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  USA - Part Time Work, OPT, CPT, H1B, Green Card
   
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  Part Time Work, OPT, CPT, H1B, Green Card
  Part-Time Work –
   
  On-campus employment is the category most freely permitted by USA and it does not require approval of USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service). However, although F-1 status includes an on-campus employment privilege, on-campus employment opportunities at most schools are limited. Many schools do require that you obtain permission from the International Student Office prior to accepting any on-campus employment, and may not permit such employment in a student's first semester or year.
   
  For on-campus work, an F-1 (study visa) student is subject to the following rules:
   
  You must maintain valid F-1 status
  You can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session
  You can work full-time on campus during holidays and vacation periods if you intend to register for the next academic semester.
  The employment may not displace (take a job away from) a U.S. resident
   
  Study visa (F1 visa) holders cannot accept off-campus employment at any time during the first year of their studies.
   
  Students are permitted to work off-campus in optional practical training (OPT) status both during and after completion of their degree. Rules established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) govern the implementation of OPT, and all OPT employment requires prior authorization from USCIS and from your school’s International Student Office.
   
  You can apply for OPT after being enrolled for at least 9 months, but you cannot begin employment until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS and you have been enrolled for at least a year. You do not need to have a job offer to apply for your OPT EAD, and your OPT employment can occur anywhere in the US. Start early—USCIS takes up to 90 days to process your application—and make sure you work closely with your school’s International Student Office. As with everything you will do while in the U.S., permission is based on maintaining lawful F-1 status, and your International Student Office is there to help you maintain that status throughout your stay.
   
  General OPT Requirements
   
  Employment must be “directly related” to the student’s major
  Student must maintain lawful F-1 status
  Student must apply for OPT before completion of all work towards a degree
  Students who have engaged in 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training
  (CPT) are not eligible for OPT
  OPT is permitted for up to 12 months full-time in total – part-time OPT (while still in school) reduces available full-time OPT by half of the amount of part-time work (for instance, if you work part time for 6 months, you can work full-time for up to 9 months)
   
  OPT before completing a degree:
 
Students must be enrolled in school full-time
Students may only work 20 hours per week while school is in session
Students may work full-time during summer and other breaks (as long as the student will return to school after the break)
Student may work full-time after completion of all coursework, if a thesis or dissertation is still required and student is making normal progress towards the degree
   
  Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completing degree  –
 
After completion of your degree, OPT work must be full time (40 hours/week)
All OPT must be completed within 14 months after completion of your degree
Applications for post-completion OPT must be received by USCIS before the completion of the degree
   
  Certain degree programs can have OPT extended for an additional 17 months, up to a total of 29 months of OPT to be able to apply for an H1B visa. The special extension of the OPT program is only available to those who are employed by companies who are enrolled in the E-Verify program, and you have to be studying one of the following subjects:
   
 
* Actuarial Science * Computer Science Applications
* Engineering * Engineering Technologies
* Life Sciences * Mathematics
* Military Technologies * Physical Sciences
   
  Curricular Practical Training (CPT) –
  Defined as “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school”, CPT is an off-campus employment option for F-1 students when the practical training is an integral part of the established curriculum or academic program. To qualify, the work experience must be required for your degree, or academic credit must awarded. CPT employment is generally paid employment. Prior authorization by the school’s international student office and notification to the USCIS is necessary.
   
  To be eligible for CPT employment:
  You must have been enrolled in school full-time for one year on valid F-1 status (except for graduate students where the program requires immediate CPT)
  The CPT employment must be an integral part of your degree program or requirement for a course for which you receive academic credit
  You must have received a job offer that qualifies before you submit your CPT authorization request
  Your job offer must be in your major or field of study
  Your International Student Office must authorize you for CPT.
   
  Once you receive CPT authorization, you can only work for the specific employer and for the specific dates authorized (unlike with OPT or severe economic hardship off-campus employment, where you can work anywhere in the US). Your CPT authorization will also specify whether you are approved for part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week) CPT employment. While in school, you can only be approved for part-time CPT.
   
  Length or total duration of your work does not depend on whether you are approved for full or part-time on CPT. However, working full-time on CPT for 12 months or more will make you ineligible for OPT. Working part-time or full-time on CPT for less than 12 months keeps you eligible for all of your allowable OPT. It is highly advisable not to hamper your OPT provision.
   
  For all guidance, advise and suggestions regarding eligibility and type of qualifying job for CPT and information regarding USCIS application, do contact the international office.
   
  Warning: Any other kind of off campus employment like Hotels, Motels, Gas stations, Liquor stores, Grocery stores etc is ILLEGAL. If caught in a raid or by any person, that could possibly lead to deportation or problems during future immigration related work authorization like H1B, Green Card, Visa Stamping etc. F1 students should not engage in such employment which is risky and illegal by all means.
   
  Green Card Option – You will have to apply for H1B while being in OPT. An H-1B visa is generally valid for three years and can be extended for an additional three-year period. An employer may sponsor an H-1B employee for a Green Card, if desired.  Green Card is valid up to 10 years and it can be renewed further.
   
   
   
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SUCCESS STORIES
  I went to Ireland at
the peak of recession;
even then I managed
to secure a part-time
job. NCI is one of the
top most (University)
in Ireland. All 10 of us
in MIT got internship.
 
Nirmesh Patel
(MIT)