F-1 Employment - University of Houston
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F-1 Employment


F-1 students with a valid I-20 issued for attendance at the University of Houston are generally permitted to work part-time (no more than 20 hours per week) except for official school breaks and the student's annual vacation, when it may be full-time) with the University of Houston as the employer, while they are attending the University of Houston and maintaining their F-1 status, subject to certain restrictions discussed in the F-1 visa regulations: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i)



CPT work authorization may only be granted to the internship/employment directly related to the student’s major area of study and only if the student is otherwise eligible.

Student Self-Check Preliminary CPT Eligibility:

If you answer "yes" to all questions listed above, you may be eligible to apply for CPT. ISSSO will verify your eligibility after you submit your CPT application.

For students who choose CPT under COOP option, please follow the directions provided by the COOP office.

  • UH CO-OP Virtual Office - This is run through Microsoft TEAMS and students have to use their UH credentials to join

Optional Practical Training


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."

There are three general types of optional practical training:

  1. Pre-completion OPT
  2. Post-completion OPT
  3. Extensions of post-completion OPT for certain Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students (OPT STEM Extension)

More information on OPT: 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)

24-Month STEM Extension:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made the following changes to the OPT-STEM Extension effective on May 10, 2016. The rule does not make any changes to the current Pre-Completion OPT and Post-completion OPT.

  1. Time increased from 17 months to 24 months
  2. New Required Training Plan (Form I-983)
  3. Under certain conditions, prior U.S. eligible degree (within 10 years) can be used for STEM-Extension unless a STEM-Extension was already used for this prior degree.
  4. Increased unemployment time on OPT STEM Extension from 30 to 60 days(total of 150 days when counting regular period of OPT)
  5. Two STEM extensions allowed instead of one per lifetime. The second can only be used at a higher degree level.
  6. Increased filing timeframe for OPT STEM Extensions from 30 to 60 days (based on the print date of the I-20).
  7. Has to be in a non-volunteer based capacity

For more details go to STEM Extension (OPTX)

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