All F-1 students must be in status, maintain a full course of study, and have valid documentation in order to work on-campus. Students may work up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. Full-time employment (over 20 hours per week) is only permitted during vacation periods for enrolled and continuing students. On-campus employment is not guaranteed for all students, please do not rely on an on-campus job to be a steady flow of income to pay tuition and fees.  For more information please refer to Human Resources.

Steps for on-Campus Employment:

  1. Log-in to Aggie Access, visit the “My Info” tab to review available state-funded student worker positions.
  2. Upon receiving a job offer, the employer completes the CU Employer SSN Letter, and print on letterhead.
  3. Student brings the Work Offer Letter to the International Office.
  4. Student will be given instructions and documents to take to the Social Security Administration Office, (17th & Lee Blvd) to apply for Social Security card.
  • The original Work Offer Letter, original Authorization Letter, Social Security Application, Form I-20, passport (with visa), and I-94 are required to apply for a SSN.
  • The Social Security Administration Office hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 9 am to 3 pm and Wednesday from 9 am to 12 pm.
  • Request a Receipt Notice from the SSA and bring it to the International Admissions Office.
  • The SSN will be delivered to the International Admissions Office.

Off-Campus Jobs:

  • Any off-campus employment not authorized by the International Admissions Office and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is prohibited and will result in immediate termination of F-1 status. 

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ECONOMIC HARDSHIP

Off-campus employment is a benefit available for some F-1 students who are:

  • Experiencing  severe economic hardship as a result of the following:
    • Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment through no fault of the student.
    • Substantial changes in the exchange rate or value of the currency upon which the student depends.
    • Inordinate increase in tuition or living costs.
    • Unexpected changes in the financial state of the student’s source of support.
    • Medical bill.
    • Other substantial and unexpected expenses.
  • Special Student Relief Due to Emergent Circumstances
  • Internship with an International Organization

F-1 students who have been enrolled in a full course of study, in good academic standing and hold an active F-1 status for at least one academic school year are eligible to apply for this employment authorization.  Please make an appointment with the DSO to file.

Important Information:

  • Student cannot begin off-campus employment until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) has arrived.
  • Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; can be full-time during official school breaks.
  • Employment must not interfere with full-time course of study.
  • Authorization is granted in one-year intervals, or until the Program End Date, whichever is shorter.
  • Authorization ends if a student transfers schools.
  • Student is able to reapply 120 days before the expiration date. The reapplication procedure is the same as the initial application, including the fee.
  • Eligibility does not guarantee approval.

Procedures for Applying:

  1. Attend an Economic Hardship Workshop (offered every semester, contact the International Admissions Office for dates)
  2. Make an appointment with the DSO in the International Admissions Office (580) 581-2838

         Bring the following items to the Economic Hardship appointment:

  • Completed Form G-1145
  • Money Order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for $410.00 or Request for a Fee Waiver
  • Passport Photos (write in pencil your name and SEVIS ID number)
  • Completed Form I-765 (Eligibility Category: (c) (3) (iii))
  • Any I-20’s with CPT, OPT, or Economic Hardship (if applicable)
  • Previous Employment Authorization Documents (if applicable)
  • I-94
  • Passport (must be valid for 6 months)
  • Visa with Entry Stamps
  • Current Cameron University Transcript
  • Letter from you explaining the circumstances of the hardship
  • Supporting materials documenting the unforeseen nature and extent of the economic hardship and the unavailability of on-campus employment

     3. If you are eligible, the DSO will provide a new Form I-20 with the Employment Authorization recommendation

     4. Mail the Economic Hardship application by certified mail to the correct Filing Location

If authorized, USCIS will issue you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If denied, the decision is unable to be appealed.

This represents an explanation of the steps required to gain approval for Off-Campus Employment Based on Unforeseen Economic Hardship. Changes, exceptions, and/or additions to required documents do occur. After reading this form, direct your questions by phone, e-mail, or appointment to the DSO. Remember, as with all U.S. laws and regulations relating to F-1 student visa holders, the student is responsible for compliance.

CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization directly related to a F-1 student’s academic program for which the work counts toward course credit.  According to Department of Homeland Security, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be “an important part of an established curriculum.” They define curricular practical training as “alternate 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 school.”

