International Student Services


It is essential that you understand and comply with the Department of Homeland Security restrictive employment regulations. Ignorance of the regulations does not excuse a student from the serious ramifications of unauthorized employment, which may result in deportation. You must obtain appropriate employment authorization before you engage in any type of employment.

Definition of Employment

"Employment" is any work performed or services provided (including self-employment) in exchange for money or other benefits or compensation (i.e. free room and board in exchange for babysitting).

Social Security Number

Individuals who are authorized to be employed in the U.S. must have a Social Security Number in order to be paid.

How to get a Social Security Card

On-Campus Employment

If your I-20 was issued by CSI, you may work part-time (20 hours per week or less) on the CSI campus during fall and spring semesters. If you are not in lawful F-1 status, you are not eligible for on-campus employment. YOU MAY NOT WORK OFF CAMPUS. The CSI budget is limited, and most international students only work 10 hours a week. Do not depend on this employment to be your only means of income, it is insufficient.

Timesheets are required to be turned into the international advisor after each pay term. Timesheets must be filled out in ink, signed by the employee and employer. If students fail to submit this in a timely manner, their paycheck may be postponed until the following month.

Timesheet Example

Practical Training

Practical Training authorization permits an F-1 student to be employed temporarily at a job related to the student's major field of study on-campus or off-campus. There are two types of practical training: curricular and optional. To be eligible for curricular and/or optional practical training, you must have been in lawful F-1 status for one academic year.


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Optional Practical Training (OPT)
What is it? Allows any eligible F-1 student to engage in paid off-campus internship/ employment, which is integral to program completion Allows any eligible F-1 student to engage in internship/employment within major area of study, in most cases upon program completion.
Eligibility Full-time enrollment under lawful statues for one full academic year prior to training
Students whose program requires immediate participation in training are exempt from the one-year requirement above Students who have completed all required courses are eligible to start OPT
Requires a job offer Does NOT require a job offer
12+ months of full-time CPT makes students ineligible for OPT at the same education level
Duration of Training No maximum but should be limited to less than 12 months of full-time to be eligible for OPT Maximum of 12 months full-time. Pre-completion OPT will count against the 12-month limit for post-completion OPT
Granted by International Program Office
CPT I-20 issued
U. S. Citizenship & immigration Services; Employment Authorization Document issued
How to apply Academic Advisor Recommendation
Employment Confirmation
Fill out Form I-765
Application Fee $0 $380
Processing Time 2 weeks Up to 3+months
Employment Status Part-time CPT Full-time CPT OPT
20 hours or less 20 hours or more Can be part-time or full-time
Enrollment Requirements Requires full-time enrollment Minimum credits determined by department Enrollment not required
Academic Departments Roles Verify completion of all required course for the program
International Program Office
  • Verify eligibility
  • Determine whether CPT is appropriate
  • Authorize CPT in SEVIS
  • Verify eligibility
  • Recommend OPT in SEVIS
Denial Failure to demonstrate CPT is an “integral” part of study Failure to apply prior to program completion and incomplete application