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F1 Employment (CPT & OPT)

International Students

F1 Employment (CPT & OPT)

Working and engaging in internships and other professional development opportunities can be great ways to make the most of your time at CUI. CUI’s Career Services office offers a wealth of information on internships and other employment opportunities.

While in F-1 status you must get authorization before beginning any compensated* employment (including internships) or, uncompensated internships for academic credit.

* USCIS defines compensated employment as work performed in exchange for a benefit. USCIS would consider employment authorization necessary if:

  1. You receive a salary, hourly wage, fees, books, supplies, transportation, or any other benefit in exchange for work performed, or
  2. The individual normally holding your position receives payment.

Working on campus at CUI

Eligibility: All students on a CUI I-20 are eligible

Benefit: Work part-time up to 20 hours per week during the regular semester and up to 40 during the summer, job type is not important

Application: No immigration application required, apply through CUI

NOTE: Once a job offer is received, the student can apply for a Social Security Card and a FICA (Tax) exemption

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Eligibility: All students on a CUI I-20 who have been in-status for at least one academic year.

Benefit: Work in a field related to the student's major. The work must be a part of the student's curriculum/required coursework. Students must be supervised and receive a grade for the course.

Application: Apply through the Office of Global Programs BEFORE you begin work. A notation must be made on your I-20.

How to Apply for CPT

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Eligibility: All students on a CUI I-20 who have been in-status at least one academic year

Benefit: Work part-time & Full-time, off-campus, in the student's field of study for one year while the student is still taking classes at CUI.

Application: Apply through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with the help of the OGP Office.

Cost to apply: $380

NOTE: May apply up to 90 days BEFORE graduation or 60 days AFTER graduation

How to Apply for OPT

Severe Economic Hardship

Eligibility: All students on a CUI I-20 who have been in-status for at least one academic year. Must have a severe, documented, unforeseen change in financial support

Benefit: Work part-time, off-campus, for one year while the student is still taking classes at CUI

Application: Apply through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with the help of the OGP.

Cost to apply: $380

Social Security Card

A Social Security card is issued by the Social Security Administration with a unique Social Security Number (SSN) along with your legal name (name on your passport). A Social Security Number is required for everyone who works in the U.S., including individuals with F-1, J-1, and H-1 visas. This number will be yours for life. If you have previously had a SSN, you can apply for a duplicate card. You will need the number for many purposes in the U.S. including employment and paying taxes. A Social Security card is not a work permit.

Working While Waiting for a SSN

If you have applied for the SSN you may work while the Social Security number application is being processed. There is no provision in the law that requires employers to have their employees' SSNs before hiring them. There is no provision that prohibits an employee from beginning work if he or she has not yet obtained an SSN. However, you must have employment authorization from your program sponsor or the USCIS before you begin working.

Social Security Number Safety

A SSN is only meant to be used for tax and government purposes; however, it is often used by financial institutions, businesses, and others as a unique identification number. Because the SSN is a unique ID, it is often the target of "identity theft." You should be very careful about where and to whom you give your SSN. Never carry your Social Security card or number with you. Keep it at home in a secure place.

  • Only give your SSN to someone who has a specific and legitimate need for it.
  • Be very careful with any forms, applications, or other materials that may have your SSN on it.
  • Never give your SSN to someone who phones you.
  • Never reply to emails or websites that request a SSN.
Click here to request for SSN supporting letter from PDSO/DSO.
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