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
If you are on F or J visa status, you can not engage in off-campus employment without prior written approval from the ISSO. If you wish to work off-campus in a job related to your major, you must obtain 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 (OPT) or OPT STEM and after graduation. Please visit the forms page for a complete list of CPT/OPT/OPT STEM forms. 

Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorized when such employment is an important part of the curriculum. It is a privilege of the F-1 immigration status and is allowed only when all requirements are met. Additionally, you must have a specific job offer at the time of application. CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program. CPT is taken for credit and you have to be in full-time F-1 status for 8 months before you can apply for CPT. If you have done a change of status to F-1 visa you have to wait 8 months to start. If your 8 months fall to a beginning of a semester you have to wait for the first day of your classes in that semester to start your CPT. 

The ISSO can provide information on eligibility requirements and the accompanying duration options of CPT. CPT is semester based and must be renewed every semester. If you apply at least a week or two before your current CPT ends you will not need to have any gaps between the semesters and we will approve a continuous CPT from semester to semester. For example if your winter semester end April 26 and we can start your summer semester on April 27.


Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of F-1 status, allowing you to engage in a maximum of 12 months of employment. OPT is available after completion of your course of study. Permission to engage in OPT is petitioned to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which involves several forms along with a fee. OPT must be applied for within 90 days before completion of your studies, or up to 60 days after the I-20 end date/last day of class. You are entitled to one OPT period per education level of completion (i.e. Bachelor's, Master's and PhD).

The practical training must be directly related to your major area of study. You do not need a job offer to apply for OPT. The USCIS approves your OPT. You may work up to 12 months on OPT. To begin OPT when your program is completed, apply no earlier than 90 days prior to the date you plan to start employment. If you wish to start OPT after you've completed your Curricular Practical Training (CPT), you must apply before your studies are complete or no more than 60 days after your last class. If you exceed 11 months and 29 days of full-time CPT, you may not be eligible for OPT.

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

After your OPT is approved and you receive your EAD card in the mail, you will need to get a new I-20 from the ISSO that will say “Approved” under Post-Completion OPT on page 2 (instead of requested).

It is important to have this new I-20 because the I-20 you received when you applied for OPT will be a temporary, pending I-20.  You will also need to submit this new I-20 to your employer as proof of your work authorization.

  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. Print and complete only the first page of the EIR (unless you are self-employed or have multiple employers and must complete both pages 1 & 2). 

  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 Sarah has the 3 required documents, your I-20 will be created within 2 business days.  When you receive an email from Sarah saying your I-20 is ready, you may come into the office with your ID card to pick up the new I-20. We will only mail your new I-20 when you live and work outside of Michigan.

If your EAD is approved and you are currently unemployed, please call our office (248-370-3358) to schedule a 30-minute appointment with an adviser to review your efforts and options for finding a job.

Also, if you have applied for, or have been approved for H1-B, please let Sarah know so we can close your SEVIS record accordingly.

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



Filling Out the I-765 and G-1145 Forms

 

OPT STEM
OPT STEM is available to international students who hold an appropriate degree in one of the DHS-approved STEM fields. The OPT STEM program allows you to extend your original 12-month OPT if your employer is “E-verified” for additional 24 months.  You need a job offer with an E-Verified Employer to apply for OPT STEM, and will need USCIS approval for the extension. OPT STEM must be applied for prior to completion of your original OPT, within 60 days of OPT expiration. It is important for you to schedule your appointment with the ISSO for OPT STEM within these two months before your current OPT expires.

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

After your OPT STEM is approved and you receive your STEM EAD card in the mail, you will need to get a new I-20 from the ISSO that will say “Approved” under STEM OPT on page 2 (instead of requested).

It is important to have this new I-20 because the I-20 you received when you applied for OPT will be a temporary, pending I-20.  You will also need to submit this new I-20 to your employer as proof of your work authorization.

  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. Print and complete only the first page of the EIR (unless you are self-employed or have multiple employers and must complete both pages 1 & 2). To be in compliance with federal USCIS and OU regulations, we must have this form from you, even if there are no changes, every 6 months!

  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 Sarah has the 3 required documents, your I-20 will be created within 2 business days.  When you receive an email from Sarah saying your I-20 is ready, you may come into the office with your ID card to pick up the new I-20. We will only mail your new I-20 when you live and work outside of Michigan.

You also need to submit to Sarah every 12 months the Training Plan for STEM OPT students I-983 Form.

