Getting permission for international students to work in the United States is not as difficult as many employers might consider. This page is designed to clarify some common myths and misconceptions about hiring international students.
Below you will find information that has been summarized from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and additional resources from across the country. We hope this encourages you as the prospective employer to include these talented students
in organizations in the future.
No. Federal regulations permit the employment of international students on F-1 and J-1 visas within certain limits. These visas allow students to work in jobs related to their major field of study. F-1 students can work under “practical training” provisions
in the law, and J-I students may work on “academic training” provisions.
Yes. Students obtain authorization for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) from the international student advisor. CPT is employment that is required to successfully complete a course or degree program. OPT
is employment that is directly related to the student’s course of study, but is not part of the student’s curriculum.
IUP F-1 visa holders at IUP are eligible for up to four months, full-time, of a paid internship (unless a program requires longer internships—as long as their department issues internship, practicum, or independent study credits connected to a major course
F-1 students who have been enrolled in legal status for a minimum of nine months are eligible for up to 12 months, full-time, of OPT work authorization. For every higher and successive degree, students can use 12 months of full-time work permission (OPT).
This 12-month period can be broken into smaller periods during pre-completion of a degree or post-completion of a degree. All OPT must be used within 14 months of completion of a program. In addition to the 12 months of OPT, a 17-month extension is
available for STEM degrees only.
Not necessarily. Students are responsible for working with the Office of International Education to obtain and fill out the proper paperwork. In some cases, the students might require a letter from the employer identifying that they have been hired for
An H-1B visa is a status issued by USCIS for foreign individuals to work in United States legally as a professional for three years, though an additional three-year extension is possible. An employer must file an application for an H-1B applicant. There
is a quota of 65,000 H-1B visas issued each year by the USCIS. These are assigned for applicants who have a degree or equivalent working experience to the job they have been hired for. The USCIS implemented an additional 20,000 visas for applicants
who have been granted a U.S. advanced degree (master or doctoral).
The USCIS charges an application fees that varies depending on company size and profile as well. See the USCIS website for an updated list of fees. The largest cost of the H-1B process tends to
be the lawyer fees. Some companies choose to pay for the immigration lawyer for the international job candidate, while others chose to have the candidate pay for the lawyer on their own. Lawyer fees can vary depending upon many factors, such as geographic
location and level of experience.
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