International students have several options that will allow them to work for your
organization. International students can bring a variety of talents and skills to
your organization, including:
The three most common work authorizations available for international students include:
Note: I-9 documentation must be completed for all employees including international
Employers can hire international students for full-time employment (over 20 hours
per week) and part-time employment (20 hours or less per week) for multiple semesters
before they graduate, with approval from the career center and authorization from
the international student advising center at their college/university.
Upon completion of their degree most international students may work for your organization
using Optional Practical Training. OPT is valid for an aggregate of 12 months.
Students can begin their OPT during their degree program and apply the balance of
the 12 months after graduation. Alternatively, students may request all 12 months
of OPT to start post-graduation.
Following OPT, an international student may continue to work for your organization
in H-1B status. H-1B status is generally valid for a maximum, aggregate of 6 years,
with extensions beyond the 6 years allowed in some cases. Contrary to rumor, the
employer does not need to show that the international student is ideally qualified
for the position. No advertising is required.
This document was created by the International Student Employment Initiatives (ISEI)
Consortium. Last revised: April 25, 2008. Please refer to the U.S. Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) for the most current and up-to-date information as
rules and regulations can change frequently. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) released on April 4, 2008 an “interim final rule” which will extend the period
of Optional Practical Training (OPT) eligibility from 12 to 29 months for qualified
F-1 non-immigrant students. This will allow students who have obtained an initial
12 month period of OPT to apply for a 17 month extension.
Students who have obtained degrees in the following fields as listed by DHS are
The extension will also be limited to students who are employed by businesses enrolled
in the “E-Verify program.” E-Verify is a free internet-based system operated by
US Citizen and Immigration Service, in partnership with the Social Security Administration,
which determines a new employee’s eligibility to work.