As an F-1 student, you are eligible to work on campus up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. You may work full-time during breaks.
To work off campus, you must apply for curricular practical training (CPT) or optional practical training (OPT). Compensation for off-campus work must be through CPT or OPT.
Curricular Practical Training
CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT) FOR F-1 STUDENTS
CPT cannot be in a minor or previous major. CPT can be part-time (20 hours a week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours a week). If you are authorized for part-time CPT, any on-campus employment and your CPT together cannot amount to over 20 hours of work a week, while school is in session (this includes assistantships). If you are authorized for full-time CPT, you should not have any additional on-campus employment, while school is in session. CPT is designed to provide work experience directly related and integral to a student's degree of study. It is not intended for general, ongoing work authorization. Traditional volunteer work (e.g. at a soup-kitchen, homeless shelter) does not require CPT. However any internship, even if it is unpaid, requires CPT authorization.
A student must be in valid F-1-status and have been a full-time student for one academic year (Fall and Spring semesters) before participating in CPT.
An exception may be made for programs that require an internship from graduate students in their first year of study. This first year requirement must be documented in the advisor recommendation letter. Programs that allow for the internship to be completed after the first year of study would not be eligible for CPT authorization under this exception.
A student must have a written job offer on company letterhead before applying for CPT. The job offer must indicate the position, the exact dates of employment, the number of hours per week and the company’s address. *This must be the location where student will be physically working.
A student must continue to maintain full-time status for the duration of the CPT. This means 12 credits per semester for an undergraduate student and 9 credits per semester for a graduate student.
A student must continue to make normal degree progress, as defined by their department and the Graduate School, while participating in CPT. This could require course-work during the CPT period. Students should verify that participation in CPT will not interfere with their ability to take courses required for degree completion that may not be taught in subsequent semesters prior to the program end date indicated on their I-20. CPT should not delay degree completion beyond the program end date listed on the Form I-20. Also, CPT credits must count towards graduation.
Approval from the department is required for CPT. Individual departments may have their own academic requirements for, or limitations on, participation in CPT. Examples include a minimum GPA, a pre-requisite course and/or a number of credits taken in the department's curriculum.
TYPES OF CPT
Integral to the Curriculum – At Bentley, an internship is not a required part of the program's curriculum, but the internship is considered integral to the academic experience. In this case, a student must register for the internship course, which must count toward graduation. The only exception is the one-time one credit CPT experience built into each program at Bentley.
Dissertation Research - A doctoral student must engage in off-campus work to complete research necessary for a Ph.D. Dissertation. In this case, a student must register for a department-specific dissertation credit and file a Certificate of Full Time Status. The academic department’s recommendation letter must specifically indicate that this CPT experience is for dissertation research.
DURATION OF CPT
CPT is authorized by semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer). Therefore, students must submit a new CPT request, including all the necessary documents, for each semester, including summer session(s).
Participation in CPT may begin on or after the first day of the semester. CPT must end before the first day of the following semester. For example, CPT can be extended through the winter break, but must be complete before the first day of spring semester. Spring semester CPT must end before the first day of summer session, and so on.
A student may participate in CPT as much as their program will allow and their academic department will authorize. However, a student will be ineligible for OPT if he/she participates in greater than 364 days of full time CPT.
APPLYING FOR CPT
CPT application is approved in-house after you have submitted the requirements.
Note: It takes 5 business days to process CPT I-20.
CPT form filled out by you and signed by your Internship Coordinator (IC) (find it here: http://www.bentley.edu/files/CPT%20Application06-2014_0.pdf ). Please advise your IC to use the current CPT Application form from this link, or print a copy from the link for your IC.
Copy of your job offer on the employer’s letter head with address of the job location on the page. If there is no address on the letter head or if there is an address of the corporate office rather than the actual location where you will be employed, make sure you print the address legibly on the CPT form)
Proof of your internship class registration, a screenshot of the current semester registration (semester when the CPT will occur) will suffice.
Why drop CPT requirements at CISS when you can send them virtually? These are the steps:
1. Scan CPT requirements with your phone and email documents to the GA_CISS@bentley.edu
2. Application will be assigned to one of the advisors and will take 5 business days to process.
3. Once CPT application is processed, you will receive CISS email notification for CPT I-20 pickup. Your new I-20 will have your CPT work authorization on the page 3 (old I-20) and page 2 (of new I-20).
4. Stop by CISS to sign it. I-20 will serve as proof of work authorization that you can show your employer.
SOCIAL SECURITY CARD
After receiving your CPT I-20 you may now apply for Social Security card, if you do not have one. If you don’t have a Social Security Card, you can then apply for it. Just take your new I-20 with CPT work authorization, your job offer, and your passport to the nearest social security office. This should be enough to apply for your SSN.
U.S. federal law requires all individuals employed in the U.S. to have a Social Security Number (SSN). SSN’s are used to identify employees and tax salaries, and are only issued for the purpose of employment. The Social Security Administration will not issue a SSN for the purpose of opening a bank account or obtaining driver's license or telephone.
A SSN is not required to begin employment, but must be obtained immediately after being hired and you have employment remarks on your I-20.
International Students and Social Security Numbers
APPLYING FOR A SSN WITH ON-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT:
Step 1: Find an on-campus employment or be registered and approved for a practical training (CPT or OPT).
Step 2: Visit Campus Employment Office in Rauch to complete I-9. (Steps 1 and 2 could be completed simultaneous).
Step 3: Obtain an offer letter on the university letter head from your employer.
Step 4: Social Security waiting period. Before you can submit an application to the Social Security Administration for a SSN, you must have entered the U.S. on your current visa more than 10 days ago.
