Employment for F1 Students

Speak to
Carla Tyree
Mon - Fri: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
J. Millard Tawes Center, 1st Floor

An F-1 student may be authorized up to a total of 12 months of full-time practical training at each educational level (e.g., undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate). If the student chooses to engage in pre-completion OPT, he or she may not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session, but may work full-time during his or her annual vacation and other times when the school is not in session. If a student engages in pre-completion OPT, the student’s eligible period of post-completion OPT will be reduced by 1 month for every 2 months of part-time pre-completion OPT that is worked when he or she graduates. Students who graduate with a qualified Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degree, and are currently in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree may apply for a 17-month STEM extension of their post-completion OPT.

Once you have determined which F-1/OPT is the best pathway for you and you are ready to apply, visit the office of International Student Services to obtain an application packet and process instructions.

Request for Practical Training

Practical Training is a benefit available to F-1 students who have been lawfully enrolled in a Department of Homeland Security approved academic institution like Coppin State University. Students who have been granted Practical Training may accept employment in the US to work in their fields of study.

OPT Form

Student may be authorized to work in the United States for up to 12 months in paid professional employment that is directly related to their degree program, except STEM majors who are allotted an additional 17 month extension if applied for. It is not necessary to have a job to apply for OPT and while on OPT students may change jobs without penalty or without having to reapply for work authorization.

OPT Extension

To be eligible for an OPT extension, a student must have received a degree (bachelor’s or master’s) in the STEM fields. These degrees include Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. At Coppin State University, you are eligible for the extension if you have received a degree in one of the above listed fields.

CPT Form

Students may be authorized for CPT, or Curricular Practical Training, to engage in for credit training programs which are an integral, but not necessarily required, part of an established curriculum.


Economic Necessity

To be eligible for off-campus employment due to economic hardship the student must:

  • Have been in F-1 status for one full academic year, be in good academic and legal standing, and carry a full course of study.
  • Demonstrate that there has occurred an unforeseen severe economic hardship beyond his or her control and that on-campus employment opportunities are not available or insufficient.
  • Establish fact that other employment options are unavailable or insufficient.

Important aspects of economic hardship employment:

  • Economic hardship refers to financial problems caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. The financial problems may, for example, result from an unexpected loss of a graduate assistantship, the death of a financial sponsor, or fluctuations in the home country currency or exchange rate. If the financial situation is too severe, it may not be possible to solve the problem with part-time employment and the student may be denied the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The Designated School Official (DSO) and the student may need to look at other solutions.
  • Employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during vacations or holidays.
  • The application requires a recommendation by the DSO in SEVIS. If approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the USCIS will issue the student an EAD card.
  • USCIS approval is granted in one-year intervals.
  • Authorization ends upon expiration of the EAD card, the completion date of the program or school transfer.

To apply, submit the following to the International Student Services office:

  • Completed USCIS Form I-765. In item #16 on the form, write in the following code: (c) (3) (iii)
  • A check or money order payable to “Department of Homeland Security” (see website for current fee information.)
  • Copy of I-94 number
  • Copy of Passport
  • Current I-20
  • Two passport photos
  • Supporting materials documenting the unforeseen nature of the economic hardship and the unavailability of other employment on campus, including a letter that describes your circumstances.
  • Copy of old EAD card (if applicable)

The DSO will then make a recommendation for employment in SEVIS by updating the student’s record. The DSO will give you the packet containing copies of the documents to be mailed to the USCIS Service Center.

You may not begin work until USCIS has approved your petition and you have received your EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card. IMPORTANT: EAD cards cannot be delivered to a P.O. Box.

It is currently taking 3 months or more to process Economic Hardship Authorizations.