For Employers of International Students

Introduction to Employment for F-1 International Students

  • International students in F-1 student nonimmigrant status are eligible to apply for temporary employment in order to gain hands-on experience in their fields of study. This type of employment is referred to as Practical Training.

  • Employment during the student’s academic program, before graduation, may be authorized by Curricular Practical Training (CPT). This type of authorization allows students to participate in co-ops, practicum, and internships. Authorization for CPT is provided by The University of Akron and does not have to go through USCIS. The CPT authorization is shown on page 2 of the I-20.

  • Employment after graduation or completion of studies (or, for thesis/dissertation students, after all coursework is completed except for thesis/dissertation) may be authorized on a full-time basis for up to twelve months. This type of training is called Optional Practical Training (OPT). Students apply for OPT through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in coordination with their international student adviser. Students who have been authorized for OPT will be issued an I-20 with the OPT indicated on page 2 and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) issued by USCIS.

  • Employers who hire students authorized for OPT are not required to do any paperwork related to the initial OPT work authorization. If an employer wants to employ a UA international graduate beyond the 12-month OPT limit, the STEM OPT Extension may be possible, depending on the student’s field of study. The employer must be enrolled in USCIS’s E-Verify program, and minimal reporting requirements are required. Also, it is sometimes possible to secure an H-1B Specialty Occupation visa, which is a temporary visa. The employer must file a petition with USCIS on the international student's behalf.

  • Other areas of concern to employers may include the Form I-9 and tax withholding.

Documents and Information for Employers

The websites below have detailed information about these topics as well as OPT, STEM OPT, and H-1B visas. You may also contact our office with general questions relating to F-1 student employment.

Please note: We cannot provide you with information about a specific student’s situation unless the student has granted us written authorization to release information to you.