International Student Employment Information

F-1 Students must be authorized to work:

  • On-campus
  • Off-campus
  • Curricular Practical Training (Internship)

On-Campus Employment Rules

  • Maximum 20 hours per week while school is in session (multiple jobs combined)
  • May work full-time during vacations or breaks
  • Authorization required by Office of International Education and Programs (OIEP)

Curricular Practical Training - (CPT)

  • F-1 students applying for internships are authorized under the regulations of CPT.
  • The internship must be an “integral element” of an established curriculum
  • Must be credit-bearing with approval of academic department
  • May be paid or unpaid
  • Must be approved by OIEP
  • Student must be in good academic standing
  • Student has to have completed two previous semesters in F/T enrollment at FSC
  • Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session
  • Student must continue to carry F/T academic load at FSC

Employment Offer Letter

The organization offering the internship must provide an offer letter on company letterhead containing the following information:

  • Student’s name
  • Number of hours per week
  • Whether the internship is paid or unpaid
  • Description of duties
  • Start and End dates
  • Physical Address of internship location
  • Statement that position is an internship
  • Name and contact information of Supervisor

Information on Optional Practical Training (OPT) for students in F-1 status

  1. What is F-1 Optional Practical Training?
    1. Optional Practical Training is a benefit for F-1 visa status. According to the immigration regulations, OPT is defined as paid employment directly related to your major area of study. OPT applications have a high level of approval and you will have a better job outlook with completing your degree. Remember, OPT is designed to allow you to practical job experience in your field of study to better develop the skills that you have been learning. OPT allows up to 12 months of full-time work experience. The 12 months of work authorization must be completed within 14 months of your program end date.
  2. What are the Eligibility Requirements for F-1 Optional Practical Training?
    1. An F-1 student is eligible for OPT if the following conditions are satisfied:
      • Student has been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for a minimum of one full academic year;
      • Student is in legal F-1 status
      • Bachelor degree is first earned degree in the US
      • No previous OPT authorization
      • Student is currently in final semester of degree program
  3. How do I apply for OPT?
    1. The authorization for OPT come directly from the Office of International Education and Programs (OIEP). This process takes TWO meetings:
      1. First Meeting - You and OIEP will review the required documentation needed.
      2. Second Meeting – OIEP will process the I-20, make needed copies, and prepare the completed application for mailing. All documentation is required for the second meeting. A complete copy of the application is required for your immigration file. Once the application is completed, you must mail it to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Serviced) for approval
    2. It is recommended that you use the OIEP address on the I-765 as USCIS does not forward immigration-related materials. If you change address, this may delay receipt of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and delay your start of work.
    3. ***IMPORTANT NOTE: Immigration regulations require that you submit your application within 60 days of completion/program end date. So, it is important to begin this process early in your last semester before your program ends. Application should not be submitted to USCIS more than 90 days before the end of your program or 120 days before the requested start date. We recommend that you apply for OPT 90 days prior to your requested employment “Start Date” to allow sufficient time for USCIS processing and background checks***
  4. When can I begin working?
    1. Upon approval of your OPT application, USCIS will mail an approval notice and an EAD. It is the SEVIS I-20 with the OPT authorization on page2 and the EAD card that maintain your legal F-1 status and work authorization in the United States. You are NOT able to begin working until you receive your EAD card AND the date on the EAD arrived. You may not begin working if you receive the card earlier that the date on the card.
  5. How long will it take to process my application for OPT?
    1. USICS processing times may vary depending on the number of applications the service center has received and the time of the year. In general, applications may take anywhere from one to three months for adjudication. It is recommended that you allow three months so that you obtain authorization in time for your requested start date.
  6. Can I travel on OPT?
    1. Current guidance states that an F-1 student who has filed an application for OPT may travel outside the U.S., for example, during spring break while an OPT application is pending, provided the student can present the USCIS Receipt Notice proving the application has been submitted. However, once the EAD card has been issued, the student can only re-enter the U.S. to resume employment. Therefore, you must have the I-20, EAD card, and letter of employment offer on company letterhead. You do not need to begin the job before traveling but the letter should state your start date. There is always a risk that you may not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. without proper documentation. Also, be sure that your Visa is valid because it may be unlikely to get a renewal during OPT as your degree program has technically ended. OPT is an additional benefit.
  7. Can I start another degree program while on OPT?
    1. Authorization to engage in OPT is automatically terminated when a student transfers to another school or begins full-time study at a different educational level. Remember your SEVIS record must be transferred to the new school to issue a new I-20, hence you cannot continue the OPT benefit from FSC when transferring to another school. You can transfer to another school before your OPT ends but you will be ending your OPT early and not receive that time back. You can also delay transferring until your OPT ends to gain the full benefit of OPT. Your plans to transfer after OPT are important to discuss with your International Student Advisor as these plans should be considered when selecting the dates of work authorization you are requesting.


