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NC STATE UNIVERSITY. Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) OIS “Second Thursday” Training October 14, 2010. Office of International Services NC STATE UNIVERSITY.

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Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT)OIS “Second Thursday” TrainingOctober 14, 2010

Office of International Services

general employment pointers http www ncsu edu ois current stuemp php


General Employment POINTERS

  • F-1 and J-1 international students are eligible for part-time (no more than 20 hours/week) on-campus employment; may be full-time during summer and breaks
  • J-1 students do require specific written authorization even for on-campus employment:
  • All forms of off-campus employment for F-1s and J-1s require written work authorization either from USCIS or OIS
  • Foreign nationals who are in a dependent status that permits full-time study (J-2, H-4, L-2, TD, etc.), are not authorized to work (even on-campus) unless they are eligible for, and have, USCIS work authorization.
shared attributes of optional and curricular practical training


Shared Attributes of Optional and Curricular Practical Training

  • Each is a benefit of F-1 status, not a right
  • Each allows for employment (practical training) opportunities related to student’s current academic program (field and level)
  • Each generally requires students to have been enrolled full-time for one academic year prior to authorization
  • Each requires students to be in good academic standing (and otherwise “in status”)
  • Each requires students to continue to maintain full-time enrollment and make normal progress toward degree
curricular practical training cpt http www ncsu edu ois current cpt php


Curricular practical training (CPT)

Required for program completion


Integral to thesis/dissertation research


Co-Op (part-time only, except during summer)

CPT is always associated with enrollment in COP 500 (full-time) or COP 501 (part-time) and is “curricular” (takes place during and is part of academic program)

cpt application and authorization http www ncsu edu ois current cpt php


CPT application and authorization

To apply student must first attend Co-Op/OIS CPT Info Session:

CPT authorization is granted by OIS and reflected on an updated I-20

CPT is employment-specific (valid only for site, employer and time as indicated on I-20)

OIS relies on DGP/Academic Advisor to provide a recommendation for the CPT and to indicate the justification for the CPT (required, integral, or Co-Op)

full time or part time cpt


Full-time or Part-time CPT?

Part-time (<20 hours per week) CPT is possible for eligible students (concurrent full-time enrollment is required in the Fall and Spring semesters*)

Full-time CPT during the Fall or Spring semester will only be authorized if the CPT is a required or integral part of the student's degree program or thesis or dissertation; if the CPT is required/integral then COP 500 satisfies full-time enrollment requirements of F-1 visa

For students who otherwise qualify for CPT, summer Co-Op/CPT may be full-time with no additional summer enrollment beyond COP 500

limitations of cpt


Limitations of CPT

  • Not a replacement for a work visa
  • By definition it cannot delay student’s academic progress; CPT is part of the student’s education (it is curricular!)
  • Student should not engage in full-time CPT (which was authorized as being integral to thesis) after successful defense; instead, the student should apply for post-completion OPT
cpt case
CPT Case

Q: A PhD student has been offered a full-time internship position for Fall Semester. Can this student accept this position? Why or why not?

A: The student can only engage in full-time Co-Op/CPT during the academic year if the employment is either required for all students in the

program or is integral to the student’s dissertation research. If the DGP and dissertation advisor cannot complete the CPT recommendation form indicating as much then full-time CPT is not possible. Part-time might be permissible but only in conjunction with a full course load.

optional practical training opt http www ncsu edu ois current opt php


Optional Practical training (Opt)

12 months per academic level used during or immediately after academic program

Most students save OPT for “post-completion”

Application submitted to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (involves a fee and can take up to three months for Employment Authorization Document – EAD – to be issued)

All employment must be in student’s current field of study but approval is not specific to one employer (nor require a job offer at the time of application)

Unlike CPT, OPT does not require enrollment in COP 500 or COP 501, but for pre-completion OPT is does require continual full-time enrollment

full time or part time pre completion opt
  • Limited to part-time for undergraduates and non-thesis student (except during summer when FT is acceptable)
  • Can be full-time during academic year for thesis/dissertation students AFTER all course requirements are satisfied and while student is enrolled full-time for research credits
  • Any time in pre-completion OPT is deducted (at pro-rated amount for part-time pre-completion OPT) from 12 month total; remainder is available immediately after program completion.
program end date for post completion opt http www ncsu edu ois current completion php


Program End Date for post-completion OPT

Program end date on I-20 will be shortened typically to last day of the last semester of required enrollment

Thesis/dissertation student can use the defense date or the last day of the student’s last semester of enrollment – OIS must update the I-20 end date accordingly.