Step 5: Complete an Application for a Social Security Card (link: http://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf ) Make sure to provide a valid mailing address
Step 6: Go to the Social Security Administration
For Social Security Office location for Waltham and their hours, go to:
Waltham Social Security Office Address:
135 BEAVER STREET
WALTHAM, MA 02452
Social Security Phone (Nat'l): 1-800-772-1213 TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Social Security Office Hours: MON: 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM; TUES: 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM; WED: 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM; THUR: 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM; FRI: 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM; SAT & SUN: CLOSED
If you are not in Waltham, please check for your nearest local office with the Social Security Administration link: (http://www.ssa.gov/)
Take the following with you:
Completed Application for a Social Security Card - link: http://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf )
OPT Application Procedures
To request OPT employment authorization, you will need to submit an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Processing time is approximately 12 weeks. OPT application materials are:
- OPT Acknowledgement Form
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application Receipt
You also may obtain materials from our office during business hours.
Please refer to the following resources to assist you in completing your OPT application:
- OPT Instructions, Check-list and FAQs
- OPT application tutorial
- Form I-765 Instructions
- Color Photo Specification Sheet
When you have all of the required documents and photocopies, you may bring the completed application package to our office, where a staff member will ensure that it is complete. OPT application drop-off and pick-up hours are Tuesday and Friday from 10am-3pm during the academic year. OPT application drop-off and pick-up hours are Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer.
Your application will then be assigned to a staff member. Please allow at least five business days for processing. We will email you when the application is ready to pick up and mail to the USCIS.
For post-completion OPT, you may apply up to 90 days before or 60 days after completion of your degree requirements.
Employment Authorization Document
USCIS will send your employment authorization document (EAD) to the address specified on your application. The EAD certifies that you have authorization to work in the United States in your major field of study.
You may only begin working upon receipt of the EAD and on the start date specified on your card. You may not begin employment before that time.
We recommend that you make a copy of the EAD to keep along with any correspondence you received from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you lose your EAD, you must contact USCIS for a replacement document.
Travel and Reentry
You may travel outside the United States while engaging in OPT. To do so, you must have:
- Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport
- I-20 with a recent signature (within six months) from a CISS international student adviser
- Unexpired EAD
- A letter from your employer verifying your employment status.
As stated in the OPT Acknowledgement Agreement, you must notify us within 10 days of a change of address or employment start or stop. For new employment, please email us:
- Employer name, address and telephone number
- Position title and start date
Please refer to your OPT Acknowledgement Form for all details related to maintaining your F-1 status while in OPT.
Employment Under Cap-Gap
Current regulations allow students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to apply for an I-20 Cap-Gap Extension that will allow them to continue working until the H-1B start date on October 1.
J-1 exchange visitor students may engage in paid off-campus employment in the United States to gain professional training before and after completion of their academic program if the employment is directly related to their coursework. This type of employment is called academic training.
To participate in academic training, you must:
- Be in good academic status before applying
- Obtain advance, written authorization from the Cronin Office of International Education for academic training for wages or other remuneration
- Begin academic training no later than 30 days following the completion of your studies
- Obtain formal authorization for non-paid internships
As a J-1 exchange visitor sponsored by Bentley, you may receive academic training for the amount of time equal to your time enrolled at the university (18-month maximum). One-semester exchange students are eligible for four months of academic training, and one-year exchange students are eligible for nine to 12 months.
Academic Training Application Procedures
To complete your academic training application, you must:
1. Obtain a letter of recommendation from your academic adviser from the Cronin Office of International Education. The letter must include:
- The goals and objectives of the specific employment opportunity
- A description of the employment opportunity, including its location, the name and address of the supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training
- How the training relates to your major field of study
- Why it is an integral or critical part of your academic program
2. Call us to schedule an appointment with a staff member. Be sure to bring to your appointment the recommendation letter and the employment offer letter.
We will provide you with written authorization for the proposed academic training upon review and approval from the Cronin Office of International Education.
Employment for Severe Economic Hardship
You may be eligible for general off-campus employment authorization if you are facing severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, such as substantial currency fluctuations, medical bills, and substantial or unexpected expenses.
Employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. You may work up to 40 hours per week during annual breaks (summer, winter, and spring).
Requests for this type of employment authorization must be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We will assist you in submitting the application. Please review the following information carefully.
- You are in good academic standing and are maintaining a full course of study.
- You can demonstrate unforeseen economic hardship.
- You cannot find an on-campus job or practical training opportunity that meets your financial need.
- You have been in F-1 status for one full academic year.
- Your employment will not interfere with your studies.
- Compose a letter for the USCIS in which you describe the nature of your unforeseen economic hardship.
- Attach supporting documentation to your letter, such as news articles, letters from sponsors, and documents from financial institutions.
- Complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- Have two green card-style photos made according to the photo guidelines
- Schedule an appointment with a CISS adviser, who will review your application and enter your employment request into SEVIS. You will be provided with a new SEVIS I-20 for submission with your application.
- When you come for your appointment, please bring with you:
- Letter for the USCIS
- Passport, original Bentley I-20 (plus all previous I-20s issued to you from Bentley or other institutions you have attended), and I-94 admission/departure card printed from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website
- I-765 form
- Personal check in the amount of $380 and made payable to Department of Homeland Security
- Two photos (print your name and I-94 number on the back in pencil or lightly in pen)
- If you have received work authorization from USCIS in the past, you will also need to send copies of your prior work authorization card/application
Please allow at least 12 weeks for the USCIS to process your application. You can begin working after USCIS has approved your application and you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If granted, your employment authorization will be valid for up to one year. You can submit an application to renew your work permission, provided you still meet the criteria at the end of one year.