Fletcher Connect

Employment

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students
Fletcher students on an F-1 visa may apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) work authorization to support practical, off-campus work experience after their first year of study at Fletcher (in the summer or during the semesters of the following academic year). CPT is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your course of study at Fletcher.

To apply, students must meet ALL of the following requirements:
  • Have completed 9 months of study at Fletcher
  • Have completed the Professional Development Program
  • Have not yet graduated
  • Be enrolled in a full-time or equivalent course of study (academic year CPT only)
  • Have secured an off-campus job that is relevant to your course of study at Fletcher
Deadlines and restrictions:
  • Academic year CPT applications must be received no later than the add deadline for modular courses that begin in the second half of the semester (see the academic calendar). Summer CPT applications must be received at least three weeks before the start of the internship.
  • Academic year CPT jobs must be a minimum of 26 and a maximum of 260 hours throughout the course of the semester. Students may not work more than 20 hours per week, including on-campus jobs.
  • Social security number must be secured before beginning the job.

Step 1: Get a Job

Once you have been offered a job, ask your employer for an offer letter. The offer letter must be signed and dated on company letterhead and contain the following information:   

  • Employer name and physical address of the work location (must show street, city, state and zip code; not P.O. Box)
  • Employment start and end dates. Please note that the authorization for CPT for a particular academic term must be completed within the dates of that academic term (see academic calendar for details).
  • Specify full or part time employment (0-20 hours/week = part-time; 21+ hours = full-time). Students may only work part time during the academic year. They may work full or part time in the summer.
  • Name and title of supervisor
  • Your job title and list of job responsibilities

Step 2:  Apply for CPT

Send a copy of your offer letter and a completed application form to one of Fletcher’s CPT assigned Designated School Officials, Reiko Morris or Mary Dulatre. They will review it and determine your eligibility.  If approved, Fletcher will generate a CPT I-20 (a new I-20 with your CPT authorization on page 2) within 5 business days and email you when it is ready.

You will then be assigned to a Fletcher Administrator who will be responsible for reviewing your internship paper and deciding whether you are eligible to receive credit.

Step 3: Enjoy and learn from your internship

Step 4: Write a paper about your internship

In order to receive CPT credit, you will be required to write a paper of no more than three pages covering all of the the following items:

  • Description of internship: Company/organization; location; department; job title, if applicable; description of responsibilities/projects; how the internship was secured; and the name, title, and contact information of your supervisor.
  • Describe an internship project or an interesting aspect of your responsibilities and how it complemented your course of study at Fletcher.
  • What Fletcher courses, activities, clubs, etc. were most useful to you in your job?
  • What courses, workshops or other activities would have helped you perform better?  You may note things that are currently offered or make suggestions for new offerings.
  • Will this internship benefit your full-time job search or career? Explain.
The paper will be due by the end of the internship (as stated in your application) or by the last day of that academic term, whichever comes first.

The papers will be reviewed by the Fletcher CPT committee comprised of administrators from the Office of Career Services, Registrar, Master of International Business and Admissions offices. Students will receive a pass/fail grade and the course will earn .2 credit.


Students must reapply for CPT for each semester worked, even if it is a continuation of the same internship.


Questions? Please contact one of the CPT administrators:
PhDs and MALDs: Mary Dulatre
MALDs: Elana Givens
MIBs: Kristen Zecchi

Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 Students

USCIS PROCESSING TIME: 8-14 WEEKS

DEFINITION

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary work authorization, for a job related to the field of study, available to international students in F-1 status who are studying in the United States. Any student in F-1 status must receive approval by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services in order to work off-campus. Unauthorized paid employment may result in loss of student status and deportation. Unpaid employment does not require authorization.

DURATION

Students in F-1 status are eligible to apply for up to 12 months of Practical Training. Practical Training is NOT renewable.

ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility requires that you are in good academic standing at the Fletcher School and that you have been in F-1 visa status for at least one academic year. If you take a leave of absence for any reason during the academic year and leave the U.S. for five months or more, you will then lose your eligibility for practical training until you have again maintained F-1 status in the U.S. for at least one academic year. You DO NOT need a job offer in order to apply for Practical Training. The exception to these rules is when you obtain employment with an international organization (see below).

EMPLOYMENT WITH AN INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION

If you obtain an internship with an international organization, such as the World Bank or the UN, you must still apply for work authorization with the USCIS. However, it does not apply towards your 12-month practical training period and you need not be in F-1 status for at least one academic year. In other words, if you begin your degree program in January, you may apply for a summer internship with an international organization, and, at the end of the internship you would still have a 12-month practical training period. Please note that you must have a job offer (in writing) from the international organization in order to apply to work authorization from the INS. A copy of that written job offer must be filed with your application to USCIS.

WHEN TO APPLY FOR PRE/POST-COMPLETION OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING

You may apply for Pre-completion Practical Training (before completing degree requirements) at any time after you have been in F-1 status for one academic year. With pre-completion practical training you may work full-time during school vacations if you intend to continue as a full-time student in the next semester. While school is in session, however, you may not work more than a total of 20 hours per week. The USCIS SEVIS system will monitor the number of hours per week that a student works and if a student works more than the allowed 20 hours per week, they will be considered in violation of their student status. The policy of the USCIS with regard to Post Completion Practical Training (after completion of degree requirements) is that you can apply up to 90 days prior to your graduation date, and up to 60 days after graduation. Once employment authorization has been granted by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, it cannot be cancelled or changed for another time period. Practical training time lost as a consequence of delayed completion of studies or not being employed may not be recovered.

LIMITS ON PERIOD OF UNEMPLOYMENT

Students on post-completion OPT may have up to 90 days of unemployment. Students who have OPT extended due to the cap gap provisions continue to accrue unemployment time and are subject to the 90 limitation on unemployment. However, students may work as volunteers or unpaid interns, where this does not violate labor laws. The work must be at least 20 hours per week for students on post-completion OPT. The student must be able to provide evidence that they worked at least 20 hours per week during the period of unemployment.

CAP GAP EXTENSION

A student who is the beneficiary of a receipted H-1B petition will have his or her OPT and F-1 status extended to September 30. Students are responsible for checking with their International Student Advisor and verifying that their SEVIS record has been updated with the extension.

VERIFICATION OF EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION

Once you are approved for Practical Training, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services will issue an “Employment Authorization Document” (E.A.D. card), which will bear your photograph, signature, and dates of authorized employment. Your E.A.D. card will be verification of your authorization to work.

CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment opportunity for international students who hold an F-1 student visa. This particular category does not require approval by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), but must be approved by Carol Murphy, the International Student Advisor and Designated School Official. Students must meet certain requirements in order to be approved for CPT.

Eligibility

To qualify for curricular practical training,

  • you must have been a full-time student in the United States for at least one academic year,
  • you must have a specific job offer at the time of your application,
  • the work must be an integral part of the established curriculum in your course of study,
  • you must complete the Professional Development Program,
  • you must register for IR CSPT: Practicum in International Relations,
  • you must be making reasonable progress towards fulfillment of your degree requirements, and
  • you must be enrolled in a full course of study at Fletcher.

Application Process

  • Register for the “IR CSPT: Practicum in International Relations” course
  • Participate in and complete the Professional Development Program
  • Obtain a job offer letter from your prospective employer. The letter must be on the employer’s letterhead and must include the following:
    • Begin and end dates of employment (must be specific)
    • Number of hours of work per week
    • Name and address of the workplace
    • Amount of compensation
    • Job Description
    • Supervisor’s name
    • Complete Section A of From I-538
    • Schedule an appointment with Reiko Morris, International Student Advisor by email at reiko.morris@tufts.edu or by calling 617-627-3055.