Student cannot continue working on campus (as a student) after the program end date as indicated on the I-20.

Student is instructed to follow the graduate school requirements concerning graduation.

during post completion opt students are


During post-completion opt students are…

Permitted to engage in unpaid practical training activities

Permitted to work for multiple employers

Required to work full-time (more than 20 hours/week)

Required to work only in positions related to their field of study

Limited to an aggregate of 90 days of unemployment

Responsible for keeping documentation of their employment search and activities

opt application and authorization http www ncsu edu ois current opt php


OPT application and authorization

Student must first attend OPT Info Session:

If student is eligible, recommendation for OPT is made by OIS on updated I-20 but student submits I-20 and application packet to USCIS for processing (process can take up to 3 months)

Student provides requested start and end dates for pre-completion and start date within 60 days of program completion for post-completion OPT

OIS relies on DGP/Academic Advisor to provide a recommendation for the OPT and to confirm program end date for post-completion OPT

opt case
OPT Case

Q: A thesis student with a Research Assistantship will defend on November 5. The student wants to apply for OPT with an effective date of November 15 with the hope of having a job by then. In the meantime, she’s hoping to continue working as an RA after November 5, up until she has a job. Is this possible? Why or why not?

A: The student may use the defense date as the program end date and request an OPT start date of November 15, but the DGP/thesis advisor will need to complete the OPT recommendation form indicating that the RA position will be cut short (November 5). The I-20 will be shortened to 11/5 as a required part of the OPT recommendation and eligibility for on-campus student employment will end. The student must choose between the RA position and the OPT start based on the defense date.

the 17 month stem extension http www ncsu edu ois current stem php


The 17-month “STEM” extension

Student must have completed a degree program in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field:

Student must be engaged in an approved post-completion OPT in order to apply for the STEM Extension

Student must have a job offer from an employer enrolled in E-verify.

hiring someone on opt cpt
Hiring someone on OPT/CPT
  • NC State academic and service units do sometimes hire international students (from both NC State and elsewhere) who are on OPT or CPT
  • If student has an EAD (approved OPT) or an I-20 which authorizes CPT with an NC State unit then there is no additional authorization which is required (I-9 needs to be completed as always)
  • The school which issues the I-20 recommends the OPT/authorizes the CPT so a student from a different school will not have/does not need documentation from NC State’s OIS
in conclusion
In Conclusion…
  • Students cannot take breaks from full-time enrollment to pursue temporary job opportunities
  • Practical Training cannot delay completion of program requirements
  • Limits on number of hours worked (20 hours/week) DO include on-campus AND Practical Training
      • Employment beyond 20 hours per week during the academic year may be possible under CPT if the training is required of the academic program or integral to the student’s thesis or dissertation or under OPT if thesis/dissertation student has completed all required course work
one for the road
One for the Road…

Q: A student with a .25 FTE position supported by the Graduate Support Plan is offered a 30 hour/week internship off-campus. He is wondering if this is permitted under Co-Op/CPT. Is it? Why or why not?

A: This Co-Op/CPT might be permitted in addition to his GSSP position if the student is a thesis/dissertation student and the work is integral to his T/D research. The student would have to enroll in COP 500 in order to be approved for the full-time Co-Op/CPT.

If the student is non-T/D or the internship is not integral to the T/D then no more than 10 hours of Co-Op/CPT would be authorized and enrollment in COP 501 plus a full course load would be necessary

one more for the road
One more for the Road…

Q: It is November 15: The same thesis student from an earlier example decided to use November 5 (her scheduled defense date) as her program end date; she applied for and had her OPT approved with a start date of November 15. Unfortunately, however, she was not able to defend on November 5. Does this affect her OPT eligibility? Can she begin her job scheduled to begin today?

A: Her OPT is still valid and she is permitted to begin her job. The student still meets the eligibility requirements for post-completion OPT because she has completed her course work, even if she has not yet defended. As long as she can defend and meet the Graduate School’s no-registration deadline for Spring Semester, then she will not be required to enroll for Spring. Otherwise, like all other T/D international students, she will be required to maintain full-time enrollment until completion.