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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

F1 Employment

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On-Campus Employment

Undergraduates who are in good standing with the University and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are eligible to work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session without USCIS approval. During your vacation periods you may work full-time if you are an undergraduate. Graduate students may work up to 14 hours per week as student help or 20 hours per week if on an assistantship.  Reminder - all F-1 students should not work on campus more than 20 hours a week during the academic term even if you have multiple employers (e.g., Sodexho and MSU departments).  Exceeding 20 hours per week during the academic term will negatively affect your immigration status. 

Please check the  On-Campus work permit process (broken link) and go to the Forms Page if required. The forms must be turned in along with original documents (e.g., passport, I-20 or DS-2019); please come to CSU 250 for more information.

Need an on-campus job?  Visit: Mavjobs


Need a Social Security Number?

You must have a job offer before you can get a social security number. If you have an on-campus job offer, please follow these steps:

  1. Have your employer fill out the Employment Verification Form (broken link) and bring it to the Kearney International Center for a signature. (no appointment needed)
  2. Fill out the Social Security application (broken link) (instructions are included)
  3. Take the Employment Verification Form, the Social Security Application, and your orginal immigration documents (I-20, Passport, Visa and I-94) to the Social Security Office:
    Mankato Place
    12 Civic Center Plaza, Ste 1550
    9:00am-3:30pm (except holidays)
  4. Bring your receipt (a letter) back to the Kearney International Center.


Off-Campus Employment 

Never Work Off-Campus Without Written Permission

Off-campus employment authorization, for employment in your field of study, is called "practical training."  There are two types of practical training: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). 

To be eligible for any off-campus employment, the student must: 

  • Be enrolled for one academic year
  • Be in good F-1 student status in SEVIS
  • Receive written permission - apply in advance of the date of intended employment

Student employment both on-campus and off-campus is generally limited to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. Some exceptions may apply.  During school vacations/summer, employment may be full-time. Please speak with an advisor if you have any questions about how many hours you are eligible to work. 

Need help finding a job? Visit Mavjobs


Types of Off-Campus Work Available to F-1 Students

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT in only available to F-1 students when it is an integral part of an established curriculum. In practical terms, “integral part of an established curriculum” means an opportunity must be required by the curriculum or, if not required the student must receive credit for the training.

An F-1 student must be authorized by the Kearney Center for International Student Services to participate in a curricular practical training program. Once approved, you will be issued an I-20 with CPT as work/employment authorization.

Eligibility Requirements
  • You must be enrolled full-time and in good academic standing for one academic year before you are eligible for CPT. There is an exception to this requirement—graduate students whose program requires an internship for all students their first semester.
  • In calculating the required one full academic year needed to be eligible for CPT, you can include time spent in other programs of study, if there was no break between programs.
  • You must secure the training opportunity before CPT can be authorized
  • Students in the Intensive English Program (IEP) are not eligible.
Types of CPT
  • Internship/practicum required by the degree program
    • Internship must be for credit, required for the completion of the degree program, and published in the Minnesota State University, Mankato catalog.
  • Elective internship/employment
    • Available to students who want to gain practical work experience related to their field of study.
    • You must register for a course in the established curriculum that requires employment/internship
  • Co-op program
    • Internship is facilitated through a cooperative education agreement/contract between Minnesota State University, Mankato and the proposed company and is an integral part of the degree program.
  • Internship with an international organization.
    • Please see an advisor in the KCISS for more information.
Part-time CPT
  • 20 hours/week or less during fall and spring semesters
Full-time CPT

Submit a completed CPT Academic Advisor Verification Form and job offer letter to the KCISS for processing. This may take 3-5 days.

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is work authorization granted by Immigration/USCIS to allow F-1 students to gain experience directly related to their major area of study. You may apply for OPT authorization during your academic program, after your program completion, or a combination of both. You are eligible for 12 months of full-time OPT per academic level and you do not need a job offer to apply for OPT authorization.

