III. F-1 Employment
IV. I-765 Form
Compliance with U.S. Immigration Laws & Regulations:
The Role & Responsibility of the International Student
International students are affected by regulations developed by USCIS- Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the Immigration & Naturalization Service/INS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS), which currently implements the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It is the responsibility of F-1 international students to maintain their legal status in the United States by complying with the following:
IMPORTANT NOTE: This information is not exhaustive and is subject to change without notice. International students should contact the office of International Student Services, (262) 595-2701 or arrange an appointment to discuss any questions or concerns related to their legal status in the United States .
To acquire F-1 Status, a student needs to receive Form I-20, (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student), produced by SEVIS and signed by a DSO (Designated School Official) at UW-Parkside. UW-Parkside must admit the student for a full course of study , before it can issue Form 1-20. The Form I-20 issued should have a completion date, which is the estimated time it should take for the student to complete the degree. If the student needs more time to complete their studies. Beyond the 1-20 completion date, the student will need to contact the ISS office to apply for an extension. Extensions of stay must be filed at least thirty days before the Date of Completion expires in order to remain in the U.S. legally. See Extension Forms.
Travel: Exit/Re-entry for F-1 Non Immigrants travelling outside the U.S. Students planning to travel should consult with DSO (Designated School Official) or PDSO (Primary Designated School Official) prior to travelling. http://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel/faq_f2.htm
Full Course of Study: 12 credit hours for Undergraduates and 9 credit hours for Graduate students.
SEVIS #: Form 1-20 contains a bar code on the right side of the form, the word SEVIS, and a SEVIS ID Number printed above the bar code. Dependents accompanying the F-1 students in F-2 status, must each have their own Form 1-20. The SEVIS 1-20 is retained by the student. During travel, and employment, page 3 (Authorizing travel and employment authorization) will need to be endorsed (signed) by the DSO or PDSO (Primary Designated School Officer).
I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
Form I-94, also called the Arrival-Departure Record of Stay permit, is the small white card attached to the passport at the port of entry to the United States . This form officially determines how long an international student can remain in the U.S. Students with an F-1 visa usually have their I-94 stamped "D/S" (Duration of Status) which means that the student can remain in this country for the time required to complete his/her studies as long as the student follows all regulations in accordance with their student visa. If the student travels, another 1-94 is given, but the first 1-94 is the most important. The number on the I-94 is also known as the Admission number.
Duration of Status (F-1 Student Status)
An F-1 student is considered in status for the entire length of time during which the student is enrolled as a full-time student in an educational program, plus any authorized period of practical training and an additional sixty days to prepare for departure.
Conditions of Duration of Status:
The student must be enrolled as a full-time student (12 credit hours for Undergraduate students) (9 credit hours for Graduate students) at the school where they were authorized to attend. This means that the student must attend the school named on the I-20.
The student may engage in employment or practical training only when they have received permission. (See sections on Employment and Practical training).
Limitations of Duration of Status:
1. Duration of Status continues until the date of completion which appears on your I-20. Departures from the U.S. of fewer than five months do not break the continuity of D/S. An application for extension of stay must be filed in order for students to continue in F-1 status after the completion date. (See section on Program Extension for more information). Be sure to seek advice from the International Student Advisor on employment matters and/or re-instatement to F-1 student status.
2. Duration of status expires if a student takes longer than expected to complete to give academic level (e.g. bachelors's or master's degree). The amount of time permitted for completing studies at a given level is determined by the date put on the initial I-20 issued at the beginning of each academic level. Subsequent I-20's issued for the same level of study that may be used for travel or transfer of schools do not change the official deadline for completion that was determined by the first I-20. Students must pay close attention to the expected completion date noted in item 5 on the original form I-20 for each level. If more time is needed, a report of program extension must be filed with ISS to report to immigration (SEVIS). See Form-Program Extension.
3. Duration of status expires if a student does not maintain a full course of study. (This is defined as 12 credit hours per academic semester for undergraduates and 9 credit hours per academic semester for graduate students.) Exceptions can be made on the advice of the International Student Advisor for valid medical or academic reasons as defined by the USCIS-Immigration Services. Be sure to speak with the ISS- International Student Advisor about any exceptions to avoid the serious consequences that may result from being out of status.
Break in Study/ Vacation Periods
After completing an academic year (two semesters) the student is eligible to take a vacation break while remaining in the U.S. However, they must intend to register in the semester after the vacation.
