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Terra Dotta

Employment

Campus

As an F-1 or J-1 student, you may find that you are interested in work opportunities in the US.  Work may provide you with additional funds, or beneficial opportunities for you to practice your skills. 

It is important to remember that the US government defines “work” as any activity that someone would normally be paid to perform.  Even if you are not being paid, you still may need authorization.  Always check with OISS before accepting any position, even if it is unpaid or “volunteer”.  We will help you meet your goals in a legal way. 

 

On-Campus Employment

Curricular Practical Training

Optional Practical Training

Academic Training

On-Campus Employment

F-1 Students are eligible to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters, and up to 40 hours per week during the Winter and Summer semesters. On-campus employment can include work conducted at on-campus facilities such as the dining hall, library, or offices on-campus, as well as with associated businesses on-campus, such as the Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Before you accept any employment, you should check with the OISS to confirm if this opportunity is valid. If you require a social security number, or if your potential employer requires verification that you are eligible to work, you should complete and submit the On-Campus Employment Eligibility Form.

J-1 Students: All on-campus employment must be approved in advance and in writing by OISS. In order to request on-campus employment, you must submit an “On-Campus Employment (J) Application” through your Terra Dotta Student Portal before the start of employment to OISS. On-campus employment may be granted for up to 12 months at a time. If your on-campus employment will last more than 12 months, you are required to submit an updated offer letter every year.

J-1 students requesting on-campus employment must be in good academic standing and continue to engage in a full course of study at UD. If approved, J-1 Students are eligible to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters, and up to 40 hours per week during the Winter and Summer semesters.

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular practical training, or CPT, is training that is both related and required by all students in a specific program, or all students in a specific course.

These experiences may include alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Students can engage in CPT on a part-time basis (no more than 20 hrs/week) during the Fall and Spring semesters. Students can apply for full-time CPT (more than 20 hrs/week) during the Winter and Summer semesters. Graduate students in sustaining status can also engage in full-time CPT; authorization ends once the dissertation has been defended. To apply for CPT, the student must submit a completed “CPT form” (available at the OISS website) along with the necessary documents listed on the form. Once the CPT is approved, the school official will issue a new I-20 reflecting the work authorization.

Eligibility Conditions

To be considered for CPT authorization, you must meet the following conditions (in addition to the basic requirements listed above):

  1. Must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a DHS-approved school for one full academic year. (Exception exists for graduate students whose programs require immediate curricular training.)
  2. Must currently be in valid F-1 student status and in good academic standing. CPT will NOT be approved for graduate students with GPA less than 3.0 and undergraduate students with GPA less than 2.0.
  3. Continue to be enrolled for a full course of study, or otherwise considered full-time during the CPT in fall and spring semesters. This may include students on sustaining status.
  4. Employment must not only be related to your major field of study, but must also be a required part of the program or course. A good test for "required" would to ask the question, "Can I graduate without this training opportunity?" or "Is this training required as part of a course or program, such as internship credits, that count towards my degree?" The answer to the first question should be "no" or the answer to the second should be "yes".
  5. Must complete the CPT Eligibility Form for Graduate Students or Undergraduate Students and submit all required documents by the drop/add deadline of the semester in which the CPT will be used
  6. Employment must be authorized before you begin working even if you are not yet being paid!

CPT Application Procedures

  • Meet with your Academic Advisor/Graduate Advisor to discuss appropriate employment opportunities for your major.
  • Find an temporary internship, co-op, or practicum. UD’s Career Services Center may be able to assist you in this process.
  • Complete the CPT Application for Graduate or Undergraduate Students, which includes:
  • Obtain an electronic recommendation form and obtain the necessary approval and signature from your Academic Advisor/Graduate Advisor.
  • Upload an offer letter, on official letterhead, from your hiring company indicating the following:
    • Description and responsibilities of the appointment
    • Exact address and location of the CPT
    • Start and end dates of the appointment
    • Number of hours per week
    • Supervisor’s contact information and signature
  • Please submit all of your materials via the Terra Dotta Systems application no later than 2 weeks prior to your intended employment start date. Please allow 2 weeks for OISS to process your request. You will receive an email to your UD email address when your I-20 is ready for pick-up or if there is a concern regarding your application.

Remember, you are not permitted to begin employment prior to authorization. This includes unpaid work. OISS will not back-date employment authorization.

NOTE: Accepting work appointments without the proper authorization is a serious violation of student F-1 status. Failure to comply with all immigration regulations may cause a student to not be eligible for benefits normally granted to F-1 students and, in some situations, may cause the student to be subject to deportation. CPT may be for 20 hours per week (part time) or for more than 20 hours per week (full time). Students who accumulate 12 months of full-time CPT will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) at the time of degree completion. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility. Once a student has filed an application for OPT, the student may not apply for CPT. A CPT application is employer specific and must be made for each experience; that is, if a student changes companies or places of work during the approved CPT period, the student must submit a new CPT application. (Students in the English Language Institute are not eligible for CPT or OPT.)



