An F-1 visa allows students to work twenty (20) hours/week during a semester, and students are allowed to work full time during semester breaks and holidays. To work on campus, a student needs to obtain an orange card from the Indiana Tech Career Center located on the second floor of Andorfer Commons (Room 229). The Orange card is an internal paperwork process that is required by the university before employment.
Steps to On-Campus Employment
- Search for Job
Available positions are posted on Indiana Tech’s student jobs page. Apply for any position you are interested in. Note: International students are not eligible for work-study job positions.
- Follow Up
Follow up with the department you had applied for the job. This way you know whether you are selected so you can start the next step.
- Obtain Letter of Employment
Once you get a position, your supervisor will inform the human resources department to issue a letter of employment. You need this letter for the next step.
- Obtain Social Security Number
A Social Security number is required for working in the U.S. Please see the Social Security Number section for more information.
- Obtain Orange Card
Once you obtain a social security number, you are required to obtain an Indiana Tech Orange Card before you can start working. Please visit the human resources page for more information.
- Obtain Authorization to Work
After you obtain the Orange Card, you will have to fill out paperwork with your supervisor. You cannot begin working until your I-9 and other paperwork has been filed and your supervisor has received confirmation from HR authorizing you to work on campus.
Note: Off-Campus employment other than CPT and OPT is generally prohibited. If you are having severe economic hardship, please discuss with the International Services staff for options.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
F-1 students who have employment or internships as part of their degree requirement must be authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). The Career Center handles all CPT applications and training for interested students.
- CPT is authorized by a DSO (Lauren Johns LCJohns@IndianaTech.edu) to file your paperwork.
What is CPT
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorized off-campus employment which is integral to your major and the experience must be part of your curriculum. CPT is a type of internship or off-campus employment permission for F-1 international students who are currently pursuing a program of study in the U.S. It allows students to gain experience in their field of study and is directly connected to the program’s curriculum. CPT is only available prior to the completion of your degree program. You must have a job offer at the time of your CPT application. CPT employment may not delay completion of your academic program.
Who is eligible for CPT
To be eligible for CPT you must be enrolled in a major program of study that has an internship experience course built into the curriculum and you must meet the following additional criteria:
- Be in lawful F-1 status
- Have approved health insurance
- Have a job offer
- Be enrolled full-time (9 credit hours per semester for graduate students; 12 credit hours per semester for undergraduate students)
- Exception: If you are enrolled in your final semester of coursework
- Cannot be enrolled in an Intensive English Program (IEP)
When can I take CPT
- In order to be eligible to obtain employment authorization for CPT, you must have completed one full year of academic study and currently be in lawful F-1 status.
- CPT applications must be submitted no later than 2 weeks prior to the start of each semester
- CPT applications are accepted at the beginning of fall, spring, and summer semesters
- CPT can begin no sooner than the first day of the academic semester
- CPT can end no later than the last day of the academic semester
- CPT must be directly related to your major field of study
- You are required to register for an internship specific course for academic credit and must continue to register for the course during each semester to be eligible to continue working.
- CPT applications are accepted at the beginning of fall, spring, and summer semesters
Part-time vs. Full-time CPT
Part-time CPT: Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. Though there is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part-time CPT, you must be simultaneously enrolled in classes full-time in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.
Full-time CPT: (summer semester only) Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time. Please be aware that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will invalidate your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- Registration in the CPT/Internship specific course
- Complete continuing update reports with your academic advisor/professor throughout your CPT experience as required by your CPT/Internship specific course
- Complete final project to submit by the final end date of your CPT experience
- Maintain above a 3.0 GPA
Documents Needed to Apply
- CPT Request Form
- Copy of the job offer letter from your employer with the following information:
- Written on the company’s letterhead
- Addressed to you
- Include the job title
- Include the job description
- Specify the employment address
- State if the position is full- or part-time (number of hours included)
- Specify the exact dates of employment
- Copy of your current I-20
- Printed out copy of I-94
How to Apply for CPT
Applications available in the Career Center, Andorfer Commons, Suite 229.
