How do we hire someone who is currently on a F-1 OPT Visa but transitioning to a F-1 CPT Visa?

Short Answer You may not need to do anything different. Employers don’t need to fill out any paperwork when an employee changes from OPT to CPT. It is usually taken care of by the student and their college or university’s office of immigration services. One thing to note is that immigration issues vary case by […]

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Short Answer

You may not need to do anything different. Employers don’t need to fill out any paperwork when an employee changes from OPT to CPT. It is usually taken care of by the student and their college or university’s office of immigration services.

One thing to note is that immigration issues vary case by case, so the answer could differ based on other factors. We recommend you consult with an immigration specialist to confirm the specific situation for your company.

Overview of F-1 OPT and F-1 CPT Visas

To give context as to what these types of visas are, under an F-1 visa, students can study for their whole degree, and they have specific rights to work while they are have valid F-1 status.

Optical Practical Training (OPT) is a duration of time during which undergraduate or graduate students with F-1 Status who have finished or have been working towards their degrees for more than nine months are allowed by the USCIS to pursue getting practical training to complement their field of studies.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is geared towards currently enrolled students who want an internship off campus that relates to their studies.

Next Steps

Your employee will work with their master’s program school to fulfill the requirements of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authorization. All paperwork is handled by the student, his school, and USCIS.

The form that you must prioritize is the I-9, Proof of Work Authorization, for hiring. If you are a customer of Zenefits, once employee onboarding is complete, you can access the Form I-9 in the employee’s profile.

Helpful Links:

USCIS Web Page on Foreign Students’ Employee Information and Verification

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Visitor Exchange Program

San Francisco State University’s Guide to Hiring International Students

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