International Student Work Permits

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has strict regulations regarding off-campus work for F-1 students.  F-1 students are only allowed to work off-campus if they are authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).

International students are allowed to work on campus from the moment they arrive. Students are allowed 20 hours per week during the semesters and 40 hours per week on scheduled school breaks. Please visit the Career Center to look for an on-campus job and get the correct documents you need to start working. Students must receive an employment offer and obtain a Social Security number before able to start work. The Social Security card process takes an average of 14 days after the initial application.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is an academic learning experience which allows a student to apply theoretical knowledge and skills gained through coursework in a work environment. You must be authorized by the Grand View’s International Student Advisor prior to any start of the internship or academic learning experience. CPT experiences must be directly related to your major field of study. DHS indicates that “An integral part of an established curriculum” means the internship must be required as part of your program of study.

Authorization is for one specific employer for a specific period of time. Any work needed that goes beyond the term enrollment dates in to winter or summer break periods must be anticipated and reflected in the I-20 CPT dates.

You are eligible to apply for CPT when you have been enrolled as a full-time student for one full academic year.

CPT Application Process

  1. Meet with Alex Piedras, International Student Advisor, to discuss your interest in CPT and to discuss requirements and process.
  2. Seek and obtain an offer for employment directly related to your major.
  3. Provide your academic advisor with a letter describing the duties you will be asked to perform, name and address of the company or institution providing the learning experience along with supervisor name, company or name where the CPT experience will take place, if different from the address of the company, specific start (month/day/year) and end dates (month/day/year) and number of hours of CPT activity each week.
  4. Obtain an updated I-20 from the International Student Advisor showing your CPT authorization.
  5. Present the updated I-20 to your employer PRIOR to starting work. DO NOT WORK for the employer prior to the start date or without having presented the updated I-20.

Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a 12 month period of practical training directly related to a student's level and major field of study. Generally these work experiences are off-campus or for non-student positions at Grand View.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a legal work authorization for degree-seeking F-1 students that allows the students to work off campus in a position directly related to their field of study after completion of studies. OPT provides an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in the degree program to off-campus employment. Employment must be related to student’s major.


Who is eligible for OPT?
Student in valid F-1 status completing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program
Who is not eligible for OPT?
  • Students who are now 60 days beyond the date on which all degree requirements were completed
  • Students who used 12 months of OPT at the same educational level
  • Students who used 365 days of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) at the same educational level
  • Non-degree students

Process to apply for OPT

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically takes 90 days to process the application so you are encouraged to apply two to three months before your graduation date. USCIS must receive the Post-Completion OPT application no earlier than 90 days prior to graduation and no later than 60 days after graduation. 
  • Meet with Alex Piedras, International Student Advisor, to discuss your interest in OPT and to discuss requirements and process.