F-1 students have limited employment opportunities available to them. Any and all employment opportunities must be reviewed and approved by the assigned support services office (Undergraduate: Office of Student Affairs) (Graduate: Department of International Student Services).
UC offers limited employment opportunities for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year for undergraduate students only. Employment on-campus may be full-time in the summer (if summer is not your first or last semester of enrollment) and vacation periods.
F-1 students cannot work off campus without permission from the Office of Student Affairs (undergraduate) or the Department of International Student Services (graduate). Either office can help students navigate the CPT and OPT employment request processes.
I-20 Shipping Details
Prior to requesting shipment, make sure the I-20 that you are requesting has an "Issued" status.
I-20 Shipping Information (MyEduDocs – University of the Cumberlands)
- To request shipment of your documents, go to the following secure website: https://ucumberlands.myedudocs.com/.
- Login or Register an account.
- Add the desired document (I-20) to your cart and proceed to checkout.
Once you request a document via MyEduDocs, you will receive email confirmation of your request. When your request is processed at the University, your MyEduDocs dashboard will reflect the status update and you will be sent an email update and be provided the UPS tracking number. From your dashboard you can view your recent orders, manage your shipping and billing addresses, and edit your password and account details.
Note: We cannot provide soft-copies of your I-20 and we are not able to provide you with copies of your past I-20s.
IMPORTANT Shipping Information: The 1 or 2 day shipping timeline will begin ONLY when the shipment is processed and picked up by the carrier, not when the shipment request is placed.
***Shipments are only processed during business hours Monday-Friday.***
Curricular Practical Training
This is a type of off-campus work/internship that is directly tied to the student’s program of study and enrollment.
GRADUATE CPT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
- Graduate students can request CPT in their first semester of enrollment, it is an integral part of the student’s graduate studies.
- There is no limit to the number of months a student utilizes part-time CPT.
- If a student completes 12 months (11 months and 29 days) or more of full-time CPT, he or she will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). It is the student’s responsibility to keep track of the number of months he or she has participated in CPT.
- Please note, the written offer of employment/internship experience must be included with the application. In addition, the offer letter must meet the following requirements:
- Must be written on company letterhead
- Must contain an original signature from an authorized individual from the company
- Be dated within the past six months.
- Offer letter must contain a detailed job description explaining the roles and responsibilities of the position. Duties must relate to the overall program of study.
- Students must have a CPT endorsed I-20 in hand before participating in employment.
- Please note, the written offer of employment/internship experience must be included with the application. In addition, the offer letter must meet the following requirements:
CPT REQUEST PROCESS:
- Secure a job/internship offer (in writing) in a position directly related to the student’s field of study.
- Complete the CPT Request Form or CPT Renewal Form.
IMPORTANT: CPT applications are specific to term and employer. If employment changes OR if a student starts a new program of study a new request is required. Submitting a request for one term does not automatically carry over to the next term even if some request have already been applied, approved, or issued. Please make sure to submit the proper application and/or renewal for each term. It is a student’s responsibility to keep track of employment details and update their DSO. For questions or concerns please contact your assigned DSO by email.
All CPT applications can be submitted through UC Global
***Please do not use Google Chrome when submitting your CPT application as you may experience difficulty uploading your documents.***
Here is some more info to help you understand CPT at Cumberlands.
At the graduate level, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an integral part of a student’s academic program at the University of the Cumberlands. The CPT program allows students to participate in either an internship or practical training experience. The selected internship/practical training experience must be identified by an academic program advisor as being an integral part of the student’s respective degree program. The program advisor must assign discipline specific academic credit to the training experience.
At University of the Cumberlands, participation in alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education or employment in an area directly related to the student’s course of study is required every semester for each student enrolled in an executive program.
The Collaborative Practical Training Agreement details that as the supervisor you understand that the student’s internship/practical training with your organization is contingent on the following:
- The position must be an integral part of the student’s course of study.
- The student must enroll in a corresponding course during the semester in which the CPT is authorized.
- The position must be directly related to the student’s major area of study.
- The student must be maintaining lawful F-1 status.
