F-1 students may wish to engage in temporary employment off-campus to gain practical experience in their field of study.

One of the two types of off-campus employment that F-1 students can be authorized for is the Curricular Practical Training (CPT). 

Note: F-1 students enrolled in an Intensive English Language program are not eligible for any Practical Training.

At VSU off-campus employment can only be authorized if:

  • The F-1 student maintained lawful status and have been enrolled full-time for at least nine consecutive months
  • The student participates in the CO-OP Program or practical training is required by the department for completion of the degree and is an integral part of the degree program (internship course).
    • Employment ties in to the student's field of study/

CPT may be part-time or full-time. Employment for 20 hours per week or less is considered part-time; more than 20 hours is considered full-time. Students pursuing CPT during a regular academic term must be enrolled full-time for academic credit, regardless of whether the employment is full-time or part-time. During vacation periods, students receiving CPT authorization may need only to enroll part-time for academic credit, depending on whether the training is required or optional.

  • The amount of CPT is not limited by the immigration regulations.

Note: Students who have received one year or more of full-time curricular practical training authorization are ineligible for Optional Practical Training. Part-time curricular practical training is not counted toward the one-year cumulative threshold at which a student loses eligibility for optional practical training. Students do not obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) for this type of practical training.

CO-OP Procedures:

  • Complete the Employment Basics and the Off-Campus/Curricular Practical Training module in the  Employment 101 for International Students (F-1) course.
  • Apply for CO-OP no later than two weeks prior to the start of your prospective internship/employment, through the CO-OP Office to gain approval. The CO-OP office will write a letter outlining your work assignment and send the CO-OP Approval form to the international student advisor.
  • Assuming you meet all eligibility requirements, a new I-20 will be ready for you to pick up within 2-3 business days. You will be notified when you can come by the CIP to pick up your updated I-20. You must have the new I-20 with the CPT authorization in your possession to begin work. The I-20 with the CPT authorization is proof of employment eligibility, which students need to show to their employer. The CPT work authorization is valid only for the employer and dates indicated on the I-20.
  • Enroll in CO-OP hours prior to the end of Registration for the term that you plan to work.

Internship Courses

  • Complete the Employment Basics and the Off-Campus/Curricular Practical Training module in the  Employment 101 for International Students (F-1) course. 
  • Complete the internship class paperwork requirements with the faculty in charge of your internship class/ major department's internship class advisor.
  • Submit the paperwork from your internship class detailing the responsibilities and other details (duration/ supervisor's name, hours per week, etc.) to the international student advisor at least a week prior to the start of your course. 
  • Pay any tuition and fees associated with your internship class. 
  • You will be notified via email when your updated form I-20 with the CPT approval for your internship class is ready for you to pick up.