International students may be authorized to work on or off-campus. There are very specific requirements for authorized work to stay in legal student visa status, and students must have authorization from the International Programs Office before beginning any type of employment. International student employment falls under these three categories:
All full-time international students may work on-campus. To gain authorization to work, bring a job offer letter from your on-campus employer to the International Programs Office. The International Student Advisor will assist you with obtaining a social security number, however we do not need to update your Form I-20. Students may work up to 20 hours per week on-campus during regular academic sessions and up to 40 hours per week on academic breaks such as Christmas holiday, spring break, and summer break. Most on-campus jobs at Augustana offer students 2-4 hours per week, allowing students to earn some spending money while encouraging a focus on your studies. The most common on-campus employer for international students are:
- Sodexo (Dining Services)
- The Elmen Center
- Augie Phone-A-Thon
- Success Center (as tutors)
Students may be authorized to work off-campus after completing their first two semesters as long as the employment is directly related to the students' fields of study. This off-campus employment is called Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
To obtain authorization to work under CPT, fill out the CPT request form and provide a job offer letter from your potential employer to the IPO. The letter should include the job duties, anticipated start date, as well as the employer's address and phone number. IPO staff will review this request and will update your Form I-20 with authorization to work if the employment meets the federal guidelines for your visa and the employment is directly related to your field of study. We will then issue you an updated Form I-20, which will be your employment authorization document. Students may do CPT part-time (20 hours per week or less) during regular academic sessions, and full-time (up to 40 hours per week) during school breaks and off-sessions.
In rare circumstances students may qualify for work authorization due to severe economic hardship. Please contact the IPO if you think you are eligible.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
In the final semester, starting 90 days before the program end date, students may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Employment may begin before graduation (Pre-Completion) or after graduation (Post-Completion). OPT, like CPT, must be related to your major or course of study. Students can apply for 12 months of authorized OPT work whether or not there is a job offer. To apply for OPT, you must meet with the International Student Advisor. It is to your advantage to apply for OPT as close to the 90 day mark as possible because it often takes roughly that amount of time to receive work authorization from the federal government. Below is the process for applying for OPT:
$410 application fee. Make checks or money orders payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Do not mail cash!
Complete Form I-765 Application. Note: on #20, you will need to fill in the last space of the eligibility code. (c) (3) (A) for pre-completion OPT or (c) (3) (B) for post-completion OPT. You will not need to complete #21, #22, or #23. On the last page, you need to list all previous CPT authorizations under Part 3d on Part 6. Be sure to sign in the “Applicant’s Signature” section, date, and give your phone number.
Complete the G-1145 to receive email notifications of when USCIS receives your documents, etc.
Two NEW passport sized photos are required. Do NOT use previous photos. Lightly print your name and SEVIS # with a fine Sharpie marker on the back of both photos. It is easy for your photos to become separated from the rest of your application so you may want to place them in a plastic snack bag to staple to your application.
Photocopy all previous I-20’s (or any other visa status documents). This means all the I-20’s you’ve ever received, even if from another school or degree program.
Photocopy of the Form I-94 (front and back). Also print travel history from the same webpage.
Photocopy of the most recent visa from the U.S. Consulate/Embassy (even if it is expired).
Photocopies of the passport identity pages (including extensions). Passport must be valid.
Photocopies of any prior work authorization cards and approval notices (previous OPT).
Please vist with the International Student Advisor or other IPO staff regarding the details of this process for further information.