International Students and Scholars Services
Florida A&M University is proud of its tradition of providing quality academic experiences for students representing the world’s ethnic and cultural diversity. The men and women who matriculate here represent the best and brightest scholars from their home countries.
The separation from family and one’s culture patterns can be difficult and frustrating for the international student. The professional OIED staff helps to ease adaptation to the American culture and the Florida A&M University environment through its New International Student Orientation session each semester. Annual cultural programs and social activities are held to ease the international student's transition to campus life and to making lifelong friends.
The International Student & Scholars Services provides support designed to insure compliance to United States immigration laws. The advising and counseling services focus on non-immigrant visa matters, personal finance and employment, cross-cultural adjustment, and monitoring academic performance. For students needing assistance in improving their understanding of the English language, OIED collaborates with the Continuing Education Department to provide an English as Second Language (ESL) Clinic. The staff collaborates with all academic and student life services to assist student throughout their matriculation.
Employment for the International Student
The ISSS staff provides workshops each semester to assist the international students and scholars in meeting employment regulations, filing tax statements and meeting the requirements for the F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)
and Curricular Practical Training
for F1 Visa students (CPT). (link to http://www.uscis.gov/sevis/practical training/
An F1 student has the option of working in the United States by engaging in practical training during their matriculation or after it ends. Practical training provides valuable work experience and adds to the skills obtained in the classroom. There are two types of practical training available for F-1 students: curricular practical training (CPT) and optional practical training (OPT).
Curricular Practical Training
- CPT must relate to the major and the experience must be part of the program of study.
- At the graduate level, the designated school official (DSO) may authorize CPT during the student’s first semester if the academic program requires this type of experience. Ask the DSO for details.
- The DSO will a new Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” that shows the DSO has approved the student for this employment.
- A student can work on CPT either full-time or part-time.
- CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or a letter from the employer.
- If the student has 12 months or more of full-time CPT, he or she is ineligible for OPT, but can do part-time CPT and will not stop hinder doing OPT.
Optional Practical Training
- OPT must relate to the major or course of study.
- A student can apply for 12 months of OPT at each education level, (i.e., have 12 months of OPT at the bachelor’s level and another 12 months of OPT at the master’s level).
- The DSO will provide a new Form I-20 that shows the DSO recommendation for this employment.
- The student must apply for work authorization by electronically filing a Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization,” (link: http://www.uscis.gov/i-765) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and paying a filing fee. USCIS will send a Form I-766, “Employment Authorization Document,” (EAD) upon approving the submitted Form I-765.
- The student cannot start work until after receiving the EAD.
- While school is in session, the student may only work 20 hours per week.
17-Month OPT STEM Extension
A student may qualify for an additional 17 months of OPT under the following circumstances
- The degree for the current period of post-completion OPT is a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) program.
- The employer from which employment is sought uses the E-Verify program.
- The student has not previously received a 17-month extension of OPT.
- The DSO provides a new Form I-20 that shows the DSO recommendation for this employment on page three.
- The student must apply for work authorization by electronically filing a Form I-765 with USCIS and paying a filing fee. USCIS will send an EAD upon approving the petition.
The student may continue to work on the expired EAD for OPT up to 180 days while the 17-month extension petition is pending if these conditions are met:
- Student is currently in a period of post-completion OPT.
- The application is filed properly and in a timely manner for the 17-month extension with USCIS.
- Changes in name, address, employer and loss of employment must be reported to the DSO within 10 days of any change.