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Robert Vega, Director FAC 18 / 2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200 78712-1508 • 512-471-7900

International Student Job Search

International students at The University of Texas at Austin have various options for employment. For the most helpful advice, please visit your advisor at the International Office. The following information is provided only as an overview of general options.

Permanent Residents - Permanent/Unrestricted Work Authorization
F-1 Visa Options - Student
J-1 Visa Options - Exchange
Optional Practical Training Info
Curricular Practical Training Info
H-1B Visa Info
Hiring Foreign Graduates - Info to share with recruiters you're interested in to help them understand your employment options and their hiring potential.


Permanent Residents

have permanent, unrestricted work authorization in the U.S., equal to that of a U.S. citizen for the vast majority of positions. The limited types of positions not open to permanent residents include government agencies with high security needs (i.e., CIA, Department of State). As a permanent resident, you have full access to all other types of positions.


F-1 Visa Options

  • On-Campus Employment: Available up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and 40 hours per week during annual school holidays.
  • Off-Campus Employment: Can be authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Pre- and Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), or Economic Hardship (Extreme, unforeseen economic hardship such as loss of parents, currency crisis, political unrest in home country).
  • Permission to Stay in U.S. after Graduation: 60 days granted automatically.
  • Designated International Organizations - Certain organizations are permitted to hire F-1 students for work experience (United Nations, IMF, World Bank, etc.)
  • Volunteering - Students can volunteer for many organizations; however, students cannot volunteer for for-profit companies when students engage in productive employment

J-1 Visa Options

  • On-Campus Employment: Available up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and 40 hours per week during annual school holidays.
  • Off-Campus Employment: Can be authorized for unforeseen financial hardship or Academic Training. Academic Training is employment integral to an exchange visitor's academic program which may occur during and after the completion of studies. Such training may include - but is not limited to - internships, practica, and/or field work.
  • Time Limits: In general, the period of Academic Training may not exceed 18 months or the amount of time spent in the academic program, whichever is less.
  • Part-time Academic Training counts the same as Full-time Academic Training.
  • Requirement of Job Offer: Pre-Completion: Yes; 
Post-completion: Yes - must have job offer within 30 days of completion of studies and you must apply before you complete your program.
  • Permission to Stay in U.S. after Graduation: 30 days granted automatically.

Optional Practical Training

What is OPT? Optional Practical Training is temporary employment available to F-1 students. The employment must be related to the student's field of study and commensurate with the student's education level. There are two types of Optional Practical Training: Pre-Completion OPT and Post-Completion OPT. Pre-Completion OPT is temporary employment that takes place prior to the completion of a student's course of study (i.e., internships). Post-Completion OPT is temporary employment that takes place after the completion of a student's course of study.

What are OPT Requirements? F-1 students may be eligible for up to 12 months of OPT per degree level. OPT does not require a degree (students can use OPT to do an internship during the degree program) but it does require that the job relate to the degree. What does that mean for a liberal arts major? A women's and gender studies major, for example, can make a good faith argument that critical thinking and writing skills relate to a consulting position.

Be Aware

  • If the student uses OPT months while studying, the number of months available post-graduation will be reduced by the number of months used.
  • If the students uses 12 months of full-time CPT during the degree program, the student loses all OPT time. However, if the student uses 11 months of full-time CPT or less, the student keeps all OPT time (12 months of OPT).

Curricular Practical Training

What is CPT? CPT authorization allows a student to work in the form of an internship or training off-campus. CPT differs from OPT in that CPT employment must be an integral part of the established curriculum for a program of study. Only internships that are required or are essential for the completion of the degree and are directly related to the curriculum qualify as CPT. OPT, on the other hand, can be used more generally and is not required to be a part of your degree program.

What are the CPT Requirements? CPT is authorized for a specific job at a specific company for a specific duration of time. Dates of the internship/training must be within the dates of the semester; summer internships/training must be completed between the end of spring and the beginning of the fall semester. Student must be enrolled as a full-time student during the academic year while in CPT. Employment is limited to part-time (up to 20 hours) during the academic year. You will need a job offer letter from the employer to receive authorization.

Be Aware

  • If the students uses 12 months of full-time CPT during the degree program, the student loses all OPT time. However, if the student uses 11 months of full-time CPT or less, the student keeps all OPT time (12 months of OPT).

H-1B Visa

  • Criteria: H-1B Visa applicants must meet the following criteria:
    • Have a degree;
    • Secure a job requiring a degree;
    • Secure a job which relates to the degree/major (see good faith argument above); and
    • Secure a sponsoring employer.
  • Duration: The H-1B visa initially provides 3 years of employment authorization. In addition to these three years, visa holders can apply for a three-year extension with a maximum of six years.
  • Quotas: 85,000 H-1B visas are available each year: 20,000 for U.S. advanced degree applicants and 65,000 for all degrees.
  • Applying: The H-1B filing period begins on April 1st for a start date of October 1st. Petitions generally take 60-90 days to process.
  • Scope of H-1B Authorization: Visa holders can only work for the sponsoring employer, doing what was described in the application on the petition and in the location described on the petition. Other employment is prohibited.
  • Change Employer: Visa holders may change employers. The new employer must file a new petition and the visa holder may begin working as soon as the new petition is filed without waiting for approval. If the new petition is denied, the employee is out of status and must leave the U.S.
  • After the H-1B: At the end of the maximum six year H-1B employment period, workers must depart the U.S. or transition to a longer-term status such as permanent resident/green card holder. If the worker starts the green card application filing before the end of the 5th year of the H-1B period, s/he may be able to extend the H-1B visa in one-year increments past the six year limit.
  • H-1B Exempt Organizations
    • Universities
    • Nonprofit organizations affiliated with universities (i.e., research facilities, hospitals)
    • Nonprofit research organizations engaged primarily in basic or applied research
    • Government research organizations

Guide to Hiring International Students

Are you interviewing with an employer for post-completion employment? If so, the employer may have questions about your work authorization. Help the recruiter understand his/her hiring options by sharing the UT Guide to Hiring International Students and the Easy Guide to Hiring Foreign Graduates, available at our Employer's Hiring International Students page.


More Information

For more information, contact the international student experts at the International Office. Your advisor will be able to help you best understand your options based on your visa and degree status.

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