Employment Restrictions

Canadian border commuter students should be aware of the federal laws and regulations that apply to them while they are studying in the U.S. including not accepting employment of any kind. Helpful information can be found at www.travel.state.gov. Violating any of these federal laws could jeopardize the student’s ability to continue his or her studies in the U.S.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular practical training is a type of employment that is either required by your curriculum, or is an academically integrated part of a credit-bearing course. This employment may be an internship, co-op education job, a practicum, or any other work experience that is either required for your degree (as defined in the Undergraduate Catalog) or for which academic credit is awarded.

Students may work part time or full time as long as they have maintained F-1 status for a full academic year and the work experience is an integral part of the curriculum. It typically counts as academic credit.

The following conditions must be met before CPT can be approved:

  • The student's mentor has to verify that the work experience is an integral component of the program.
  • The student has engaged in at least one full academic year of study.
  • The student has already secured a placement and can provide that information for a specified amount of time.

For more information about CPT and OPT, contact Erin Barrett at 800-847-3000, ext. 2771 or erin.barrett@esc.edu. Full-time CPT will prohibit your ability to do OPT after your studies are completed.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional practical training is defined in the regulations as "temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study" [8 C.F.R section 214.2 (f)(10)(ii)].

Students are eligible for 12 months of OPT and must apply for it 90-120 days prior to the completion of their studies.

A student must meet the following eligibility criteria in order to request OPT:

  • Enrolled at the college for at least one full academic year.
  • Employment must be in the student’s area of study.
  • Employment after the completion of study must be full time.
  • Students must apply for OPT before the completion date of their course of study.

For more information about CPT and OPT, contact Erin Barrett at 800-847-3000, ext. 2771 or erin.barrett@esc.edu.