This information is for UH departments who have hired or are interested in hiring a foreign national. This information does not constitute legal advice.
F-1 students that are maintaining status at UH may work on campus on a part-time basis not to exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session. F-1 students may work on campus on a full-time basis while school is not in session or during the vacation break. On-campus employment during a summer session is limited to no more than 20 hours per week if the student is taking a full course load. Please direct inquiries regarding F-1 employment to the International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSSO).
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
F-1 students may be eligible for off-campus employment as integral part of the curriculum. CPT is defined as "alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum" (USCIS) and must be directly related to the student’s major. CPT can be on a full-time or part-time basis. An Employment Authorization Card (EAD) is not issued for CPT employment; CPT is authorized on page 3 of the I-20 form by a Designated School Official in ISSSO.
F-1 students may work for 11 months on full-time CPT with no penalty to post-completion OPT benefits. F-1 students who use 12 months or more of full-time CPT will lose the option of post-completion OPT for that degree level. Unlimited part-time CPT is permitted with no penalty to post-completion OPT benefits.
F-1 students must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a DHS-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for CPT (i.e. Fall and Spring semesters). Students entering the U.S. under a new SEVIS ID number must wait to complete one full academic year as a full-time student before they are eligible to apply for CPT (or OPT). CPT is only available for F-1 students who are in-status and have not yet completed all degree requirements. Once an F-1 student completes their degree, all CPT must cease.
F-1 students enrolled at other institutions may receive CPT approval for employment at UH from their institution (the office that issued their Form I-20). Proof of CPT eligibility at UH would be recorded on the last page of Form I-20.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined in the regulations as "temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student's major area of study." F-1 students must have completed one full academic year of full-time study before being eligible to apply.
Information and application materials are available directly from ISSSO: https://www.uh.edu/oisss/opt-details/
Graduating UH Students in F-1 Classification
The employment of graduating F-1 students in student positions (such as Academic Support Assistant, GA, RA, IA, TA, TF, or any other student position) needs to end no later than the expiration date on Form I-20, which normally is the date of graduation for that semester. If the termination date has to be later than the graduation date for payroll purposes, the "Last Date Worked" still must not exceed the expiration date on the student's Form I-20.