International Student Employment

J-1 Academic Training

Academic Training is work authorization for J-1 students for employment (directly related to the field of study) during or immediately after completion of the degree program. J-1 students are potentially eligible for one month of Academic Training for each month that they are in their academic program, with a cap for Academic Training being set at 18 months. (PhD graduates are eligible for up to 36 months of Academic Training.) J-1 students who are completing their academic program this semester, or are hoping to have a summer internship, should review the process for applying for Academic Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

**Please note that the deadline to apply for a full-time CPT for the current Spring 2017 semester has already passed.  For part-time CPT, the application window remains open until Friday, March 3rd.

CPT is a type of employment authorization used by students in F‐1 status who wish or need to engage in off-campus employment in their field of study when it is a required component of their curriculum, integral to their thesis or dissertation research (e.g., collecting data or testing hypotheses in a real world industry environment) or part of a cooperative education program in their field of study.

If interested, please consult the OIS CPT webpage about eligibility requirements, the application process, and other important information.

To begin the CPT process, applications are submitted by the student to the Career Development Center (2100 Pullen Hall).  After review, application materials will be forwarded to OIS for final approval and authorization.  The student will receive an email if additional materials are required or when the new CPT I-20 is processed, which takes up to 10 business days from the day OIS receives the application materials from the Career Development Center.

All international students must receive authorization prior to beginning work at an off-campus location.

Applications for both part-time and full-time Summer 2017 CPT will be accepted beginning Monday, March 13th through Monday, July 3rd.

Please note that for Summer CPT, work authorization can begin no earlier than May 14, 2017 and end no later than August 15, 2017.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a type of employment authorization for students in F-1 status who wish to engage in off-campus employment in their field of study during and/or after their course of study.

No job offer is necessary to apply, though in order to do so you must first meet the eligibility requirements and obtain a new I-20 Form with an OPT recommendation from OIS. You will then submit your application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If approved, USCIS will issue you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), giving you authorization to engage in temporary employment in your major field of study for up to 12 months anywhere in the United States.  

The OPT application acceptance period began on February 2, 2017 for those who are completing their degree program this Spring semester.  Please be aware that the employment start date for OPT must begin within the 60-day grace period following your program completion date. For more information on choosing your start date, see our OPT Frequently Asked Questions page.

We recommend that you begin the application process early.  USCIS accepts OPT applications no earlier than 90 days prior to your program completion date.  Although USCIS will still accept OPT applications up to 60 days after your program completion date, we strongly suggest applying as early as possible, as USCIS can take up to 90 days to process your application.  

Those who are interested in OPT should proceed to the OPT webpage for eligibility requirements, the application process, and other pertinent information. Completed OPT applications are accepted at the OIS office (320 Daniels Hall) during a drop-off session, Mondays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m.  OIS will also offer additional OPT drop-off sessions on Tuesday afternoons from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. until April 4th. 

On-Campus Employment

KABA is the system used by NC State University to track and record all work hours for temporary employees and student workers electronically. Users of this system need to log in to “clock-in” and “clock-out” to record the time when they start and stop working. The time that you are “clocked-in” is recorded exactly. As an F-1 or J-1 student, you are limited to working up to a maximum of 20 hours per week on-campus during the academic semester. If you record more than 20 hours of work per week during the academic semester in KABA, including unpaid work, you are jeopardizing your F-1 or J-1 status.

Unfortunately OIS has been required to terminate the visa status of students who worked more than 20 hours per week. Be sure to monitor your work hours to ensure that you do not exceed the 20 hour per week work limit. No one can authorize you to work more than 20 hours per week on campus during a semester. This is a statutory limit. Your manager or supervisor cannot approve you to exceed this limitation. 

Please remember the following to stay in status as on-campus employees while in F-1 or J-1 status:

  • J-1 students must apply for authorization for on-campus work prior to starting employment.  Find the application and more information on the On-Campus Employment webpage. For information regarding off campus work for J-1 students, please refer to our article on Academic Training.
  • All F-1 and J-1 students are limited to working up to a maximum of 20 hours per week on-campus during the academic semester. This includes both paid and unpaid employment
  • There is no flexibility to this 20 hour per week limit. If you work only one minute more than the 20 hour per week limit during the academic semester, you are in violation of your F-1 or J-1 status.
  • The 20 hour per week employment limit applies to all work on campus, even across multiple jobs. If you have more than one job on campus, it is very important that you coordinate with all supervisors so that you do not exceed 20 hours of employment.
  • International students who have on-campus employment are solely responsible for keeping track of their work hours and ensuring that they do not exceed 20 hours of work per week.
  • It is possible for students to exceed the 20 hours per week limitation during vacation terms such as summer break.  In order to qualify as a vacation term, the summer session cannot be your first term of enrollment, or your last (or final) term of enrollment.  As these are not classified as vacation terms, students are still limited to the 20 hour per week limitation for on-campus employment.
  • Provided that you were enrolled in Spring, and will enroll in Fall, you are eligible to work more than 20 hours per week on campus during the summer.  Please note that for the purposes of on-campus employment, the summer begins 5/14/2017 and ends 8/15/2017.  You must not exceed 20 hours before May 14, 2017 or after August 15, 2017.
  • All on-campus employment must stop if your I-20 or DS-2019 has expired or if your last semester of required enrollment has ended, whichever occurs first.

More information about on-campus employment is available on the OIS on-campus employment webpage.