Maintain Proper Status To be eligible for any kind of employment…
Remaining in Status (F-1) Attend school listed on your visa/I-20 Retain full-time academic status (3.5+ credits) Do not leave the United States for more than 5 months No unauthorized employment Obey state and federal laws Inform me of any changes w/in 10 days When traveling, return in F-1 status Make normal progress toward the completion of your degree. Apply for program extensions/changes before the Program End Date on your I-20.
SEVIS SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS “is a web-based system for maintaining information on international students and exchange visitors in the United States.” The mission of SEVIS is “to balance Homeland Security with facilitating foreign student and exchange visitor participation in America's outstanding academic and cultural exchange programs.”
SEVIS The Office of International Services is required to regularly report on the status of international students studying on F-1 and J- 1 visas.
SEVIS Bottom Line If your status as a full time student at Vassar or any information on your I-20/DS-2019 is going to or does change, let me know immediately.
Attend school listed on your visa and I-20/DS-2019 That means Vassar, unless you are studying abroad or at a collaborative program in the United States
Dropping below full-time status must be approved in advance by OIS. Exceptions to the full-time rule may be granted in some circumstances for medical reasons or due to academic difficulty. Maintain status as a full-time student (3.5 VC credit hours)
Keep studying! No breaks longer than 5 months for F-1 students.
Update my office within 10 days if there are any changes to your and/or your. status I-20/DS-2019
When traveling, always return to the United States in visa status. F-1/J-1
Enrollment in another school requires a new I-20 Transfer to another undergraduate school in the United States Transfer to a graduate school/ law school/ medical school in the United States
Duration of Status and Grace Periods Duration of Status essentially means F-1/J- 1 students are permitted to remain in the United States as long as they are pursuing studies as a full-time student and are taking all previously outlined steps to remain in status. Yes - this is a good thing!
Duration of Status and Grace Periods F-1 Students are granted three grace periods: An F-1 student may arrive in the country up to 30 days before the program start date listed on the I-20. An F-1 student may remain in the country for 60 days following the program end date listed on the I-20, or the completion of study, whichever comes first. An F-1 student who has been granted an authorized early withdrawal by my office may remain in the country for up to 15 days following the date noted in SEVIS.
Students must finish - or apply for an extension of - their program of study by the Program End Date listed on the I-20/DS-2019.
Basic Guidelines Must be maintaining proper status Must be pursuing full course of study Or, if during vacation, must be planning to register for a full course of study Maximum 20 hours/week during school Maximum 40 hours/week during academic breaks (winter/summer)
Employment in F-1 Status: The 3 Kinds 1.On Campus Employment 2.Off Campus Employment 3.Practical Training
On Campus Employment (F-1/J-1) Any work performed directly for school, including most campus jobs Any work for firms that directly provide services to students, such as Aramark* Work done at some off-campus locations, but treated as on-campus* * With the exception of Aramark, check with me first before starting work in either of these categories.
On-Campus Employment, (F-1/J-1) Work limited by College policy while in session Can work full-time during vacation periods Can not work on-campus after completion of a course of study (includes Reunion), except as dictated by other forms of employment
Off Campus Employment (F-1) Three kinds: Severe, unforeseen economic necessity Internship with International Organization Special Student Relief program
Severe, unforeseen economic necessity (F-1) Must be in F-1 Status for at least one full academic year Can be either on or off campus Limited to 20 hours week during class/FT during vacation periods Must demonstrate existence of financial hardship “beyond the student’s control” Granted by USCIS in 1 year increments
International Organization (F-1) No waiting period Must be a “qualified” intl organization Can be PT or FT Must have a written offer of employment Must apply to USCIS Reality Check
Special Student Relief Program (F-1) Must have been in F-1 status since June 10, 1998
Practical Training (F-1) Two Kinds: Curricular Practical Training Optional Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (F-1) Definition Curricular Practical Training is defined 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 and which must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.”
Curricular Practical Training What at Vassar Qualifies as CPT? Any course, department, or major that requires you to have an internship will qualify as CPT. Employment for a course specifically designed to award academic credit for an employment experience or employment that will result in the award of at least one course credit for an independent study may qualify as CPT.
Curricular Practical Training More Eligibility Requirements Enrolment for at least one full academic year Employment must be in your area of study
Curricular Practical Training Key Points About CPT Can be used in increments, but by definition cannot be used following the completion of studies. No maximum limit for part time CPT If fulltime (more than 20 hours/ week) for 12 months or more, student becomes ineligible for optional practical training
Curricular Practical Training How To Apply Schedule a meeting with me at least a month prior to the date your proposed internship will begin. There are three components: – Letter of employment offer – Letter from academic advisor or department head that references the internship you have obtained, how that internship is integral to your major field of study, and what you will need to produce in order to receive academic credit for this experience. – Approval from Field Work office
Curricular Practical Training What’s good about CPT? – No lengthy application process – No fee – Keeps your OPT eligibility intact – You get academic credit
Curricular Practical Training What are the limitations? – There is no post-graduation CPT – Not every employment opportunity lends itself to CPT – Approval is not automatic
Optional Practical Training (F-1) OPT Definition Optional Practical Training is defined as “temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study.” Optional Practical Training is affectionately referred to as “OPT.”