Temporary Departure from the U.S.
If the student has an F-1 visa and plans on leaving the U.S. temporarily to visit their home country, or another country, they should visit ISS- International Student Services Office with page 3 of your I-20 for a re-entry signature. Allow at least 5 working days before your departure!
The student will not be allowed back into the U.S. without the signed I- 20, a valid visa, and a valid passport. Students in valid status may travel to Canada , Mexico and many of the adjacent islands if they have a valid passport, a valid I-94 and a valid signed I-20. If you plan to re-enter the U.S. in less than 30 days, a valid visa may not required. See Foreign Embassies and Consulates for visa regulations. Check with the country's visa regulations.
Transferring to Another School?
An F-1 student is eligible to transfer if the student meets the following criteria:
has maintained valid legal status;
has maintained full-time study;
intends to pursue full-time study at a new school; and
is financially able to attend the new school.
Students transferring to another college/university should comply with all the admission requirements for the other institution. The student should notify the ISS-International Student Advisor, complete the Outgoing Transfer Form and bring to ISS the official admission letter. The transfer process will be done through SEVIS and the student will receive another I-20 form from the new advisor at the new institution. Upon arrival at your new institution, be sure to visit your new international student advisor.
Change of Address
SEVIS- Immigration regulations requires that ISS maintain a record of your current address. Therefore, if the student moves, the student must complete the Change their Address Form with International Student Services AND notify the Registrar's office at UW-Parkside. See International Student Contact Information Form under Forms.
On -Campus Opportunities
Students in the U.S. on an F-1 visa are expected to have sufficient financial resources so that they will not have to work. However, students may take a part-time job ( less than 20 hours a week ) on campus as long as it does not interfere their status as a full-time student. The student may also work full-time during breaks and vacations. For on-Campus employment, please complete form: Social Security On-Campus Work Verification Form, have your on-campus employer complete one section and bring to ISS office .
* Those on a F-2 (spouse or child) visa cannot work.
The Immigration-SEVIS regulations allow students to work off-campus in a position unrelated to the field of study only under the following conditions:
A student must have been in F-1 status for one full academic year (9 months) and must be in good academic standing.
An F-1 student is eligible for off-campus work authorization
a) on a part-time basis, no more than 20 hours a week when school is in session
b) full-time during holidays or school vacation
Immigration/SEVIS provides the ability of F-1 students to gain employment authorization based on severe economic hardship (unforeseen financial difficulties). Students must remain in status and continue educational goals at the school in which they are enrolled.
Students must apply for employment authorization as follows:
Complete Form I-765. See:
ISS advisor will certify either the unavailability or the insufficiency of on-campus employment to meet the student's need.
Attach additional supporting materials, including two photos, and a letter describing the financial circumstances causing the need for employment.
NOTE: The employment authorization is automatically terminated when student fails to maintain status.
Forms are available at ISS. Please schedule an appointment to see the International Student Advisor to process these forms.
Practical Training provides the opportunity for students to experience the application of classroom knowledge in w work setting in order to prepare them for their careers.
Read about legal questions and answers surrounding international students and unpaid internships.
1. Legal Q & A
Definition : Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined by US immigration regulations as â€œalternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the schools.â€� .
Requirements- Curricular Practical Training-CPT
To be eligible for CPT, a student must:
have been enrolled for at least 2 semesters of full-time study and be maintaining F-1 status, or be a graduate student whose degree program requires practical training during the first year of study; and
be enrolled in a program of study in which the practical training is an integral part of an established curriculum so that the training:
is required of all students in that program of study; or
is required for a particular course or curricular track; (for credit undergraduate internship that fulfills a degree requirement for the student's major, or
is offered under a cooperative agreement between the university and the employer.
complete the CPT prior to completion of all requirements for their program of study.
Complete information and application procedure are contained in the Curricular Practical Training packet available at International Student Services.
Important Points About CPT:
Students may not begin working for their CPT employer until they have been authorized to do so by the advisor at ISS. The authorization will be printed on their I-20.
Students may only work for the employer named in the authorization and may only work during the dates indicated.
Students who engage in more than twelve months of full-time curricular practical training will not be eligible to engage in Optional Post-Completion Practical Training. Application instructions for Curricular Practical Training are available at ISS. Also see Forms. Application for CPT.
