F-1 Visa Employment Opportunities – Practical Training

January 17th, 2008 by Brian D. Zuccaro

Practical training is off-campus work authorization that permits an F-1 student to engage in employment related to his or her field of study.

Practical training may be authorized to an F-1 student when:

  • The F-1 Visa Student is lawfully enrolled on a full time basis;
  • In an approved college, university, conservatory, or seminary;
  • For one full academic year.

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: curricular practical training and optional practical training.

Curricular Practical Training. 8 C.F.R. § 214.2 (f) (10) (i).

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.

The training must be either alternate work-study, an internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by a sponsoring employer through a cooperative agreement with the school.

Generally, students may participate in an unlimited amount of curricular practical training.

However, students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-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.

Optional Practical Training. 8 C.F.R. § 214.2 (f) (10) (ii).

A student may apply for twelve months of temporary optional practical training, which must be directly related to the student’s major area of study.

Unlike curricular practical training, optional practical training can be authorized only through CIS based upon a recommendation from the school’s DSO.

Students may take practical training during vacation periods, while school is in session, or after completion of all requirements for the degree.

A student may become eligible for another twelve months of optional practical training if he or she changes to a higher education level.



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