Employment

Employment

International students’ primary role, while under F-1 Status, is to study and make academic progress towards their degree. Work permission is a secondary benefit to their student status. That is why they must show proof of financial support for the duration of their studies, as employment authorization is limited, and pay is usually inadequate to fund all expenses. International students may be eligible to work, under defined circumstances, but they must be properly authorized.

On-Campus Employment (OCE)

OCE is work that takes place either at CUNY SPH or at any other CUNY location. The work can be for an on-campus commercial business (such as a bookstore or cafeteria) as long as the work directly provides services for students.

Requirements
  • Students must be enrolled full-time and maintaining F-1 Status.
  • Students may not work more than 20 hours/week when school is in session. They may work more hours during school breaks.
Process

Before accepting any employment offer and beginning work, international students must make an appointment with their DSO and bring to the scheduled meeting:

  • Original employment offer letter
  • Previous Employment Verification (if any)
  • W-9 Form complete, dated, and signed (if students already have a SSN). This document cannot be submitted electronically since it contains sensitive identification information. If this is their first job in the U.S. and students do not have a SSN yet, the DSO will prepare a letter to be taken to the SSA for them to attain one.
Authorization

Upon receiving all documentation, the DSO will sign a new Employment Verification for that term.

Application Period & Deadline

OCE applications may be submitted any time, but its authorization will be given only until the end of current term.

Notes
  • Newly arrived students who entered the U.S. in Initial SEVIS status to begin a new program can begin on-campus employment no more than 30 days prior to the actual start of classes.
  • Employment Verification must be signed every semester in which students intend to engage in OCE.
  • Students must notify their DSO of changes in employment, including in work hours, immediately by submitting a revised offer letter to ISO.
  • Working more hours than authorized or beyond the dates authorized is a violation of Status. In such cases, the DSO must terminate the students’ SEVIS record. This will render students ineligible to continue their studies, and make them in unlawful presence in the U.S. Students will be required to leave the U.S. immediately.

Curricular Practicum Training (CPT)

CPT is the type of training that is required for completion of a degree program or for which credit is awarded. It must be an integral part of the curriculum, such as Fieldwork/Internship.

Requirements
  • Work must be in students’ field of study.
  • Students must be enrolled full-time for at least one year and maintaining F-1 Status.
  • Students must have an official employment offer.
  • Authorization must be given by DSO before students begin work.
  • Students must read the CPT Handout carefully for more details.
Process

Before beginning work, international students must make an appointment with their DSO and bring to the scheduled meeting:

  • Original employment offer letter.
  • Copy of Fieldwork/Internship fully executed contract.
  • CPT Request Form filled out entirely electronically.
  • W-9 Form complete, dated, and signed (if students already have a SSN). This document cannot be submitted electronically since it contains sensitive identification information. If this is their first job in the U.S. and students do not have a SSN yet, the DSO will prepare a letter to be taken to the SSA for them to attain one.
Authorization

Upon receiving all documentation, the DSO will issue a new I-20 with CPT authorization.

Application Period & Deadline

ISO must receive the complete CPT application packet prior to the official beginning of the semester in which the Fieldwork/Internship will take place.

Notes
  • International students must receive two separate approvals to do the Fieldwork/Internship:

a) Academic Permission: upon approval of placement and scope of work, and full execution of contract, the course instructor must provide permission to the Registrar Office to allow students to register for this class.

b) Work Authorization: approval given by the DSO allowing international students to carry out the work activities related to this class.

  • CPT authorization is only given for the duration of the term in which the Fieldwork/Internship takes place.
  • The use of 12 months or more of full-time CPT renders students ineligible for OPT. Part-time CPT does not.
  • Students must notify their DSO of changes in employment immediately, including in work hours, by submitting a revised offer letter to the ISO.
  • Working more hours than authorized or beyond the dates authorized is a violation of Status. In such cases, the DSO must terminate the student’s SEVIS record. This will render students ineligible to continue their studies, and make them in unlawful presence in the U.S. Students will be required to leave the U.S. immediately.

Optional Practicum Training (OPT)

OPT is another type of practical training available to non-immigrant students, which it is not an integral part of a student’s academic program.

Requirements
  • Work must be in students’ field of study.
  • Students must be enrolled full-time for at least one year and maintaining F-1 status, and not have had OPT approved before for the same educational level.
  • Students do not need to have an employment offer by the time the application is submitted, but may not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment after initial OPT is effective.
  • Authorization must be given by USCIS before students begin work.
  • Students must read the OPT Handout carefully for more details.
Process

In the beginning of their last semester, international students must make an appointment with their DSO and bring to the scheduled meeting:

  • Completed OPT Request Form.
  • Completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, following the instructions provided in the OPT handbook.
  • Completed Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance.
  • Original employment offer letter (if one exists). This is optional.
  • Current I-94 Admission Record. Please I-94 Retrieval Process to retrieve your most recent document.
  • Original of all previous I-20 forms (pages 1 & 2, of new form) (pages 1 & 3, of old form).
  • Any previous Employment Authorization Card(s) (EAD – I-766).
  • Application fee of $410.00 (check or money order) made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. On the memo line in the lower left corner, write your I-94 number and SEVIS number. Please bring an extra check in case we find any mistake.
  • You must submit two identical color photographs of yourself taken within 30 days of filing your application. The photos must have a white to off-white background, be printed on thin paper with a glossy finish, and be unmounted and unretouched. The passport-style photos must be 2” by 2”. The photos must be in color with full face, frontal view on a white to off-white background. Your head must be bare unless you are wearing headwear as required by a religious order of which you are a member. Using pencil, lightly print your name and I-94 number, and SEVIS number on the back of the photographs.
Authorization

Upon receiving all documentation, the DSO will issue a new I-20 with OPT authorization, which should be included in the application.

Application Period & Deadline

USCIS must receive the OPT application no sooner than 90 days before the program end date; no later than 60 days after the program end date; and no later than 30 days after the DSO submits the OPT recommendation on SEVIS.

Notes
  • Students are eligible for a maximum of 12 months of OPT at one educational level.
  • Each day (including holidays and weekends) during the period of approved OPT that the student does not have qualifying employment counts as a day of unemployment. Students may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment during their initial period of OPT, or else it will be considered as a violation of status.
  • It takes USCIS 60-90 days to process OPT requests. Students who submit the application early on will get their EAD closer to their graduation (if approved), this way accumulating fewer days of unemployment. Those who submit their application later on may prolong their stay for a couple of months (if approved), but will accumulate more days of unemployment and have their OPT period shortened.
  • OPT period must be completed within 14 months from the program end date. This provides some buffer to allow for adjudication time. However, in no case will a student be approved to work more than 12 months of OPT.
  • Students cannot leave the country while their OPT application is still pending and they have not yet received their EAD.
  • Students who complete their program of study and decide not to apply for OPT or do not qualify for it have 60 days to a) leave the country, b) Transfer-Out to another program of study, c) submit application for Change of Status.
  • Students must notify their DSO of changes in employment immediately, including in work hours, by submitting a revised offer letter to ISO.
  • Working more hours than authorized or beyond the dates authorized is a violation of Status. In such cases, the DSO must terminate the student’s SEVIS record. This will render students ineligible to continue their studies, and make them in unlawful presence in the U.S. Students will be required to leave the U.S. immediately.