
days before OPT end date
 December
 May
1st in fall semester
1st in spring semester
 Application
must be received at USCIS
Service Center within 30 days of
International Student Advisor (ISA)
recommendation

Start date no more than 60 days after completion
of studies

End date no more than 12 months from start date
if you have not used pre-completion OPT

Employment can begin or end any time during
authorized period

Cannot work until start date on Employment
Authorization Document (EAD)

Must be in physical possession of EAD
 90
calendar days for post-completion
 120
calendar days for 17-month
extension
 Employment
travel and periods of
authorized leave do not count as
unemployment
 Department
of Homeland Security (DHS),
not ISA, is responsible for calculating
unemployment time and taking action in
SEVIS
 Denial
 DHS
of future immigration benefits
could terminate SEVIS record

Employer’s name & address as written on contract if you have a job

Departmental Recommendation

Student Statement

I-765 form from USCIS website http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

I-765 fee (personal check or money order) OR I-912 to request fee waiver
from USCIS website

2 passport photos

Copies of all I-20s or F-1status letter if you have no I-20s from the
institution, I-94 arrival/departure card or print-out of I-94 information from
www.cbp.gov/I94, passport information page, F-1 visa stamp

Copy of I-20 from ISA with OPT recommendation on 3rd page

Copy of degree for 17-month extension only
 2-3
weeks after mailing application for
USCIS receipt notice (I-797C)
 90
calendar days from I-797C receipt
date for approval
2
weeks from approval date for USCIS to
mail your EAD

Email/text notification of application receipt by completing Form G-1145 from
USCIS website

Cancelled bank check with receipt number on the back for pending
applications

If your check has been cashed but you have not received the I-797C receipt
notice, email [email protected]

USCIS website http://www.uscis.gov to check case status online

If your receipt number does not show up online, email
[email protected]


Call National Customer Service Center (1-800-375-5283) or make
appointment (http://infopass.uscis.gov) if application has not been processed
within 90 days
Once you receive approval notice, call National Customer Service Center for
EAD tracking number and check status on Postal Service website at
www.usps.com
 You
are allowed to remain in the U.S.
while your OPT application is pending
 During
this time, you cannot study or
work
 You
will still have F-1 status while on OPT
 Possible
without a job
 Carry
endorsed I-20, I-797C, passport, F-1 visa
stamp, I-94 arrival/departure card if you
arrived in the U.S. before April/May 2013
 Obtain
I-20 travel signature from ISA every 6
months
 Explain
you are looking for employment


Not possible without a job
Carry endorsed I-20, I-94 if you arrived in U.S. before
April/May 2013, passport, F-1 visa stamp, EAD, and contract
letter

Obtain I-20 travel signature from ISA every 6 months

Cannot enter the U.S. until EAD start date

Unemployed time abroad cannot be regained

Not permitted during cap-gap period

Not permitted if 17-month extension pending and EAD expired
 Ineligible
to apply for post-completion
OPT
 May
not be allowed to enter U.S.
 Must
be renewed at U.S. consulate in
home country
 Present
signed I-20, EAD, passport, proof
of employment
 Especially
risky if you have a pending or
approved H-1B petition

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) –ineligible for OPT if you use 1
year or more of full-time CPT

Cancellation – possible if done before start date on EAD

Changes to OPT start and end dates – possible while application is
still pending

Working on campus – not possible after you graduate without
using OPT

Failure to complete program – if application is pending it must be
withdrawn; if application has been approved can work part-time
while completing program and full-time upon program
completion

Transfer to another school – OPT ends on transfer date

Departure from U.S. – 60-day grace period after EAD end date
Within 10 Days:
 Initial job (employer name, start date, mailing address)

Subsequent jobs (employer name, start date, mailing
address, end date of former employment)

More than 10 days of unemployment

Address change

Name change

Early departure date from U.S.
Within 10 days:
 Name change
 Address change
 Employer change (employer name & address)
 Loss of employment
Every 6 months:
 Legal name
 SEVIS ID number
 Current mailing & residential address
 Current employer name & address
 Current employment start date
 Email
Krittika Onsanit (ISA) at
[email protected]
 Walk-in
hours (2-4 pm, Monday-Thursday
each week, 103G International Center)
 Email
for appointment at other times
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