Many international students will choose to be employed either during their studies at UWG or after. Below are the options available to students along with the requirements for each type of employment.

  • On Campus Employment 
    On Campus Employment 

    International students are allowed to work on-campus. If you are sponsored student (F-1 or J-1), please consult with your sponsor regarding the number of hours per week you are allowed to work.

    Eligibility

    To be eligible for on-campus employment, students must:

    • maintain immigration status and valid immigration documents.
    • enroll full-time for the semester that you are going to work on-campus.
    • enroll full-time for the next semester prior to be able to work on-campus in summer or winter break. If summer is your last semester, you must enroll in summer session classes.

    International students are eligible for work done and paid by University of West Georgia and for work done and paid by Dine West and UWG Bookstore This includes:

    • Hourly jobs, Research Assistant (RA) and Teaching Assistant (TA) positions.
    • Stipend jobs however cannot work more than number of hours per week allowed.
    • Not eligible for Work-Study (federal subsidized program).
    Requirements
    • Employment must not interfere with full-time study (no work during class time).
    • Work only a total of 20 hours per week during the semester and 40 hours per week combined during the break.
    • Must be a student.
    • Cannot work beyond your degree completion date (undergraduate: commencement date, graduate: date of final academic activity)

    If you are not sure, please contact an ISAP advisor.

    Hour Restrictions
    • Up to 20 hours- while classes are in session during the Fall/Spring Semester
    • Up to 40 hours- during class breaks (fall break, winter break, thanksgiving break, spring break) and during summer session
    Finding a Job
    • Search UWG Student Employment for hourly positions.
    • Ask your academic unit for assistantship positions.
    • Search jobs with Dine West and UWG Bookstore.
    • Go to UWG Career Services for assistance with resume writing and interview skills.
    Starting Your Job

    New and Transfer Students (first semester at UWG)

    First, be sure you have completed your SEVIS check in with the ISAP office. 

    F-1 Students

    • Apply for a  social security number (if you don't already have one).
    • Complete your New Hire Packet from UWG Human Resources or any required paperwork from your department.
    • Make sure to file your U.S. Tax Return (April 15th) by the deadline each year you work. 

    J-1 Students

    DS-2019 issued by UWG:

    Government sponsored students:

    • Complete and submit J-1 On-campus Employment Authorization Form to the ISAP
    • Resubmit the form again in the future if change or extend the end date of the on-campus employment.
    • Make sure to file your U.S. Tax Return (April 15th) by the deadline each year you work.

    DS-2019 not issued by UWG:

    • Contact your J-1 program sponsor to receive permission to engage in on-campus employment.
    • Submit the on-campus employment authorization letter to the UWG, so that we can keep it on your record.
    • Make sure to file your U.S. Tax Return (April 15th) by the deadline each year you work.
  • Volunteering and Unpaid Internships
    Volunteering and Unpaid Internships

    F-1 students can gain experience off-campus through volunteering or as an unpaid intern only when there is no compensation of any kind and the position doesn’t violate any U.S. or state labor laws.

    Labor Laws

    American labor laws protect workers from working without pay except in certain specific and defined situations. It is important to understand that workers cannot give away their right to receive pay. If the work being done benefits the company and is work that someone would normally be paid for, then that work most likely does not qualify to be considered an unpaid internship or volunteer work.

    WARNING: An international student who works at an unpaid internship or volunteer opportunity which is later found to not properly be unpaid work will have violated status.  

    When considering volunteering or doing an unpaid internship, international students should be very careful to make sure that the internship really meets all six of the criteria established by the U.S. Department of Labor:

    1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
    2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
    3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
    4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
    5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
    6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

    Source: Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I need work authorization to accept an unpaid internship or volunteer position?

    You are not required to obtain OPT or CPT work authorization to engage in a legitimate unpaid internship or volunteer position.

    WARNING: Before doing any work, you should ask what paperwork the organization requires from you to start your unpaid internship. If they want you to complete an I-9 Employment Authorization Verification form, it means they consider it to be an employment relationship requiring authorization even if you are not being paid.

