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International Programs

Employment

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training is work authorization granted to students on F-1 visas for paid internships or positions off campus and directly related to their majors. CPT allows you to work 20 hours or less each week during the academic year and up to 40 hours during the holiday and summer breaks.  Employers may or may not require that a student obtain a Social Security number.  Please discuss this with your employer.  You should not begin work until your CPT is approved by the International Adviser. 

To be eligible for CPT:

  • You must have been in lawful status as a full-time student at CSU for one full academic year.  If your program requires immediate experience a Graduate student may receive permission to begin CPT immediately.  There is no exception to this rule for undergraduate students. 
  • Your training must be directly related to your field of study and correspond with your educational level
  • Your training must be a requirement of the program, and you must receive course credit

Applying for CPT:

If you want to apply for CPT, please download the following checklist and make sure you gather all of the necessary documents before making an appointment with the international student coordinator. In order to apply you must have your academic adviser complete the CPT Verification Form below.

CPT Approval

Once approved a new I-20 will be issued.  More than one employer can be entered at a time so please combine employment offers as much as possible to decrease the number of I-20's that need to be printed.

CPT MUST BE APPROVED FOR EACH SEMESTER WITH NEW APPROVAL FORMS AND EMPLOYMENT LETTER SUBMITTED.

FORMS MUST BE RECEIVED ONE WEEK PRIOR TO PERFORMANCE/EMPLOYMENT START.

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training is a benefit to students on F-1 visas that allows them to work up to 12 full months in their fields of study. You are eligible to participate in one year of OPT after each degree level completed.  OPT can be applied for 90 days prior to your graduation date or up to 60 days after. 

To be eligible for OPT:

  • You must be an F-1 student in lawful academic standing at CSU for one full academic year (nine months) before submitting an OPT application.
  • You must not have participated in full-time Curricular Practical Training for more than 12 months.You must submit your application for OPT before your program completion date (the day of your last final)
  • You must maintain a valid:
    • Passport
    • I-94 card
    • I-20

Applying for OPT:

If you want to apply for OPT, download the following checklist and make sure you gather all of the necessary documents before making an appointment with the international student coordinator. It is recommended that you apply for OPT two to three months before your completion of studies to ensure you receive your Employment Authorization Card in a timely fashion. You will NOT be able to apply for OPT once you have completed your program of study.

Please be aware that you will need a $410 check or money order payable to US Department of Homeland Security in order to apply for OPT. You and your academic adviser will also need to complete the OPT Recommendation Form below.

STEM OPT

STEM OPT allows for an additional 24 months of OPT if you are in the specified degree fields that are approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.  STEM OPT requires all of the same information and fee payment as regular OPT except a copy of your degree or diploma and an employer training plan must be included.  STEM OPT must be applied for and the application must be received by USCIS prior to the expiration of your current OPT.  More information about STEM OPT may be found at:  https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/

 

Pre Completion OPT - OPT prior to completion of degree

  • Students must be enrolled in school full time
  • Students may only work 20 hours per week while school is in session
  • Students may work full time during summer and other breaks (as long as student will return to school after the break)
  • Student may work full-time after completion of all coursework, if a thesis or dissertation is still required and student is making normal progress towards the degree
  • Employment must be related to degree field
  • Must submit payment and documents the same as post completion OPT
  • Approval times are the same as regular OPT

Important things to know about OPT:

  • You must begin your OPT within 60 days of course completion
  • Once you complete your OPT, you have 60 days to leave the country
  • You may only work during the dates that are specified on your EAD card
  • You must actively search for, and obtain employment within 90 days of your OPT start date or you will be considered out of status and your I-20 will be terminated
  • You must work in your area of study

On-Campus Employment

Any student on an F or J Visa is eligible for on-campus employment which includes working for the bookstore or food service providers.  You do not need permission from the International Student Adviser for these positions.  You can view student positions through the Columbus State Human Resources Employment web site.  We would suggest working with the Career Center on campus to assist you with interviewing skills, cover letter and resume writing.  If you do not have a Social Security number please view the information on how to obtain one by clicking on the link provided. 

YOU MUST NOT WORK MORE THAN 19 HOURS PER WEEK WHEN SCHOOL IS IN SESSION OR YOU ARE VIOLATING YOUR VISA STATUS