International Students and Scholars
328 O'Dowd Hall
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(248) 370-3358
Fax: (248) 370-3351

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On Campus
Student Employment website

Requirements for F-1 Students
  • Full-time enrollment or copy of exception for full-time enrollment from International Students and Scholars Office
  • Valid I-20
  • Form I-94 indicating F-1 status and D/S as length of stay permitted in the United States
Requirements for J-1 Students
  • Full-time enrollment or copy of exception for full-time enrollment from International Students and Scholars Office
  • Valid DS-2019
  • Form I-94 indicating J-1 status and D/S as length of stay permitted in the United States
  • Student must fill out J-1 Student Employment Tracking Form and submit it to the ISSO
Off Campus
If you are on F or J visa status, you can not engage in off-campus employment without prior written approval from the ISSO. If you wish to work off-campus in a job related to your major, you must obtain approval from the ISSO.

If you are F-1 status you can avail practical training that allows off campus employment. Such practical training has to be in your major field of study and may either be curricular or optional. Please visit the forms page for a complete list of CPT/OPT/OPT STEM forms.

Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorized when such employment is an important part of the curriculum. It is a privilege of the F-1 immigration status and is allowed only when all requirements are met. Additionally, you must have a specific job offer at the time of application. CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program. CPT is taken for credit and you have to be in full-time F-1 status for 8 months.

The ISSO can provide information on eligibility requirements and the accompanying duration options of CPT. CPT is semester based and must be renewed every semester.

Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of F-1 status, allowing you to engage in a maximum of 12 months of employment. It can be availed after completion of course of study. Permission to engage in OPT is petitioned to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which involves several forms along with a fee of $380. OPT must be applied for prior to completion of your studies or within 60 days of the I-20 end date/last day off class. You are entitled to one OPT period per educational level of completion (i.e., Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD). OPT is available during a degree program and after completion of coursework (excluding thesis or equivalent), or after graduation.

The practical training must be directly related to your major area of study. You do not need a job offer to apply for OPT, however you will need USCIS approval for OPT. You may work up to 12 months on OPT. To begin OPT before your program is completed; apply no earlier than 90 days prior to the date you plan to start employment. If you wish to start OPT after you’ve completed your curricular program, you must apply before your studies are completed or no more than 60 days after your last class. If you exceed 11 months and 29 days of full-time CPT, you may not be eligible for OPT.

OPT STEM is available to international students who hold an appropriate degree in one of the DHS-approved STEM fields. The OPT STEM program allows you to extend your original 12-month OPT if your employer is “E-verified.” OPT STEM must be applied for prior to completion of your OPT, within 60 days of OPT expiration. You need a job offer to apply for OPT STEM and will need USCIS approval for OPT STEM. It is important for you to consult the ISSO at least three months before the intended date of employment and two months for OPT STEM. Employment can begin only after you receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS.

DHS has shared new regulations concerning OPT STEM effective 5/10/2016 this is a brief summary and will be updated as new regulations are clarified.

The new STEM OPT extension is a 24-month period of temporary training that directly relates to an F-1 student's program of study in an approved STEM field and effectively replaces the 17-month STEM OPT extension. The 17-month STEM OPT regulations remain in effect through May 9, 2016. In order to qualify for the 24 months extension after May 9, 2016 it will be required that you complete the I-983 form as part of your application.

  • If you currently have a STEM extension of optional practical training, you can continue working as usual. Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will remain valid through its current end date.
  • You may be eligible for an additional 7 months if at the time of filing I-765 for extension you have 150 calendar days left on you OPT STEM.
  • If you application is pending on May 10, 2016 you will be required to provide documentation showing that you are eligible for the 24-month extension including a new I-20 from the ISSO and the I-983 form.

While on OPT or OPT STEM, you are still considered an F-1 student.
  1. Remember to report all address changes to ISSO within 10 days of moving to your new residence. It cannot be a PO Box or an office address. Fill out the change of address form.
  2. Make sure ISSO has a photocopy of your EAD card(s) on file. 
  3. Before you travel, remember to:

    Make sure your passport is valid at least six months into the future.
    Make sure your I-20 has been signed for travel within six months.
    Make sure that your visa stamp is valid.
    Make sure you carry your EAD card and proof of employment for the EAD time period with you.
    If your F-2 dependent is traveling separately, make sure your dependent carries a copy of your I-20 with OPT endorsement and a copy of your EAD card.

  4. Any time you change or terminate an employment you must report it to the ISSO. Your I-20 has to reflect your current job.
  5. You are required to submit a six month employment validation by submitting the Employer Information Report after six months of OPT employment.  
Make sure to use official ports of departure to exit the U.S. and leave yourself time at airports and land crossings to complete the exit interview, even if traveling to Mexico and Canada.

Make sure to comply with each required visit to USCIS as necessary. You will receive instructions at the port of entry if additional visits are needed. 

