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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 may 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.  They must work with their sponsoring department, however, in devising the legally mandated training plan; 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 Academic Resource Center, for Health Sciences departments, or Marcele Maia, for other campus departments. 

I-9 Requirements:

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. See USCIS' Employer's Handbook, M-274, and particularly the section on students

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; see M-274, F-1 STEM OPT Extension. Students must obtain the new EAD card within 180 days of expiry of the old card to remain employment eligible.