Know the rules.

Optional Practical Training-Curricular Practical Training

Many international students have opportunities to work on campus. If your I-20 was issued by WSU, you are eligible to work on campus while you attend the university.
Check the rules carefully. You will need to comply with strict regulations established by the U.S. government and the state of Washington. Please contact International Programs International Student and Scholar Services if you have any questions.

OPT

Allows F-1 students to be employed within your major area of study for up to 12 months per educational level (e.g., bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, etc.)

CPT

Enables F-1 students to engage in an off-campus job or an internship that fulfills a requirement for practical experience in their major


Which is right for you?

RequirementsOPTCPT
Employment options-Enables eligible F-1 students to engage in employment or internships within their major area of study
-Maximum of 12 months of full-time work for post-completion OPT. If you are in a STEM degree program you may be eligible for a 24-month extension
-Enables F-1 students to engage in an off-campus job or an internship that fulfills a requirement for practical experience in their major
When to participateAfter you complete your degree. This is when most students use their 12 months of OPT. It is known as post-completion OPTAfter completing at least 1 full academic year, but before finishing your degree program
Eligibility-Undergraduate and non-thesis graduate students are eligible following their last semester of study
-Graduate thesis students have the option to end their program early and apply for OPT, but it is not required. Many wait until the semester they defend
-Requires an internship offer
-You are authorized to work only for a specific employer
-12 months of full-time CPT makes you ineligible for OPT at the same educational level
-The internship must be a documented part of the curriculum of your program of study
Requirements-Full-time employment (20+ hours per week)
-Position may be paid or volunteer
-Position must be directly related to the student’s major field of study
-The internship must be connected to a course required for the student’s major field of study
-Course title, number, and credits are determined by the student’s academic department
-Enrollment is required for CPT, even in the summer
Application-Apply through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Processing may take up to 3 months. There is a $410 fee (subject to change)
-Upon approval, you will be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
Your academic department will
-Verify completion of all required courses for the program (for the graduate students who are ABD)
-Verify your expected program completion date (for post-completion OPT)
WSU Office of International Programs will
-Verify your eligibility
– Recommend OPT in SEVIS
-Create your OPT I-20, which you will use to apply for OPT to USCIS


-Apply for CPT through the WSU International Programs via myPassport
-Processing time is about 1 week. There are no fees
-Upon approval, you will be issued a CPT I-20 form
Your academic department will
-Determine whether CPT is an integral part of your academic program
-Determine enrollment requirements (e.g., internship course, research credits)
-Recommend CPT
WSU International Programs will
-Verify your eligibility
-Determine on a case-by-case basis whether CPT is appropriate if a program does not have a required internship
-Authorize CPT in SEVIS
-Create your CPT I-20 that shows eligibility to work under CPT

Eligibility and regulations

Get authorization before you work. You must obtain appropriate employment authorization before you engage in any type of employment. Unauthorized employment may result in having your visa revoked. Ignorance of the regulations does not excuse you from the serious ramifications of unauthorized employment.

If you are an F-2 dependent, you may not be employed under any conditions. DHS strictly prohibits employment for F-2 individuals.