    When arriving for your appointment you must bring the following:

    • Employment offer letter
    • Form I-538, top portion completed and signed
    • Originals of your current Form I-20 and all previously issued I-20’s
    • Valid passport with I-94 card

    Your application will be reviewed by Reiko Morris (reiko.morris@tufts.edu) and a new form I-20 will be prepared noting authorization for Curricular Practical Training. You may not accept any employment prior to obtaining the authorization.

    LEAVING THE U.S. AND RETURNING DURING PRACTICAL TRAINING

    The Fletcher School strongly advises against leaving the United States after receiving your EAD card, but before securing a job or job offer in writing. Even if you have received your EAD card for Optional Practical Training, if you have not gotten a job or job offer in writing and travel outside the U.S., you will be considered to have abandoned your Optional Practical Training (OPT) and will not be permitted to enter the United States in order to look for a job. However, an F-1 student who has timely applied for Optional Practical Training following completion of his or her course of study may travel outside the United States while the OPT application is pending. However, I would recommend caution, as this may also be risky, you should only travel outside the U.S. if absolutely necessary. The student should, however, carry the I-765 receipt notice (Form I-797) to prove the application has been filed and is pending approval. You still need a valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport and a travel signature on the third page of your I-20. Do not enter the U.S. in any status but F-1; otherwise you will lose your practical training authorization status.

    SOCIAL SECURITY TAX AND NUMBERS

    If you are employed in the United States, you must have a Social Security Number WHEN YOU BEGIN WORKING. Application is made to the local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office, which is located at 10 Fawcett Street, First Floor, Cambridge, MA. Please Note: The SSA office will not issue a social security number to international students without either proof of a job offer, and letter of eligibility from the International Student Advisor. Therefore, when you apply to the SSA office, you must bring your passport, your I-20 form, your white I-94 admissions card, AND a letter from your employer indicating your job offer, AND a letter of eligibility from the International Student Advisor.Foreign students who have F-1 visa status do not pay Social Security Tax (FICA) but still need a Social Security Number for tax filing purposes. If Fletcher assigned you a temporary school I.D. number (starting with 999 or 991), you cannot use this number outside of Fletcher or in place of a Social Security Number.

    FORM I-9, “EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION”

    Upon starting your job, you will be asked to complete a Form I-9, which requires you to document your identity and your work authorization. The best document to produce in order to comply is the E.A.D. card. Copies of your E.A.D. card will be made and kept on file at your place of employment.

    FEDERAL AND STATE INCOME TAX

    In most cases, foreign students and scholars are subject to all federal and state taxes if employed in the U.S. Tax treaties exist between the U.S. government and some foreign countries that may affect the amount of tax you are required to pay. You will be required to file both federal and state income tax forms by April 15th of each year for any work completed during the previous calendar year. Tax forms are usually available from January through April at local post offices, public libraries, banks and Internal Revenue Service offices. As a non-resident, taxation is extremely complicated. When filing your tax returns, it is best to consult with someone at your place of employment who is knowledgeable, or visit an office of the Internal Revenue Service. Fletcher, in conjunction with Tufts University now offers CINTAX, an on-line tax service to assist you in preparing your tax returns. You will be sent an email at the beginning of each tax year with instructions on how to use the software by the International Student Advisor.

    PROCEDURE FOR PRACTICAL TRAINING APPLICATION

    STEP 1: GET the appropriate forms to apply for an EAD card at the Registrar's Office (I-765 form)

    STEP 2: YOU WILL NEED two color photos of yourself. Photo requirements: Photos must be on a white background, taken no earlier than 30 days before submission to U.S.C.I.S. Be sure they are unmounted, printed on thin paper, glossy, and unretouched. A copy of the photo requirements and sample can be obtained in the Registrar’s Office. (Errico Studios, 259 Elm St., Davis Square will process these photos for approximately $8 - $10.00)

    STEP 3: Bring completed application forms, the photos, your current I-20, all previous I-20’s and passport to the Registrar’s Office for approval and endorsements.

