International Student Employment

TOPICS:

On-Campus Employment

F-1 EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS

  • Must be a full-time student, in status.
  • Employment must be on the school's premises but also can be with an on-location commercial firm providing on-campus services for the students (i.e. bookstore or cafeteria).
  • Must be in good academic standing at the college.
  • Must maintain a full course of study (minimum of 12 credits per semester).
  • Employment may not be more than 20 hours per week except during holidays and official school breaks and vacation period and then it can be full time.

Before you can work on campus you must do the following:

  • Meet with the International Student Advisor to discuss type of employment, hours, maintaining status, taxes and obtain a social security card.
  • Obtain a letter from your campus employer stating the nature of the job and work hours.
  • For social security purposes, obtain a letter from the International Student Advisor authorizing your employment and certifying that the job qualifies as on-campus employment and you are in valid F-1 status.

J-1 EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS

  • Must be in good academic standing at the college.
  • Must maintain a full course of study (minimum of 12 credits per semester).
  • Employment may not be more than 20 hours per week except during holidays and official school breaks and annual vacation period and then, it may be full time.
  • Employment must be authorized by the RO or ARO.

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Social Security Number (SSN)

social security number is an identification number required for working in the U.S. If you plan to engage in lawful employment you need to apply for a social security number. Its primary purpose is to track individuals for tax purposes. Each individual may have only one social security number. Keep this card in a safe place with your other important documents and do not give this information to anyone online or an unauthorized person. Check with the International Student Advisor for information on obtaining a social security number.

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Off-Campus Employment/Economic Hardship

If you are an international student who is experiencing unforeseen financial hardship then you may be eligible for off-campus employment. The student's economic situation must be urgent, serious and unforeseen. Eligibility requirements:

  • F-1 student in status for at least one full academic year.
  • Prove to USCIS that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his/her control that arose AFTER obtaining F-1 status.

The off-campus employment can be any job and does not need to be in your field of study. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week and full time during official school breaks. You must still be enrolled in full-time coursework.  Duration of employment is for one year at a time until your program end date or whichever is shorter. This type of employment ends if you transfer to another school.  All off-campus employment must be approved by USCIS.  You must receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) from USCIS before you can begin any work. You should make an appointment with the International Student Advisor to discuss eligibility and the application process.

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Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization that allows an F-1 student to complete an internship/training off-campus that is an integral part of Champlain College's curriculum for a program of study. Only required internships that are essential for the completion of a degree and directly related to an established curriculum qualify as CPT.

To be eligible for CPT you must:

  • Be an F-1 student registered for a full course load (at least 12 credits) during the academic year.
  • Have completed a full academic year (fall and spring).
  • Be enrolled in a class requiring employment/internship.
  • Have a job offer listing name of company, company address, position offered and start/end dates.

CPT can either be part-time employment (20 hours or less per week) while school is in session (spring/fall) and full-time employment (maximum of 40 hours per week) while school is not in session.The International Student Advisor may authorize CPT after verification that you meet all the eligibility requirements for CPT. The International Student Advisor issues a new I-20 with the specified employment authorization. No Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS is required. Students must obtain CPT authorization BEFORE beginning employment.Please note that F-1 students with 12 months or more of full-time CPT authorization are not eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Checklist for CPT

CPT Certification form

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 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that gives F-1 students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. 12 months of OPT is available at each degree level for use either pre- and/or post- completion of studies.

PRE-COMPLETION OPT

  • Pre-completion OPT is work authorization before the student's program end date.
  • Student may file for pre-completion OPT up to 90 days before being enrolled for one full academic year provided the period of employment will not start prior to the completion of one full year.
  • Employment must be in the student's field of study.
  • Student with approved pre-completion OPT may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. A student who are eligible to register for next term and who plan to do so may have approval to work full time when school is not in session.
  • Student with approved pre-completion OPT is not subjected to the "90 day unemployment" provision.
  • Separate application & fee for pre-completion and post-completion OPT is required.

POST-COMPLETION OPT

  • An F-1 student may be authorized to participate in post-completion OPT upon completion of studies. 
  • Must maintain full-time F-1 student status for at least one full academic year.
  • Previous OPT periods within the same degree level will be deducted from the 12 month total.
  • A student who uses one year or more of full-time CPT is not eligible for OPT.
  • Employment must be directly related to your academic field of study.
  • You can change employers and/or have multiple employers.
  • You do not need to have a job offer to apply for OPT.
  • Upon the start date of your OPT (as listed on your EAD card), you cannot be unemployed more than 90 days (including weekends).

WHEN TO APPLY

  • An F-1 student may apply for post-completion OPT up to 90 days before their program end date and up to 60 days after their program end date.
  • Authorization for OPT is granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
  • Checklist for "When and How to Apply for OPT"

OPT REPORTING RESPONSIBILITIES

  • You continue to be in F-1 student status while on OPT and Champlain College is responsible for reporting your status and updating your SEVIS record.
  • Upon receipt of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) you must provide the International Student Advisor/DSO with a copy.
  • You must notify the International Student Advisor/DSO within 10 days of any address change while participating on OPT.
  • You must provide the International Student Advisor/DSO with the name, address and contact information of your employer.
  • While on OPT you must contact the International Student Advisor/DSO every 6 months to verify your employment status.
  • You must submit to the International Student Advisor/DSO a reliable email address or contact information to receive information pertinent to your status.
  • Please sign Acknowledgement of Responsibilities form.
  • Check USCIS website for more information.

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 STEM Extension OPT

 The 17-month STEM Extension OPT is practical work experience in your field of study beyond completion of the 12 months of regular OPT for a maximum of 29 months.

ELIGIBILITY
  • A student who has already been approved for 12 months of post-completion OPT AND
  • Has earned a degree in a field included on the US government's list of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields AND
  • Who is employed in a job directly related to his/her field of study AND
  • Who is working for an employer that is enrolled in the US government's E-Verify program.

All four of the above criteria must be met in order for a student to be eligible for the 17-month STEM extension OPT.

STEM FIELDS

If you have earned a degree in a field that is listed on the US government's official STEM field list, you may be eligible for an additional 17 months of OPT. In order to verify your degree, look for the Primary Major code on your page 3 of your I-20. In the CIP code column of the "Department of Homeland Security STEM Designated Degree Program list.

E-VERIFY

In partnership with the Social Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security maintains a database system call E-Verify. It allows the participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly-hired employees. For more information visit www.dhs.gov/e-verify.

APPLICATION FOR 17-MONTH STEM EXTENSION OPT

Student must apply prior to the expiration of the first 12 months of regular OPT. USCIS must receive the application packet before the expiration date of the initial OPT in order for it to be properly or timely filed. The application (I-765 Employment Authorization) for STEM Extension cannot be filed any sooner than 90 days before the current EAD expiration date.If the application for the 17-month OPT STEM Extension is successfully received by USCIS prior to the expiration of your initial OPT period, you may continue employment until the application is processed or until 180 days have passed, whichever is sooner.

REPORTING RESPONSIBILITIES
  • You must report to Champlain College, international student advisor/DSO every six (6) months as to your employment status.  Name of employer, your job title and work contact information must be reported.
  • A copy of your approved Employment Authorization Document must be sent to Champlain College, international student advisor/DSO.
  • You must report to the international student advisor/DSO any change in name, address or status within 10 days.
  • A current email address must be maintained in order to receive any pertinent information from the college.

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STEM Extension Checklist and Information

STEM Extension Request Form

STEM Extension Employer Form


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