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Practical training may be authorized to an F-1 student who has been lawfully enrolled on a full time basis, in a Service-approved college, university, conservatory, or seminary for one full academic year. This provision also includes students who, during their course of study, were enrolled in a study abroad program, if the student had spent at least one full academic term enrolled in a full course of study in the United States prior to studying abroad. A student may be authorized 12 months of practical tra
ining, and becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he or she changes to a higher educational level. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for practical training. An eligible student may request employment authorization for practical training in a position that is directly related to his or her major area of study. There are two types of practical training available: (Introductory text revised effective 1/1/03;
67 FR 76256
Curricular practical training programs
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. Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for p
ost-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are provided for students enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training. A request for authorization for curricular practical training must be made to the DSO. A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement. (Revised effective 1/1/03;
67 FR 76256
. A student must request authorization for curricular practical training using Form I-538. Upon approving the request for authorization, the DSO shall: certify Form I-538 and send the form to the Service's data processing center; endorse the student's Form I-20 ID with "full-time (or part-time) curricular practical training authorized for (employer) at (location) from (date) to (date)"; and sign and date the Form I-20ID before returning it to the student.
. To grant authorization for a student to engage in curricular practical training, a DSO at a SEVIS school will update the student's record in SEVIS as being authorized for curricular practical training that is directly related to the student's major area of study. The DSO will indicate whether the training is full-time or part-time, the employer and location, and the employment start and end date. The DSO will then print a copy of the employment page of the SEVIS Form I-20 indicating that curricular practi
cal training has been approved. The DSO must sign, date, and return the SEVIS Form I-20 to the student prior to the student's commencement of employment.
Optional practical training--
Consistent with the application and approval process in paragraph (f)(11) of this section, a student may apply to USCIS for authorization for temporary employment for optional practical training directly related to the student's major area of study. The student may not begin optional practical training until the date indicated on his or her employment authorization document, Form I-766. A student may be granted authorization to engage in temporary employment for optional practical training: (Paragraph (f)
(10(ii)(A) revised 4/8/08;
73 FR 18944
(Paragraph (f)(10)(ii)(A) revised effective 1/1/03;
67 FR 76256
) During the student's annual vacation and at other times when school is not in session, if the student is currently enrolled, and is eligible for registration and intends to register for the next term or session;
) While school is in session, provided that practical training does not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session; or
) After completion of the course of study, or, for a student in a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree program, after completion of all course requirements for the degree (excluding thesis or equivalent). Continued enrollment, for the school's administrative purposes, after all requirements for the degree have been met does not preclude eligibility for optional practical training. A student must complete all practical training within a 14-month period following the completion of study, except that a 17-
month extension pursuant to paragraph (f)(10)(ii)(C) of this section does not need to be completed within such 14-month period.
Termination of practical training
. Authorization to engage in optional practical training employment is automatically terminated when the student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level. (Revised effective 1/1/03;
67 FR 76256
17-month extension of post-completion OPT for students with a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree
. Consistent with paragraph (f)(11)(i)(C) of this section, a qualified student may apply for an extension of OPT while in a valid period of post-completion OPT. The extension will be for an additional 17 months, for a maximum of 29 months of OPT, if all of the following requirements are met. (Revised 4/8/08;
73 FR 18944
) The student has not previously received a 17-month OPT extension after earning a STEM degree.
) The degree that was the basis for the student's current period of OPT is a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in one of the degree programs on the current STEM Designated Degree Program List, published on the SEVP Web site at
) The student's employer is registered in the E-Verify program, as evidenced by either a valid E-Verify company identification number or, if the employer is using a designated agent to perform the E-Verify queries, a valid E-Verify client company identification number, and the employer is a participant in good standing in the E-Verify program, as determined by USCIS.
) The employer agrees to report the termination or departure of an OPT employee to the DSO at the student's school or through any other means or process identified by DHS if the termination or departure is prior to end of the authorized period of OPT. Such reporting must be made within 48 hours of the event. An employer shall consider a worker to have departed when the employer knows the student has left the employment or if the student has not reported for work for a period of 5 consecutive business days w
ithout the consent of the employer, whichever occurs earlier.
