Employment Options

There are several options available for employment for F-1 students. Each type of employment require authorization. Failure to get proper authorization for each type of employment constitutes a failure to maintain status.

  • On-campus employment
  • Off-campus employment
    • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
    • Optional Practical Taining (OPT)
    • Employment authorized because of severe economic hardship

On-campus employment

F-1 students who have a valid Montclair State I-20 and in valid F-1 status can work part-time on campus while attending classes

  • F-1 students may work 20 hours or less per week on campus during the fall and spring semesters
  • F-1 students may work full-time on campus during vacation periods (summer, spring break)
  • If multiple jobs are held on campus students must make sure that the total number of hours does not exceed 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters
  • full-time enrollment is required while working on campus and students must be making satisfactory progress towards their degree
  • Students must obtain employment authorization from International Services in the form of a Employment Verification Letter. This letter must be submitted to your on-campus employment supervisor
  • A Social Security Card is required in order to begin employment. It is not available without proof of legal work authorization and proof of an employer
  • If you are offered an on-campus job but do not have a Social Security Card, see the section Social Security Card to obtain the card

Off-campus employment

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment that is directly related to your major field of study and is an intergral part of your major curriculum.

Application procedure:

  • Download the CPT Instructions and Application
  • Submit the application together with the required documents to International Services
  • Register for the required class

International Services will process your CPT authorization through SEVIS and inform you by email when the CPT I-20 is ready for pick up

Do not begin working until you have received your new I-20 with the CPT authorization

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined as temporary employment for practical training related to the student's major of study.

Types of OPT:

  • Pre-completion OPT (before completion of studies): Limited to 20 hours a week (part-time) while school is in session and student still has coursework to complete, or full-time during summer vacations. For more information, schedule an appointment with an advisor at International Services
  • Post-completion OPT (after completion of studies): is granted for full-time use only.

Application Procedure for post-completion OPT:

  • Attend an OPT workshop in the semester your are completing your course of study. Worshop attendance is required prior to completing the application
  • Complete the post-completion OPT application and submit it to International Services to process your OPT I-20

Note:  If you want to apply for OPT, we recommend submitting the application to USCIS at least three months before you want to begin work

OPT 17 month extension for STEM majors

Effective April 8, 2008, the 12 month limit of F-1 OPT may be extended by 17 months, for a total of 29 months, for certain STEM degree holders. STEM degree fields are: Science Technology Engineering Mathematics

If you are currently on OPT and may be eligible for the 17 month extension, see OPT 17-month Extension Instructions for STEM Degree Holders for further information

Elimination of the H-1B “Cap-Gap”

The H-1B “cap-gap” occurs when a F-1 student’s status and OPT work authorization expires during the current fiscal year before the student can start approved H-1B employment during the next fiscal year that begins on October 1. This has created problems for students in the past who had a gap in their employment authorization. Under the new rule, a student currently on OPT who is the beneficiary of a timely-filed H-1B petition that requests an employment start date of October 1 of the following fiscal year will have his or her duration of status and OPT employment authorization automatically extended to October 1.

Should the pending H-1B petition ultimately be denied, the student will have a 60-day grace period from the notification date of the denial to take appropriate action such as depart the United States, or obtain admission to a new F-1 SEVIS-approved school, or file an application for a change of status.

Reporting Requirements for Students and Employers While on OPT

All students on OPT must report to the international student office at their former school:

    • Any change in name or address
    • The name and address of their employer
    • Any change to the name and address of the employer
    • Any interruption of such employment

In addition, students with an approved 17 month extension must report to the international student office at their former school within ten days:

    • Any change in name or residential/mailing address
    • The name and address of their employer
    • Any change to the name and address of the employer
    • Any interruption of such employment

Students with an approved 17 month extension must also make a validation report to the international student office at their former school every six months starting on the date the extension begins and ending when the OPT ends. The validation is a confirmation that the student’s name and address, employer name and address, and/or loss of employment is current and accurate.

Students can report the above mentioned requirements to International Services by completing the online OPT Student Report Form

Employment authorization due to severe economic hardship

For further information on the application process, please make an appointment with an advisor at International Services