Employment on a Visa
|On Campus Work||Curricular Practical Training (CPT)||Optional Practical Training (OPT)||Unforseen Economic Need|
|H-1B Cap Gap|
For students who were not able to attend Attorney Richard Iandoli's , "Life Beyond OPT" session, he will give the same workshop in October 2013. An email will come out in September with details on time, date and location.
NOTE: Spouses and Children of F-1 International Students are classified as F-2 dependents and are not allowed to take paid employment under any circumstances.
F-1 students are permitted to work part-time, up to 20 hours per week, on campus during the semester. During school breaks, F-1 students can work full time, up to 40 hours per week, on campus. On campus employment does not require any extra permission from ISSS.
PLEASE NOTE: F-1 international students are not eligible for federally funded “work study” positions. Federal assistance of this nature is only granted to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
If you have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year (two semesters) you are eligible to do an internship or practicum. Not all students have internships available to them in their programs. Internships, if available, can be identified in the course catalog and must be approved by your department. You cannot do an internship without signing up for an internship or practicum course. Please speak to your academic advisor about taking on an internship or practicum and then request CPT through ISSS. This request should be made in advance of the start date of your internship or practicum.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a 12 month period available to F-1 students for each degree level they complete in the United States. This may be taken while the student is still studying, but is more commonly taken after graduation as "Post Completion OPT".
I will graduate this semester. When can I apply for OPT?
The earliest you can apply for OPT in your final semester is 90 days before your Program End date (found on your Form I-20). The latest you can apply is 60 days after your Program End date, at the end of your grace period.
I want to apply, what do I do?
All students applying for OPT are required to attend an OPT workshop with ISSS. These workshops take place throughout the semester, at different times to accomodate all students' schedules. At the workshop, you will receive all application materials and hear from an Immigration Advisor about the OPT process and the regulations. ISSS will not process your OPT application if you do not attend a workshop.
When will I start my OPT?
You will choose a start date for your 12 months of OPT employment. This start date can be any day within your 60 day grace period. Keep in mind that it will take USCIS 90 days to process your application and you will not be able to begin work until your OPT is approved and you have received your Employment Authorization Card (EAD) in the mail.
Upcoming OPT workshops:
February 8 10-11AM
March 7 3-4PM
April 5 2-3PM
February 12 3:30-4:30
March 12 9:30-10:30AM
April 15- 3-4PM
February 19 11-12PM
March 18 2-3PM
February 25 12-1PM
March 27 9-10AM
All workshops take place in CC2115 and are limited to 20 participants.
To make a reservation, please contact ISSS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Know if You Qualify for a STEM Extension
Students with degrees in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM fields) may qualify for an OPT extension of 17 months after the first 12 months of OPT (for a total of 29 months of OPT). To find out if your degree qualifies as a STEM-eligible degree, look at page three of your I-20. The CIP code is the 6-digit numerical code (XX.XXXX) listed directly before your major at the top of the page. STEM CIP codes used at UMASS Boston are listed in the OPT STEM information handout.
Addition forms required for STEM applicants:
Have a question about OPT?
About the Cap Gap
H-1B is a work visa that is sponsored by an employer. Students commonly transition from Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization, a benefit of the F-1 visa, to H-1B status. There are a limited number of H-1Bs available each fiscal year, for most employers, and this limit is often referred to as the "H-1B Cap."
New H-1Bs become effective each year on October st1, but the application period for most employers begins six months earlier, on April 1st. The "cap gap" occurs when a student's F-1 status and/or OPT expires before their approved H-1B begins October 1st.
The Cap Gap Extension
The H-1B Cap Gap Extension allows certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in the U.S. in F-1 status until the start date of their approved H-1B employment period, October 1st, even if the OPT authorization and/or F-1 grace period would have otherwise expired before October 1st.
Cap Gap Eligibility
The length of your extension depends on your H-1B petition phase:
• Filed: If your H-1B petition is properly filed (but not yet receipted or approved), your OPT authorization is extended to June 1st. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to June 1st.
• Selected for receipting: If your H-1B petition is selected for receipting, your OPT authorization is extended to September 30th. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to September 30th.
• Approved: If your H-1B petition is approved, your OPT authorization is extended to September 30th. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to September 30th.
How to Apply for a Cap Gap Extension I-20
The cap gap extension of F-1 status is automatic. It begins when your employer submits the H-1B petition to USCIS and is reflected in SEVIS.
There are two types of cap-gap extensions:
1. For H-1B petitions that have been filed and receipted
2. For H-1B petitions that have been filed but not receipted
Petitions that have been filed and receipted:
If your H-1B 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. To request this cap-gap extension I-20, you must request this from an ISSS immigration advisor. Please include in your email:
1. You SEVIS number
2. Your full name, as in your passport
3. Scan and attach to the email:
• A clear, legible copy of your EAD card
• A copy of the I-797 Receipt notice from USCIS or USCIS approval notice
• Indicate whether you would like to pick up your document or have it mailed to you. If mailed, include your address.
Petitions that have been filed but NOT receipted:
If your H-1B petition has been filed by your employer but not receipted and your OPT expires before June 1st, you are eligible for a preliminary cap-gap extension until June 1st. Once your petition is receipted, request an automatic cap-gap extension I-20 by following the steps above.
To request the preliminary cap-gap extension because your OPT expires before June 1, send an email to an ISSS immigration advisor and include:
• Your SEVIS number
• You full name, as in passport
• Employment start and end date as indicated on the EAD card
• Scan, then attach to the email:
o a clear, legible copy of your EAD card
o a copy of your timely filed H-1B petition and a FedEx, UPS, or USPS Express/certified mail receipt
o Indicate whether you would like to pick up your document or have it mailed to you. If mailed, include your address.
Allow 5 business days for H-1B Cap Gap I-20 issuance.
H-1B Cape GapFrequently Asked Questions
Can the cap gap extension of OPT be extended beyond September 30 if my H-1B petition is still pending?
No, the cap gap extension is only until September 30th. If the H-1B petition is pending beyond October 1st, you can remain in the U.S. based on the pending change of status petition. However, you must stop working until the H-1B petition is approved.
Will I receive personal notification of my cap gap extension?
No, you will not receive automatic notification. You must be in close communication with your employer's immigration specialist so you know the status of your H-1B petition. When you are eligible for the cap gap extension, you must contact email an ISSS advisor if you want documentation of the extension.
What happens if my H-1B petition is rejected, denied, or revoked?
You will have a 60-day grace period from the date of the notification of the denial, rejection, or revocation, during which time you can make preparations to depart the U.S., transfer to another full-time degree program, or change visa status.
Can I travel outside the U.S. during a cap gap extension period and return in F-1 status?
ISSS recommends that you consult with your employer's immigration specialist before traveling internationally during the cap gap extension period.
Does the 90-day unemployment limit apply during the cap gap extension period?
Yes, the 90-day unemployment limit continues during the cap gap extension period.
Can I apply for the 17-month OPT extension while I'm within a period of cap gap extension?
Yes, you can apply for the 17-month OPT extension during the cap gap extension of OPT. However, you must ensure that your employer requests the withdrawal of the approved or pending H-1B petition in time for USCIS to officially accept the withdrawal prior to October 1sy--otherwise, your H-1B will begin October 1st, which cancels your eligibility for the 17-month OPT extension.
Students who are full-time, in good academic standing, and have been in F-1 status for one academic year can apply for off-campus work authorization based on severe economic hardship assuming that other employment opportunities are not available. The economic need must be due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control, and the student must submit supporting materials documenting these conditions to USCIS. This type of employment is part-time when school is in session and full-time during vacation periods.
Please see Scholar Services link.