    STEP 4: SEND THE FOLLOWING:

    • Check for $380.00 (Made payable to Department of Homeland Security)
    • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization)
    • Your two photos

    WITH COPY ONLY OF: (International Student Advisor will make copies)

    • Form 1-20 (front & back)(endorsed by International Student Advisor)
    • All previously issued I-20’s from Fletcher and/or previously attended institution
    • I-94 white Admissions card from passport (front & back)
    • Visa page in your passport
    • Last EAD card if you have one

    VIA CERTIFIED MAIL:
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    P.O. Box 660867
    Dallas, TX  75266

    FOR EXPRESS MAIL AND COURIER DELIVERIES:
    (RECOMMENDED)
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
    Attention: AOS
    2501 S. State Highway 121 Business
    Suite 400
    Lewisville, TX  75067

     

     

    PLEASE NOTE: ALL EAD CARDS WILL BE MAILED DIRECTLY TO REIKO MORRIS (reiko.morris@tufts.edu), INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADVISOR. IT WILL THEN BE MAILED TO YOU AT THE ADDRESS YOU HAVE PROVIDED WITHIN THE U.S.

     

    Academic Training for J-1 Students

    BE SURE TO PLAN AHEAD. THE ENTIRE APPLICATION PROCESS, DURING BUSY MONTHS (MAY AND JUNE), CAN TAKE UP TO 1 MONTH.

    DEFINITION

    Academic Training permits an international student to accept employment in the United States in order to gain practical work experience.

    DURATION

    Students in J-1 status are eligible to apply for a total of 18 months of Academic Training. Doctoral students in J-1 status are eligible to apply for up to 36 months of Academic Training. Academic Training is available before completion of your program of study as well as after completion of your program. Any full-time Academic Training time used before completion of studies is subtracted from the total 18 months of Academic Training for which a student is eligible at a full-time rate; part-time Academic Training is also subtracted at a full-time rate. For example, if you work for 3 months over the summer before you graduate, this three month period is deducted from the total 18 months you are permitted and leaves you with 15 months of Academic Training.

    ELIGIBILITY

    Eligibility requires that you are in good academic standing at the Fletcher School. Your proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study. You must maintain health insurance coverage for you and any family members accompanying you in the U.S. for the duration of your Academic Training period.

    WHEN TO APPLY FOR POST COMPLETION ACADEMIC TRAINING

    You must apply for Academic Training BEFORE GRADUATION. If you fail to do so, you will be ineligible for Academic Training and are required to either leave the U.S. or begin a new academic program.

    POST-COMPLETION PRACTICAL TRAINING

    To apply for Academic Training after graduation, you must first obtain a job offer. Once you have secured a job offer, your prospective employer must write a letter describing the position. The letter must include:

    LETTER #1: JOB OFFER LETTER
    -Your job title
    -A brief description of the goals of the training program (your employment)
    -Dates and location of employment
    -Number of hours per week
    -Name and address of your direct supervisor
    -Your salary on a monthly basis
    - Start and end dates of employment

    After you receive your employer letter, you must give this letter to your Academic Advisor. He or she must then write a letter which recommends that you participate in Academic Training. Your Academic Advisor's letter must include:

    LETTER #2: ACADEMIC ADVISOR LETTER
    -The goals and objectives of your training program (employment)
    -Description of the training program, including location, name and address of your direct supervisor, number of hours per week, the start and end dates of the job 
    -How the training relates to your major field of study
    -Why this training is an integral part of the academic program
    -Statement saying that "the Academic Training for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training is approved.

    Once you have the two letters, go to the International Student Advisor's Office with the following documents:

    1. The 2 letters described above
    2. Your Form DS-2019
    3. Your Form I-94 (small, white card in your passport indicating admissions #)
    4. Your passport

    Please also note: If your Form DS-2019 was issued by another sponsor (for example, I.I.E., Ford Foundation, etc.) then you will need to apply to your program sponsor for Academic Training permission, not to the International Student Advisor at Fletcher.

    VERIFICATION OF EMPLOYMENT

    Upon approval of your Academic Training, you will be given a new Form DS-2019 indicating your eligibility to work.