    Can the UWG International Student Admissions & Programs Office give me a letter of permission to do an unpaid internship?

    No. We only authorize paid employment for students. We are not authorized to vet unpaid internships for compliance or to give permission.

    Can the UWG International Student Admissions & Programs give me a Social Security Letter based on my unpaid internship?

    No. We can only sign offer letters for authorized paid employment opportunities.

    How can I later prove that my position was a legitimate unpaid internship or volunteer position?

    You should get documentation from the organization where you are engaging in the unpaid internship or volunteer activity explaining the nature and terms of your work, and keep this with your other immigration records.

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
    Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students who must complete an internship course in order to graduate from their current degree program.

    • Employment starts at the beginning of the semester or summer session and completes at end of the semester or summer session.
    • The use of CPT does not impact eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT) unless your use more than 12 months of full-time CPT. When you use 12 month of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for OPT.
    CPT Eligibility Requirements
    • You must have been enrolled in school full-time for one year on valid F-1 status (except for graduate students where the program requires immediate CPT)
    • The CPT employment must be an integral part of your degree program or requirement for a course for which you receive academic credit
    • You must have received a job offer that qualifies before you submit your CPT authorization request
    • Your job offer must be in your major or field of study
    When to Apply

    You can apply once you enroll in the internship class as well as other necessary classes and have all the necessary documents. There is no deadline, but we are not able to guarantee processing of your application before your employment start day if the application is submitted at the last minute. ISAP processing time is 10-14 business days.

    How to Apply
    • Enroll in the internship course. In the fall and the spring semester, enroll in other necessary classes.
    • Register full-time (9 for graduate students and 12 for undergraduate students). Classes cannot be taken through online or distance education.
    • Submit your CPT application.
    Hour Restrictions
    • Up to 20 hours per week during Fall and Spring Semesters
    • Up to 40 hours per week during Summer Sessions

    Regardless of whether you are approved for full or part-time on CPT, there is no limit to how long you can work. However, if you work full-time on CPT for 12 months or more, you are not eligible for OPT. If you work part-time on CPT, or full-time on CPT for less than 12 months, you are still eligible for all of your allowable OPT. So make sure you watch the dates and hours closely – don’t jeopardize your OPT!

    CPT I-20 Application

    Submit your CPT application to ISAP. Your application should include:

    • Academic advisor or departmental letter (if applicable), printed on official letterhead (use this template or department form, if applicable). 
    • Employer letter, printed on official letterhead.
    • Photocopy of your passport valid for at least six months into the future.
    • Photocopy of recent I-94 arrival record. Students will either have a paper I-94 card or will have an electronic I-94 record. If you have an electronic I-94 record, you can find it at i94.cbp.dhs.gov/.

    CPT applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. You may receive an email or call from the ISAP for additional requirements or immigration advisement.

    • Complete documents will be adjudicated within 10-14 working days. Requesting additional documentation or advising appointments will add more days to the processing time.
    • You will receive an email notification from ISAP to pick up the processed CPT application. CPT applications must be picked up in-person as you will need to sign the CPT agreement form.
    CPT Employment
    1. You should begin employment on the CPT start date on your I-20. Your employer will likely request certain documents from you, including your CPT I-20, passport, I-94 and social security card. Every employer has their own policies, so please follow their instructions. 
    2. Apply for a Social Security Number (if you do not already have one)
    • You will be able to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) after your CPT is approved and you have received your CPT I-20.
    • You will not be able to apply for a SSN more than 30 days prior to the employment start date listed on your I-20.
    • You will need to apply for a SSN through the social security card center. Bring the following information to a social security card center:

     Visit ssa.gov for more information. If you need a ride to the local Social Security office, contact the ISAP office for help. 

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
    Optional Practical Training (OPT)

    Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment authorization benefit for F-1 students to gain practical experience in their field of study by working off-campus for a total of twelve months. The 12-month OPT can be obtained while school is in session, after completion of a degree program, and during the summer. An additional 24-month OPT extension can be applied for by students who complete a degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field.

    The 12 month Optional Practical Training benefit is available to all F-1 students completing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree.

