International Students and Scholars

328 O'Dowd Hall
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3358
Fax: (248) 370-3351
isso@oakland.edu

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Employment

On Campus
Student Employment website

Requirements for F-1 Students
  • Full-time enrollment or copy of exception for full-time enrollment from International Students and Scholars Office
  • Valid I-20
  • Form I-94 indicating F-1 status and D/S as length of stay permitted in the United States
Requirements for J-1 Students
  • Full-time enrollment or copy of exception for full-time enrollment from International Students and Scholars Office
  • Valid DS-2019
  • Form I-94 indicating J-1 status and D/S as length of stay permitted in the United States
  • Student must fill out J-1 Student Employment Tracking Form and submit it to the ISSO
Off Campus

Career Services is a resource for students of all levels! They offer many services to OU students and alumni to build better job seekers and professionals. Please Schedule an appointment with their office to chat with a career consultant about your resume, job search or to practice your interviewing skills. Or, take advantage of career fairs, networking events and employer events.

Drop-in to the Career Studio to work with a Career Ambassador on your resume or cover letter, social media or LinkedIn brand, career fair preparation and more! No appointment is required- just drop-in during Career Studio hours!

Be active onHandshake,the ultimate job-search and networking platform for OU students and alumni! Check out Diversity in the Workplacesection in the Handshake Resources Library.

If you are on F or J visa status, you cannot engage in off-campus employment without approval from the ISSO.

If you have been in F-1 status for at least 8 months, you can participate in practical training that allows off campus employment. Such practical training has to be in your field of study and may be Curricular Practical Training (CPT) while you are still attending school, or Optional Practical Training after graduation. Please visit the forms page for a complete list of CPT/OPT/OPT STEM forms.

Curricular Practical Training

CPT (Curricular Practical Training)  is  the opportunity for international students to work off campus and gain practical experience in their field of study prior to graduation. To apply for CPT, complete the form that can be found on the Forms page and route for approval following the instructions on the form. When you receive an email to confirm that your CPT form has been approved by all required signatories and received by the ISSO, you should email  isso@oakland.edu  for an appointment with an ISSO adviser.

First day CPT is permitted to students who meet the requirements. Students who are starting a second program at the same education level, such as a second masters program, and who have already used their OPT allowance at that education level, are not permitted full-time CPT for their first semester. They are only allowed part-time CPT in the first semester of their new program.


Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of F-1 status, allowing you to engage in 12 months of employment after graduation. Permission to engage in OPT is petitioned to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which involves completing the proper government forms and paying the fee. Please check our forms section for the list of forms.

OPT must be applied for up to 90 days before your last day of classes, or up to 60 days after your last day of classes. Please keep in mind, it does take at least 90 days for the approval, so plan your future employment accordingly.
You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:
  • You are currently in F-1 Status
  • You have been enrolled in a full course of study for at least 8 months
  • You have not been authorized for a total of 12 months of full-time CPT.
  • You do not need a job offer first; you can apply for the 12-month OPT authorization without a job order. Upon approval of the OPT, you then have 90 days to find employment.
  • You have not previously completed 12 months of OPT at the same degree level.
  • You are eligible for 12 months of full-time OPT per academic level. For example, you may apply for 12 months of OPT after completing a Bachelor's Degree, and then another 12 months after completing a Master's Degree

What to Do After Receiving Your OPT EAD (Employment) Card

Please send the following three documents to the ISSO at isso@oakland.edu:

  1. A copy of the EAD card.

You will receive it at the address you put down on the I-765 form. If you used the ISSO address on your application, we will email you when we receive the card.

  1. EIR (Employer Information Report)

This form is on our website under the “Forms” tab on the left, and it is titled "OPT and OPT STEM Employer Information Report (EIR)”. Please fill out completely. 

  1. Job Offer Letter

We need to have a copy of the offer letter from your employer (if you did not previously have the job offer when you applied for OPT). This letter should have your name and dates of employment on it.

Once we have the 3 required documents, your I-20 will be created, and you will be emailed when the it is ready for pickup. We will only mail your new I-20 to you if you live and work outside of Michigan. 

To find mailing instructions for your OPT application, see the following link: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/forms-information/uscis-phoenix-and-dallas-lockbox-facilities

**Please note that being unemployed for more than 90 days, OR, not submitting these documents, could result in your lapse of status, and potentially your SEVIS record being TERMINATED.


Filling out the I-765 and G-1145 form

Learn how to fill out the I-765 and G-1145 form by watching this video.