Definition: OPT is authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). You are eligible to apply for permission to engage in OPT if you are in F-1 status and have been enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year. You are eligible for a total of twelve months of OPT for each consecutive degree level. You may use OPT:
During your annual vacation and school breaks
While school is in session for up to 20 hours per week
After the completion of all course requirements for your degree.
After you complete your course of study
NOTE: You must apply at least 4 months before you complete your course of study
Important Points About OPT:
Students should apply three-four months before they want to begin work. Their application MUST be received by USCIS-Immigration Services before graduation date, thus they should apply no later than three weeks prior to their graduation date.
It takes three to four months for an OPT application to be processed. When a students' applications is approved, the student will receive a card called an Employment Authorization Document(EAD). Students must show this to their employer as evidence that they are authorized to work. Students may not begin working until they have received their EAD. Once they have their EAD they may work during the dates on the card.
Applications for Optional Practical Training are available in the ISS office or click here for OPT application. For Form #765, see:
Frequently Asked Questions About OPT/Optional Practical Training
1) When should I apply?
You should apply four months before you want to begin work. Your application MUST be received by Immigration Services before your graduation date, thus you should apply no later than three weeks prior to your graduation date.
2) How long will it take for my application to be processed?
It takes three to four months for an OPT application to be processed. You should receive a receipt for your application within four weeks after it is mailed; this receipt will indicate your LIN number, and the approximate time it will take to complete your application. Once you have received your receipt, you can use your receipt number to check the status of your application online. Go to www.uscis.gov and follow the Case Status Outline link.
When your application has been approved, you will receive a card called an Employment Authorization Document(EAD). You must show this to your employer as evidence that you are authorized to work. If you do not receive your EAD card 90 days after the notice date on your receipt, you may apply for a temporary EAD card. You may apply for the temporary EAD card by taking your receipt, your I-20s and your passport to the Immigration office in Chicago , Illinois . If you are offered a job prior to the approval of your OPT application, you can request â€œExpeditedâ€� processing of your application. Expedited applications are usually processed within four to six weeks. See Chicago District Office, 10 W. Jackson BLVD. Chicago , Ill 60604 . * No walk-ins are allowed. You must make an appointment. Please see: http://www.infopass.uscis.gov/ via the USCIS Web Page: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
3) When can I begin working?
You may not begin working until you have received your EAD. Once you have your EAD you may work during the dates on the card.
4) Will the EAD card be mailed directly to me?
Both your receipt and your EAD card will be mailed to your home address. If you move, please complete your change of address with the post office.
5) What do I need to know about taxes before I begin working on OPT?
All students on F-1 visas who are working while on OPT are exempt from paying Social Security & Medicare taxes. Federal, state and local income taxes should be withheld. When you complete your employment and tax forms, you should make sure that your employer understands that Social Security and Medicare taxes should not be withheld from your salary. If your employer is unfamiliar with this exemption, refer to Internal Revenue Service Publication 519, which is available online. If your employer withholds these taxes in error, they must refund the amount withheld to you.
6) What should I do if I am currently working under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and want to continue working with the same employer?
It is essential that you apply for your OPT on time! Due to the unpredictable processing times for EAD cards, if you apply for OPT less than 4 months before your CPT ends, it is possible that you may have to interrupt your employment. Your CPT will end at graduation. If you have not received your EAD card at that time, you cannot continue your employment. Once you receive your EAD, show it to your employer and ask to have your personnel file updated to show your work eligibility is based on OPT.
If you have any questions, please contact an international advisor at International Student Services.
(Information has been adapted from Ohio University 's International Student Web page).
OPT AND H-1 Gap: Extension of Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) and F-1 Status for Eligible Students under the H-1B Cap-Gap Regulations
Questions and Answers
These Questions & Answers address the automatic extension of F-1 student status in the United States for certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions (indicating a request for change of status from F-1 to H-1B) for an employment start date of October 1, 2012 under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 H-1B cap.
Questions & Answers
Q1. What is “Cap-Gap”?
A1. Current regulations allow certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in F-1 status during the period of time when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization would otherwise expire through the start date of their approved H-1B employment period. This is referred to as filling the “cap-gap,” meaning the regulations provide a way of filling the “gap” between the end of F-1 status and the beginning of H-1B status that might otherwise occur if F-1 status is not extended for qualifying students.
Q2. How does “Cap-Gap” Occur?
