Off-Campus Employment

Off-Campus Employment

International students at Lock Haven University who are F-1 student visa holders have an opportunity to work off-campus only when given permission and authorization through the Institute for International Studies.  All students interested in working off-campus should make an appointment with John Gradel, Assistant Director, to discuss the options below before applying for any job.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Immigration regulations for F-1 visa holders allow off-campus work permission called Curricular Practical Training (CPT).  At Lock Haven University this is allowed for 1 semester or 4 months total of full-time work for approved internship, practicum, or independent study experiences that are an “integral part of the established curriculum.” Additional months are given only if required by the academic department.  Please note that tuition charges will apply to your student account for the academic course being taken under CPT.

In order to qualify for CPT, you must:

  • Have completed 2 semesters of full-time study (graduate student requirements differ) and be in good F-1 status.
  • Have an approved internship, practicum, or independent study through your academic department.
  • Submit required paperwork to IIS and receive a new Form I-20 (You must also give a copy of the I-20 to the employer).

International students on an F-1 student visa should not begin working until the appropriate forms have been submitted and reviewed.  Once approved, an international student will receive a new Form I-20 with approval marked on page 3 of the I-20.  Please note, not all CPT requests will be approved.

Visit our International Student Forms page to fill out the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) application. 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Immigration regulations (8 CFR214.2(f) (10)(ii)) for F-1 visa holders permit students to apply for a work card (employment authorization document-EAD) for off-campus work permission called Optional Practical Training (OPT) for a total of 12 months of full-time work.  This work card allows students to work in the U.S. in their field of study, but does not restrict the number of jobs or number of hours they work.  Most students use this after they graduate to gain work experience, but some students also use this for summer work permission.  However, if you want to work during summers or classes, you can also opt to apply for smaller time periods of OPT. USCIS issues a work card (EAD) to be eligible to work anywhere in the U.S., at any pay scale, for any number of hours.  You do not need a job offer to apply.  Work permission can be split into more than 1 time period – see below.  Each application for OPT must be filed separately and include fees and appropriate documentation.  USCIS takes 60-90 days to process OPT applications.  Please plan ahead by making an appointment with John Gradel to discuss the OPT application process a semester before you plan to graduate from LHUP.

Visit our International Student Forms page to fill out the Optional Practical Training (OPT) application.