Optional Practical Training Possible Applications Pre-Completion Standard OPT – During the summer (PT or FT) – When school is in session (PT) Post-Completion OPT – Post-Completion Standard OPT – STEM OPT – Cap Gap OPT
Optional Practical Training General Eligibility Requirements Enrollment for at least one full academic year Employment must be in your area of study Can be used in increments, or all at once following completion of studies
Optional Practical Training Applying for Standard OPT Plan to apply 3 months before your start date – Ex. Start date June 1; apply March 1 – Ex. Start date for PT OPT Sept 15; apply June 15 Plan to meet with me 1 week before the above date NEW: It is possible to apply for Post-completion OPT during the 60 days following your program end date
Optional Practical Training What You Will Do Fill out forms (I-538 and I-765) Photocopy current and all prior I-20’s Write a check for the current fee amount (now $340) Submit two passport-style photos Submit a copy of your transcript Photocopy both sides of your I-94 Photocopy the ID and visa pages in your passport
Optional Practical Training Then What? We meet to confirm all pieces of the puzzle I generate a new I-20 reflecting your OPT request You mail your packet to Vermont You get a receipt in about 10 days which allows you to track the progress of your application You may get the infamous blue letter, requesting new, additional, and/or strange information You get your EAD card, anywhere from 1 to 4 months after you begin the process. Hurray!
Optional Practical Training STEM Extension OPT What is STEM? STEM refers to a major in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics. STEM applies if you are a double major, and one or both majors falls within one of the four categories STEM handout
Optional Practical Training STEM Extension OPT Eligibility – Completed a Bachelor’s degree in a STEM field – Currently engaged in Standard Post-Completion OPT – Have a job offer from an E-Verify Employer An employer in good standing who is registered with the new USCIS E-Verify Program Listing? Of course there’s no E-Verify employer listing! You didn’t think this was going to be easy, did you??!
Optional Practical Training Applying for STEM Extension OPT Application process is similar to the Standard Post-Completion OPT, with a few “extras.” – Copy of Transcript – Employer’s name as listed in E-Verify, along with valid E-Verify identification number – Letter of employment Apply 90 to 120 days prior to the Standard OPT expiration date
Optional Practical Training STEM Extension OPT: Key Details No more than 120 days of unemployment during the 29- month OPT period STEM employment begins one day after the expiration of the Post-Completion OPT, and ends 17 months later, regardless of the date the STEM extension is approved.
Optional Practical Training STEM Extension OPT: Key Details, cont. Can change employers, but the new employer must be an E- Verify employer Cannot travel while STEM extension is pending Students must submit a validation report to this office every 6 months E-Verify employers must report termination of employment to this office
Optional Practical Training Travel and Post-Completion OPT If you leave the country following graduation and before your OPT is scheduled to start, you will ideally present upon re-entry: – A valid I-20 – An unexpired EAD card – A letter of employment
Optional Practical Training More About Travel… If you leave the country following graduation and before your OPT is scheduled to start, and before you have received your EAD card, you should present at re-entry your I-765 receipt. You may also travel after your OPT has begun, provided you return within 5 months and present the documents specified on the preceding slide.
Optional Practical Training Changes to Standard OPT Changes to OPT start and end dates are not easily done Cancellation of the OPT Application – Must be submitted prior to issuance of the EAD card – Application fee will not be returned Job change is possible
Optional Practical Training While on Post-Completion Standard or STEM Extension OPT While on Post-Completion OPT, you are still considered by USCIS to be a Vassar student Accordingly, you are required to: – Notify OIS of your new address and any subsequent address changes – Have your I-20 signed at least once a year – Report employment information (name, address, interruption of employment) to this office – We will be creating online forms to make all of this as easy as possible
Optional Practical Training Life After OPT… Within 60 days after completing Post-Completion OPT of either kind, you have several options: – Apply for a change of status in the United States (eg. H1-B) – Transfer to another educational institution – Depart – (Employment is not permitted during these 60 days)
Optional Practical Training Life After OPT…Cap-Gap Extensions Eligibility – You are on Post-Completion Standard or STEM Extension OPT – You are the beneficiary of a timely filed H-1B petition requesting a start date of October 1 More Info – You apply through this office for a Cap-Gap extension – This extension would automatically terminate should the H1-B petition be rejected, denied or revoked – All aspects of H1-B applications should be done in consultation with the employer and/or an immigration attorney
Optional Practical Training Life After OPT…the Cap-Gap Extension Within 60 days after completing Post-Completion OPT of either kind, you have several options: – Apply for a change of status in the United States (eg. H1-B) – Transfer to another educational institution – Apply for a Cap-Gap extension – Depart – (Employment is not permitted during these 60 days)
IMPORTANT!!! For most types of employment, students must have prior authorization by my office and/or USCIS. Failure to gain proper authorization will end F-1/J-1 status
UNAUTHORIZED WORK Ramifications Being declared out-of-status is more than a nuisance; if unauthorized work is the reason, reinstatement will be denied. The process of applying for an H1B visa includes a review of all authorized and unauthorized employment. If there is a history of unauthorized employment, the visa will be denied. Example: a side job waiting tables in NYC while doing volunteer internships on Post-Completion OPT and waiting for “real” jobs to come. (Yep – that’s a royal pain!)
FAQ’s Do I need a job offer to apply for standard OPT? What if my degree completion date is delayed? Where can I work? Can I change jobs while on OPT? Can I have more than one job while on OPT? Once OPT is authorized by USCIS, can it be canceled? Where can I get assistance in finding a job?