Eligibility:

  • The student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year before applying for CPT.   If the student had a gap in study or a status violation, the one academic year waiting period may need to be recalculated once the student has again obtained valid F-1 status
  • An exception exists for graduate students if a graduate program requires immediate participation in an internship, a practicum, or other employment. 
  • CPT is available only while the student is in valid F-1 status and before the completion of his/her program.
  • Make an appointment with DSO in the International Office and bring all of the following documentation:
    • Class schedule showing enrollment in the internship class.
    • Letter from employer on letterhead with employer’s name, location, phone number contact person, beginning/end dates, number of hours per week, description of duties and indicate that the position is an internships paid or unpaid.
    • Letter from Academic Advisor, on letterhead with the advisor’s signature.
  • If the student is eligible for CPT, the DSO will authorize CPT by issuing a new I-20 detailing the employment.  A student may only engage in CPT for the prescribed amount of time.  To begin work or work past the timeframe authorized would be a violation of student F-1 status.

 CPT Start and End Dates for each semester are as follows:

CPT Semester

Start Date

End Date

Part-time or Full-time

Fall

Day Fall semester begins

Day prior to Spring semester

Part-time (20 hours per week including on-campus employment)

Spring

Day Spring semester begins

Day prior to Summer semester

Part-time (20 hours per week including on-campus employment)

Summer

Day after Spring semester ends

Day prior to Fall semester

Part-time or Full-time

 

 

 This handout represents an explanation of the procedure required to gain approval for Curricular Practical Training. Changes, exceptions, and/or additions to required documents do occur. Remember, as with all DHS laws and regulations relating to F-1 student visa holders, the student is responsible for compliance.

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 OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a temporary employment authorization that is related to an F-1 student’s academic program. The work done does not count towards course credit; therefore it is the student’s option to apply for OPT. OPT may be used during a degree program (Pre-OPT) as well as after completion (Post-OPT) of course requirements. The application process takes approximately 90 days before the approval and issuance of the EAD.

Eligibility:

Approval and issuance of the EAD card usually takes 90 days, or more. If it is past the 90 days it is the student’s responsibility to contact USCIS using the SRC number on the Receipt Notice. The card will be mailed to the International Admissions Office and the students will be contacted to either pick up the card in person or request the document be mailed by certified mail.

This represents an explanation of the steps required to gain approval for Optional Practical Training. Changes, exceptions, and/or additions to required documents do occur. After reading this form, direct your questions by phone, e-mail, or appointment to the DSO. Remember, as with all U.S. laws and regulations relating to F-1 student visa holders, the student is responsible for compliance.

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STEM Optional Practical Training (STEM OPT)

OPT Stem Extension

F-1 students who are currently authorized for OPT employment based on completion of a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. degree in Science Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) field, as defined by DHS, may be eligible for a 24-month extension of OPT.

Eligibility:

  • Have a degree for your current post-completion OPT in science, technology, engineering or math.
  • Employer must utilize the E-Verify program.
  • Employer completes a I-983 training plan.
  • Notify your school’s DSO about your intention to apply.
  • Properly fill out the I-765 for renewal and gather all documents on the OPT STEM Extension Checklist (see below).

Submit application prior to the date of expiration on your current EAD for OPT

Procedures for Applying:

1.  Make an appointment with the DSO in the International Admissions Office (580) 581-2838.  Bring the following items to your appointment

  • Completed Form G-1145
  • Money Order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for $410.00
  • 2 Passport Photos (write in pencil your name and SEVIS ID number)
  • Completed Form I-765 (Eligibility Category: (c) (3) (c))
  • Completed Form I-983 Training Plan (Completed by student and employer)
  • Copy of degree
  • Official transcript showing your major field of study
  • I-20 with OPT authorization
  • Previous Employment Authorization Document on original mailer
  • I-94
  • Passport (must be valid for 6 months) and visa with entry stamps

2.  If you are eligible, the DSO will provide a new Form I-20 with the 24-Month STEM Extension recommendation

3.  Mail the STEM Extension application by certified mail to the correct Filing Location

NOTE: If a student's regular post-completion OPT expires after a STEM OPT I-765 is properly and timely filed, the student's employment authorization is considered automatically extended for up to 180 days while the STEM EAD application is pending