Employment, Training, and Internship Opportunities
Students attending school in the United States on an F-1 visa have several employment opportunities to supplement their academic experience and personal funds. Although there are a variety of options from which to choose, it is vital that students have the appropriate form of work authorization before beginning employment as well as avoid exceeding the maximum number of hours per week authorized for work. Working without authorization or working too many hours will result in a loss of F-1 status. A student who loses their F-1 status is thereafter in the U.S. illegally and is no longer eligible for benefits offered under the F-1 student visa status. Upon loss of visa status, a student must exit the country immediately.
Students may work on campus without prior authorization from the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). This option is open to all students, both new and continuing, attending Coastal Carolina University on an F-1 visa so long as they continue to properly maintain F-1 status. Students are permitted to work on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session during the academic year. During times when school is not in session (i.e. winter break, summer vacation, etc.), students may work full-time. Students may hold one or multiple jobs on campus; however, the student is still restricted to working a maximum of 20 hours total per week. For example, a student works at Job #1 for 12 hours per week and can then only work eight hours at Job #2. Upon accepting an offer of employment for on-campus work, the student must visit the Office of International Programs & Services (OIPS) with the written offer of employment from the hiring department or office. This form of employment will be authorized internally by the OIPS.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
To be considered eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), F-1 students must obtain permission from their academic advisor and submit the appropriate documentation to the Office of International Programs & Services. Students must maintain lawful F-1 visa status for at least one full academic year before they can be eligible for Curricular Practical Training.
Students who have completed 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training will be ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Part-time Curricular Practical Training, 20 hours per week or less, is not counted toward the 1-year threshold. The employer's name must be specified on the employment authorization; therefore, students must arrange for the internship experience before requesting Curricular Practical Training. You must obtain authorization from the Office of International Programs & Services before beginning work. See the Curricular Practical Training page for additional information.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT is employment that requires the approval of USCIS. Students must have completed at least one full academic year to be eligible for OPT. An application must be sent to the Texas Service Center accompanied by a new I-20 requesting OPT, two passport size pictures, copies of immigration related documents, as well as a check or money order made out to the Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $340. Approval of OPT, both pre- and post-completion, can potentially take approximately 8-12 weeks. See the Optional Practical Training page for more information.
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