Action of the DSO-Non SEVIS schools
. In making a recommendation for practical training, a designated school official must: (Heading revised effective 1/1/03;
67 FR 76256
(1) Certify on Form I-538 that the proposed employment is directly related to the student's major area of study and commensurate with the student's educational level;
(2) Endorse and date the student's Form I-20 ID to show that practical training in the student's major field of study is recommended "full-time (or part-time) from (date) to (date)"; and
(3) Return to the student the Form I-20 ID and send to the Service data processing center the school certifica
tion on Form I-538.
Periods of unemployment during post-completion OPT
. During post-completion OPT, F-1 status is dependent upon employment. Students may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment during any post-completion OPT carried out under the initial post-completion OPT authorization. Students granted a 17-month OPT extension may not accrue an aggregate of more than 120 days of unemployment during the total OPT period comprising any post-completion OPT carried out under the initial post-completion OPT authorization and the subsequent 17-month extensio
n period. (Revised 4/8/08;
73 FR 18944
(Added effective 1/1/03;
67 FR 76256
. A student must initiate the OPT application process by requesting a recommendation for OPT from his or her DSO. Upon making the recommendation, the DSO will provide the student a signed Form I-20 indicating that recommendation.
Application for employment authorization
. The student must properly file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with USCIS, accompanied by the required fee for the Form I-765, and the supporting documents, as described in the form's instructions.
Filing deadlines for pre-completion OPT and post-completion OPT
) Students may file a Form I-765 for pre-completion OPT up to 90 days before being enrolled for one full academic year, provided that the period of employment will not start prior to the completion of the full academic year.
) For post-completion OPT, the student must properly file his or her Form I-765 up to 90 days prior to his or her program end-date and no later than 60 days after his or her program end-date. The student must also file the Form I-765 with USCIS within 30 days of the date the DSO enters the recommendation for OPT into his or her SEVIS record.
Applications for 17-month OPT extension
. A student meeting the eligibility requirement in paragraph (f)(10)(ii)(C) of this section may file for a 17-month extension of employment authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the appropriate fee, prior to the expiration date of the student's current OPT employment authorization. If a student timely and properly files an application for a 17-month OPT extension, but the Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, currently in the student's possession, expir
es prior to the decision on the student's application for 17-month OPT extension, the student's Form I-766 is extended automatically pursuant to the terms and conditions specified in
8 CFR 274a.12(b)(6)
Start of employment
. A student may not begin employment prior to the approved starting date on his or her employment authorization except as noted in paragraph (f)(11)(i)(C) of this section. A student may not request a start date that is more than 60 days after the student's program end date. Employment authorization will begin on the date requested or the date the employment authorization is adjudicated, whichever is later.
. A student needs a recommendation from his or her DSO in order to apply for OPT. When a DSO recommends a student for OPT, the school assumes the added responsibility for maintaining the SEVIS record of that student for the entire period of authorized OPT, consistent with paragraph (f)(12) of this section.
(A) Prior to making a recommendation, the DSO must ensure that the student is eligible for the given type and period of OPT and that the student is aware of his or her responsibilities for maintaining status while on OPT. Prior to recommending a 17-month OPT extension, the DSO must certify that the student's degree, as shown in SEVIS, is a bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree with a degree code that is on the current STEM Designated Degree Program List.
(B) The DSO must update the student's SEVIS record with the DSO's recommendation for OPT before the student can apply to USCIS for employment authorization. The DSO will indicate in SEVIS whether the employment is to be full-time or part-time, and note in SEVIS the start and end date of employment.
(C) The DSO must provide the student with a signed, dated Form I-20 indicating that OPT has been recommended.
Decision on application for OPT employment authorization
. USCIS will adjudicate the Form I-765 and, if approved, issue an EAD on the basis of the DSO's recommendation and other eligibility considerations.