    • OPT time requested before the completion of a program of study is referred to as Pre-OPT
    • OPT time requested after the completion of a program of study is referred to as Post-OPT
    • Total time requested between Pre- and Post-OPT cannot exceed the allowed 12-month OPT time benefit

    If 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) have been used then a student will not be eligible for Pre- or Post-OPT.

    The USCIS processing time is approximately 90 days for all OPT applications. We recommend applying for any OPT at least 104 days prior to your EAD card requested start date. That will allow the ISAP office 10 to 14 days to process your application and allow USCIS 90 days to process your application.

    • Pre-Completion OPT
    • Post-Completion OPT
    • STEM Extension 
    • Pre-Completion OPT

      Pre-OPT is a work benefit opportunity to gain off-campus work experience and is requested to be used before the completion of a degree program.

      • F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT per degree program (pre- or post-OPT).
      • Students must complete one full academic year (fall/spring or spring/fall) in their current degree program to be eligible to apply for pre-OPT.
      • Students must be registered at UWG for the semester they wish to pursue pre-OPT.
      • The proposed employment must be in the student’s field of study and commensurate with educational level.
      • Time requested and approved is subtracted in half from the full 12-month OPT benefit (e.g., 4 months of approved part-time pre-OPT subtracts 2 months of OPT, 2 months of approved part-time pre-OPT subtracts 1 month of OPT), except for full-time pre-OPT during the summer break.
      • Students may work up to 20 hours per week during the semester (part-time) and up to 40 hours per week during summer break (full-time).
      • A separate application and fee must be submitted for each semester.
      • Students are not authorized to work until they receive their EAD card in the mail.
      • Graduate students who have completed all course requirements (including all required thesis or dissertation hours), but will be in a continued registration course until their defense date, may apply for pre-OPT and will be authorized to work up to 40 hours per week.
      • Unemployment time is not a factor during pre-OPT. Reporting employment is not required.

      If 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) have been used, the student will not be eligible for Pre-OPT or Post-OPT.

      When to Apply for Pre-OPT

      ISAP recommends applying for pre-OPT at least 104 days prior to your requested start date of employment. This will allow the ISAP 10 to 14 days to process your application and will allow USCIS their standard 90 days to process your application. 

      Before Graduation: Up to 90 days before degree completion. 

      After Graduation: Up to 60 days after degree completion. 

      How to Apply for Pre-OPT

      1. Submit the following application materials to ISAP:

      • Academic Advisor Letter (if not included on OPT Request form)
      • OPT Request Form
      • Copy of biographical page of Passport (valid at least six months into the future)
      • Copy of recent I-94 arrival record obtained here.
      • Copy of the front and back of prior EAD cards (if applicable)

      2. Pick up your OPT application packet from the ISAP.

      Students will receive an email informing them that their OPT application packet is ready for pickup (in person by you or a representative) or delivery.

      3. Mail your OPT application packet to the the USCIS for processing.

      After receiving the OPT application packet, mailing instructions and checklist from the ISAP, students must submit the following documents to USCIS within 30 days of issuance of the new OPT I-20 or the application will be denied:

      • OPT application checklist
      • Form G-1145
      • Form I-765
      • Personal check or money order for $410.00 payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
      • Two passport-style photos (2” x 2”) with name and I-94 admission number written lightly on back with pencil
      • Copy of recent I-94 arrival record obtained here
      • Copy of the front and back of prior EAD cards (if applicable)
      • Copy of new OPT I-20 signed by DSO and student
      • Copy of all previous I-20s
      • Copy of biographical page of passport (valid at least six months into the future)

      Follow all mailing instructions carefully when submitting the application materials to USCIS and keep a copy of all completed applications for personal record.

      What to Expect

      Students will receive a Notice of Action (i.e., receipt notice) from the USCIS within four weeks of filing the application. If you do not receive a receipt notice from the USCIS within four weeks, please email ISAP to follow up on your application status.

      The receipt number printed on the receipt notice will allow students to track their application progress using the USCIS website.