OPT STEM

An "OPT STEM" Extension is available to international students who hold an appropriate degree in one of the DHS-approved STEM fields. The OPT STEM extension allows you to extend your original 12-month OPT for an additional 24 months. You need a job offer with an E-Verified Employer to apply for OPT STEM, and will need to send the petition to USCIS. (Forms found on the Forms section of our website. OPT STEM must be applied for prior to completion of your original OPT. We recommend applying 90 days before the expiration. You are able to continue working for 180 days after the expiration of your current OPT while you wait for the OPT STEM approval, if necessary.

What to Do After Receiving Your OPT STEM EAD (Employment) Card

Please follow the same instructions as detailed above for your first OPT card. We will print you a new I-20 showing the OPT STEM approval once you receive the card, and email you when it is ready for pickup.

After the first 12 months, please complete the first evaluation on the last page of the Training Plan for STEM OPT students (I-983 Form), and return this page to the ISSO.

Upon the completion of your OPT STEM period (24 months), please complete the second evaluation on the last page of the Training Plan, and once again return this page to the ISSO for your records. The ISSO maintains the I-983 form until it is requested by SEVIS.

To find mailing instructions for your OPT application, see the following link: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/forms-information/uscis-phoenix-and-dallas-lockbox-facilities


**Please note that being unemployed for more than 150 days total between your OPT and OPT STEM extension, OR, not submitting these documents, could result in your loss of valid visa status, and potentially your SEVIS record being TERMINATED.


OPT REGULATIONS

While on OPT or OPT STEM, you are still considered an F-1 student.
  1. Remember to report all address changes to ISSO within 10 days of moving to your new residence. It cannot be a PO Box or an office address. Fill out the change of address form.
  2. Make sure ISSO has a photocopy of your EAD card(s) on file.
  3. Before you travel, remember to:
    • Make sure your passport is valid at least six months into the future.
    • Make sure your I-20 has been signed for travel on the second page within six months.
    • Make sure that your visa stamp is valid.
    • Make sure you carry your EAD card and proof of employment for the EAD time period with you.
    • If your F-2 dependent is traveling separately, make sure your dependent carries a copy of your I-20 with OPT endorsement and a copy of your EAD card.
  4. Any time you change or terminate an employment you must report it to the ISSO. Your I-20 has to reflect your current job.
  5. You are required to submit a six month employment validation by submitting the Employer Information Report after every six months of OPT employment.
Make sure to use official ports of departure to exit the U.S. and leave yourself time at airports and land crossings to complete the exit interview, even if traveling to Mexico and Canada.

Make sure to comply with each required visit to USCIS as necessary. You will receive instructions at the port of entry if additional visits are needed.
Once you receive a new immigration visa/status please provide ISSO with a copy of it so we can change and/or close your F-1 status and your ISSO file. It is your responsibility to communicate with the ISSO about any immigration changes.

H-1B Cap Gap

The Cap-Gap extension is available to students who, as of April 1st (the beginning of each fiscal year) were either on approved OPT or STEM OPT or in their 60-day grace period and have a pending or approved change-of-status for October 1st  cap-subject H-1B petition with USCIS that was filed prior to the expiration of their OPT or 60-day grace period.

Those filing for H-1B via consular processing DO NOT qualify for the Cap-Gap Extension. You must confirm with your employer if the H-1B will be filed as a "change-of status" or via "consular processing." You may be eligible for one of two Cap-Gap extension benefits:

  • If the employer filed your H-1B (change-of-status) petition and it is received by USCIS prior to your post-completion OPT expiration date, you qualify for an extension of your OPT employment authorization.
  • If the employer filed your H-1B (change-of-status) petition and it is received by USCIS after your post-completion OPT expires but during your 60 day grace period following OPT, your F-1 status and permission to remain in the US are extended but you are not eligible to work.

Petitions that have been filed and receipted: If your H-1B (change-of-status) petition has been filed by your employer and receipted by USCIS, you are eligible for an automatic Cap-Gap extension I-20 through September 30th. 

Petitions that have been filed but NOT receipted: If your H-1B (change-of-status) petition has been filed by your employer but not receipted, and your OPT expires before June 1, you are eligible for a preliminary Cap-Gap extension only until June 1st. Once your petition is receipted, then you are able to request an automatic Cap-Gap extension I-20 through September 30.

In order to request either of these types of Cap Gap extensions, please email isso@oakland.edu explaining your situation.  We will print your new I-20 accordingly, and email you when it is ready for pickup at the front desk.

