International Students

Employment Overview, Eligibility and Processes

United States Citizenship & Immigration Services – Includes information about working in the United States including eligibility, application process, period of stay, H1-B visa caps and more.

Federal law limits the kinds of employment an international student with F-1 visa status may undertake in the United States. This includes paid internships, unpaid internships, part-time/full-time employment and all volunteer work. This does not include on campus employment or on campus internships. Students looking to pursue internships off campus must apply for CPT (Curricular Practical Training). Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an authorized period of employment that is an integral or important part of a student’s curriculum. Internships must be registered for credit (.25-12). You must complete one full academic year/two full semesters in a full time status at Augustana to be eligible.

EMPLOYMENT AFTER GRADUATION

Upon graduation, all international students are eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). This provides 12 months of off-campus employment authorization for students on F-1 Employment must be directly related to the student’s major, but the student can apply for OPT work authorization before having received a job offer. Students with majors in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are eligible for a 24month extension, or a total of 36 months of OPT work authorization.

Augustana College Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Policies and Procedures

What is CPT?
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an authorized period of employment that is an integral or important part of a student’s curriculum. CPT for F-1 students is intended to provide hands-on practical work experience and serve as an integral component to a student’s major. Any experience an international student completes off campus related to their major is considered an internship.  The internship must be completed prior to graduation and must be registered for credit (0.25-12) through CORE or academic major department.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the authority to make determinations regarding the activities of international students in the U.S. The Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to make determinations regarding services, compensation, and the nature of work, for international student workers. In order for Augustana to remain compliant with federal guidelines/laws, proper CPT processes must be followed.

What is considered an Internship that would require a CPT?
Federal law severely limits the kinds of employment an international student with F-1 visa status may undertake in the United States. CPT provides students with the ability to complete experiences that directly relate to their major.  Any experience an international student completes off campus related to their field of study is considered an internship.  This includes paid internships, unpaid internships, part-time employment, full-time employment and all volunteer work.  Students are required to request a CPT and register the experience for at least 0.25 credit through CORE or their academic major department.

Eligibility for obtaining CPT Work Authorization

  • You must maintain valid F-1 D/S status.
  • Internship is registered for course credit (0.25-12 credits through CORE or academic major department)
  • Have completed one full academic year/the previous two semesters in full time status at Augustana.
  • Be in good academic and social standing with the college.
  • Major must be declared through the Registrar’s Office
  • You must have an employer for CPT – you cannot be self-employed.

Federal CPT Guidelines

  • You must obtain CPT authorization prior to the employment start date.
  • There is no limit on the length of time you may participate in CPT, but if you participate for twelve months or more of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for optional practical training (OPT).
  • If you have already completed all course/unit requirements for your degree you are not eligible for CPT.
  • If you are participating in CPT in your final term, the last day of employment cannot exceed your program end date in the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Fall Semester, J-Term, and Spring Semester CPT
Employment is limited to part-time (20 hrs/week or less) during the academic school year (Fall Semester, J-Term and Spring Semester).  At Augustana College, students are allotted 34 credits during the academic school year.  If a student takes more than 34 credits, they will be required to pay an overload fee.  Overload fees for the 2023-2024 academic year are $2,015. If you are planning to request CPT work authorization, plan your credits accordingly with your academic advisor to avoid fees.

Summer CPT
Full-time (20 hours or more per week) employment is allowed for all continuing students in the summer. The start date for your summer internship can be the day after spring term officially ends up to the last day of the summer (day before fall classes begin). Summer credits are not included in the academic year tuition. In addition, summer tuition is not covered by financial aid.  Summer tuition for 2023 was $954 per credit hour.

How to find an Internship for CPT
Research opportunities for internships using Handshake and the resources available through the Career Development Office. Students can meet with their career coach to gain a better understanding of the available opportunities and expectations associated with off-campus internships. To schedule a meeting with your career coach, click on Handshake’s appointment module and click on your major.

How to Apply for CPT
Once you have been offered an internship related to your major ask your employer for a letter of employment, to be written on letterhead and signed by your site supervisor that provides the following information: Job Title, Beginning and ending dates of employment, Wage/Salary being paid, Number of hours per week to be worked, Place of employment, Brief description of work.

After you have obtained the letter from your employer, schedule an International Student Internship Registration (CPT) appointment through the Handshake appointment module. At this meeting you can expect to discuss the internship course you’re required to complete and complete the registration process for the internship course. Once your internship has been registered you will need to make a CPT appointment with the Office for International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) and update your I-20 to reflect your CPT work authorization. You must bring the following to your CPT appointment with OISS or your CPT work authorization will not be approved: Unofficial transcript from Arches, Letter of Employment, Passport, visa, and current I-20

Academic Credit Policies and Information
CPT experiences must be registered as internships for at least 0.25 credits. Internships are registered through the Assistant Director of Internships in CORE. Internships must be registered by the published Course Add deadlines for each term. Internships registered after that deadline are subject to late registration fees.

  • According to the federal government guidelines, a 0 credit internship is not an option for CPT work authorizations
  • 25 credit internships do not count toward course load limits and are not subject to overload fees. 0.25 credit internships do not cost anything over the summer
  • Students are limited to two (2) 0.25 credit internships total, so make sure you keep that in mind when planning your internship/CPT experiences!

For more information, visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sevis-help-hub/student-records/fm-student-employment/f-1-curricular-practical-training-cpt

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT RESOURCES

General Resources

  • GoinGlobal – Access GoinGlobal through Handshake to learn cultural advice such as U.S. office protocol, business practices and more. GoinGlobal also includes city guides for major US & Canadian Cities and a database of which companies in each city have submitted the greatest number of H1B visa petitions
  • Office of Foreign Labor Certification – Access program data including visa petitions filed and granted by state and a list of organizations filing visa petitions. Also includes information for employers seeking to hire foreign workers.

Publications

  • Equal Opportunity Publications – Online hub to some of the most popular diversity career-related magazines, including Equal Opportunity, Minority Engineer, and Hispanic Career World.

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