A2. An employer may not file, and USCIS may not accept, an H-1B petition submitted more than six months in advance of the date of actual need for the beneficiary’s services or training. As a result, the earliest date that an employer can file an FY 2013 H-1B cap-subject petition is April 2, 2012 for employment starting not before October 1, 2012. If USCIS approves the H-1B petition and the accompanying change of status request, the earliest date that the student may start the approved H-1B employment is October 1, 2012. Consequently, F-1 students whose periods of authorized stay expire before October 1, 2012, and who do not qualify for a cap-gap extension, are required to leave the United States, apply for an H-1B visa at a consular post abroad, and then seek readmission to the United States in H-1B status, for the dates reflected on the approved H-1B petition.
Q3. Which petitions and beneficiaries qualify for a cap-gap extension?
A3. H-1B petitions that are timely filed on behalf of an eligible F-1 student and request a change of status to H-1B on October 1, 2012 qualify for a cap-gap extension.
Timely filed means that the H-1B petition (indicating change of status rather than consular processing) was filed during the H-1B acceptance period, which begins Monday April 2, 2012, while the student's authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) admission was still in effect (including any period of time during the academic course of study, any authorized periods of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), and the 60-day departure preparation period, commonly known as the “grace period”).
Once a timely filed request to change status to H-1B on October 1, 2012 has been made, the automatic cap-gap extension will begin and will continue until the H-1B petition adjudication process has been completed. If the student’s H-1B petition is selected and approved, the student’s extension will continue through September 30, 2012 unless the petition is denied, withdrawn, or revoked. If the student’s H-1B petition is not selected, the student will have the standard 60-day grace period from the date of the rejection notice or their program end date, whichever is later, to prepare for and depart the United States.
Students are strongly encouraged to stay in close communication with their petitioning employer during the cap-gap extension period for status updates on the H-1B petition processing.
Q4. How does a student covered under the cap-gap extension obtain proof of continuing status?
A4. The student should go to their Designated School Official (DSO) with 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 student’s DSO will issue a preliminary cap-gap I-20 showing an extension until June 1, 2012.
If the H-1B petition is selected for adjudication, the student should return to his or her DSO with 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 student’s DSO will issue a new cap-gap I-20 indicating the continued extension of F-1 status.
Q5. Is a student who becomes eligible for an automatic cap-gap extension of status and employment authorization, but whose H-1B petition is subsequently rejected, denied or revoked, still allowed the 60-day grace period?
A5. If USCIS denies, rejects, or revokes an H-1B petition filed on behalf of an F-1 student covered by the automatic cap-gap extension of status, the student will have the standard 60-day grace period (from the date of the notification of the denial, rejection, or revocation of the petition) before he or she is required to depart the United States.
For denied cases, it should be noted that the 60-day grace period does not apply to an F-1 student whose accompanying change of status request is denied due to the discovery of a status violation. The student in this situation is not eligible for the automatic cap-gap extension of status or the 60-day grace period. Similarly, the 60-day grace period and automatic cap-gap extension of status would not apply to the case of a student whose petition was revoked based on a finding of fraud or misrepresentation discovered following approval. In both of these instances, the student would be required to leave the United States immediately.
Q6. May students travel outside the United States during a cap-gap extension period and return in F-1 status?
A6. No. A student granted a cap-gap extension who elects to travel outside the United States during the cap-gap extension period will not be able to return in F-1 status. The student will need to apply for an H-1B visa at a consular post abroad prior to returning. As the H-1B petition is for an October 1, 2012 start date, the student should be prepared to adjust his or her travel plans, accordingly.
Q7. What if a student’s post-completion OPT has expired and the student is in a valid grace period when an H-1B cap-subject petition is filed on their behalf? It appears that F-1 status would be extended, but would OPT also be extended?
A7. F-1 students who have entered the 60-day grace period are not employment-authorized. Consequently, if an H-1B cap-subject petition is filed on the behalf of a student who has entered the 60-day grace period, the student will receive the automatic cap-gap extension of his or her F-1 status, but will not become employment-authorized (since the student was not employment-authorized at the time H-1B petition was filed, there is no employment authorization to be extended).
Q8. Do the limits on unemployment time apply to students with a cap-gap extension?
A8: Yes. The 90-day limitation on unemployment during the initial post-completion OPT authorization continues during the cap-gap extension.
Q9. What is a STEM OPT extension?
