Curricular Practical Training (CPT): an internship program that is available for eligible F-1 students who are currently in school. CPT students can only work off campus if it is an essential part of the student’s academic program.
Optional Practical Training (OPT): available to eligible F-1 students. It is 12 months long and the point is to expand the student’s practical work skills related to their academic program.
I-20 Request Form
How long does it take for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to be approved, and who approves it?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes about 2-3 months to issue Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
When can the student start working for me?
It is only after the EAD is approved that the student can start work. The EAD will mark the duration of which the student can work, too.
How much paperwork do I have to do?
The employee (student), school, and the USCIS will take care of the paperwork, so there is little work on the employer’s part (for F-1 or J-1 students).
CPT: there will be a note on the student copy of the I-20 form saying that the CPT has been approved with the place of employment and start and end date.
OPT: through their school, students need to apply to USCIS for an Employment Authorization Document.