- The student must maintain a full course of study, and that participation in CPT will not delay the student’s completion of their respective academic program.
The completion of the CPT renewal form documents a student’s continuation of an approved internship or practical training program that has been identified as an integral part of the student’s respective degree program. By completing this renewal form, the student and his/her practical training supervisor are acknowledging that this is a continuation of a collaborative practical training agreement with University of the Cumberlands.
Students are only eligible to apply for an SSN if he/she has a job offer letter and work permission. Please note, F-2 dependents are not eligible for an SSN. To apply the student must be in the US and apply with the local SSN office no earlier than 30 days before the start date of employment as recorded on their form I-20. When submitting the application, the student must provide their form I-20 and employment letter.
Students can work on either full-time or part-time CPT. There is no limit to the length of time a student can participates in CPT; however, if the student has more than 11 months and 29 days or more of full-time CPT, they are ineligible for OPT. There is no limit to part-time CPT participation and OPT eligibility.
No. International students must have the work authorization before they begin actual employment, but not before they are offered employment. In fact, F-1 students must have a written job offer in order to apply for CPT participation.
Unless exempted by a tax treaty, F‐1 and J‐1 students earning income under practical training are subject to applicable federal, state, and local income taxes. Information on tax and tax treaties may be found in Internal Revenue Services.
Yes, but you may not work when you are traveling out of the country. It is our suggestion to be able to provide documentation that you are not working during your travel and are on approved holiday.
For general CPT information please reference Study in the States https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sevis-help-hub/student-records/fm-student-employment/f-1-curricular-practical-training-cpt, or the website for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (https://www.ice.gov/sevis/practical-training).
Regulations for CPT are identified in the Code of Federal Regulations under sections 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)-(12)(https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div5;node=8%3A220.127.116.11.18#se8.1.214_12) and 8 CFR 274a.12(b)(6)(iv) (https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div8&node=8:18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124).
Students changing CPT employers will need to submit an initial CPT application in UC Global. Students must report any changes in employment to their DSO within 5 business days. Students must not begin working for a new employer until they have submitted their CPT application for the new employment, it has been approved, and an I-20 with new employment details has been received in hand.
Yes. Students who have not completed more than 12 months of full-time CPT at the same level are eligible to apply for OPT after program completion.
Special note: CPT days are calculated per education level and do not restart if a student changes institutions or programs.
Students changing programs will need to submit a new CPT application in UC Global. CPT authorization cannot begin before the start date of the term for which the student is changing programs.
The cooperative agreement serves as the employer’s acknowledgement that they understand the rules and regulations required of an F1 student participating in CPT, and that they have verified that the training opportunity directly relates to the student’s program of study.
As identified in the Code of Regulations section 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i) (https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div5;node=8%3A126.96.36.199.18#se8.1.214_12):
“An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined to be 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."
In maintaining compliance with the above regulation, the University requires a signed cooperative agreement from all employers. If the employer will not sign the document then the student will need to search for another CPT opportunity.
Once a CPT application has been approved the student will receive an approval notification via email. The student can then save this email as documentation of their CPT application for that semester. Additionally, students are required to upload a signed copy of the cooperative agreement for each initial CPT application. It is advised that students also retain a copy of this document for future reference.
Students must notify a DSO immediately after a CPT opportunity ends so that the CPT placement can be removed from the student’s SEVIS record. If the student is not sure of which DSO to contact, he or she can email the DSO that is listed on their current I-20 document.
When traveling internationally, it is advised that students have CPT removed from their SEVIS record. To end your CPT placement please contact at DSO at the Univeristy. Once a student returns from travel, he or she can then request the DSO to add CPT back to the SEVIS record. It is also advised that students review the Travel Information guide (https://www.ucumberlands.edu/student-life/international-students/graduate-student-forms) prior to traveling outside the U.S.
