International students holding either F-1 or J-1 status may obtain both on and off campus work authorization if certain eligibility requirements are met.
- UIC Employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week; this amount includes all other authorized employment. International students may work more than 20 hours per week during official university breaks only (Winter Break, Summer).
- On campus employment does not need to be related to the student’s field of study.
- J-1 students only: J-1 student are required to report all on-campus employment to the Office of International Services in 12 month increments. If you are a J-1 student and work on-campus, submit a copy of your job offer letter that includes start and end dates to the Office of International Services.
- Assistantships correspond to a percentage of hours to be worked each week:
50% = 20 hours per week
33% = 14-15 hours per week
25% = 10 hours per week
- F-1 and J-1 students are eligible for off-campus employment in the form of Practical or Academic Training, if they have been maintaining their status and if they meet other eligibility requirements.
- All F-1 students, interested in applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT), are required to attend our mandatory OPT Workshop. The presentation explains eligibility requirements, regulations, and application procedures for OPT and the OPT STEM extension.
- All J-1 students are required to review the J-1 Academic Training Application materials.
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is off-campus training in the form of an internship, co-op, or practicum that is an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT must be either required or be an established part of the student’s degree program. CPT is an option for students who will continue to work towards their degree. To apply for CPT, the completed application, found below, must be submitted to an OIS advisor during open advising hours. You must have your approved CPT I-20 before you begin your training.
CPT Application Packet
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to a student’s field of study. F-1 students are eligible for up to twelve months of OPT authorization for each level of study (ex. BS, MS, PhD). The majority of students apply for OPT as they near the end of their academic studies. Utilizing OPT after completion of studies allows students the opportunity to use the skills they have learned at UIC in a “real world” environment. STEM OPT is an additional 17-month period of OPT granted to a student on post-completion OPT who meet specific government qualifications. Students must apply for STEM OPT before their current OPT period ends.
The Office of International Services conducts mandatory workshops for F-1 international students interested in applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT) throughout the semester. Students applying for OPT must first attend one of these workshops. There, you will learn about the OPT application process, maintaining your visa status and other important procedures. Dates and times for these workshops are listed on the OIS calendar.
(*Please see note above regarding J-1 students and On-Campus Employment)
What is Academic Training?
Academic Training is work authorization for students on a J-1 visa. This training is authorized by the J-1 program sponsor and does not require further authorization from USCIS or the Department of State.
Am I eligible?
Academic Training may be available during your academic program and/or upon the completion of your program. The following eligibility requirements must be met:
- Your primary purpose in the United States must be to study rather than Academic Training
- You are in good academic standing and maintaining J-1 student status
- Your proposed employment is directly related to your major field of study
- During your Academic Training, you maintain J-1 student status and apply for extensions when necessary
- You maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependants during your Academic Training period
What are the general limitations of Academic Training?
- Your employment may be authorized for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training. The amount of time must be approved in advance by both your academic advisor and OIS. Your employment may not exceed the period it took for you to complete your program or 18 months, whichever is shorter. However, if you receive a Ph.D., your post-doctoral training may be authorized for up to 36 months. See an OIS advisor to discuss details.
- Part-time employment for Academic Training counts towards the 18 or 36 month limit.
- You must begin the training within the 30 day grace period of your completion date.
How do I apply for Academic Training?
Submit the following documents to OIS:
- Academic Training Employment Letter – completed by your site supervisor. Click here to see a sample.
- Recommendation Form – completed by your academic advisor.
Once you have all documents, meet with an OIS advisor. You must apply for academic training before the end date on your DS-2019. Academic Training cannot be authorized after the end date on your DS-2019.
When can I begin working?
Upon approval of your request by OIS, you will receive an authorization letter and a new DS-2019.You may not begin employment until you have received your new DS-2019 and the authorization date has passed.
What if I have additional questions about Academic Training?
Visit OIS during Open Advising hours or schedule an appointment with your advisor.
J-1 Academic Training Application:
F-1 and J-1 Students: Employment Authorization Based on Economic Hardship
Employment Authorization Based on Economic Hardship
Students in both F-1 and J-1 status may apply for employment authorization based on Economic Hardship. Please review the materials below for eligibility information and meet with an OIS advisor to discuss the application process.