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
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. Please allow for 5-7 business days for processing after submitting your completed CPT forms to the OIS front desk. You are required to have CPT authorization on your I-20 prior to beginning the employment. The OIS cannot authorize CPT with a start date in the past; please plan accordingly and submit your paperwork in a timely manner!
For additional information, please read the CPT packet.
Types of CPT
Note that out-of-state CPT during the last term of study is not allowed, unless an internship is degree-required. Also, full-time CPT for 12 cumulative months cancels the student's Optional Practical Training (OPT).If you would like to earn internship credit for your employment, you should contact Career Services in McKenny Hall to learn more about the cooperative education procedure.
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.
When to File?
Students can apply for OPT up to 90 days before, and 60 days after, the program completion date on their I-20. Program completion is the last day of the term during which you're registered for all the necessary credits for your program. It does not mean graduation nor does it mean that you can delay your OPT application until fulfilling incomplete credits.
It is currently taking 2 -3 months for USCIS to process applications and you must have your EAD card in-hand in order to start work. Your OPT may end no later than 14 months after your program completion date.
Students that are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) majors may be eligible to apply for a 17-month extension of OPT. Approved STEM fields are based on CIP codes that relate to the program of study. You can find the CIP code for your major on page 3 of your I-20. To see if your program of study is approved for the STEM extension, please see the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website for the current list. This list was updated effective 5/11/2012 and now includes the EMU major Clinical Research Administration (CIP 51.2006) , however the EMU major Information Systems (CIP 52.1201) is NOT included and is NOT eligible for the extension.
Changing STEM Employers
It is possible to change employers while on STEM OPT, but specific procedures need to be followed. You can find additional information here.
Duration of status and any post-completion OPT work authorization is automatically extended for an F-1 student who is the beneficiary of a timely-filed H-1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1. "Cap Gap" is the period of time when an F-1's status and work authorization expire through the start date of their approved H-1B employment period. Current regulations allow F-1 students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in F-1 status during this Cap-Gap period.
Requesting an I-20 with Cap Gap authorization
To obtain proof of continuing status, a student should give OIS evidence of a timely filed H-1B petition (indicating a request for change of status rather than for consular processing), such as a copy of the petition and a FedEx, UPS, or USPS Express/certified mail receipt. The OIS will issue a preliminary Cap-Gap I-20 showing an extension until June 1.
If the H-1B petition is selected for adjudication, students should give the OIS a copy of the petitioning employer's Form I-797, Notice of Action, with a valid receipt number, indicating that the petition was filed and accepted. The OIS will issue a new Cap-Gap I-20 indicating the continued extension of F-1 status.
Cap-Gap Fact sheet for employers: http://www.nafsa.org/Resource_Library_Assets/Regulatory_Information/SEVP_F-1_Cap-Gap_Fact_Sheet_For_Employers
Cap-Gap Practice Advisory for F-1 students: http://www.nafsa.org/regulatoryinformation/default.aspx?id=9062
USCIS Cap-Gap Q & A:
Policy Guidance F-1 Students and OPT: