F-1 CPT & OPT

OISS will not need to create additional documentation for a scholar in this visa status. However, OISS must still receive a copy of the PAF / Hiring Proposal and offer letter, and the scholar must attend an OISS check-in appointment before or on their first day of employment, to ensure immigration compliance requirements are met.

International Scholars on F-1 status require work authorization either through CPT (Curricular Practical Training) or OPT (Optional Practical Training).

CPT authorization is available for F-1 students pursuing a degree in the U.S. and is provided by their F Program Sponsor. The international office at the student's school will print an updated I-20 to reflect CPT work authorization.

OPT authorization is available for F-1 students either during or upon completing their studies, and requires approval from USCIS. The process takes approximately 90 days and, if approved, the student will receive an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) from USCIS. The authorized OPT period will also be reflected on the student's I-20 provided by the school's international office.

F-1 students who complete a degree in the U.S. are typically eligible for Post-Completion OPT, which permits them to work for a period of up to 12 months in their major field of study. Although extensions of F-1 OPT status may be available for scholars in certain fields of study, they are typically not permitted to work at Rice University during the extension period. Please advise the scholar to consult with an OISS advisor.

International scholars who are not eligible to extend their F-1 OPT status will need work authorization to continue to work after the EAD expires. To obtain work authorization, the scholar will need to change to a different visa classification – typically the J-1 or the H-1B. Please consult an OISS advisor well in advance to discuss the visa options and procedures, as changing visa classifications can take between 4 to 8 months.