Off-Campus Employment Authorization
All off-campus work requires work authorization. This includes:
• Required, paid internships off the campus
• Summer off-campus employment
Receiving a benefit in exchange for services rendered (i.e., free room/board for babysitting or free rent for being a caretaker of an apartment building) is considered to be employment and would require work permission. This type of work is only authorized by Off Campus Work Permission Based on Unforeseen Financial Change or Special Student Relief.
Application – see the information below for Curricular Practical Training and make an appointment with an International Student Advisor.
Off-Campus Employment Based on Unforeseen Financial Change
Off-campus work permission is authorized by USCIS and is based on a student's unforeseen change in financial circumstances, his or her ability to demonstrate economic hardship, and his or her ability to document that she or he was unable to obtain on-campus employment or that such employment is insufficient.
• Authorization covers a period of one year or less, depending on the student's completion date of his/her program.
• Authorization allows a student to work up to 20 hours per week on or off the campus and full-time during the semester breaks and the summer vacation period.
• Employment under this type of authorization does not need to be related to a student's field of study.
• An extension of off-campus work permission is possible if the student is still pursuing the same program of study at the same school and can document that the financial situation still exists.
• Student must have been in legal F-1 status at Morris for at least one academic year.
• Student must be able to document the unforeseen change in financial circumstances.
• Student must be able to document economic hardship.
• Student must be able to document his/her inability to obtain on-campus employment and/or salary of on-campus employment is insufficient.
• Student must have a valid passport.
Set up an appointment with International Student Program adviser if you would like to apply for economic hardship.
• The International Student Program must process a recommendation on the application before it can be mailed to USCIS.
• It may take USCIS up to 120 days to process an application.
• The application fee is $410 and is not refundable if the application is denied.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization that allows a student to work in a job related to his/her field.
• A student may not begin employment until s/he has the CPT authorization in hand.
• CPT authorization must be based on the academic program reflected on student’s current I-20.
• International Student Program authorizes CPT; authorization is noted on new I-20 issued.
• Authorization for CPT is employer specific and reflects a start and end date.
• CPT authorization cannot be voided if a student terminates employment.
• CPT can be used while a student is pursuing a degree.
• USCIS regulations state that a student is not able to deliberately prolong his/her date of completion to take advantage of CPT.
• CPT authorization cannot exceed the period of one year per application.
• CPT authorization may be part-time or full-time depending on eligibility requirements.
• Non-degree seeking students are eligible to apply for CPT.
• Students who have received one year or more of full-time CPT are not eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training and/or a Program Extension.
• Students who have been granted a Program Extension are not eligible to pursue full-time CPT.
Types of CPT Training F-1 Students
CPT - Internship (paid) Required by Program
• Internship must be required for the completion of the degree program.
• Authorization may be part-time or full-time depending on the internship requirement.
• Students are required to document the program’s internship requirement.
CPT - Elective Internship/Employment
• Available to students who want to gain practical work experience related to their field of study.
• Must be based on the student receiving course credit to participate in the employment. Some established curriculums have courses that would meet this requirement or a student can arrange a Directed Study or Independent Study course. It is important that the course requires the employment with a specified begin and end date.
• Student must receive an Incomplete in the course until the period of CPT has been satisfied.
Extension of CPT
• Available if student has not completed program requirements.
• Extension of one month or less is possible based on current authorization by submitting to an International Student Program adviser the Form I-20 and the letter/document described below:
• Required internship: Letter from college/department verifying need to extend internship to complete program
• Elective Internship/Employment: Letter from course instructor stating the requirement of the course has been extended. Letter should state the revised end date.
• Extensions of more than one month of CPT require a new application and, for elective CPT, a new course registration.
1. Fill out the Internship Approval form at the bottom of the Internship Application Procedures page.
2. Make an appointment with the International Student Program adviser.
Employer Change Under CPT
• Submit to an ISP adviser your Form I-20 and a letter from your course or internship instructor stating the requirement of the course has changed in terms of employer. The instructor’s letter must state the name of the new employer, address, and the effective date.
• CPT authorization for new employer must be in hand before a student can begin new employment.
Optical Practical Training
Additional Information about applying for Pre or Post Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is permission for off-campus employment granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). OPT enables students to gain work experience in their field of study. 12 months of OPT is available for F-1 students. OPT may be used before or after completion of a program. Students with certain majors in science, technology, engineering, or math may be eligible for a 24-month extension of post-completion OPT (for more information about the 24-month extension). International Student Programs must recommend, to USCIS, OPT for a student. USCIS then provides final approval and issues an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Individuals must have an EAD before they can begin OPT employment. OPT authorization granted by USCIS cannot be changed, voided, or canceled.
• Completed one academic year of full-time study
• Valid F-1 status
• Good academic standing
• Employment must be in the student's major field of study
• Have not regained legal status through reentry during the previous academic year
• Academic Year
During fall and /or spring semesters and student has not completed required coursework. On and off campus work combined may not exceed a total of 20 hours per week.
• Vacation Period
Authorization may be part-time or full-time.