(A) The employment authorization period for post-completion OPT begins on the date requested or the date the employment authorization application is approved, whichever is later, and ends at the conclusion of the remaining time period of post-completion OPT eligibility. The employment authorization period for the 17-month OPT extension begins on the day after the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT employment authorization and ends 17 months thereafter, regardless of the date the actual extension
(B) USCIS will notify the applicant of the decision and, if the application is denied, of the reason or reasons for the denial.
(C) The applicant may not appeal the decision.
. An F-1 student who is authorized by USCIS to engage in optional practical training (OPT) employment is required to report any change of name or address, or interruption of such employment to the DSO for the duration of the optional practical training. A DSO who recommends a student for OPT is responsible for updating the student's record to reflect these reported changes for the duration of the time that training is authorized.
Additional reporting obligations for students with an approved 17-month OPT
. Students with an approved 17-month OPT extension have additional reporting obligations. Compliance with these reporting requirements is required to maintain F-1 status. The reporting obligations are:
(A) Within 10 days of the change, the student must report to the student's DSO a change of legal name, residential or mailing address, employer name, employer address, and/or loss of employment.
(B) The student must make a validation report to the DSO every six months starting from the date the extension begins and ending when the student's F-1 status ends, the student changes educational levels at the same school, or the student transfers to another school or program, or the 17-month OPT extension ends, whichever is first. The validation is a confirmation that the student's information in SEVIS for the items in listed in paragraph(f)(12)(ii)(A) of this section is current and accurate. This report
is due to the student's DSO within 10 business days of each reporting date.
Temporary absence from the United States of F-1 student granted employment authorization.
A student returning from a temporary trip abroad with an unexpired off-campus employment authorization on his or her I-20 ID may resume employment only if the student is readmitted to attend the same school which granted the employment authorization.
An F-1 student who has an unexpired EAD issued for post-completion practical training and who is otherwise admissible may return to the United States to resume employment after a period of temporary absence. The EAD must be used in combination with an I-20 ID endorsed for reentry by the DSO within the last six months.
Effect of strike or other labor dispute. Any employment authorization, whether or not part of an academic program, is automatically suspended upon certification by the Secretary of Labor or the Secretary's designee to the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service or the Commissioner's designee, that a strike or other labor dispute involving a work stoppage of workers is in progress in the occupation at the place of employment. As used in this paragraph, "place of employment" means the f
acility or facilities where a labor dispute exists. The employer is prohibited from transferring F-1 students working at other facilities to the facility where the work stoppage is occurring.
Spouse and children of F-1 student
. The F-2 spouse and minor children of an F-1 student shall each be issued an individual SEVIS Form I-20 in accordance with the provisions of §
. (Revised effective 1/1/03;
67 FR 76256
. The F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not accept employment.
. (A) The F-2 spouse of an F-1 student may not engage in full time study, and the F-2 child may only engage in full time study if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through twelfth grade). The F-2 spouse and child may engage in study that is avocational or recreational in nature.
(B) An F-2 spouse or F-2 child desiring to engage in full time study, other than that allowed for a child in paragraph (f)(15)(ii)(A) of this section, must apply for and obtain a change of nonimmigrant classification to F-1, J-1, or M-1 status. An F-2 spouse or child who was enrolled on a full time basis prior to January 1, 2003, will be allowed to continue study but must file for a change of nonimmigrant classification to F-1, J-1, or M-1 status on or before March 11, 2003.
(C) An F-2 spouse or F-2 child violates his or her nonimmigrant status by engaging in full time study except as provided in paragraph (f)(15)(ii)(A) or (B) of this section.