To help you navigate the information found in the memo, we have highlighted some key points of information for you. As outlined in the policy, an F, J, or M nonimmigrant can accrue “unlawful days of presence” in the following ways:
- The day after the F, J, or M nonimmigrant no longer pursues the course of study or authorized activity, or the day after the person engages in an unauthorized activity;
- The CPT regulation provides an exception to those students enrolled in a graduate program that requires immediate participation in CPT. This can be referenced in Sec. 214.2(f)(10)(i). Therefore, any student participating in required CPT, that is an integral part of an established curriculum, is NOT engaging in unauthorized activity.
- The day after completing the course of study or program (including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period);
- Students on OPT or STEM do NOT accrue days of unlawful presence. As with the previous unlawful presence policy, students are still provided with a 60-day grace period after their program or OPT ends to enroll in a new program or leave the U.S. However, you WILL start accruing days of unlawful presence if your program ends and you have not made arrangements to join a new program or apply for OPT within the 60 day window after your program end date.
- The day after the person’s Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record expires; or
- The day after an immigration judge or, in certain cases, the BIA, orders the person excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).
We encourage you to take a few minutes to read the memo for yourself so you can further understand what it entails. A link to the memo can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Outreach/Draft%20Memorandum%20for%20Comment/AccrualofUnlawfulPresenceFJMNonimmigrantsMEMO_v2.pdf.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Students can select to participate in 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) prior to completing their degree, or in the year following degree completion. This type of work authorization requires an application to the USCIS in conjunction with the student’s UC Designated School Official (DSO).
Key Reminder for the OPT Process:
- The experience must be directly related to your major or course of study.
- You can apply for 12 months of OPT at each educational level (i.e. you may have 12 months of OPT at the bachelors, master’s level and doctorate level).
- To be eligible you must be enrolled, full-time, for at least one year’s time.
- If you completed a STEM approved program and want to apply for a STEM extension, you must file for an extension of your EAD with USCIS before your current OPT work authorization expires. USCIS recommends that you file 90 days before the expiration of your OPT.
- Apply early! You do not wait for a job offer as it is not needed to apply for OPT. Allow three months for processing by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), plus additional time for processing the request and obtaining required signatures from University of the Cumberlands, and mailing to USCIS. You cannot work until you receive OPT approval.
OPT Request Process
- Complete the OPT Request Application - You may file up to 90 days prior to your program end date and no later than 60 days after your program end date. A delayed application may result in delayed work authorization and/or loss of full OPT eligibility (12 months) due to the three-month processing time by USCIS.
- Once your OPT request has been processed you will receive an email update with shipping instructions.
- After receiving a new I-20 with DSO recommendation for work authorization, you must complete the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and pay the filing fee. Your OPT application must reach USCIS within 30 days of the DSO requesting OPT on your SEVIS record.
- Upon approval, USCIS will send you a Form I-766, “Employment Authorization Document,” (EAD). You will also receive a link to access your SEVP Portal. You will use your portal to update your employment information and then request your updated I-20 via eShipGlobal.
Forms for USCIS Application
- Completed I-765 Form
- Photocopy of OPT I-20 that was issued by UC within the past 30 days (page 1-3). Don’t forget to sign it!
- Photocopy of passport identification page
- Photocopy of F-1 visa page
- Two passport-style photos
- Photocopy of the front and back of your I-94 card--or, if you do not have an I-94 card, a copy of your F-1 admission stamp in your passport and a printout of your electronic I-94 information, which can be obtained at CBP.gov/I94
- Photocopy of previously issued EAD (if applicable)
- Pay the associated filing fee via check or money order payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" (Do not postdate your check. The date format for your check should be as follows: month/day/year). This amount can change, please double check the instructions for the I-765 to verify the fee amount.
- Completed G-1145 Form (optional; it signs you up for email/text message notification of your application's arrival at USCIS)
Please know that although University of the Cumberlands provides information, the OPT application is your application. We do not approve the application or have the authority to influence the process. It is not advised to travel outside the country during the application process or while on OPT. Please note that if you choose to travel during the application process, it could be difficult to respond to any requests you may receive from USCIS about your application.
Responsibilities During OPT
- You must update your OPT employment information on your SEVP Portal (if you have access) AND notify your DSO by submitting and OPT Employment Notification form in UC Global.