      • It takes approximately 90 days to process an OPT application.
      • If the application is still processing after 90 days, a case inquiry with USCIS regarding their delay in processing times can be submitted.

      The U.S. Post Office will not forward the EAD card to a new address, and will not mail the EAD card to the address on the I-765. If you have a new address, the address must be updated with the USCIS.

      Tips for Avoiding Application Rejections, Denials, Delays, and Receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS
      • If for any reason you receive your materials back from USCIS or the postal/shipping service, do not resend the materials. Double check the signature dates on the I-20 and contact ISAP immediately if you need a new or updated I-20 for the resubmission of your application.
      • Sign the OPT I-20 on page 1, under Student Attestation.
      • Fill out and sign the I-765 in black ink and between two lines only (Do not touch the signature line below or words above when signing. USCIS will scan the signature to put it onto the EAD card).
      • Include two passport-style, color photos with a white background taken no earlier than 30 days before submitting to USCIS (follow the instructions on the I-765).
      • Lightly print the student’s name and I-94 admission number on the back of each passport-style photo with a pencil. Do not staple them together.
      • Fill out a personal check or money order. Including the date, payable to the Department of Homeland Security and write the amount in numbers ($410.00) and words (four hundred ten and 00/100), and must be signed.
      • Follow the mailing instructions and checklist provided by ISAP when picking up the OPT packet.
      • If a change of address is unavoidable, you must inform the USCIS and the ISAP of the new address by filing an online change of address with USCIS. Also update your address at MyUWG.
      Maintaining F-1 Status

      While on pre-OPT, students must continue to maintain F-1 status.

      • Check your MyUWG account and UWG email on a regular basis for immigration updates.
      • Update your LOCAL address through MyUWG within 10 days of moving.
      • Submit copy of EAD card to ISAP as soon as you receive it. 
    • Post-Completion OPT

      Post-OPT is a work benefit opportunity that allows students to gain off-campus work experience and is requested to be used after the completion of a degree program.

      • F-1 students are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT per degree program (pre- or post-OPT).
      • Post-OPT is requested after the completion of the student’s degree program.
      • The proposed employment must be in the student’s field of study and commensurate with educational level.
      • Students must work at least 20 hours per week.
      • Any approved part-time pre-OPT time will be deducted from the available post-OPT time in half if used during the semester, in full if used during the summer break.
      • Undergraduate students will use their commencement date as their degree program completion date for post-OPT.
      • Graduate students who have a determined project, thesis, or dissertation defense date will use that date as their degree program completion date for post-OPT.
      • Graduate students who have a comprehensive exam will use the comprehensive exam results date as their degree program completion date for post-OPT.
      • Students are not authorized to work until they receive their EAD card in the mail.
      • Students are allowed 90 days of cumulative unemployment during post-OPT and will lose their employment eligibility if they go beyond that amount.
      • If 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) have been used, the student will not be eligible for Pre-OPT or Post-OPT. 
      When to Apply for Post-OPT 

      Students have a 60-day grace period after their degree program completion date, in which the student may remain in the U.S. to make preparations to file for post-OPT, change degree programs, switch schools or return home.

      The ISAP recommends applying for post-OPT at least 104 days prior to the degree program completion date so that you will receive you EAD card before you have completed the program. This will allow the ISAP 10 to 14 days to process and will allow USCIS their standard 90 days to process.

      Post-OPT applications must be received by USCIS before the end of the 60-day grace period or post-OPT will be forfeited.

      How to Apply for Post-OPT

      1. Submit your application materials to the ISAP office.

      Read the OPT Information Packet first. 

      Have the following information ready: 

      • Copy of biographical page of Passport (valid at least six months into the future)
      • Copy of recent I-94 arrival record
      • Copy of the front and back of prior EAD cards (if applicable)
      • OPT Request Form
      • Advisor Recommendation Letter (if not included on the OPT Request Form)

      2. Pick up new OPT I-20 from the ISAP.

      Students will receive an email informing them that their OPT application packet is ready for pickup (in person by you or a representative) or delivery.

