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Employment

International students holding either F-1 or J-1 status may obtain both on-campus and off-campus work authorization if certain eligibility requirements are met.

F-1 Student Employment

 

On-Campus Employment:

F-1 students are automatically eligible to accept on-campus employment at UIC as long as the student is here, and is registered for classes(Note: off-campus employment is restricted, see below). UIC employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week when school is in session; 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.

Note: Graduate 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

Off-Campus Employment:

F-1 students are eligible for off-campus employment authorization in the form of Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training. Authorization can be given if the student has been maintaining their status and if they meet other eligibility requirements (explained below).

Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

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 course credit must be given toward 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 must be submitted to an OIS advisor during open advising hours. The student must have the approved CPT I-20 before they begin training.

Optional Practical Training (OPT):

F-1 students are eligible for up to twelve months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization for each level of study (example 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.

Pre-completion Optional Practical Training may be done during specific times before the student graduates, or after they graduate. F-1 students are eligible for up to twelve months of OPT authorization for each level of study (example BS, MS, PhD). Students must attend a mandatory OIS OPT Workshop to obtain the application (see below) prior to applying for OPT.

Mandatory Workshop for Those Applying for OPT:

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, students will learn about the OPT application process, maintaining immigration status and other important procedures. Dates and times for these workshops are listed on the OIS calendar.

17-Month Extension of OPT (STEM):

F-1 students approved for standard post-completion OPT based on a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field that appears on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) STEM-Designated Degree Program List can apply to USCIS for a one-time 17-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 29 months). To be eligible for the extension, the student must have obtained their diploma from UIC, the student's employer must be registered in E-Verify and must agree to report to OIS when the student is terminated or leaves employment. The student must apply for the STEM OPT extension before their standard period of post-completion OPT expires.

If a student is currently participating in standard post-completion OPT, they must contact OIS for information about the extension procedure. Please email ois.uic.edu for more information.

J-1 Student Employment

 

On-Campus Employment:

J-1 students must obtain authorization from their program sponsor to engage in up to 20 hours per week of on-campus employment. Once authorized, UIC employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session; this amount includes all other authorized employment. J-1 students may work more than 20 hours per week during official university breaks only (Winter Break, Summer).

J-1 students 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.

On campus employment does not need to be related to the student’s field of study.

Note: Graduate 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

Off-Campus Employment:

J-1 students are eligible for off-campus employment in the form of Academic Training. Academic Training authorization can be issued by OIS if the student has been maintaining their status and if they meet other eligibility requirements.

Academic Training

Academic Training is work authorization for students on a J-1 status. This training is authorized by the J-1 program sponsor and does not require further authorization from USCIS or the Department of State.

Academic Training may be available during the academic program and/or upon the completion of the student's program. The following eligibility requirements must be met:

  • The primary purpose in the United States must be to study rather than Academic Training
  • Be in good academic standing and maintaining J-1 student status
  • The proposed employment is directly related to the major field of study
  • During Academic Training, maintain J-1 student status and apply for extensions when necessary
  • Maintain health insurance coverage for the J-1 and any J-2 dependents during the Academic Training period

General limitations of Academic Training:

  • 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 the academic advisor and OIS. Employment may not exceed the period it took to complete the program or 18 months, whichever is shorter. However, for those earning a Ph.D., 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.
  • Must begin the training within the 30 day grace period of the completion date.

How to Apply:

Download the Academic Training application packet. Once a student obtains all required documents, they must meet with an OIS advisor. A student must apply for academic training before the end date on the DS-2019. Academic Training cannot be authorized after the end date on the DS-2019.

Upon approval of the request by OIS, the student will receive an authorization letter and a new DS-2019. The student may not begin employment until they have received your new DS-2019 and the authorization date has been reached.