Reinstatement to student status
.-- (Revised effective 1/1/03;
67 FR 76256
60 FR 21973
. The district director may consider reinstating a student who makes a request for reinstatement on Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, accompanied by a properly completed SEVIS Form I-20 indicating the DSO's recommendation for reinstatement (or a properly completed Form I-20A-B issued prior to January 30, 2003, from the school the student is attending or intends to attend prior to August 1, 2003). The district director may consider granting the request if the student:
(A) Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrates that the failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that the student filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances);
(B) Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of Service regulations;
(C) Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the Form I-20;
(D) Has not engaged in unauthorized employment;
(E) Is not deportable on any ground other than section
of the Act; and
(F) Establishes to the satisfaction of the Service, by a detailed showing, either that:
(1) The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, a natural disaster, or inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of the DSO, but do not include instances where a pattern of repeated violations or where a willful failure on the part of the student resulted in the need for reinstatement; or
(2) The violation re
lates to a reduction in the student's course load that would have been within a DSO's power to authorize, and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.
. If the Service reinstates the student, the Service shall endorse the student's copy of Form I-20 to indicate the student has been reinstated and return the form to the student. If the Form I-20 is from a non-SEVIS school, the school copy will be forwarded to the school. If the Form I-20 is from a SEVIS school, the adjudicating officer will update SEVIS to reflect the Service's decision. In either case, if the Service does not reinstate the student, the student may not appeal that decision.
Current name and address
. A student must inform the DSO and the Service of any legal changes to his or her name or of any change of address, within 10 days of the change, in a manner prescribed by the school. A student enrolled at a SEVIS school can satisfy the requirement in
8 CFR 265.1
of notifying the Service by providing a notice of a change of address within 10 days to the DSO, who in turn shall enter the information in SEVIS within 21 days of notification by the student. A student enrolled at a non-SEVIS school must submit a notice of change of address to the Service, as provided in
8 CFR 265.1
, within 10 days of the change. Except in the case of a student who cannot receive mail where he or she resides, the address provided by the student must be the actual physical location where the student resides rather than a mailing address. In cases where a student provides a mailing address, the school must maintain a record of, and must provide upon request from the Service, the actual physical location where the student resides. (Added effective 1/1/03;
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)(Added and reserved 8/27/02;
67 FR 54941
Special rules for certain border commuter students
. (Paragraph (f)(18) added 8/27/02;
67 FR 54941
. For purposes of the special rules in this paragraph (f)(18), the term "border commuter student" means a national of Canada or Mexico who is admitted to the United States as an F-1 nonimmigrant student to enroll in a full course of study, albeit on a part-time basis, in an approved school located within 75 miles of a United States land border. A border commuter student must maintain actual residence and place of abode in the student's country of nationality, and seek admission to the United States at a lan
d border port-of-entry. These special rules do not apply to a national of Canada or Mexico who is:
(A) Residing in the United States while attending an approved school as an F-1 student, or
(B) Enrolled in a full course of study as defined in paragraph (f)(6) of this section.
Full course of study
. The border commuter student must be enrolled in a full course of study at the school that leads to the attainment of a specific educational or professional objective, albeit on a part-time basis. A designated school official at the school may authorize an eligible border commuter student to enroll in a course load below that otherwise required for a full course of study under paragraph (f)(6) of this section, provided that the reduced course load is consistent with the border commuter student's approved c
ourse of study.
Period of admission
. An F-1 nonimmigrant student who is admitted as a border commuter student under this paragraph (f)(18) will be admitted until a date certain. The DSO is required to specify a completion date on the Form I-20 that reflects the actual semester or term dates for the commuter student's current term of study. A new Form I-20 will be required for each new semester or term that the border commuter student attends at the school. The provisions of paragraphs (f)(5) and (f)(7) of this section, relating to duration o
f status and extension of stay, are not applicable to a border commuter student.
. A border commuter student may not be authorized to accept any employment in connection with his or her F-1 student status, except for curricular practical training as provided in paragraph (f)(10)(i) of this section or post-completion optional practical training as provided in paragraph (f)(10)(ii)(A)(3) of this section.
Remittance of the fee
. An alien who applies for F-1 or F-3 nonimmigrant status in order to enroll in a program of study at a Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-approved educational institution is required to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee to DHS, pursuant to
8 CFR 214.13
except as otherwise provided in that section.
(Added effective 9/1/04; 69 FR 39814)