F-1 Work Authorization

EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS

F-1 students are eligible for a range of employment options while studying in the U.S. 

  1. On-campus employment does not require prior permission.  It is limited to 20 hours per week or less while enrolled for full-time courses.  Please see the link on the left for more information.
  2. Curricular Practical Training, or "CPT", is recommended and approved by your UGA immigration advisor.  It does not require an application to the U.S. government, and so can be approved quite quickly - usually within one week.  See more information about CPT below.
  3. Optional Practical Training, or "OPT" is recommended by your UGA immigration advisor, but must be approved by the U.S. government, after you make an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  This can take several months to process, and requires the payment of a government fee.  See more information about OPT below.

 See the column to the left for links to all necessary information and forms regarding these employment options. 


CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT):

Without prior authorization, F-1 students are not allowed to work off-campus at any time during your program of study.  One type of work authorization is Curricular Practical Training, or CPT.  Work may qualify for CPT if it is employment, paid or unpaid, that relates directly to the student's field of study and that is tied to an internship course that is required or essential to the student's degree program.  So, the student would need to take a course, during the time that s/he is working, that is tied to the work he/she will be doing.  The student must be enrolled at UGA for 1 academic year before s/he can begin CPT.

More information is available on the CPT Information Sheet (see the link to the left) and in the online workshop listed in Step 1 below.


The process for applying for CPT is as follows:

1.  Online workshop completion: If you wish to apply for CPT, you must complete the online workshop available at: http://international.uga.edu/issis/cpt_workshop.  Please review the workshop all the way to the end and fill out the form certifying your completion.  This workshop is required before you can meet with an advisor to discuss CPT, even during walk-in hours.

2.  CPT application completion: You must also complete the OPT application in the iStart Portal at http://istart.uga.edu.  Detailed instructions on how to use this form are available on the CPT Application Process handout: http://issis.uga.edu/docs/Student_Section/F1_CPT_application_process.pdf.  After you submit your form, your academic advisor will also be asked to submit a form through iStart.   

3. ISSIS Advisor Review: A Student Advisor will review the complete application and notify the student when a decision is made.  If the application is approved, a new I-20 with the CPT recommendation will be processed and placed at the front desk for student pick up.



OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT):

There are three types of OPT authorization:

  1. Pre-completion OPT;
  2. Post-completion OPT, and
  3. STEM OPT Extension (available only to students who majored in and completed a degree in the Science, Technology, Engineering or Math fields). 

More information is available on the OPT Information Sheet (see the link to the left) and in the online workshop listed in Step 1 below.

The process for applying for OPT is as follows.  You must complete these steps in order.

  1. Online workshop completion: If you wish to apply for OPT, you must complete the online workshop available at: international.uga.edu/issis/opt_workshop.  We will not  process your request for OPT until we verify that the workshop has been completed in full.  We will receive notification when you have completed the workshop.  This workshop is required before you can meet with an advisor to discuss OPT, even during walk-in hours.
  2. OPT application completion: You must also complete the OPT application in the iStart Portal at http://istart.uga.edu.  Detailed instructions on how to use this form are available on the OPT Application Process handout: http://issis.uga.edu/docs/Student_Section/F1_OPT_application_process.pdf      (Please note: This is the first of several benefit forms which will become available in the iStart portal in the coming months.)
  3. In-person Question and Answer session: AFTER completing Steps 1 and 2, you may then sign up to attend a Q&A session held at OIE.  These Q&A sessions will be geared toward application review only.  The Q&A session is not mandatory, but if you wish to attend you must email issis@uga.edu to register for a session.

You may begin applying for Post-Completion OPT 90 days before completion of your academic program. Do not apply early.


 See the column to the left for links to all necessary information and forms regarding these employment options.