If your EAD is approved and you are currently unemployed, please call our office (248-370-3358) to schedule a 30-minute appointment with an adviser to review your efforts and options for finding a job.

Also, if you have applied for, or have been approved for H1-B, please let Sarah know so we can close your SEVIS record accordingly.                                                                                                                       **Please note that being unemployed for more than 150 days, OR, not submitting these documents, could result in your SEVIS record being TERMINATED.


NEW STEM OPT REGULATION
The new STEM OPT extension is for a 24-month period that directly relates to an F-1 student's program of study in an approved STEM field. It will be required that you complete the I-983 form as part of your application.


While on OPT/OPT STEM
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 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 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.  

If you depart the United States and are not planning on returning on your current F-1 or J-1 status please fill out the departure form.

 
Your OPT Card

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

After your OPT is approved and you receive your EAD card in the mail, you will need to get a new I-20 from the ISSO that will say “Approved” under Post-Completion OPT on page 2 (instead of requested).

It is important to have this new I-20 because the I-20 you received when you applied for OPT will be a temporary, pending I-20.  You will also need to submit this new I-20 to your employer as proof of your work authorization.

The ISSO needs three documents in order to create your new I-20 with the OPT approval information on it.    The following three requirements can be brought to the ISSO in person, emailed to Sarah Wood at swood@oakland.edu, faxed to 248-370-3351 or sent by mail to ISSO:  586 Pioneer Drive, Ste. 328, Rochester, MI 48309.  Please DO NOT email the documents to more than one email address as it will not speed up, but rather slow our process of generating your new I-20.

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.
2. 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. Print and complete only the first page of the EIR (unless you are self-employed or have multiple employers and must complete both pages 1 & 2). 
3. 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 Sarah has the 3 required documents, your I-20 will be created within 2 business days. When you receive an email from Sarah saying your I-20 is ready, you may come into the office with your ID card to pick up the new I-20. We will only mail your new I-20 when you live and work outside of Michigan.

If your EAD is approved and you are currently unemployed, please call our office (248-370-3358) to schedule a 30-minute appointment with an adviser to review your efforts and options for finding a job.

Also, if you have applied for, or have been approved for H1-B, please let Sarah know so we can close your SEVIS record accordingly.

**Please note that being unemployed for more than 90 days, OR, not submitting these documents, could result in your SEVIS record being TERMINATED.
Your OPT STEM Card

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

After your OPT STEM is approved and you receive your STEM EAD card in the mail, you will need to get a new I-20 from the ISSO that will say “Approved” under STEM OPT on page 2 (instead of requested).

It is important to have this new I-20 because the I-20 you received when you applied for OPT will be a temporary, pending I-20.  You will also need to submit this new I-20 to your employer as proof of your work authorization.

The ISSO needs three documents in order to create your new I-20 with the OPT approval information on it. The following three requirements can be brought to the ISSO in person, emailed to Sarah Wood at swood@oakland.edu, faxed to 248-370-3351 or sent by mail to ISSO: 586 Pioneer Drive Ste. 328, Rochester, MI 48309.  Please DO NOT email the documents to more than one email address as it will not speed up, but rather slow our process of generating your new I-20.

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.
2. 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. Print and complete only the first page of the EIR (unless you are self-employed or have multiple employers and must complete both pages 1 & 2). To be in compliance with federal USCIS and OU regulations, we must have this form from you, even if there are no changes, every 6 months!
3. 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 Sarah has the 3 required documents, your I-20 will be created within 2 business days. When you receive an email from Sarah saying your I-20 is ready, you may come into the office with your ID card to pick up the new I-20. We will only mail your new I-20 when you live and work outside of Michigan.

You also need to submit to Sarah every 12 months the Training Plan for STEM OPT students I-983 Form. If your EAD is approved and you are currently unemployed, please call our office (248-370-3358) to schedule a 30-minute appointment with an adviser to review your efforts and options for finding a job.

Also, if you have applied for, or have been approved for H1-B, please let Sarah know so we can close your SEVIS record accordingly.

**Please note that being unemployed for more than 150 days, OR, not submitting these documents, could result in your SEVIS record being TERMINATED.
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
  • $410 check, 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 J-1 Students
Students on J-1 status can avail academic training to engage in off-campus employment. Such employment authorization is issued by the responsible officer of the U.S. State Department in the ISSO. It has to be in the 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.