- You must update any changes to your employment, address, and/or name within 5 business days of the change. Even if you can update this information on your SEVP Portal, you must still notify the DSO at the university as well and submit the proper requests through UC Global. Contact your DSO if you have any questions about how to make updates.
- You must work a minimum of 20 hours per week in a position related to your field of study.
- You cannot exceed more than 90 days of unemployment while on OPT> Days of unemployment prior to your EAD start date do not count towards the 90 days. It is your responsibility to keep records of your employment and any periods of unemployment.
- Avoid long absences from the US during the OPT period. Time spent outside of the US while unemployed by a US employer counts toward your 90 days of unemployment.
- Attempting to re-enter the U.S. close to the expiration date of your OPT can be risky.
- You must not enter the U.S. in a status other than F-1. This may result in the loss of your OPT eligibility.
Here is some more info to help you understand OPT at Cumberlands.
There are a few things to consider:
- An F-1 student may be authorized up to a total of 12 months of full-time practical training at each educational level (e.g., undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate). If the student chooses to participate in pre-completion OPT, he or she may not work more than 20 hours per week.
- During pre-completion OPT, the student’s eligible period of post-completion OPT will be reduced by one (1) month for every two (2) months of part-time pre-completion OPT that is worked when he or she graduates.
- Students who graduate with a qualified Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degree, and are currently in an approved post-completion OPT period based on a designated STEM degree, may apply for a 24-month STEM extension of their post-completion OPT.
The U.S. Postal Service will not forward mail from USCIS if the address on the envelope does not match the name on the mailbox.
Approximately three months from the date USCIS receives your application, times may vary – but always expect approximately three months.
Approximately two-to-three weeks after USCIS receives your application you should received a Receipt Notice/Notice of Action. You might verify with your bank whether your check has been cashed. If so, the NOA is likely on the way.
- There is a higher risk associated with travel and return while your OPT is pending after the program completion date. If there are any problems with your application, you may not be able to respond to USCIS in a timely manner, which could delay processing of your EAD.
- If your OPT application is denied while outside the US, you will not be able to re-enter the US in F-1 status and will not be able to reapply.
- If OPT Application is pending (12 month only, not STEM); you must have a valid passport with an unexpired F-1 visa stamp, Signed I-20 Form (within the preceding 6 months), I-797C Notice of Action Receipt from USCIS, and Employment Offer.
- If a STEM Extension Application is pending: Travel is NOT allowed after the 12 month OPT has expired and while the STEM Extension EAD is pending. Travel is permitted if you have a valid 12 month EAD card for re-entry along with valid passport with unexpired F-1 visa stamp, Signed I-20 Form (within the preceding 6 months), unexpired EAD Card, Proof of employment.
If you are traveling abroad and your F-1 visa has expired, you must obtain a new F-1 visa before returning to the U.S. When going to your visa interview, bring a valid passport, valid I-20 with travel endorsements from the past 6 months, EAD Card, employment offer letter, and evidence of sufficient funds. Also, check the U.S. Department of State web site for more information about getting a visa and specific requirements at the local embassy or consulate.
For most students, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a better option. It allows for off-campus internship/work authorization in your field of study without using any of the 12 months of OPT time. If you have already used your CPT eligibility, you may want to consider Pre-Completion OPT.
During OPT authorization, each day that the student does not have qualifying employment counts as one day of unemployment. Students on post-completion OPT may not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment or the student will be out of valid F-1 status. Students who receive a STEM extension are given an additional 60 days of unemployment for a total of 150 days of unemployment over their entire post-completion OPT period.
Beginning a full-time program of study while on OPT is NOT allowed. If a student has been admitted to a full-time degree program while on OPT, the remainder of the OPT (if any) must be forfeited before beginning classes at the new school. In order to maintain F-1 status and remain in the U.S., a student must request a transfer of the F-1 record to the admitted school or request an I-20 for a “change of level” with University of the Cumberlands.
You can apply for either pre-completion OPT or post-completion OPT. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding which option works best for you.
We recommend you schedule an appointment with your International Student Services adviser to further discuss your options.
