Employment

On-Campus Employment

F-1 Students

Federal regulations allow F-1 status students to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the semester.  There is no hourly limit for on-campus employment during vacation periods when school is not in session.  F-1 status students at The Graduate Center are authorized to work at any of the CUNY campuses and the 20 hours per week limit applies to all combined on-campus employment.

When an F-1 status student works at another CUNY campus, that college's payroll or human resources office may request verification of the student's eligibility to work.  When requested, the Office of International Students will provide a CUNY International Student Status Employment Verification Form.  An F-1 status student may request this form from our office either in person or via email.

J-1 Students

J-1 status students must receive on-campus employment authorization in SEVIS prior to commencing on-campus employment.  Please submit your completed J-1 On-Campus Employment Request Form to the Office of International Students to receive such authorization.


Off-Campus Employment

International students must not begin any kind of employment off campus (i.e., outside CUNY) without

  1. receiving authorization from either the Office of International Students or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  2. determining the applicable limit on the number of hours of employment permitted per week, the duration for which the employment may continue, and employment reporting requirements. Students who work outside the regulations will be in violation of their immigration status.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorization for a temporary period of off-campus employment in a job or other activity that helps you to accomplish academic goals and is an integral part of the established curriculum of your program of study.

Learn more about CPT

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a 12-month period of work authorization given to F-1 status students who have completed their program of study. OPT is meant to help students gain practical work experience directly related to their field of study, immediately following graduation.

Learn more about OPT

J-1 Academic Training

Academic Training  is an off-campus employment option available to J-1 students for training related to the field of study listed on the DS-2019. This may include internships, teaching, or research.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorization for a temporary period of off-campus employment in a job or other activity that helps you to accomplish academic goals and is an integral part of the established curriculum of your program of study.

CPT must be an activity in which both your academic adviser and your academic program’s executive officer recommend you participate. As part of the application process, your academic adviser will describe how the proposed CPT meets specific academic requirements or objectives and your program’s executive officer will determine and indicate to the Office of International Students the academic merit of the proposed CPT. 

Employment activities may qualify as CPT if they:

  • Facilitate a class project for a class in which you are registered.
  • Provide a broader perspective of the curricula of your program.
  • Assist you in gathering data for your required research.
  • Provide an opportunity to teach in a position that meets the general GC requirements for your degree.
  • Allow you to engage in an internship or practicum required by your academic program. 

The primary purpose of CPT employment must be to achieve an academic objective within the requirements of your degree program. You must be registered as a full-time student during the semester in which the CPT will occur.

Note that your prospective employer, academic adviser, and the executive officer of your program must all complete the appropriate sections of this form for your request to be considered.

Make an appointment with an international student counselor to discuss before accepting a teaching, research, or other employment job.

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

(F-1 students only)

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a 12-month period of work authorization given to an F-1 status student who has completed their program of study. OPT is meant to help students to gain practical work experience directly related to their field of study immediately following graduation.

An F-1 status student on a period of post-completion OPT is authorized to work in both paid and unpaid positions as well as for multiple employers, self-employment and freelance/contract employment. However, all employment during the initial period of OPT must be in positions that are directly related to the student’s field of study. 

F-1 students wishing to apply for OPT should make an appointment with an international student counselor a minimum of four months before graduation to review the application process, determine eligibility, and discuss post-graduation plans.

Note that a faculty member, academic adviser, or the executive officer of your program must complete section 2 of this form for your request to be considered.

OPT and STEM OPT workshops are offered by the Office of International Students each semester; the office will distribute specific dates each semester via email.

F-1 status students on an initial 12-month period of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), who have graduated in certain fields of study, may be eligible to apply for an additional 24-month period of STEM OPT employment authorization. 

To be eligible, you must have received your academic degree in a designated STEM field from an accredited U.S. institution and have a current or prospective OPT employer who is registered in the U.S. federal government’s E-Verify program.

OPT Workshop Presentation

STEM OPT Information Hub

Reporting Forms – Required to report authorized participation in OPT and update SEVIS records

SEVP OPT Portal

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Portal is an important tool that lets international students authorized for OPT and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) OPT meet their legal reporting requirements.

In the SEVP Portal, F-1 students can:

  • Update their physical home address.
  • Update their mailing addresses.
  • Update their telephone numbers. 
  • Update employer information.
  • Monitor their employment authorization. 

SEVP Portal User Guide

SEVP Portal Help Page

SEVP Portal Video Tutorials

 

J-1 Academic Training

Academic Training is an off-campus employment option available to J-1 students for training related to the field of study listed on the DS-2019. This may include internships, teaching, or research.

Academic training is authorized for a specific employer, with specific start and end dates, and may be pursued prior to completion of the degree or after completion of the degree. Students participating in academic training must be in good academic standing and have their participation approved by the Office of International Students in advance. Positions may be full time or part time, and may be paid or unpaid.