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F1 Visa Holder Work Authorization

TWU on campus employment is work engaged in by the student on one of the three TWU campuses. Position examples include, but are not limited to: student assistant, research assistant, graduate assistant, teaching assistant, resident assistant, on campus clinical rotation, etc. On campus employment is typically 20 hours or less per week and is searchable through TWU Handshake within the TWU Career Connections website.  

Graduate assistantships are not guaranteed for all graduate students. F1 Visa holding graduate students applying for assistantships should consult the Graduate Education Policies for information about assistantship guidelines and requirements. Graduate assistantships are considered on campus employment, and do not waive the required TWU tuition and fees.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an opportunity for students to engage in experiential knowledge that is directly applied to the F1 Visa holder's academic program. To qualify for CPT the F1 Visa holder must have one full academic year of study at an approved SEVP-certified U.S. college, university, conservatory, or seminary completed.   
The CPT opportunity may be part-time (20 hours or less per week) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). The employment dates must be within the semester in which the F1 Visa holder is enrolled in a course that directly relates to the employment experience (i.e. internship, clinical rotation, etc.). 
F1 Visa holders must enroll in the academic course first for the appropriate semester. The F1 Visa holder must then submit a CPT request in the International Portal and upload an official letter of employment or clinical placement. The letter must be submitted on official letterhead and include a brief outline of duties and responsibilities, start and end dates within the registered semester, information on the number of hours to be worked weekly (part-time or full-time), and the physical address of the employment location. 
  • A 365 day total of full-time CPT during the student's academic program eliminates the opportunity for an F1 Visa holder to engage in Optional Practical Training (OPT). 
  • CPT cannot be extended after the program end date printed on the F1 Visa holder's I-20. 
  • CPT must be approved every semester and coincide with semester enrollment. 
General CPT start dates for F1 Visa holders new to TWU: After one year of full-time enrollment during consecutive fall/spring or spring/fall academic semesters. 
General CPT end dates for all F1 Visa holders: Must end on or before the program end date printed on the F1 Visa holder's I-20. 
Semester start and end dates for F1 Visa continuing students: With enrollment, CPT can begin the day after the last day of the previous semester, and may end the day before the first class day of the next semester. 
If the F1 Visa holder's academic department has defined the required internship as equivalent to full-time enrollment, the F1 Visa holder may qualify for an academic reduced course load.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an opportunity for F1 Visa holders to engage in employment that directly relates to the student's completed academic program upon program completion. Applications for OPT must be submitted online to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) during the appropriate application cycle based on the F1 Visa holder's semester of graduation. OPT application dates are updated in the International Portal. 

F1 Visa holders are required to attend an OPT information session online through the ISSS office to apply for OPT. Multiple sessions are scheduled throughout each semester and are open to F1 Visa holders ready to apply and those who would like to learn more about OPT prior to being eligible to apply. Once students have attended an OPT information session, the F1 Visa holder may submit their OPT request through the International Portal. The student may not apply for OPT through USCIS until their OPT application through the International Portal has been reviewed and the recommendation has been provided by the DSO. 

F1 Visa holders completing an F1 eligible academic program at TWU are able to apply for one year of OPT. F1 Visa holders completing an F1 eligible academic program in a STEM field, as designated by the U.S. Department of Education, may also be eligible to apply for 24 month STEM OPT extension.