F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to work on campus. In order to work on campus, students must be enrolled full time. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week during regular semesters. Students may work more than 20 hours during vacation periods.
Student jobs are available at the university from the jobs.uco.edu posting site or through private companies which provide services on the UCO campus. These include the UCO Dining Services, UCO Barnes and Noble Bookstore, and the custodial service. When applying online, students can use their UCO ID and add a zero to the end as filler for the SSN. (Ex. *202288880)
Off-campus employment requires authorization from Immigration. After you have been in the United States for nine months on an F-1 visa and are in good standing you can apply for work authorization. For each of the following categories you must first contact the Office of Global Affairs. Your options are CPT, OPT, or Economic Hardship.
Off-campus employment based on Severe Economic Hardship - If a student is suffering from severe economic hardship based on unforeseen circumstances beyond his or her control, the student may be eligible to apply for employment authorization. Examples include the following: unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support, medical bills for the student or the student's sponsor, or other substantial and unexpected expenses. Students wishing to apply for this employment authorization should report to the Office of Global Affairs. Advisors there will guide the student through the application process.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Curricular Practical Training - Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum. If your academic advisor suggest for you to take internships, practicum, or externships you will be eligible for CPT. To qualify the student must be: enrolled in an internship or practicum course, and provide a letter from the employer where it will take place (including the job title, hours per week, duties, beginning and ending dates and physical location). Then the student’s academic department must provide written approval of the student's internship with the stated employer. Finally all documents are presented to the Office of Global Affairs for authorization.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT) - F-1 students are eligible to apply for employment authorization that will allow him or her to work for up to one year in a job that is directly related to their program of study. This employment takes place after completing your program of study. For some majors there is the possibility of extending that period of employment an additional 24 months. We highly recommend students apply 60 days before graduation. To apply gather all the information below and visit with an immigration advisor in the Office of Global Affairs:
- Complete Form I-765. Print this online at http://www.uscis.gov. Please follow these instructions on how to fill out the form.
- Submit 2 photos made to USCIS specifications. Do not cut or alter the photos in any way. We recommend you place your photos in a small envelope or plastic bags so that they will not get lost.
- Obtain a cashier's check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
- Include a photocopy of pages 1 and 3 of the I-20 showing the OPT recommendation. Make sure to sign it! USCIS must receive your application within 30 days of the I-20 being issued to you.
- Photocopy of your VALID passport photo page.
- Photocopy of your student visa, or prior visa if you entered the US in a status other than F-1
- Photocopy of your most recent I-94 card (front and back and an electronic printout)
- Submit an official UCO transcript showing you will graduate
Once the student has graduated, they will have a 90 day grace period to file the OPT but that will cut into their 12 months of work approval.