Once you receive a new immigration visa/status please provide ISSO with a copy of it so we can change and/or close your F-1 status and your ISSO file. It is your responsibility to communicate with the ISSO about any immigration changes.  

If you depart the United States and are not planning on returning on your current F-1 or J-1 status please fill out the departure form.

Scholars can receive a funding guarantee from the department prior to arrival for specific services (research or teaching) to the University. You may not engage in any other on- or off-campus employment without prior written approval from the responsible officer at the ISSO. Occasional lectures at other educational institutions are permitted with written authorization from the responsible ISSO officer.

Dependents of scholars may petition with the USCIS for employment eligibility. This is granted only if the potential earnings of the dependent are not used to support the scholar. The ISSO will be glad to assist with this petition.

J-2 Request for Work Authorization
Bring all original immigration documents listed below, with two copies of each, to your ISSO appointment. Request for Work Authorization packet may be processed and mailed.
  • J-2 Applicant’s passport page(s) showing both identity and passport expiration date
  • J-2 Applicant’s current, valid visa page from passport
  • J-2 Applicant’s I-94 white U.S. Admission card, both front and back
  • J-2 Applicant’s DS-2019
  • J-1 Primary Alien’s (i.e., spouse of J-2 Applicant) I-94 U.S. Admission white card, both front and back
  • J-1 Primary Alien’s current DS-2019
  • Completed Form I-765 
  • Two full-frontal passport photos
  • $380 check, made payable to: Department of Homeland Security
  • Letter to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting employment authorization (stating why income is necessary)
  • Completed Form G-1145
  • E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance 
Reasons for requesting J-2 work authorization
  • I wish to start a degree program and need to finance it.
  • I wish to learn more about American business culture.
  • I wish to gain more experience in my professional/academic field.
You are not limited to the reasons listed above. If your reason is not listed here, please submit with all documents a brief written explanation of your reason for requesting a J-2 Work Authorization.

Mail all documents to the USCIS service center:
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036

Your EAD Card will be mailed directly to you. Upon receiving your card, please bring it to the ISSO to be copied.

After mailing your application, USCIS will send you confirmation of receiving your application. Approximately two to three months after receiving your application, USCIS will send you an EAD Card. You must not move or change your residence address during the processing period of your employment request.

Off Campus J-1 Students
Students on J-1 status can avail academic training to engage in off-campus employment. Such employment authorization is issued by the responsible officer of the U.S. State Department in the ISSO. It has to be in the major field of study and abide within the Exchange Visitor Regulations. 

Academic Training (AT) is training or employment related to a student's field of study. Appropriate activities vary over disciplines.

AT is available at any stage of your academic program.
AT may begin while you are enrolled in school or after completion of an academic program
AT may involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid, with several employers.
Authorization must be processed before your official academic program completion date.
A program sponsor must also evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the AT in achieving the stated goals and objectives.

Criteria for Eligibility
  • Primary reason for U.S. presence is to study in a full-time academic program
  • Valid J-1 status
  • Good academic standing at a U.S. educational institution
  • Completion of at least one semester of study at Oakland University
  • Submission of application before completion of academic program
  • Completion of application and approval procedures for each employer and activity
  • Direct relationship between AT and the major field of study
  • Receipt of written approval for the duration of AT prior to the start date
  • AT application and training occur within designated time limits
Duration of Academic Training
  • AT must begin within 30 days after the official academic program completion date 
  • Overall AT period of 18 months is available to J-1 students who complete a degree program 
  • Overall 18-month period includes all AT, whether before or after completion of studies 
  • AT period is no longer than the time spent in a full course of study 
  • Part-time and full-time AT count equally against total time allowed 
  • Second AT period of 18 months may be granted to J-1 students who complete doctoral degrees in U.S. and are offered post-doctoral positions 
Application Process
  1. Sponsorship must be through Oakland University. If the sponsor is not OU and is Amideast/Fulbright or another agency, the J-1 student must contact the sponsor to process AT. 
  2. Obtain an employer’s formal offer of AT employment.
  3. Provide an AT recommendation letter from academic adviser or dean.
  4. Complete the J-1 Student Academic Training Request form.
  5. Obtain an unofficial OU transcript.
  6. Obtain official proof of funding that shows sources of J-1 student financial support during AT (if AT is unpaid). 
  7. Schedule and bring all documents to an appointment with an ISSO adviser. The ISSO appointment must be at least 20 working days before one’s official degree completion date or before the end date on the Form DS-2019. 
  8. After receiving ISSO approval, pick up a new Form DS-2019 and authorization letter reflecting the AT period requested duration. The AT end date is also the new end date of the J-1 program. The employer will be listed on both documents. 
  9. Travel Outside the U.S. J-1 students must obtain AT authorization from the ISSO before leaving the U.S. for travel following program completion.