What Employers Need to Know

What Employers Need to Know about F-1 Student Employment

  • Students in F-1 status can be eligible for certain types of work authorization.
  • All students must complete two full-time semesters in order to become eligible for any off-campus employment.
  • Most types of employment require advance work authorization.


Standard Types of Employment Authorization

Curricular Practical Training: CPT is training done as a requirement to a field of study. It is work for which the student gains academic credit within their major degree program. In this instance the student must enroll in an internship course and can only be authorized for work during the term of their concurrent enrollment in the class. The CPT authorization is job specific and cannot be transferred to another position or employer. A detailed job description is required of the student for the CPT application. The application process takes approximately 1-3 weeks.

The CPT date range for academic year 2017 are:

  • Fall 2017: 08/23/17 - 12/31/17 (part-time only)
  • Spring 2017: 01/01/17 - 05/31/17 (part-time only)
  • Summer 2017: 06/01/17 - 08/22/17 (full-time or part-time allowed)

Optional Practical Training : OPT is training directly related to an F-1 student's major area of study. It should provide the student with practical experience in their intended field during their degree progress or upon completion of their degree program. Students are eligible for 12 months of OPT per degree program. *This authorization is NOT job specific and students may transition to new jobs while functioning under this approval. Application for this type of authorization takes approximately 3 months.


There are two types of OPT and two extensions:

  • Pre-Completion OPT: Pre-Completion OPT is done during the student’s program of study. Students can be authorized to work part-time during semesters or full-time during summer; unless the student is a graduate student working on thesis/project ONLY. In that case, the student may work full-time during the semester.

  • Post-Completion OPT: Students who have completed their degree or graduate students with only project/thesis remaining, can be authorized for Post-Completion OPT. This option is always authorized as full-time work.

  • 24-Month STEM Extension: This extension provides for an additional 24 months of OPT. Students who have graduated with a degree in a STEM field may be eligible for this extension. The student must have a job offer from a company enrolled in E-verify and may only work for companies enrolled in E-Verify while on this extension.

  • Cap-Gap Extension: This allows for students with an H-1B application (approved or pending), to remain in F-1 status between the date when the status and OPT work authorization would otherwise end and October 1, which is the first day of H-1B status. If the H-1B application was appropriately filed prior to the student’s OPT expiration, this will extend both status and work authorization. It is an automatic extension; the student does not need to apply for it.

Additional Resources