J-1
Scholars
Scholars can receive a funding guarantee from the department prior to arrival for specific services (research or teaching) to the University. You may not engage in any other on- or off-campus employment without prior written approval from the responsible officer at the ISSO. Occasional lectures at other educational institutions are permitted with written authorization from the responsible ISSO officer.

Dependents of scholars may petition with the USCIS for employment eligibility. This is granted only if the potential earnings of the dependent are not used to support the scholar. The ISSO will be glad to assist with this petition.

J-2 Request for Work Authorization
Bring all original immigration documents listed below, with two copies of each, to your ISSO appointment. Request for Work Authorization packet may be processed and mailed.
  • J-2 Applicant’s passport page(s) showing both identity and passport expiration date
  • J-2 Applicant’s current, valid visa page from passport
  • J-2 Applicant’s I-94 white U.S. Admission card, both front and back
  • J-2 Applicant’s DS-2019
  • J-1 Primary Alien’s (i.e., spouse of J-2 Applicant) I-94 U.S. Admission white card, both front and back
  • J-1 Primary Alien’s current DS-2019
  • Completed Form I-765 
  • Two full-frontal passport photos
  • Check with the appropriate I-765 filing fee made payable to: Department of Homeland Security
  • Letter to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting employment authorization (stating why income is necessary)
  • Completed Form G-1145
  • E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance 
Reasons for requesting J-2 work authorization
  • I wish to start a degree program and need to finance it.
  • I wish to learn more about American business culture.
  • I wish to gain more experience in my professional/academic field.
You are not limited to the reasons listed above. If your reason is not listed here, please submit with all documents a brief written explanation of your reason for requesting a J-2 Work Authorization.

Mail all documents to the USCIS service center:
USCIS
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036

Your EAD Card will be mailed directly to you. Upon receiving your card, please bring it to the ISSO to be copied.

After mailing your application, USCIS will send you confirmation of receiving your application. Approximately two to three months after receiving your application, USCIS will send you an EAD Card. You must not move or change your residence address during the processing period of your employment request.

Off Campus Employment for J-1 Students
Students on J-1 status can engage in off-campus employment by participating in academic training. Such employment authorization is issued by a DSO in the International Students and Scholars Office. It has to be in their major field of study and abide within the Exchange Visitor Regulations. 

Academic Training (AT) is training or employment related to a student's field of study. Appropriate activities vary over disciplines.

AT is available at any stage of your academic program.
AT may begin while you are enrolled in school or after completion of an academic program
AT may involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid, with several employers.
Authorization must be processed before your official academic program completion date.
A program sponsor must also evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the AT in achieving the stated goals and objectives.

Criteria for Eligibility
  • Primary reason for U.S. presence is to study in a full-time academic program
  • Valid J-1 status
  • Good academic standing at a U.S. educational institution
  • Completion of at least one semester of study at Oakland University
  • Submission of application before completion of academic program
  • Completion of application and approval procedures for each employer and activity
  • Direct relationship between AT and the major field of study
  • Receipt of written approval for the duration of AT prior to the start date
  • AT application and training occur within designated time limits
Duration of Academic Training
  • AT must begin within 30 days after the official academic program completion date 
  • Overall AT period of 18 months is available to J-1 students who complete a degree program 
  • Overall 18-month period includes all AT, whether before or after completion of studies 
  • AT period is no longer than the time spent in a full course of study 
  • Part-time and full-time AT count equally against total time allowed 
  • Second AT period of 18 months may be granted to J-1 students who complete doctoral degrees in U.S. and are offered post-doctoral positions 
Application Process
  1. Sponsorship must be through Oakland University. If the sponsor is not OU and is Amideast/Fulbright or another agency, the J-1 student must contact the sponsor to process AT. 
  2. Obtain an employer’s formal offer of AT employment.
  3. Provide an AT recommendation letter from academic adviser or dean.
  4. Complete the J-1 Student Academic Training Request form.
  5. Obtain an unofficial OU transcript.
  6. Obtain official proof of funding that shows sources of J-1 student financial support during AT (if AT is unpaid). 
  7. Schedule and bring all documents to an appointment with an ISSO adviser. The ISSO appointment must be at least 20 working days before one’s official degree completion date or before the end date on the Form DS-2019. 
  8. After receiving ISSO approval, pick up a new Form DS-2019 and authorization letter reflecting the AT period requested duration. The AT end date is also the new end date of the J-1 program. The employer will be listed on both documents. 
  9. Travel Outside the U.S. J-1 students must obtain AT authorization from the ISSO before leaving the U.S. for travel following program completion.