Pre-completion OPT is only valid while you are a student finishing your thesis or dissertation. The OPT start and end date must fall before your I-20 expires and before you graduate.
- You are not subject to the 90-day unemployment limit.
- Your I-20 can be extended if you need more time to complete your thesis/dissertation.
- If you graduate, you must submit a separate post-completion OPT application and another application fee.
- It is challenging to take advantage of the full 12 months of OPT allotted to you because of the dual applications.
- You must continue to register full-time (which may or may not be a requirement from your department depending on your funding and/or defense quarter.)
Post-completion OPT can begin either while you complete your thesis/dissertation or after you graduate. Procedurally, however, the OPT start date can only fall after the I-20 end date, so your I-20 will be shortened to the end of the term in which you submit the OPT application.
- You will only submit one application and fee.
- You are not required to register for the purpose of maintaining F1 status
- You are subject to the 90-day unemployment limit, an added pressure if you still need to focus on your thesis/dissertation,
- The I-20 cannot be extended. If you do not complete your thesis/dissertation within the year, your F-1 status ends when the OPT expires, and you must travel and reenter with a new I-20 to continue your studies.
- You must complete a STEM qualified degree.
- Pursue employment through an employer that is enrolled n USCIS E-Verify
- Complete the Form I-983
- Contact either the Office of Student Services (undergraduate students) or International Graduate Services (graduate students).
Study in the States defines the Form I-983 as a way “to ensure you are receiving the academic and training benefits of your STEM OPT extension.” This includes a training plan that will be submitted to the University for the STEM OPT extension recommendation for your SEVIS record.
Study in the States has a great STEM OPT HUB to provide information – check it out! https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/stem-opt-hub
Once you are ready to apply or have additional questions, contact either the Office of Student Services (undergraduate students) or International Graduate Services (graduate students).
It is the student’s responsibility to update their employment information via their SEVP Portal. If you do not have access to your portal please contact a DSO. Students must notify the university/DSO when they obtain or change employers while on OPT by submitting an OPT Employoment Notification in UC Global. It is also the student’s responsibility to update their employment information via their SEVP portal. The SEVP portal account information will be sent to the email address listed on a students SEVIS record account and will be sent directly from SEVP/USCIS, not the university. If you have questions about the SEVP portal, please contact a DSO.
Cap‐Gap OPT can be granted if student (1) is in a period of authorized post‐completion OPT, and (2) is the beneficiary of a timely‐filed H‐1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1 of the following fiscal year. The Cap‐Gap OPT is an automatic extension of duration of status and employment authorization to bridge the gap between the OPT and start of H‐1B status. The automatic extension of OPT is terminated upon the rejection, denial, or revocation of the H‐1B petition.
Additional OPT Information
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Initial OPT Application
Applications for Optional Practical Training can be submitted up to 90 days before your program end date and no later than 60 days after your program end date.
Initial OPT Employment Notification Form
An OPT employment notification must be submitted when a student on initial OPT obtains employment or changes employment.
- Initial STEM Application
Complete this application if you are requesting the STEM extension for the first time. Do not submit this application if you are already on STEM OPT and are needing to change STEM employers.
- Change of Employer STEM Application
Complete this application if you have already been authorized for STEM OPT and need to change your STEM employer.
- STEM End of Employment Reporting Application
Complete this application when employment with a STEM employer has ended.
STEM Employment Reporting Applications
DHS requires students on STEM OPT to report STEM participation to a DSO at UC every 6, 12, 18, and 24-moths from the STEM authorization date as listed on the EAD card. Failure to report in a timely manner will result in the DSO not being able to verify employment on your SEVIS record.
Please be sure you are completing the correct employment reporting application before submitting. Do not submit a reporting application if you are only on initial OPT. Reporting applications can take up to 10 business days to be processed.
- 6-Months Reporting Application - Does not require submission of the I-983
- 12-Months Reporting Application - Requires submission of completed pages 1-5 of the I-983
- 18-Months Reporting Application - Does not require submission of the I-983
- 24-Months Reporting Application - Requires submission of completed pages 1-5 of the I-983