International students, unlike U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, complete employment paperwork with OIT, rather than the Student Employment office. Non-U.S. students should follow the hiring process to complete paperwork and to obtain a Work Release Form.
International students are not permitted to accept off-campus employment without authorization. There are strict regulations regarding working off-campus.
Contact Krittika Onsanit for more information.
Academic training is paid or unpaid work, training, or experience related to a student’s field of study—either paid or unpaid. International students can participate in academic training before and after they complete their studies on a full or part-time basis, as long as the training does not exceed specified time limits.
If a student wishes to participate in unpaid academic training after completion of studies, the student must show proof of adequate funding to cover expenses.
Academic training must be authorized by the International Student Advisor (ISA) in the Office of International Education (OIE). Please read the Academic Training Information for eligibility and application information and download the Employer Statement, Departmental Recommendation Form, and Student Statement.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an opportunity for F-1 students who have been enrolled for one full academic year in the United States to work in a position directly related to their academic studies. Students retain F-1 visa status while using OPT.
Learn more about OPT eligibility on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
OPT must be authorized by the International Student Advisor (ISA) in the Office of International Education (OIE). To apply, please do the following:
- Read the OPT Guide
- Print out the confirmation page on the last slide of the OPT Guide and bring it to the OPT workshop
- Print out the following forms and bring them to the OPT workshop:
- Attend a mandatory OPT workshop (times and dates will be sent via email)
At the workshop, you will receive detailed instructions about completing the forms, sending materials to USCIS, and tracking the status of your application.
STEM Extension Regulations
An F-1 student currently engaged in a period of post-completion OPT who has been awarded a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved STEM field and works for an E-Verify employer is eligible to apply for the STEM extension. Effective May 10, 2016, a new DHS rule extends the period of STEM OPT from 17 to 24 months. The 17-month STEM OPT regulations remain in effect through May 9, 2016.
If you are currently on the 17-month STEM extension, you may qualify for the additional 7 months. Please read the DHS website for more information and application instructions.
If you will likely have a pending 17-month STEM extension application on May 10, 2016, please read the DHS website for more information about how your application will be handled.
An F-1 student is allowed two 24-month extensions total. Each extension must be used after the completion of a qualifying higher level degree program and cannot be combined. The extension can be based on a previous STEM degree as long as the following apply:
- the student is currently in a valid period of 12-month post completion OPT, even if the OPT is based on a non-STEM degree
- the previous STEM degree was obtained within 10 years of the STEM extension application date from an institution that is U.S. Department of Education accredited and Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified at the time of application
- the previous STEM degree is on the current STEM Designated Degree Program List at the time of application
- the work being done for the STEM extension relates to the previous STEM degree
Volunteering and self-employment are not allowed and students must work at least 20 hours per week in a paid position for an E-Verify employer.
Students should submit their application 90 days before the end of their current OPT period. Students may NOT apply during the 60-day grace period following the OPT end date. An 180 day automatic work authorization extension will be granted while the application is pending.
Students must include as part of the application a new I-20 from Richmond with the STEM extension recommendation. Please submit the following documents electronically to email@example.com to receive a new I-20:
- DHS Form I-983 Mentoring & Training Plan Instructions for students and employers on completing the form are available on the DHS website.
- Official or unofficial copy of transcript confirming graduation date, STEM degree awarded and major
- OPT Student Statement Please complete only the Job Title and Supervisor information fields.
There is no application deadline but please allow 5 working days for processing.
You will need to file USCIS Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization to apply for the STEM extension once you receive the new I-20 from Richmond.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) includes alternate work/study, internship, cooperation education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. CPT must be authorized by the International Student Advisor (ISA) in the Office of International Education (OIE). Please read the CPT Guide for eligibility and application information and download the Employer Statement, Departmental Recommendation Form, and Student Statement.
Learn more about CPT eligibility on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.