Optional Practical Training

An F-1 student may be eligible for up to 12 months of optional practical training at each level of F-1 status. Employment must be directly related to the student’s major field of study.

Eligible students may apply for "pre-completion OPT " (before completion of program) and/or "post-completion OPT " after completion of program). Although students may engage in both pre-completion and standard post-completion OPT, the maximum amount of time that can be granted for all standard OPT combined is 12 months per educational level.

Students do not need a job offer in order to apply for OPT. Students recommended for OPT will receive a new SEVIS I-20 with an OPT recommendation notation. Students need to have authorization from USCIS before they can begin employment. Students can apply for post OPT 90 days prior to graduation or 60 days after graduation. Once the student applies, the authorization can take up to 90 days to obtain.

Eligibility for OPT

To be eligible for OPT, students must meet the following conditions (in addition to the basic requirements listed above):

  1. Must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis* at a DHS-approved school for one full academic year.
  2. Must continue to be enrolled for a full course of study during the Pre-OPT
  3. Employment must be related to your major field of study
  4. Students enrolled in English language training programs are not eligible for OPT

OPT Application Procedures

  1. Complete the OPT Application for Graduate Students or Undergraduate Students via Terra Dotta Systems.
  2. Follow additional instructions within the application on the appropriate items to bring with you during your appointment with an OISS Advisor.


Topics on OPT

OPT can be complex. Choose one of the following topics for more information.

Academic Training for J-1 Students

Students on a J-1 student visa are eligible for employment through "Academic Training" for up to 18 months or the length of the program, whichever is shorter. More than 18 months can be approved only if it is necessary to satisfy the mandatory requirements of his or her degree program. Doctoral students might be eligible for an additional 18 months of post-doctoral academic training. The total training period may not exceed the period of full course of study, meaning that if the full course of doctoral study is less than 36 months, academic training would be limited to that lesser duration. The training must be related to the student's field of study. It is available before completion of your program of study as well as afterwards. As long as you stay within the stipulated time limits, it lets you work part-time during the academic year (Fall & Spring) and full-time during Winter and Summer; Students on sustain status may be eligible for Full-time employment. Nondegree students are eligible to participate in academic training, but are also subject to the requirement that time in academic training not exceed the time spent in the program of study, and that the student be primarily in the United States to study rather than engage in academic training.

To qualify for Academic Training, you must first obtain approval in writing from your J-1 Responsible Officer (at OISS). He or she must evaluate the proposed employment in terms of your program of study and your individual circumstances, and then decide whether it would be appropriate or not.

Eligibility for Academic Training

  1. Your primary purpose in the United States must be study rather than Academic Training.
  2. You must be in good academic standing at the school named on your Form DS-2019.
  3. The proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study.
  4. Throughout your Academic Training you must maintain permission to stay in the United States, in J-1 student status, and apply for extensions as necessary.
  5. You must maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependents throughout your Academic Training.

Limitations

  1. Your employment may be authorized for "the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training, provided that the amount of time... is approved by [both] the academic dean or advisor and... the responsible officer, "to quote the regulations. It may not exceed the period of full course of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter. If you receive a Ph.D., however, your "post-doctoral training" may last as long as 36 months. Additional Academic Training, beyond the 18 or 36-month limit, is allowed only if it is required for the degree. The total training period may not exceed the period of full course of study.
  2. Part-time employment for Academic Training counts against the 18 or 36-month limit the same as full-time employment.
  3. Earning more than one degree does not increase your eligibility for Academic Training.
  4. Academic Training approved after completion of your program must be reduced by any prior periods of "Academic Training."
  5. Unpaid Academic Training following completion of the degree program is permissible only if the student has adequate financial support for the duration of the program such as from the home government.
  6. If you plan to leave the United States after you complete your program of study and reenter the country for J-1 Academic Training, you must obtain authorization before you leave. Otherwise, you will have trouble reentering. Consult your J-1 Responsible Officer for advice.

Application Procedures for Academic Training

  1. Complete the J-1 Student Academic Training Application via the OISS Portal in Terra Dotta Systems.
  2. Once approved you will be sent an email to pick up your new DS-2019 with Academic Training authorization at the OISS.

Important: Please submit all of your materials via the Terra Dotta Systems application no later than 2 weeks prior to your intended employment start date. For any questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment with an advisor, please contact oiss@udel.edu