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for F-1 Students

F-1 Employment

Practical Training

Many international students are interested in obtaining work experience in their field of study before returning to their home country. As an F-1 international student, you have the opportunity to obtain this work experience through an employment authorization called “practical training.” Practical training authorization allows you to work off-campus in an internship (paid or unpaid) or job that is directly related to your field of study. 

Students must receive authorization for the practical training opportunity before beginning the internship or job. The authorization can take 2 weeks to 4 months, depending on the type you are applying for. If you begin the internship or employment before receiving authorization, you are in violation of your F-1 immigration status, which is grounds for termination of your SEVIS immigration record (I-20), the inability to continue your studies at SDSU, and a bar to re-enter to the U.S. due to unlawful presence.

The ISC offers several F-1 Employment Authorization Info Sessions each semester, where we discuss the rules for on-campus and off-campus employment/internships. You can watch a recording of our most recent Info Session by visiting the Educational Workshops webpage.  


What Is Practical Training?


Eligibility and Authorization

Students must meet strict eligibility requirements to be authorized for one of the practical training options.


2 Types of Practical Training

1. Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
2.Optional Practical Training (OPT)


Upcoming OPT Meetings

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The Be International blog expands efforts to promote SDSU’s international education and study abroad endeavors