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How to Hire International Students

  How to Hire International Students


 U.S. Employer’s Guide to Hiring International Students

Most international students who are neither U.S. Citizens nor Permanent Residents enroll in academic programs under one of two non-immigrant student immigration statuses, F-1 or J-1. Since the majority of international students maintain F-1 student status, the focus of this guide will be on how to hire an F-1 student.

Please note that a Social Security Number alone is not sufficient proof of work authorization for international students. It is critical that employers confirm an international student’s work authorization prior to employment start date to prevent any liability for the student and the employer in the future. All employees must complete their I-9 process at the time employment begins.


Hiring an F-1 International Student for an Internship

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization that allows F-1 students to accept practical training in their academic field after one year of full-time study. Internship programs are some of the most common types of CPT opportunities for international students. Students can choose to work full or part-time during their internships, depending on the institution’s CPT policy. In some cases, graduate students who are required by their academic program to participate in an internship in the first year do not have to complete one full academic year before they are eligible.



There is no limit, but 12 months of full-time CPT eliminates eligibility for OPT. Part-time CPT employment does not affect eligibility for OPT. Note: Graduate students can accept CPT on Day 1 of their full-time study, if required by their program.


Employer Role:

Applying for CPT is solely the responsibility of the student and therefore requires no action on the part of the hiring organization. (The employer usually needs to issue a letter to confirm the internship offer.


Student Role:

After the student has been offered an internship, he or she submits an online application to the sponsoring school providing the internship start and end dates as well as the organization’s name and complete physical address. The student also needs to provide the job title and a detailed job description. This process is facilitated by the student’s International Student Program. In accordance with U.S. immigration regulations, students who engage in part-time or full-time CPT must still be full-time students during the academic year. They do not need to be enrolled full-time during official vacation periods (such as summer).


Cost and Processing Time:

There is no cost to the employer. The processing and approval time for CPT is usually within 5-10 working days.