      3. Mail your OPT application to the USCIS for processing.

      After receiving their new OPT I-20, mailing instructions and checklist from ISAP, students must submit the following documents to USCIS within 30 days of issuance of the new OPT I-20 or the application will be denied:

      • OPT application checklist
      • Form G-1145
      • Form I-765
      • Personal check or money order for $410.00 payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security"
      • Two passport-style photos (2” x 2”) with name and I-94 admission number written lightly on back with pencil
      • Copy of recent I-94 arrival record obtained here
      • Copy of the front and back of prior EAD cards (if applicable)
      • Copy of new OPT I-20 signed by DSO and student
      • Copy of all previous I-20s
      • Copy of biographical page of passport (valid at least six months into the future)

      Follow all mailing instructions carefully when submitting the application materials to USCIS and keep a copy of all completed applications for personal record.

      What to Expect

      Students will receive a Notice of Action (i.e., receipt notice) from USCIS within four weeks of filing the application. If a receipt notice from USCIS is not received within four weeks, please email ISAP to follow up on the matter.

      • The receipt number printed on the receipt notice will allow the student to track their application progress using the USCIS website.
      • It will take approximately 90 days to process the OPT application.
      • If the student’s application is still processing after 90 days, they may submit a case inquiry with USCIS regarding their delay in processing times.

      The U.S. Post Office will not forward the EAD card to a new address, and will not mail the EAD card to the address on the I-765. If you have a new address, the address must be updated with USCIS.

      Tips for Avoiding Application Rejections, Denials, Delays and Receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS
      • Sign the OPT I-20 on page 1, under Student Attestation.
      • Fill out and sign the I-765 in black ink and between two lines only (Do not touch the signature line below or words above when signing. USCIS will scan the signature to put it onto the EAD card).
      • Include two passport-style, color photos with a white background taken no earlier than 30 days before submitting to USCIS (follow the instructions on the I-765).
      • Lightly print the student’s name and I-94 admission number on the back of each passport-style photo with a pencil. Do not staple them together.
      • Fill out a personal check or money order. Including the date, payable to the Department of Homeland Security and write the amount in numbers ($410.00) and words (four hundred ten dollars and 00/100), and must be signed.
      • Follow the mailing instructions and checklist provided by ISAP when picking up the OPT packet.
      • If a change of address is unavoidable, you must inform the USCIS and the ISAP of the new address by filing an online change of address with USCIS. Also update your address at MyUWG.
      • If for any reason you receive your materials back from USCIS or the postal/shipping service, do not resend the materials. Double check the signature dates on the I-20 and contact ISAP immediately if you need a new or updated form I-20 for the resubmission of the application.
      Maintaining F-1 Status While on the Post-OPT

      While on post-OPT, students must continue to maintain F-1 status and complete OPT reporting requirements by doing the following:

      • Submit a copy of the EAD card, report student information changes, and report employment status to the ISAP office.  
      • Report any changes in name, address, employer’s name and address, and updated status or interruption of employment to ISAP within 10 days.
      • Update your local address with the USCIS and through MyUWG within 10 days of moving.
      • Do not exceed the 90 day period of cumulative unemployment allowed during the post-OPT period (periods of unemployment occur when students have a valid EAD card and are allowed to work but are not working).
      • Student’s must check their MyUWG account and UWG email on a regular basis for immigration updates.
      60-Day Grace Period After OPT

      You are allowed a 60-day grace period following your OPT expiration date to leave the U.S., change your status, transfer your F-1 to a new school, or pursue new degree program at UWG.

      Early Completion and Leaving the U.S. or Change of Status

      If you decide to leave the US before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly. This update will invalidate your OPT employment authorization and your OPT I-20 and EAD card will be no longer valid.

      If you change your status before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly.

    • STEM Extension

      The 24-Month STEM OPT Extension is an additional benefit from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows international students in F-1 status who receive a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in an approved STEM field to apply for a 24-month extension of their standard 12-month Post-OPT period, twice in a lifetime. This allows international students, the opportunity to gain additional off-campus work experience in their field of study after completion of course studies.

