Off-Campus Employment for F-visa student - Practical Training

A F-1 student may engage in temporary employment (paid or unpaid) if the work is related to one's program of study. The purpose of Practical Training is to gain hands-on experiences that compliment the classroom learning. There are two types of Practical Training- Curricular Practical Training (during your program of study) and Optional Practical Training (after your program of study).

Please click the links below to view details of the employment options:

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT 17 month Stem Extension
H1-B Cap Gap

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

An F-1 student may be authorized by the university to participate in CPT program that is an integral part of his or her established curriculum. CPT is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum.

Students are required to attend a CPT seminar before applying for CPT. Students must attend a CPT seminar per degree level. Please allow for 5-7 business days for processing after submitting your completed CPT forms to the OISS front desk. You are required to have CPT authorization on your I-20 prior to beginning the employment. The OISS cannot authorize CPT with a start date in the past; please plan accordingly and submit your paperwork in a timely manner!

For more details on CPT please click here!

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

OPT is practical work experience in your field of study (typically after completion of a degree) and Initial OPT can last up to 12 months. Students on OPT are still considered to be F-1 students at EMU even if working elsewhere in the U.S. The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is not a working permit; it is an extension of your F1 status for the purposes of practical training.

For more details on OPT please click here!

What is the 17-month OPT STEM extension?

Students that are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors may be eligible to apply for a 17-month extension of their initial OPT.

How can I learn more about STEM OPT?

There are 2 primary ways to learn about the STEM OPT Extension:
  1. Attend an OISS OPT seminar – highly recommended if in the Ypsilanti area; see the OISS calendar for dates and times of upcoming seminars.
  2. Read the OPT Packet carefully – required of all applicants; it can be found in the "forms" section of the OISS website.

For more details on 17-month OPT STEM extension please click here!

What is H-1B "Cap Gap"

The H-1B status permits temporary employment (up to 6 years) in the U.S. for people who have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in the same or a related field as the job offered. The employer must submit a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for approval of the H-1B position. Regulations prohibit employers from filing H-1B petitions until six months before the date of actual need for the employee.

The H-1B cap is the limit on the number of H-1Bs allowed each fiscal year.* Currently, the cap is 65,000. The fiscal year begins on October 1 when a new batch of the 65,000 H-1Bs becomes available. Employers are allowed to file an H-1B petition up to 6 months before the new fiscal year (April 1) so as to join the queue of new applications waiting for the October 1 date. See the USCIS web site for the most current count of H-1B petitions filed. The cap does not apply to all H-1B visas. Certain non-profit research positions are unlimited.

The gap is the period between the end of an individual's F-1 status and the beginning of the individual's H-1B status.

For more details on H-1B "Cap Gap" please click here!


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