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Newsletter for F-1 international students.
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The Frontier

Special Employment Edition
February 2020

Employment while in F-1 status

Please keep in mind that any employment you plan to engage in must be legal employment. Any unauthorized (i.e. illegal) employment - even for one day, or even if you did not know it was illegal - poses a grave threat to your ability to remain in or return to the United States. You must always make sure that you have the necessary employment authorization before you begin work, since starting work without prior authorization - even if you receive authorization later - constitutes illegal employment.

You should always consult with your F program PDSO Beverly Tarver before beginning any employment. This is the best way to avoid unknowingly engaging in illegal employment, with all of its adverse consequences for your future in the United States.

Employment Reminders

CPT authorization

Certain work experiences that are an integral part of your program of study may be the basis for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) employment authorization. These experiences may include alternate work/study programs, internships, externships, cooperative education programs, practicum experiences, or rotations. If you plan to apply for CPT authorization, remember that CPT must

  • relate directly to your major area of study.
  • be an integral part of the school’s established curriculum. (Most CPT at Augusta University must be attached to coursework for academic credit for each term.)

Your CPT start date must be on or after the date that CPT is authorized in SEVIS. Students cannot legally work before CPT is authorized in SEVIS. You must have a Form I-20 endorsed for CPT in-hand prior to beginning your paid or unpaid CPT.

Ideally, complete CPT requests should be submitted to IPSO prior to the last day of the Add-Drop period for the semester.

Graduating? Here's when to apply for OPT

Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows you to work in the U.S. for at least one year after graduating.

If you're planning to apply, you'll want to keep the following in mind. The earliest that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept your application is 90 days before your graduation date. The latest that they will accept your application is 60 days after your graduation date. You are not required to have a job to apply for OPT. 

You are encouraged to apply for OPT before graduation. If you do not apply before graduation, you are encouraged to apply:

  • within the 45-day period after graduation so that your application will reach USCIS on or before the 60th day after graduation.
    AND
  • prior to exiting the U.S. If you exit the U.S. during the grace period after you graduate or complete your program requirements, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may determine that your F-1 status has ended and you are ineligible for OPT. 
USCIS receipt date for undergraduate students graduating in May
Earliest date: February 10, 2020
Latest date: July 7, 2020
USCIS receipt date for undergraduate students graduating in August
Earliest date: May 6, 2020
Latest date: October 3, 2020
Please read the complete instructions on preparing your OPT application packet. When you are ready, you may request an appointment with Ms. Beverly Tarver. 
 

OPT authorization and academic program enrollment

If you are currently on or applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or STEM OPT, please remember that transferring to another school, or beginning or continuing study at another educational level or in another academic program will terminate your authorization to engage in OPT employment.

Here is the federal regulation:

8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(B)
(B) Termination of practical training. Authorization to engage in optional practical training employment is automatically terminated when the student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level.

Employment at Augusta National Golf Club for the Masters

Remember, as an F-1 student, you need prior authorization to work. If you're thinking about getting a job during Masters Week, please request an appointment as soon as possible. You must have employment authorization before you begin working.
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