      • F-1 student must currently be participating in a 12-month OPT, working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to your major area of study.
      • F-1 student must have successfully completed a bachelor's, master’s, or doctoral program, or have completed all course requirements for a master’s or doctoral program but are still completing a thesis or dissertation in a STEM field included in the STEM Designated Degree Program List. To find out if your program is in the STEM list, look for the CIP code on your I-20 under the section entitled PROGRAM OF STUDY listed under MAJOR.
      • F1 student prospective employer must be registered with the eVerify Employment Verification System.
      • Students must work at least 20 hours per week.
      • With the new 24-month STEM extension ruling of May 10, 2016, volunteer, unpaid, staffing agency, labor for-hire arrangements, or self-employment positions are not eligible for STEM OPT extensions.  Read Federal Register for more information on the new ruling.  
      • Students are allowed 150 days of cumulative unemployment days during the post-OPT and STEM OPT 24-Month Extension periods. Periods of unemployment occur when students have a valid EAD card and are allowed to work but are not working. Student will lose their employment eligibility if they go beyond that amount.
      When to Apply for STEM OPT (24-month) Extension

      ISAP recommends applying for STEM extension at least 104 days prior to the OPT end date listed on the EAD card.  This will allow the ISAP 10 to 14 days to process and will allow USCIS their standard 90 days to process.

      • STEM extension applications must be received by USCIS before the end date listed on the EAD card or the STEM extension will be forfeited.
      • Students will be able to continue employment while the STEM extension application is pending, until a final decision on the I-765 has been made or for 180 days, whichever comes first.
      How to Apply for STEM OPT (24-month) Extension

      1. Submit your application materials to the ISAP office.  Have the following application materials ready:

      • Form I-983 to be completed by you and your employer. Form instructions. Pages 1 through 4 only.
      • A copy of your passport (valid for at least six months)
      • Copy of recent I-94 arrival record
      • Provide copies of all prior Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards, front and back.
      • Copy of $200 STEM OPT Case Management Payment receipt.

      Incomplete applications cannot be processed.

      2. Pick up the 24-month STEM OPT packet from the ISAP

      You will receive an email notification from the ISAP of the availability of your STEM OPT I-20 and supporting documents.

      The notification will provide detailed information on how to provide authorization for the pick-up of the materials and mailing instructions using eShipGlobal if you choose to have the STEM OPT Information Packet shipped.

      3. Submit the 24-month STEM OPT application to USCIS

      You should submit the application to USCIS as soon as possible. USCIS must receive the application within 60 days after the issuance of the STEM OPT I-20. Additionally, the application must be received before the student’s 12-month OPT expiration date.

      • STEM OPT mailing instructions and checklist
      • Form G-1145
      • Form I-765
      • Personal check or money order for $410.00 payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security"
      • Two passport-style photos (2” x 2”) with name and I-94 admission number written lightly on back with pencil
      • Copy of degree or diploma
      • Copy of recent I-94 arrival record obtained here
      • Copy of the front and back of prior EAD cards (if applicable)
      • Copy of new OPT I-20 signed by DSO and student
      • Copy of biographical page of passport (valid at least six months into the future)

      Follow all mailing instructions carefully when submitting the application materials to USCIS and keep a copy of all completed applications for personal record. 
       

      What to Expect 

      Students will receive a Notice of Action (i.e., receipt notice) from USCIS within four weeks of filing the application. If a receipt notice from USCIS is not received within four weeks, please email ISAP to follow up on the matter.

      • The receipt number printed on the receipt notice will allow the student to track their application progress using the USCIS website.
      • It will take approximately 90 days to process the OPT application.
      • If the student’s application is still processing after 90 days, they may submit a case inquiry with USCIS regarding their delay in processing times.
      • Generally, USCIS will mail EAD card to the address on the I-765. If you requested the U.S. Post Office for mail forwarding, the USCIS mail including EAD card will not be forwarded to the new address.

      If you have a new address after you submitted I-765 to USCIS, please update your new address with USCIS via https://www.uscis.gov/ar-11 and your MyASU.