*After receiving your job offer letter, follow the below steps in order: The application deadline is 2 weeks prior to the start of the semester. Late applications WILL NOT be accepted.
- Fill out Part 1 and Part 2 of the CPT Request Form
- Gather all required documents needed to apply (see Documents Needed to Apply section of this packet)
- Schedule an appointment with Lauren Johns in the Career Center to review all documents
- Upon approval from the Career Center-Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to complete Part 3 of the CPT Request Form
- Submit all completed documents to Lauren Johns in the Career Center
- Pick up your new I-20 from the Career Center (this will take approximately 3-5 business days- you will receive an email notification once your I-20 is available for pick-up)
You cannot begin work until you have receive your new I-20 with authorized work dates.
CPT must be authorized for each academic semester and only certain programs allow for consecutive CPT. In order to continue CPT for consecutive semesters, approval from the academic program, a new CPT request form, along with steps 1-6 above must be completed and approved. You will also be required to register for the internship specific course and will be responsible for payment of the additional credit hours each time you wish to engage in CPT. Remember-full time employment for 12 or more months will invalidate your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT is an opportunity to gain work experience to complement your academic program. The Career Center manages all OPT requests and applications.
- Students must complete one full academic year of study before being eligible for Optional Practical Training. All F-1 students are eligible for one year (12 months) of practical training for each degree level obtained.
- The Department of Homeland Security must receive your application for Optional Practical Training no later than the 60th day following your graduation date, or they will not authorize your practical training.
- Please plan ahead. The application process at the DHS usually takes a minimum of ninety (90) days.
- You must pick up the OPT packet available in the Career Center and meet with an authorized DSO (Lauren Johns LCJohns@IndianaTech.edu) to file your paperwork.
In addition, students who major in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields may be eligible for twenty-four (24) additional months of Optional Practical Training (36 months total) if their employer participates in the E-verify employment verification program.
Periods of Unemployment During OPT
DHS regulations currently define the period of an F-1 student’s valid status as the time the student is pursuing a full course of study or is engaged in authorized post-completion Optional Practical Training, plus a sixty (60) day grace period. The DHS has established an aggregate maximum period of allowed unemployment of ninety (90) days for students on 12-month OPT. Students who qualify for and receive the 24-month OPT extension (only for STEM degrees and employment) can be unemployed for an aggregate of 150 days. This particular part of the rule also puts the responsibility on students to keep the university up to date with the name and address of your OPT employer. Unless we have the SEVIS system updated with the name and address of your employer, you will be accumulating unemployment time in SEVIS. Once you have reached the 90 or 150 day maximum, your F-1 status will be terminated. Please notify the university with the name and address of your employer once employment is secured. If you do not secure employment within the 90 day period beginning with the start date on your OPT card, you will be expected to depart the U.S. or otherwise take steps to maintain proper F-1 status (get a new I-20 to start a new program of study). Volunteer (unpaid) employment does not accrue unemployment time provided the volunteer work is for twenty (20) hours per week or more.
An F-1 student who has attended an SEVP-certified college, university, conservatory, or seminary on a full-time basis for at least one academic year may be authorized for up to 12 months of OPT per education level. However, F-1 students who have one year or more of full-time curricular practical training (CPT) are not eligible for OPT for that degree.
Pre-completion OPT is OPT authorized to be engaged in before the student’s program end date. Students with approved pre-completion OPT may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Students who are eligible to register for the next term and who plan to do so may have approval to work full-time when school is not in session.
Post-completion OPT is OPT authorized to be engaged in after the student’s program end date (i.e. graduation).
Post-completion OPT Restrictions
- Apply no more than 90 days before graduation and no more than 60 days after graduation.
- Your application must be received by USCIS within 30 days of getting the new I-20.
- A student cannot have a requested start date that is more than 60 days past the student’s
program end date.
- The requested end date cannot be more than 12 months after the requested start date. The end date may be sooner if the student has less than 12 months of OPT left at the current education level or the student wishes to retain a period of OPT for pre-or post-completion OPT for another degree at the same education level.