F-1 Student Practical Training
Upon graduation or before, F-1 students may apply for "Optional Practical Training (OPT)"--a period of 12 months for which they can obtain an employment authorization document that allows them to work for any employer in their field of study. Prior to graduation, F-1 students have the option to be employed for "Curricular Practical Training (CPT)," which allows them to work for any employer as part of their required curricular activities. UC San Diego departments may employ F-1 OPT and CPT students without having to sponsor the student in any way.
OPT STEM Extension:
UC San Diego is registered as an E-Verify Employer; this allows F-1 OPT students who graduated in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to obtain a 24-month extension of their OPT employment authorization, provided they are working in that field.
New regulations went into effect May 10th for obtaining the F-1 STEM OPT extension; for more information see the protocol to be used by departments intending to employ F-1 STEM OPT students.
Students applying for OPT STEM extensions of their EAD cards should contact their departmental representative to request UC San Diego's E-verify number; the departmental contact in turn can request this information from Ruthlyn Sinclair, for Health Sciences departments, or Marcele Maia, for other campus departments.
Departments required to I-9 F-1 OPT students will need to review the student's Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card with valid dates. Employment authorization documents for a CPT student include endorsement on the final page of the student's I-20 for CPT with UC San Diego specified as the employer and a valid date range.
If departments need to reverify an F-1 OPT student's work authorization under a STEM extension and the student has not yet received the new EAD card, departments can do so with the old EAD and the newly issued I-20 endorsing the student for a STEM extension. For details, see USCIS's Employer Handbook (M-274), p. 21 (perform a search on the term "M-274" to pull up the pdf document).