Want to get work experience off campus as an international student? Here’s what you need to know:
1. International Student Visa Status
- F-1 visa status aims to attain your educational objectives at the University. You need to be aware of information regarding federal visa regulations and SEVIS requirements to legally remain in the U.S. to complete your study. F-1 students with I-20 are eligible to work on the campus; but you need extra authorization (CPT/OPT) to be eligible to work off campus.
- J-1 visa status is used to study at a U.S educational institution while taking an exchange program or getting financial support from home government, TA/RA at the U, scholarships, etc. If your DS-2019 is issued by the University, additional work authorization is not necessary to get on-campus employment for less than 20 hours per week. To work off campus, you need to get Academic Training (AT) authorization.
2. Work authorizations are REQUIRED to get paid internships or summer employment off campus.
- CPT/OPT (F-1): Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization that allows an international student to work in his/her major-related field before graduation and is provided by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) within 7 business days after turning in an application. Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorizes an international student to work before or after degree completion and is granted by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within 2-3 months after submitting an application.
- AT (J-1): Academic Training (AT) is off-campus work permit provided by ISSS or your J-1 sponsor and allows an international student to work in a major-related job before and/or after graduation.
3. If you are planning to work in the U.S. after graduation:
- H-1B visa status is for a nonimmigrant temporary worker in a specialty job.
- U.S. Permanent Residence (PR; Green Card) is for an immigrant foreign citizen to live and work permanently in the U.S. while retaining home country citizenship