A9. F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees included on the STEM Designated Degree Program List, are employed by employers enrolled in E-Verify, and who have received an initial grant of post-completion OPT employment authorization related to such a degree, may apply for a 17-month extension of this authorization. F-1 students may obtain additional information about STEM OPT extensions on the Student and Exchange Visitor Program website at www.ice.gov/sevis.
Q10. May a student eligible for a cap-gap extension of post-completion OPT employment authorization and F-1 status apply for a STEM OPT extension while he or she is in the cap-gap extension period?
A10. Yes. However, such application may not be made once the cap-gap extension period is terminated (e.g., if the H-1B petition is rejected, denied, or revoked), and the student has entered the 60-day departure preparation period.
Q11. In recent years, employers have been able to file H-1B cap-subject petitions after April 1, and have not always requested an October 1 start date. However, some students’ OPT end dates were nevertheless shortened to September 30, even though their H-1B employment would not begin until a later date. What should the student do to correct this?
A11. The student should contact their DSO. The DSO may request a data fix in SEVIS by contacting the SEVIS helpdesk.
Q12. If the student finds a new H-1B job, can he or she continue working with his/her approved EAD while the data fix in SEVIS is pending?
A12. Yes, if the (former) H-1B employer timely withdrew the H-1B petition and the following conditions are true:
Note: If the student had to file Form I-539 to request reinstatement to F-1 student status, the student may not work or attend classes until the reinstatement is approved.
Q13. If the student has an approved H-1B petition and change of status, but is laid off/terminated by the H-1B employer before the effective date, and the student has an unexpired EAD issued for post-completion OPT, can the student retrieve any unused OPT?
A13.Yes. The student will remain in student status and can continue working OPT using the unexpired EAD until the H-1B change of status goes into effect. The student also needs to make sure that USCIS receives a withdrawal request from the petitioner before the H-1B change of status effective date. This will prevent the student from changing to H-1B status. Once the petition has been revoked, the student must provide their DSO with a copy of the USCIS acknowledgement of withdrawal (i.e., the notice of revocation). The DSO may then request a data fix in SEVIS, to prevent the student from being terminated in SEVIS on the H-1B effective date, by contacting the SEVIS helpdesk.
If USCIS does not receive the withdrawal request prior to the H-1B petition change of status effective date, then the student will need to stop working, file a Form I-539 to request reinstatement, and wait until the reinstatement request is approved before resuming employment.
Q14. In cases where a student is authorized to work OPT past the H-1B change of status effective date, can the student continue working on OPT if a request to revoke/withdraw the H-1B change of status is submitted to USCIS?
A14. If the H-1B revocation occurs before the H-1B change of status effective date, the student may continue working while the data fix remains pending, because the student will still be in valid F-1 status.
If the H-1B revocation occurs on or after the H-1B change of status effective date, the student will need to stop working before the H-1B change of status effective date, apply for reinstatement, and wait until the reinstatement request is approved before resuming employment.
NOTE: This is NOT a cap-gap situation since the student has an EAD authorizing OPT beyond the H-1B change of status effective date.
Q15. Do students remain in valid F-1 status while the request to change the OPT end date is pending?
A15. If the H-1B revocation occurs before the H-1B change of status effective date, the student is still deemed to be in F-1 status while the data fix is pending.
If the H-1B revocation occurs after the H-1B change of status effective date, the student will not be in valid F-1 status and will therefore either need to apply for reinstatement or depart the United States.
Taken from uscis.gov
Require to apply for OPT: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765.pdf
1) USCIS- U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services:
Home Page: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
2) Student Visas:
3) Visa Lottery:
4) Request for An Appointment (USCIS)
5) Locate an Embassy:
U.S. Embassies: http://usembassy.state.gov/
6) Immigration Forms:
7) Case Status:
8) Immigration Lawyers:
Borene Law Firm: (612) 321-0082 www.borene.com
Judd Azulay (312) 832.9200 x101 http://www.ahslaw.com/y_j_azulay.htm
3. Azulay, Horn & Seiden, LLC (414) 375-4151
Mendoza & Mueller, Attorneys at Law, (866) 396-4493
Durrani Law Firm 1-866-DURRANI firstname.lastname@example.org )
Asonye and Associates: (312)795-9110
Kate Raynor 1-877-872-9666 http:// kateraynor.com
Darren Silver and Associates: 1-800-971-7013 http://www.darrensilver.com/
Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd. (312) 245-7500
Also see: American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA): http://www.aila.org .
Immigration Lawyers on the Web: http://www.ilw.com .