Work Authorization for International Students
International students in F-1 status are eligible to work legally in the United States under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). To be eligible for either CPT or OPT, F-1 students must be in full-time and good academic student status for one full academic year prior to beginning employment. International students (F-1) are eligible to work full-time or part-time during the summer semester. During the fall or spring semester International students are only eligible to work part-time while being enrolled in 6-9 semester credits of in- classroom courses at Georgia Tech, where the student physically goes to class. Online courses are not allowed.
International student may use their CPT for internships and co-ops that meet the following criteria:
- Work Weeks
- Summer - 10 week minimum
- Fall/Spring - 16 week minimum
- The internship or co-op is directly related to student’s major
- Student MUST register for the appropriate Internship Course (Students will be given a permit for the Georgia Tech Internship only after they have obtained CPT or OPT work authorization.)
International students who wish to obtain OPT work authorization for an internship must start the process by viewing OIE’s mandatory OPT tutorial (oie.gatech.edu/OPT). We recommend that you view the OPT tutorial several months before you wish to begin your internship. OPT is recommended by an OIE advisor but authorized by U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It can take up to 90 days for USCIS to process an OPT application. Therefore, students should plan ahead if applying for OPT.
Failure to obtain work authorization prior to beginning employment may jeopardize a student’s status at Georgia Institute of Technology and their ability to remain in United States.
F-1 STATUS RELATED ISSUES. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:
Summer Semesters: F-1 students may be authorized for full-time or part-time utilizing either CPT or OPT. Depending on the number of hours per week, F-1 students may register for 3, 6, 9 or 12 hours of internship credit as determined by their Career Development Advisor.
Fall/Spring Semesters: Students may work 20 hours per week, and must enroll in 6 credits of Internship hours. Since, F-1 students are only eligible to work part-time during a fall or spring semester, it is VERY important that students registering for the 3 or 6 credit hours, work exactly the specified number of hours per week to meet the criteria of the internship and in compliance with CPT regulations and that they take 6 t0 9 hours of academic course work at the Georgia Tech campus. They cannot use OPT!
IMPORTANT: All F-1 students are required to enroll in at least 12 credit hours during fall and spring semesters. Of the 12 credits, only up to 6 can be internship audit hours. The remaining 6 credits must be class credits. F-1 students will not be allowed to enroll in the internship course until the student has approved work authorization. Therefore, it is HIGHLY recommended that students register for at least academic 12 credits of courses and only drop classes once their permit to register in the internship course has been issued.
Students not enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits by the end of phase 2 registration, are in violation of their F-1 status which can result in the termination of their SEVIS records.
Note: International students not enrolled as “F-1 Visa Students” are encouraged to contact the Georgia Tech Office of International Education (OIE) for additional information on work authorization issues.
Note: OPT is recommended by an OIE advisor, but authorized by U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It can take more than 90 + days for USCIS to process an OPT application. Therefore, students should plan ahead if applying for OPT.
Failure to obtain work authorization prior to beginning employment may jeopardize a student’s eligibility to continue living and working in the United States. Students will be given a permit for the co-op class only after they have obtained CPT or OPT work authorization for that term.