F-1/CPT or F-1/OPT Status

F-1 student status allows international students to attend a United States college or university and allows in certain circumstances to obtain curricular practical training (CPT) or optional practical training (OPT/STEM OPT). Case Western Reserve University regularly hires people in F1 status, both sponsored by Case Western Reserve University and those sponsored by other educational institutions.


Employment of individuals in F-1/CPT or F-1/OPT status is not employer-specific; however, the work experience gained must be degree-related. The student is required to file with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). A letter of appointment or offer letter is required from the employer (Case Western Reserve University).

These prospective employees must have Form I-766 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in their possession before starting to work. The International Student Advisor at the F-1 holder’s degree-granting institution in the U.S. must recommend Practical Training to USCIS and reflect Case Western Reserve University as a site of employment on the I-20/SEVIS record.

Change of nonimmigrant status to Temporary Worker, H-1B, may occur after starting employment if the employment will exceed the period of Practical Training, at the discretion of the department.

If the employer and employee choose to go ahead with this change of status (F-1/PT to H-1B), the VISA Office requests three to six months' advance notice so that VISA may file with USCIS in a timely manner. Failure to receive an approval from USCIS before the F-1 OPT expiration date means the employee must be removed from payroll until the Approval Notice for the H-1B is received.

Employment Authorization Application

If you are eligible to apply for Employment Authorization, you must complete an Application for Employment Authorization on Form I-765. These applications may be filed online with USCIS. Visit https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 for more information. 

For STEM OPT, employees are required to complete Form I-983 with the hiring department and the student’s sponsoring institution. The VISA Office can provide common institutional information required in the I-983 form, but cannot complete the form on the department’s or student’s behalf.