Make an appointment with Office of International Education and Programs (OIEP). Please keep in mind, OIEP holds an International Student Employment information session once every Fall and Spring semester.


Mail the following documents, in this order, to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within 30 days of the issuance of the OPT I-20:

  • Form G-1145 External link
  • Form I-765 External link
  • Check or money order for $410 payable to “Department of Homeland Security," stapled to the upper left corner of Form I-765
  • Photocopy of your most recent I-94 (front and back)
  • Photocopies of any previous EAD cards (front and back)
  • Photocopy of the newly updated OPT I-20 (all three pages, single-sided)
  • Photocopies of ALL previous I-20s (all three pages, singled-sided, most recent on top)
  • Photocopy of your passport's picture and validity/expiration page(s)
  • Photocopy of your visa
  • Two passport style photos

 J-1 Employment student must be authorized to work:

  • On-campus
  • Off-campus
  • Academic Training (Internship)

On-campus employment rules

  • Maximum 20 hours per week while school is in session (multiple jobs combined)
  • May work full-time during vacations or breaks
  • Authorization required by Office of International Education and Programs (OIEP)

Academic Training (AT)

  • The J-1 student is entitled up to 18 months of academic training either before or after the completion of their program. But it can be no longer than 18 months combined.
  • The student must be in valid J-1 status.
  • The student must be in good academic standing.
  • The academic training must be directly related to the student’s major field of study.
  • Must have letter from the academic department approving the internship and verifying its goals and objectives as the training applies to the student’s academic experience.
  • The student must obtain written approval from the “Responsible Officer”, who must authorize academic training. (In our case at FSC, the J students are being sponsored by SUNY and our office will send the completed request to SUNY.)

Employment Offer Letter

The organization offering the internship must provide an offer letter on company letterhead containing the following information:

  • Job title
  • Brief description of goals and objectives
  • Dates and physical location of internship
  • Hours per week and salary, if applicable
  • Name and Title of supervisor

**The student cannot begin AT employment before receiving written approval and an updated DS-2019 from SUNY

Tax Information

F-1 and J-1 international students and scholars who were present in the U.S. during any portion of the past calendar year are required to file U.S. federal government income taxes. This is true whether or not you worked in the U.S., gained income in the U.S.,or received a scholarship during the past calendar year.

You may also be required to file NY state taxes.

Please keep in mind you must have a Social Security number or a Tax ID number to file tax forms in the U.S.


  • If you were in the U.S. during the 2018 tax year, but did not earn any money, you need to file form 8843 External link ONLY, no later than June 15, 2019.
  • If you were in the U.S. during the 2018 tax year and you earned money, you need to file form 8843 External link AND 1040(s) External link, file no later than April 15, 2019.


  • If you filed form 8843 External link ONLY, you do NOT have to file New York state income tax forms.
  • If you earned income in New York State, file form IT-203 External link by April 15, 2019.

Your International Advisor is not trained in taxation, and therefore cannot answer specific tax questions or help you prepare your tax forms. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to meet your tax obligations and do so accurately. Please consult the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, local and state tax agencies and tax professionals for advice and guidance regarding your individual tax situations. We can give you basic information here as a helpful starting point.

For further information and access to the forms, please visit the Internal Revenue Service website External link.

international education & Programs

Laffin Hall, Room 320A
Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm


James Hall
Acting Director


Jeannette Sinnott
Assistant Director of International Programs


Samantha Somma
Senior Staff Assistant


Donna Onorato
Administrative Assistant 2