      Tips for Avoiding Application Rejections, Denials, Delays, and Receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS
      • Sign the STEM OPT I-20 on page 1, under Student Attestation.
      • Fill out and sign the I-765 in black ink and between two lines only (Do not touch the signature line below or words above when signing. USCIS will scan the signature to put it onto the EAD card).
      • Include two passport-style, color photos with a white background taken no earlier than 30 days before submitting to USCIS (follow the instructions on the I-765).
      • Lightly print the student’s name and I-94 admission number on the back of each passport-style photo with a pencil. Do not staple them together.
      • Fill out a personal check or money order. Including the date, payable to the Department of Homeland Security and write the amount in numbers ($410.00) and words (four hundred ten dollars and 00/100), and must be signed.
      • Follow the mailing instructions and checklist provided by ISAP when picking up the STEM OPT packet.
      • If a change of address is unavoidable, you must inform the USCIS and ISAP of the new address by filing an online change of address with USCIS. Also update your address at MyUWG.

      If for any reason you receive your materials back from USCIS or the postal/shipping service, do not resend the materials. Double check the signature dates on the I-20 and contact ISAP immediately if you need a new or updated form I-20 for the resubmission of the application.

      I-765 application should be resent no later than 20 days after the ISAP signature on the I-20.

      Maintaining F-1 Status While on the STEM OPT 24-Month Extension 

      While on 24-Month OPT STEM Extension, students must continue to maintain F-1 status and STEM OPT complete reporting requirements by doing the following:

      • Submit a copy of the EAD card, report student information changes, and report employment status to ISAP.
      • Do not exceed the 150 day aggregate period of cumulative unemployment allowed during the post-OPT/STEM OPT
      • Extension periods (periods of unemployment occur when students have a valid EAD card and are allowed to work but are not working).
      • Report to the ISAP within 10 days any changes in name, address, employer’s name and address, and updated status or interruption of employment.
      • Update LOCAL address through MyUWG within 10 days of move.
      • When changing employment while on a 24-month OPT STEM Extension, students must submit a new Form I-983 from the new employer to ISSC.
      • Report to ISAP every six months to verify current address and employment information.
      • Complete two self-evaluations during the course of their 24-Month OPT STEM Extension period, which are on page 5 of the Form I-983. The first one within 12 months of the STEM OPT start date and a second at the end of the STEM OPT period. Evaluations must be signed by the student and their immediate supervisor, and then submitted to ISAP. 
      • Check MyUWG and your UWG email account on a regular basis for immigration updates.
      60-Day Grace Period After OPT 

      You are allowed a 60-day grace period following your OPT expiration date to leave the U.S., change your status, transfer your F-1 to a new school, or pursue new degree program at UWG.

      Early Completion and Leaving the U.S. or Change of Status

      If you decide to leave the US before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly. This update will invalidate your OPT employment authorization and your OPT I-20 and EAD card will be no longer valid.
      If you change your status before your OPT expiration date, please report to the ISAP so that we can update your record accordingly.

  • Severe Economic Hardship
    Severe Economic Hardship
    Overview

    If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request employment authorization based on severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. These circumstances may include a loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and /or living costs, or unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses. 

    Source: [8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(C)-(D) and (F)]

    Eligibility Criteria

    You are eligible to apply for employment based on severe economic hardship if:

    • You have been in F-1 status for one full academic year
    • You are in good academic standing and are taking a full course load
    • Employment will not interfere with your studies
    • You can demonstrate that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen economic circumstances beyond your control
    Documentation Needed to Apply
    • A completed and signed Severe Economic Hardship Request Form.
    • A personal statement describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, attach backup documentation; for example, news articles, a letter from home telling of a change in family circumstances or proof of a currency devaluation in your country, etc.
    • Completed Form I-765, using the code (C)(3)(iii) at item 16. Do not date the form until you are ready to send the application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
    • Copies of your current and previous I-20s
    • Copy of paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94
    • Copy of your F-1 visa page (except Canadians) or I-797 (approval of change of status to F-1), if applicable
    • Copy of your unofficial transcript available from MyUWG
    How to Apply for Severe Economic Hardship Employment
    • Schedule an appointment with a ISAP, and bring the documents listed in Documentation Needed to Apply to your appointment.
    • ISAP advisors will review your documents with you and discuss your circumstances and options.
    • The ISAP advisor will send your request to SEVIS electronically, and generate a new SEVIS I-20. The recommendation will be written on page 2 of the new I-20.
    • Sign your name on the I-20 immediately.
    • Send your request to USCIS. Refer to Submitting Your Severe Economic Hardship Request Application to USCIS below.
    Submitting Your Severe Economic Hardship Application to USCIS

