An F-1 student may wish to engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in his or her field of study. To obtain permission for this kind of employment, an F-1 student can seek authorization for practical training.
- Practical training is not available for students in English language training programs. A student studying English in an intensive English language training program is not eligible for practical training.
- Practical training is limited to college, university, conservatory, or seminary students. Only study at the following types of schools can serve as a basis for practical training: enrollment in a Service-approved college, university, conservatory, or seminary.
- Students must continue to maintain a full course of study in F-1 status during the period of employment
There are two types of practical training:
- Curricular practical training (CPT)
An F-1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full time basis for one full academic year* and who is in good academic standing is eligible, with the prior authorization of his/her international student advisor, to work and receive compensation off-campus in a position which is an integral part of the student’s established curriculum. CPT must be completed before graduation.
*Exceptions to this one-year academic requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training.
Employment authorization under this category may only be obtained by a student who will receive academic credit for their employment experience. At a minimum, qualifying curricular practical training courses will carry academic credit, be listed in the regular bulletin of course offerings, and have a faculty member assigned to teach the course. It is particularly important that any employment experience required by the course be instrumental to achieving a curricular academic objective. A course offered for the primary purpose of facilitating employment authorization (independent study) does not qualify for Curricular Practical Training.
Students enrolled in English language training program are not eligible for Curricular Practical Training.
Curricular Practical Training authorization may be granted for either full-time or part-time employment.
Part-time training: employment for 20 hours or less per week while a student is enrolled on full-time basis is considered “part-time” Curricular Practical Training, and will be reflected as such on the back of the I-20. The student must be careful to limit his/her work to no more than 20 hours per week. There is no limitation on the length of time a student may participate in a part-time Curricular Practical Training, but he or she must be enrolled in school full-time during such training in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.
Full-time training: employment for 20 or more hours per week is considered “full-time” Curricular Practical Training, and will be reflected as such on the back of the I-20. While in full-time training, the student must maintain full-time enrollment in order to maintain lawful F-1 status. There is no limitation upon the length of time a student may participate in a full-time Curricular Practical Training. However, those students who receive more than twelve months of full-time Curricular Practical Training employment authorization will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training.
Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved and recorded by the international student advisor in SEVIS; students must have an offer of employment that qualifies as curricular practical training.
- Optional practical training (OPT), which consists of 3 kinds:
- Pre-completion OPT: Pre-completion OPT can be done during the student's annual vacation and at other times when school is not in session, if the student is currently enrolled, and is eligible for registration and intends to register for the next term or session. It can also be done while school is in session, provided that practical training does not exceed 20 hours a week. An applicant for pre-completion OPT can file a Form I-765 up to 90 days before being enrolled for one full academic year, provided that the period of employment will not start before the completion of the full academic year. This allows first-year students to obtain pre-completion OPT in the summer after their first year.
- Standard post-completion OPT: This OPT can be done after completion of the course of study, or, for a student in a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree program, after completion of all course requirements for the degree (excluding thesis or equivalent).
- STEM extension OPT: The special 17-month post-completion OPT extension for certain STEM graduates. The new rule makes recipients of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields eligible for a one-time 17-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 29 months). To be eligible for the extension, the student's employer must be registered in E-Verify, and agree to report to the DSO when the student is terminated or leaves employment. The student must agree to make periodic reports to the DSO. The complete list of all STEM degrees is located on the following page: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/nces_cip_codes_rule.pdf
At Salisbury University, the STEM majors include:
11.0101 Computer and Information Sciences, General
11.0103 Information Technology (Information Systems)
11.0701 Computer Science
11.0803 Computer Graphics (Art)
14.0903 Computer Software Engineering
26.0101 Biology/Biological Sciences, General
26.0204 Molecular Biology
26.0205 Molecular Biochemistry
26.0301 Botany/Plant Biology
26.0406 Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology
26.0502 Microbiology, General
26.0701 Zoology/Animal Biology
26.0908 Exercise Physiology (Exercise Science)
26.1305 Environmental Biology
27.0101 Mathematics, General
27.0301 Applied Mathematics
27.0303 Computational Mathematics
27.0501 Statistics, General
27.0502 Mathematical Statistics and Probability
40.0101 Physical Science
40.0401 Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, General
40.0501 Chemistry, General
40.0601 Geology/Earth Science, General
40.0801 Physics, General