When to Apply
• Pre-completion Applications: Can be submitted to International Student Program 100 days before your requested employment starting date.
• Post-completion Applications: Can be submitted to International Student Program 100 days before your expected date of completion.
Step 1: Request an OPT recommendation from International Student Program.
International Student Program must process a recommendation for your OPT request. We will prepare a new I-20. This process requires at least five working days to complete.
Step 2: Submit the following items to USCIS.
• Original Form I-765 (Keep a copy for your record).
• Cover letter that clearly states your desired start date for OPT.
• Photocopy of I-20 page 1 with your signature and page three with OPT recommendation.
• Include photocopies of pages 1 and 3 of previous I-20s. Do not mail original I-20s.
• Print out of your I-94 number. You can retrieve your I-94 number online, using your passport information, and print it out from this website
• Two color photos.The instructions with Form I-765 provide detailed photo requirement information. Print full name and most recent Form I-94 number in pencil on the back of each photo. Place the photos in a clear plastic bag or an envelope and staple it to the application. Academic Center for Enrichment (ACE) office (Basement of the Student Center) offers photography service.
• Photocopies of the identity page of your passport, entry visa stamp with a photo, and any previously issued EAD.
• Check or money order, payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for the OPT application fee, $410.
• Unofficial UMM transcript.
• Keep a copy of the above documents for your records. Staple the application materials together in the following order: Form I-765, photocopy of I-20, copies of identity verification, and the photocopy of Form I-94. The small pieces (bag/envelope containing photos and check) should be placed on the top and stapled with the entire application. Do not put staple holes in the photos. Mail the application by registered or express mail to obtain a signed receipt. Keep the receipt for your record.
• OPT applications must be received by USCIS no later than 60 days after your expected date of program completion that is listed on your I-20.
Step 3: Wait for EAD to be mailed from USCIS
• It takes approximately two to four months for USCIS to process your request and mail your EAD to the address on Form I-765. See the current processing times for I-765 (OPT) applications
• Several weeks after you apply, you should receive a receipt notice (Form I-797) in the mail from USCIS.
• You may not begin OPT employment until you have received your EAD, even if your requested start date has passed.
• You may not continue student employment (including assistantships) after the completion date in block five of your OPT I-20, even if you have not yet completed your degree. Any on or off-campus employment after this completion date must be with OPT authorization.
• The EAD will reflect the dates of your employment authorization.
Requirements while you are on OPT
• During OPT you are still in F-1 status at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Official admission to a new degree program or transfer to a new school during OPT will void any remaining time on your EAD. This time cannot be re-captured at a later date.
• You must continue to update your Current Mailing address and phone number through MyU.
• If you change your address while your OPT application is still pending, go to USCIS website to submit the changes online. Be sure to also include your current phone number.
• International Student Program (ISP) is required to have a copy of your EAD. Upon receipt of the EAD, scan and email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a copy of it to ISP. Include your U of M student ID number.
• You must report employment information to ISP within 10 days of starting or ending a job. Include the following information:
1. U of M Student ID #
2. SEVIS ID #
3. Employer's name and address including city, state, and zip code
4. Start/End date of employment
5. If your employment is full-time (more than 20 per week) or part-time (20 hours or less per week).
6. Explain how the employment is related to your major(s) (No more than 1-3 sentences)
• You may not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment during the 12-month period of initial post-completion OPT. Employment must be more than 20 hours per week. Employment may include paid employment, multiple employers, contractual relationship, self-employed business owner, employment through an agency or consulting firm, unpaid internship and volunteer work in your field. Keep written documentation of all employment. For more information about employment allowed while on OPT, check out SEVP Policy Guidance.
• If you have accumulated 90 days of unemployment, you will no longer be in F-1 status. If you contact ISSS to report this information before your status expires, you will have a 60 day grace period to depart the U.S. or gain another status. Once your F-1 status expires, you are required to leave the U.S. immediately. You will not be granted a 60 day grace period if you do not report to ISSS.
• Notify ISP if you decide to permanently depart the U.S. or have changed your visa status while still on OPT.
Study During Post-Completion OPT
F-1 regulations clearly indicate that OPT authorization is automatically terminated (a) when a student's SEVIS record is transferred to another school or (b) when a student begins study at another educational level. Beyond this, U.S. government guidance regarding the study while on OPT is limited, therefore, the interpretation of the regulations associated with study during OPT can vary from school to school. The U of M believes that a student working full-time with post-completion OPT authorization is eligible to attend school part-time. To be clear, this is the U of M's interpretation of OPT regulations. It is possible that the U.S. government or other U.S. schools might interpret OPT regulations differently.
Travel during Post-completion OPT
• Under normal circumstances, a student who has both (1) an EAD for post-completion OPT or receipt notice [Form I-797] and (2) a job or job offer, should not experience difficulty reentering the US. If either of these two conditions is missing, then the student is assuming risk.
• Travel signatures on page 2 of the I-20 are only valid for 6 months from the date of the most recent signature. If your travel signature has expired, come to ISP to request a renewal.