International Education - Employment Authorization

International Education - Employment Authorization

Employment Authorization for International Students in F-1 Status

Regulations allow F-1 students to work on campus without authorization, in the following positions per the Utica University Campus Employment policy:  tutors, van drivers, scribes, lifeguards, and other high need areas. 

F-1 students may be authorized to work off campus in a field related to their major, after they have completed two semesters of study in the United States, in one of two ways: 

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) while they are working toward their degree; and
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) for twelve months after completing their degree.
In either case, the student must have an I-20 showing authorization for the employment. There are some exceptions for students demonstrating Economic Hardship - see staff in the Office of International Education for more information.


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment training experience (e.g. an internship) integral to the student’s program of study. CPT is conducted in the student's major field of study and occurs before a student’s completion of study.  Students must have a formal offer of a job or internship and be enrolled in an internship course before being authorized to work on CPT.  CPT is authorized for one semester at a time. Click on the following resources for details on how to apply for CPT.

CPT Presentation
CPT Directions & Application


Optional Practical Training (OPT) is employment authorization after completion of study in the student's major area of study. To be eligible to apply for OPT, students must be in lawful F-1 status, have completed at least two semesters of study in the U.S., and be in the last semester of their program. A job offer is NOT required to apply for OPT.  Once authorized, students on OPT must work in a field directly related to their major. Students are eligible for 12 months of OPT for each degree level that they complete. Students majoring in a STEM field may be eligible for an OPT extension of 24 months due to shortages in STEM-qualified employees in the US. Click on the following resources for details on how to apply for OPT.

OPT Presentation
STEM OPT Directions & Application
STEM Fields for 24-month STEM extension 

Contact Us

Office of International Education

Office of International Education

120 White Hall
(315) 792-3082

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