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Visa & Employment Information for International Students

Visa & Employment Information for International Students

F1 Students and Working in the USA

Check-in, Registration and Reporting

Required Check-In

Students must check-in at the Office of International Programs to maintain legal immigration status. Once you have completed your SEVIS and Doane enrollment, the OIP hold will be removed from your student account. Visit the OIP as early as possible after your arrival. You must bring your immigration documents and supplementary information including:

  • Any academic records that have been requested
  • Passport
  • Electronic I-94, or your airline arrival details so we can help you print one
  • I-20
  • Proof of Health Insurance
  • Class Schedule
  • Current Physical Address (Dormitory and Room #, Street Address)
  • Contact Information
  • Emergency Contact Information

It is the student’s responsibility to maintain your F-1 immigration status.
Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Study in the States Guide to help you understand immigration rules.

Registration

You must register your attendance and address with the International Programs Office at the start of each term. Students must be registered as full-time every term until graduation. If you need to drop below full-time status, you must request authorization from the Office of International Programs.

Department of Arts and Sciences: Crete Campus - Full-time is 12 or more credit hours
Graduate Professional School: Lincoln, Omaha and Grand Island Campus - 2 classes per term, and a complete academic year before taking a vacation term

Reporting

  • Students must report any change of address within 10 days of moving to a new place of residence to the Office of International Programs, including changing dormitory rooms.
  • Students must report any change of status or change of dependents to the Office of International Programs
F-1 Students and On-Campus Employment

As an F-1 student, employment must be authorized.

Employment is defined as any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. Please consult with the Office of International Programs before beginning any work or service of any kind.

On-Campus Employment

On-campus employment provides a paycheck from Doane University this includes; admissions, residence life, student leadership, maintenance, teaching assistantships, landscape services, food service, or library, etc. Paperwork for on-campus employment is processed by the Payroll Office, Financial Aid Office, and the employing supervisor.
F-1 students are restricted to the number of hours they may work.

  • During the Fall and Spring semesters, students are allowed 20 hours per week maximum.
  • During semester breaks, official school holidays, or summer vacations students are allowed 21 hours or more.
  • F-1 students may not work on-campus after completing a program unless they have obtained a new I-20 and plan to enroll the following term in a new degree program. (Such as starting a Masters degree after graduating with a Bachelors). Visit the Office of International Programs for more information.
F-1 Students and CPT Off-Campus Employment

As an F-1 student, employment must be authorized.
Employment is defined as any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. Please consult with the Office of International Programs before beginning any work or service of any kind.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT employment must be an integral part of an established curriculum and must be directly related to a student's major area of study. CPT has authorized employment and may be defined as work/study, internship, cooperative education, internship practicum, or other types of required or optional practicum. Students must be registered for a specific course in their department that fulfills a program requirement, such as BUS41.

CPT can be full-time, more than 20 hours per week, or part-time, 20 hours or less per week. Students registered for CPT during a Fall/Spring semester must also be registered for a full course of study which must include the course required for CPT. Students working part-time CPT during summer vacation do not need to be registered full-time for classes.

Students must be in legal status includes, but is not limited to:

  • Possessing a valid passport.
  • Registered as a full-time student each Fall/Spring semester.
  • Been in F-1 student status for at least one full academic year.
  • To qualify for CPT you must have:
  • A valid, and unexpired I-20 that lists your current field of study and education level
  • A valid, unexpired passport
  • Been a full-time student to one full academic year
  • Registered full-time every semester you are enrolled at Doane 
  • Undergraduate Students: Minimum of 12 credit hours
  • Graduate Students: Minimum of 9 credit hours
  • For Doctoral and Thesis-Masters Students: Do you still have required course left to complete? Not including portfolio, thesis, or dissertation hours required. 

If you do not qualify for any of the above, contact the Office of International Programs. 

If you qualify:

  • Download the CPT packet
  • Meet with the Career Development Center, your academic advisor, and other appropriate people
  • Complete the CPT forms and enroll in the required courses.

After the CPT packet is complete, make an appointment with the OIP and bring the following:

  • CPT Packet
  • Curricular Practical Training Academic Advisor Form completed by your academic adviser
  • Course description for CPT course in which you will be enrolled
  • Internship Learning Contract
  • Memorandum of Understanding, completed and signed by you and your employer which includes the job offer and the following information:
    • If the job if full-time or part-time
    • Job title
    • Job description
    • Number of hours employed per week
    • Physical street address with zip code where you will be working. The actual worksite is needed, not a post office box.
    • Start and End date of employment

For Graduate Students:

  • Bring your expected degree completion plan, listing the course as a required part of your program
  • Proof of enrollment in the required course
  • Unofficial transcript from WebAdvisor
  • Valid, unexpired passport
  • I-20 & I-94

Allow 5 working days for OIP to process your CPT paperwork, then pick up at OIP. You cannot begin employment until approved and until the employee’s starting date.

F-1 Students and OPT Off-Campus Employment

As an F-1 student, employment must be authorized.
Employment is defined as any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. Please consult with the Office of International Programs before beginning any work or service of any kind.

Optical Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training is the benefit of F-1 status to grant authorization to F-1 students to gain work experience in their academic major, not minor. Qualified students may apply for a total of 12 months of OPT for each successive degree level as an F-1 student.

Note: Students in English Language Training programs are not eligible for OPT. Students usually apply for OPT after completing their program of study, and it is important to submit your application early in your final semester.

To Apply

You must apply for the OPT benefit. You must submit an application, fee, and supplemental materials. Your application will be adjudicated, and you will receive notice of denial or approval. If approved, you will receive an employment authorization document (EAD) before you can begin work. Processing time takes 90 days or longer.

You must have:

  • Your major and minor listed correctly with the Registrar’s Office
  • A current I-20 form with your current field of study and educational level
  • A valid, unexpired passport
  • Less than 12 months of full-time curricular practical training (CPT)
  • Been a full-time student for at least one full academic year
  • Registered full-time as an F-1 student every semester you attended Doane OR been full-time certified by OIP for the semesters you were not full-time
  • (If completing your program in the summer) Be enrolled in at least one credit hour required to complete your program
  • Attended an OPT Information
  • Obtained an OPT Packet

If you do not meet all the requirements, speak with the OIP.

Unlike CPT, you do not need an offer of employment to apply for OPT. You can apply up to 120 days before your requested start date. Adjudication of your application can take up to 90-120 days, so apply early in your final semester. You must apply for OPT no later than 60 days from the date of program completion.

Maintaining OPT

Once you approved for OPT:

  • Secure employment that relates directly to your major field of study
  • Submit the OPT update form and again every time you change or add employers
  • Report any change of address to USCIS and OIP
  • Verify your employment and address information with OIP every 6 months
  • Keep a calendar of your employment activity

OPT-eligible employment must be:

  • full-time -more than 20 hours per week
  • directly related to your major field of study
  • have no more than 90 cumulative days of unemployment

If you received your degree in a STEM field, you may be eligible to apply for an OPT extension. Review the list of eligible STEM fields at ICE’s SEVIS STEM LIST and complete the OPT-STEM packet.