Know Your Status

Updated: Oct 12, 2018


It is your responsibility to educate the employer on your status. The following information will guide you.

HIRING AN F1 INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FOR AN INTERNSHIP VIA CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization that allows F-1 international students to accept training-related employment in their academic major after one (1) year of full-time study. Students that meet the CPT eligibility requirements are able to work part-time, and in some cases full-time, during the fall, spring, or summer semesters. CPT must be

directly-related to the student’s academic major.


EMPLOYER ROLE:

• CPT is solely the responsibility of the F-1 student and, other than providing an offer letter, requires no action on the part of the hiring organization.

• An offer letter must include: the dates of employment, the employer’s name and physical address, job responsibilities, and compensation.


STUDENT ROLE:

• Student must attend a mandatory CPT workshop.

• Student must submit the required CPT documentation to the CSU International Center.

• CSU international students who engage in part-time or full-time CPT must also enroll full-time in the fall and spring semesters of that academic year.


DURATION:

• Generally, one semester.

• The internship start and end dates must correspond with the University’s academic calendar for that academic year.


COST AND PROCESSING TIME:

No cost to the employer.

• Processing and approval time for CPT is generally 5 business days.


HIRING AN F1 INTERNATIONAL STUDENT VIA OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT)

• Optional Practical Training (OPT) is post-degree employment authorization that allows F-1 international students to gain practical work experience leveraging knowledge and skills associated with their major.


EMPLOYER ROLE:

• Applying for OPT is solely the responsibility of the F-1 student and requires no action on the part of the employer.

• OPT can be granted to the student with or without an offer of employment.

• Employment extension for STEM OPT students does require the prospective employer to complete and sign Form I-983 during each year of STEM OPT employment.

STUDENT ROLE:

• OPT work authorization is a two-step process:

1. The F-1 student must submit an internal application which is processed and approved by an international student advisor.

2. The F-1 student must complete the USCIS application that is necessary to secure OPT work authorization via USCIS.


COST AND PROCESSING TIME AND DURATION:

• F-1 OPT/STEM OPT does not cost the employer anything.

• The USCIS application fee is $380 and is paid directly by the student.

• The CISP processes the OPT application within 5 business days.

• The USCIS processing time for OPT takes an average of 90-days during peak application periods.

• The employee must have the EAD card and the student must complete I-9 form before they may begin work.

• 12 months for OPT and an additional 24 months for STEM OPT.


CAP GAP AND THE ISSUANCE OF A CAP GAP FORM I-20

An F-1 student who has valid OPT status at the time they receive an H1B approval from a for-profit employer (read: the employer is not Cap exempt) and who has an H1B start date on October 1st of that year is eligible to have the OPT work authorization extended until September 30th, irrespective of the expiration date on their OPT employment authorization document (EAD card).


EMPLOYER ROLE:

• The prospective H1B employer must complete a new Form I-9 for the student employee that correctly reflects F-1 Cap Gap employment.


H-1B VISA SPONSORSHIP

Applications for H1B visas are submitted to the USCIS by the sponsoring company on behalf of the international employee. Only 65,000 H1B’s are granted for prospective employees who have completed undergraduate degrees, and an additional

20,000 H1B’s are available for those who have completed graduate degrees in the U.S. At the present time, H1B supply does not meet H1B demand.


EMPLOYER ROLE:

• The employer is responsible for filing the H1B application on behalf of the international employee.

• Historically, there has been a high demand for H1B visas in the corporate, for-profit sector so it is strongly recommended that new H1B applications for for-profit employers should arrive at USCIS on April 1.


COST AND PROCESSING TIME:

• The total cost to apply for an H1B is generally between $2,500 to $5,000.

• The costs related to H1B sponsorship may not be passed to the H1B employee; it is unlawful to do so.

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