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

F-1 student status allows international students to attend a United States college or university and in certain circumstances obtain curricular practical training (CPT) or optional practical training (OPT).

Eligibility

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).

F-1/CPT or F-1/OPT individuals are authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service to accept employment in their academic field (or a closely related discipline) for a maximum of twelve months. They may also change employers in this 12-month period. Furthermore, they are eligible to change their non-immigrant status in order to accept employment of longer duration.

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(s) degree-granting institution in the U.S. must recommend Practical Training to USCIS. 

The F-1/CPT individual is generally exempt from FICA and may claim tax treaty benefits when filing IRS Form 1040NR annually. Change of nonimmigrant status to Temporary Worker, H-1B, may occur after starting employment if the employment will exceed the period of Practical Training by at least three months.

If the employer and employee choose to go ahead with this change of status (F-1/PT to H-1B), the Office of Immigration and Human Resource Services requests a minimum of four months advance notification enabling IHRS to file with USCIS in a timely manner. Failure to receive an approval from USCIS before the F-1PT(s) 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 may fill out Form I-765 and mail it to the appropriate filing location. The current filing fee is $410.