Employment – As mentioned earlier, if you are maintaining lawful F-1 status, you are eligible for on-campus employment. All employment must be authorized PRIOR to start date; otherwise you are in violation of your F-1 visa status. Once employment is authorized you must maintain eligibility or you will lose your right to continue employment, even if it was authorized in writing.
Off-campus employment is prohibited unless it is CPT (Curricular Practical Training) or OPT (Optional Practical Training) employment. International Student Services and/or USCIS must authorize these types of employment. Please contact International Student Services for applications.
- CPT – is otherwise known as your internship. To be eligible for CPT you must have approval, in writing, from your academic advisor before your internship can begin. Please speak with your advisor to verify eligibility. You must register for and receive academic course credit for the CPT internship. While there is no limit on the amount of time you may be on authorized curricular practical training, if you have 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training, you lose eligibility for optional practical training. If you have part-time curricular practical training (no more than 20 hours per week) during the academic year, you must maintain full-time student status while pursuing the curricular practical training. To be eligible to apply for CPT you must have been maintaining lawful F-1 status for a minimum of 1 year. Please contact International Student Services for an application.
- OPT -is an Option for students that would like to gain “field” experience in their chosen area of study. OPT must be directly related to your field of study and commensurate with your level of education. To be eligible you must have lawful F-1 status and have been a full time student for at least one year. OPT must be authorized by Dowling College and USCIS in writing. That means you can not begin employment until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card). You must apply for OPT in your last semester and your application must arrive at the Vermont Service Center (USCIS) BEFORE you complete your last semester. Please pick up an application at the International Student Services office. If you have maintained status, not used excessive amounts of time from your CPT, you then are eligible for up to 1 year of authorized OPT training per level of education (Bachelor’s, Master’s only). You are NOT permitted to study and participate in OPT together, OPT is strictly “Post-Completion of Studies.”. OPT must be completed within 14 months following completion of study. As an F-1 student you are not required to have a job offer from an employer to apply for Optional Practical Training. It is recommended, however, that you be fairly certain of having a job before applying for OPT; this will prevent any unnecessary loss of the authorized twelve-month period of OPT. Immigration can take up to 3 months to process OPT applications. Since you are NOT permitted to work until your OPT is authorized by USCIS, application processing delays may cause you to lose your employment opportunity. Please keep this in mind when applying for OPT and apply as early as permitted by ISSO (60 days prior to semester end date). If you apply very close to the application deadline, you are taking the risk that OPT time will be deducted. Dowling College is not responsible for USCIS adjudication results or processing delays. Please be advised: Travel is not recommended while your OPT request is pending with USCIS. If you must travel, you will need the following to re-enter the United States: I-20 endorsed for travel within 6 months, valid visa and passport, I-94 card, a letter from your employer (stating: location, job title, and start/end dates) and your EAD card. You should not attempt to renew a visa if you are on OPT because it is harder to convince the consul you will return home. Students on OPT remain in F-1 status and therefore you must still notify Dowling if any name, address or employment changes have occurred, within 1 week of the change. OPT authorization will automatically be terminated whenever you fail to maintain status.
- Severe Economic Hardship – is very rare, but if you can prove extraordinary circumstances beyond your control you may be eligible to apply to USCIS for this benefit. Other requirements are that you must be a full-time student for at least 1 year before you can apply and you must demonstrate that on-campus employment was unavailable or insufficient. If given authorization from USCIS, you are limited to 20 hours per week maximum while school is in session and full time during vacation periods. Please contact International Student Services for information and an application.
Social Security – Students who wish to work on campus will need to apply for a social security number. You must be a full-time student and have obtained a job through our work-study office. Please contact International Student Services for a letter of full-time student certification. If you need additional information about Social Security, please contact us.
F-2 Dependents-Some F-1 students wish to come to the U.S. with a spouse and/or children. The F-2 spouse cannot engage in matriculated study or employment. The F1 must prove that they can financially support their dependants, please contact International Student Services for details.
Grace Period – A lawful F-1 student is given a 60-day grace period to leave the U.S. upon completion of program.
Re-instatement – If you fall out of status and your record is terminated, you may apply for re-instatement within the United States, please contact our office for information and an application. Students who have been out of status for more than five (5) months are ineligible for reinstatement unless they can show exceptional circumstances prevented them from applying. Otherwise you will need to leave the country and re-enter the U.S. (preferably from your own country) on a new “Initial” I-20 issued by our office.
Program Extension – If you do not expect to complete your program of study before the program end date listed on your I-20, you must file an application for a program extension (and a new I-20) with International Student Services before the expiration date. Please contact International Student Services with a written explanation for the need of a program extension and an original or certified copy of a bank statement evidencing financial support for the remainder of your stay here at Dowling College. Please be aware that once your I-20 has expired, an extension cannot be granted and you will be out of lawful F-1 status. As always, if you are out of F-1 status you must apply for reinstatement with USCIS. A delay due to academic probation or suspension is not an acceptable reason for a program extension according to USCIS regulations. If you need to extend your program but do not meet these qualifications, please make an appointment to meet with an international student adviser to discuss your options.