Eligibility Requirements
  • You are currently in F-1 status.
  • You have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year (two semesters) or will complete one academic year by the date the OPT approval begins.
  • You have not exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization.
  • You have not already used OPT at your current academic level.
Types of OPT
  • Post-Completion OPT -- (c) (3) (b) on #20 on Form I-765
    • OPT authorization that begins after completion of your academic program is called “post-completion OPT”. This is the most common type of OPT. Post-completion OPT is full-time and it can begin:
      • After you complete your degree program
      • After you complete all course requirements for your degree excluding thesis or equivalent
  • Pre-Completion OPT – (c) (3) (a) on #20 on Form I-765
    • OPT used while you are still enrolled in your course of study is called “pre-completion OPT”. Students who do not have academic internships available in their program of study and cannot use CPT may consider this option. Pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12 months of OPT eligibility, so most students prefer to save OPT for after program completion.
      • Full-time (21 hours/week or more) or part-time (20 hours/week or less) during summer or breaks
      • Part-time (20 hours/week or less) while enrolled in a full course of study
  • STEM OPT Extension – (c) (3) (c) on #20 on Form I-765
    • Students in their 12-month OPT authorization period with a qualifying STEM approved degree and working for an E-verify registered employer, may apply for a 24-month extension of their OPT.

When to Apply

Apply early! You do not need a job offer to apply for OPT. We suggest you apply three months from the predicted date you wish to start working. OPT is recommended by advisers (known as Designated School Officials or DSOs) within the Kearney Center for International Student Services, but final approval is granted by USCIS. USCIS issues the approved OPT with an Employment Authorization Document/Card (EAD) which typically takes approximately 90 days to process.

You must plan ahead – Deadlines to consider:
  • 9 months = Been enrolled and in F-1 status prior to applying
  • 90 days before completion date = Earliest to apply for post-completion OPT
  • 60 days after completion date = Latest to apply for post-completion OPT
  • 30 days = Between receiving OPT recommendation from the Designated School Official (DSO) with signature on the I-20 and sending to and be received by USCIS.
  • 90 days = Typical processing time of OPT approval (EAD) by USCIS

Complete the Forms and gather the items in the list below:

[PDF] Optional Practical Training FORM   (712 KiB)
Form G-1145
Form I-765
Check/money order for $410 payable to US Department of Homeland Security
2 new passport style photographs, in color, with I-94 and full name written on back
Copy of valid passport page
Copy of visa
Copy of I-94 record (
Job offer letter (if expediting)
Copy of ANY I-20’s with CPT authorization
Copy of SEVIS event history form (KCISS will provide this)
Copy of I-20 with OPT recommendation (KCISS will provide this)
**sign this, make a copy to send, and keep the original

Once you completed the above, you may either drop off the forms, scan, or send them to Kearney Center for International Student Services, CSU 250. When you receive your OPT I-20, mail all the documents above EXCEPT the OPT Form to the appropriate lockbox facility.

OPT STEM Extension

In March 2016, DHS published amended F-1 nonimmigrant student regulations on OPT for certain students with STEM degrees. For more detailed information about OPT STEM, please visit the STEM OPT HUB page on Study in the States.

Form I-983 Training Plan
Form G-1145
Form I-765 – company’s E-Verify name and number in #17
Check/money order for $410 payable to US Department of Homeland Security
2 new passport style photographs, in color, with I-94 and full name written on back
Copy of valid passport page
Copy of visa
Copy of I-94 record (
Copy of current, unexpired EAD card (front & back)
Copy of your diploma. If degree is not yet attained, then a transcript showing completion of all course requirements, but still completing thesis/dissertation.
Copy of SEVIS event history form (KCISS will provide this)
Copy of I-20 with OPT STEM Extension recommendation (KCISS will provide this)
**sign this, make a copy to send, and keep the original

You may email your I-983 and I-765 to for processing.

Once you receive your OPT STEM Extension I-20, mail all documents above EXCEPT the I-983 to the appropriate lockbox facility.