    Once you have requested a Severe Economic Hardship Employment recommendation and received your new I-20 from ISAP, you will need to prepare and submit the following list of items to USCIS:

    • A copy of the new I-20 with employment recommendation
    • Copies of your previous I-20(s)
    • Copy of paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94
    • Copy of your passport page showing your biographical information and the expiration date
    • Copy of your F-1 visa page (except Canadians) or I-797 (approval of change of status to F-1), if applicable
    • Form I-765 and the base fee
    • Two full-face passport style photos. The photos must be identical and in color with a plain background. They must be no more than 30 days old when the I-765 is filed to USCIS. Photos can be obtained at U-M Photo Services . Put photos in an envelope. You should attach the fee and the photo envelope on top of the entire application (on the upper left-hand corner). Please do not staple the fee and the photos.
    • The personal statement along with any other supporting documents, if available.
    Mailing to USCIS

    Send your complete request to USCIS at the following location:

    USCIS Service Center
    P.O. Box 87765
    Lincoln, NE 68501-7765

    NOTE: The U.S. Postal Service is the only service that delivers to a P.O. Box address. You may want to send your application via express (next day) mail.

    Employment Authorization Card (EAD)

    If the application is approved, USCIS will issue an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) to you. If the application is denied, you will be notified by USCIS in writing.

    You may not begin employment until you have received the EAD and the dates are valid. Authorization is granted in one-year intervals up to the expected date of completion of studies. You may work part time while school is in session and full time during official university holidays.

  • H1-B Cap-Gap Extension
    H1-B Cap-Gap Extension

    The H-1B cap-gap extension allows F-1 students currently on post-completion OPT to continue working if they have a timely-filed H-1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1 (the first day of the following fiscal year). An automatic cap-gap extension of an F-1 student's duration of status also applies to the duration of status of the student's dependents in F-2 status.

    "Cap-gap" has become the common term used to refer to the "gap" in nonimmigrant status that occurs in a change of status to H-1B, when a student's current nonimmigrant status expires before the requested H-1B start date. 

    • For example, an F-1 student with an post-completion OPT end date of June 30 will have duration of status for 60 days beyond that, until August 30. The gap between August 30 and October 1 is a "cap-gap." 
    Who qualifies for an H-1B cap-gap extension?

    Students must have a timely-filed H-1B petition while the student's authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) admission was still in effect. This includes:

    1. Students working on post-completion OPT with an end date on or later than April 1 and have a timely-filed H-1B petition. Students on post-completion OPT may continue to work until 9/30 until the H1B begins on 10/1.

    2. Students who are currently in their grace period with a timely-filed H-1B petition. These students may stay in the U.S. until the H-1B begins on 10/1, but are not eligible to work during this time.

    The student must not have violated the terms or conditions of his or her F-1 status.

    Is there an application or fee for the cap-gap extension?

    No. The extension is automatically recorded on your SEVIS record.

    How do I get an updated I-20 showing the cap-gap extension?

    You may request a cap-gap extension I-20 from ISAP to present to your employer. You will be required to upload a copy of a receipt notice from USCIS showing that your application for the H1-B was filed in a timely manner and is being adjudicated. Within five business days, an international student advisor will process your request.

    Do I have to have a new I-20 showing the cap-gap extension?

    No. The cap-gap extension is automatic as long as you have timely-filed H-1B petition. However, some employers request evidence of work authorization or you may be applying for benefits (i.e. renewing a drivers license) that may require a reprint.