    PRE-COMPLETION PRACTICAL TRAINING

    The application process for Pre-Completion Academic Training is the same process as Post Completion Academic Training. Please refer to the previous page for details. The following exceptions apply:

    WHEN TO APPLY

    You may apply for Pre-Completion Academic Training any time during your study program. Processing time may require several days.

    HOURS PER WEEK AND HOW THEY ARE TABULATED

    If you are working during the academic year, you are limited to working no more than twenty hours per week. Although you are only able to work part-time, this work is counted as full-time Academic Training. You are, however, able to work during the summers and during vacations on a full-time basis (40 hours per week).

    LETTER OF ENROLLMENT & ELIGIBILITY TO WORK

    Rather than a new DS-2019, you will receive a Letter of Enrollment & Eligibility to work from the International Student Advisor in order to perform pre-completion practical training.

    VERIFICATION OF EMPLOYMENT

    In order to verify to your prospective employer that you are eligible to engage in Academic Training before completing your studies, you may request a Letter of Enrollment from the International Student Advisor.

    PROCESSING TIME

    As previously stated, the International Student Advisor may require several days to complete the Academic Training Process, especially during the busy season (April through June). Please plan accordingly.

    LEAVING THE U.S. AND RETURNING DURING ACADEMIC TRAINING

    If you plan to leave the U.S. and wish to return to resume Academic Training, you must have the Responsible Officer (International Student Advisor or your program sponsor) sign Form DS-2019. If your current J-1 visa is still valid, you may still use it to re-enter the U.S. If your J-1 student visa has expired, you will need to take the signed Form DS-2019, proof of financial documentation and your employment offer letter to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate while overseas to apply for a new J-1 visa in order to re-enter the U.S.

    SOCIAL SECURITY TAX AND NUMBERS

    If you are employed in the United States, you must have a Social Security Number WHEN YOU BEGIN WORKING. Application is made to the local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office. Please Note:The SSA Office will not issue a social security number to international students without proof of a job offer, and a letter of eligibility from the International Student Advisor. Therefore, when you apply to the SSA Office, you must bring your Form DS-2019, your passport, your I-94 card, and a letter which indicates your job offer and a letter of eligibility from the International Student Advisor. The Social Security Adsministration Office located closest to Fletcher is at 240 Elm Street in Davis Square, Somerville.

    Foreign students who have J-1 visa status do not pay Social Security tax (FICA) but still need this Social Security Number for tax filing purposes. Fletcher assigns you a school I.D. number (starting with either 999 or 991). This number cannot be used outside of Fletcher. You must apply to the SSA for a Social Security Number.

    FORM I-9, "EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION"

    Upon starting your job, you will be asked to complete a Form I-9, which requires you to document your identity and your work authorization. Perhaps the most convenient documents to produce in order to comply are your passport (or other photo-bearing identification if you are Canadian), and the Form DS-2019, indicating you are on a period of Academic Training. If you are working before you complete your studies, the letter from the International Student Advisor verifying your enrollment and eligibility to work will be needed. Copies of submitted documents will be made and kept on file at your place of employment.

    FEDERAL AND STATE INCOME TAX

    In most cases, foreign students and scholars are subject to all federal and state taxes if employed in the U.S. Tax treaties exist between the U.S. government and some foreign countries which may affect the amount of tax you are required to pay. You will be required to file both federal and state income tax forms by April 15th of each year for any work completed during the previous calendar year. Even if you do not owe any tax, you must still file tax returns whether or not you have worked for pay.

    Tax forms can be obtained at banks, post offices, libraries and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offices from January through April. The Ginn Library keeps a limited supply of various IRS forms and informational booklets.

    Non-resident, taxation is extremely complicated. When filing your tax returns, it is best to consult with someone at your place of employment who is knowledgeable, or visit an office of the I.R.S. You may also want to consult a tax attorney or a tax accountant for assistance.

    Rev. 010/2004