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Internships & Employment for International Students

Off-Campus Employment & Experience

It is important to always have authorization for your employment, regardless of whether it is paid or unpaid. Many students think “I’m not getting paid, so that means I’m volunteering,” when, in reality, you could unknowingly be violating the law. International students should remember that any off-campus employment must be authorized, and work that is unpaid may still be considered employment for F-1 or J-1 status holders.

Volunteer vs Internship

True volunteer work is generally distinguished by the following:

  • The volunteer has no expectation of compensation (this includes money and also non-monetary benefits such as free housing, food, etc.)
  • The volunteer does not perform work that a regular, paid employee would perform
  • The tasks of the volunteer should not be something for which he/she was previously paid for or expects to be paid for in the future
  • The volunteer is performing service hours for a non-profit organization for public service, religious, or humanitarian objectives.

Examples of volunteering might include walking dogs at your local animal shelter, reading to children after school at the public library, working with a local community organization or your church to provide programming or participate in service projects.

F-1 Internship Authorization

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an internship or practicum that is an integral part of an established curriculum. An F-1 student must be authorized by the International Student Advisor to participate CPT.

Requirements for CPT Eligibility

  • You must have been enrolled as a full-time student, for one full academic year, at an SEVP-approved college or university prior to applying for CPT. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for CPT.
  • You must be enrolled in a Bachelor’s Degree program and be registered for a UNG internship course while receiving academic credit for the internship or be approved for participation by the PROS program (College of Business students only).

Must be Enrolled in One of These Following Majors

  • Accounting (B.B.A.)
  • Art Education (B.S.)
  • Art Marketing (B.S.)
  • Art with a Concentration in Digital Arts (B.A.)
  • Art with a Concentration in Graphic Design (B.A.)
  • Criminal Justice (B.S.)
  • Criminal Justice with Forensics Concentration (B.S.)
  • Elementary and Special Education (B.S.)
  • English with Teaching Certification (B.A.)
  • Finance (B.B.A.)
  • History Major with Teaching Certification (B.A.)
  • Information Systems (B.B.A.)
  • International Affairs (B.A.)
  • Kinesiology with a Concentration in Exercise Science (B.S.)
  • Kinesiology with a Concentration in Sports Medicine (B.S.)
  • Management (B.B.A.)
  • Marketing (B.B.A.)
  • Mathematics Major with Teacher Certification (B.S.)
  • Middle Grades Education (B.S.)
  • Music Education (Choral Track) (B.S.)
  • Music Education (Instrumental Track) (B.S.)
  • Political Science with Concentration in American Politics (B.S.)
  • Political Science with Pre-Law Concentration (B.S.)
  • Secondary Education with a Concentration in Biology (B.S.)
  • Secondary Education with a Concentration in Chemistry (B.S.)
  • Secondary Education with Concentration in Physics (B.S.)
  • Strategic and Security Studies (B.A.)

Special Note for Nursing Majors

Clinical rotations are an approved off-site activityactivity for which you do not need separate CPT authorization.

Students accepted into the nursing program at UNG will be required to complete clinical rotations throughout the entire program as part of multiple courses in the curriculum. These rotations are always unpaid and off-campus. 

Required Offer Letter Guidelines

Students must have an official offer letter offering experience that meets the internship guidelines. The offer letter should include the following information:

  • Students Name
  • Place of internship
  • Supervisor’s name and contact information
  • Dates of employment
  • Hours per week (no more than 20 during fall and spring semesters)
  • Description of job

Apply for CPT

If you meet all requirements listed above, you may apply for CPT through the International Student Portal.  You may not begin working until you have received the authorization from the International Student Advisor.  You will be given a new I-20 that has the authorization for CPT including the start and end date.

F-1 Work Experience

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) gives F-1 students an opportunity for work experience in the U.S. before and/or after completion of a degree. It is limited to a total of 12 months for each degree level in a field directly related to the student's course of study. Unlike Curricular Practical Training (CPT), OPT does not have to be included as a required internship listed in your plan of study, but your employment does have to be directly related to your degree.

Types of OPT

Pre-Completion OPT

Completed before student's program end date

Post-Completion OPT

Done after the student's program end date, after completing their academic objective

24-month STEM Extension OPT

A special 24-month extension of post-completion OPT for graduates of a bachelor's degree or higher in science, technology, engineering, or math field on DHS's STEM Designated Degree Program

OTP Eligibility

  • You have been enrolled full-time at an SEVP approved institution in the United Status for at least one full academic year.
  • You have not used more than 12 months of full-time CPT authorization.
  • You have maintained status for the previous year.
  • You have not already participated in OPT for your current degree level

OPT Application Deadlines

For Post-Completion OPT, the application must be submitted to USCIS no sooner than 90 days before the program end date and no later than 60 days after the program end date. In addition, the application must be received by the USCIS Service Center no later than 30 days after the International Student Advisor submits the OPT recommendation to SEVIS.

The student is not required to have a written job offer to apply for OPT, but must not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment once post-completion OPT is authorized.

OPT Application Process

  1. Attend an OPT workshop (your International Student Advisor will hold workshops usually the first week of February and September)
  2. Review the requirements in the International Student Portal and prepare your application
  3. Schedule and attend the follow-up appointment with your International Student Advisor, where you will receive your OPT Recommendation I-20
  4. Submit the OPT application to USCIS (no sooner than 90 days before or 60 days after program end date or employment start date and within 30 days of receiving your OPT Recommendation I-20)

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