F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT and STEM OPT)
F-1 & J-1 Severe Economic Hardship Work Authorization
Social Security Number
Anyone employed in the US is required to have a Social Security Number. For more information on how to apply, please click here.
F-1 students: your status allows you to work on campus. During the fall and spring semester, you may work up to 20 hours per week. During the winter and summer break, you may work up to 40 hours.
J-1 students: you will need a special work authorization letter from the Office of International Programs before you begin an on-campus job. Please ask OIP for a request form and we will issue the letter for you.
Graduate students: A Graduate Teaching or Research assistantship is counted as 20 hours per week. If you are a graduate student with an assistantship you may not take on other employment.
Intensive English Students: Your breaks may fall outside the regularly scheduled winter and summer breaks. Be sure to check with an International Student Adviser at OIP if you plan to work full time (40 hours) during your break session.
Special permission from the Office of International Programs and in some cases the US Citizenship and Immigration Service is necessary for F-1 and J-1 students for off-campus employment. Some applications for work authorization take 2-3 months to approve so it is important to begin the process early.
F-1 Student Options
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT is temporary employment directly related to a student’s field of study usually done after graduation. During OPT, a student remains in F-1 status. Your application is made through OIP and forwarded on to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD or OPT card) which grants authorization to accept relevant employment. OPT applications take around 90 days to process at USCIS (varies depending on time of year). Apply early to avoid loss of OPT time!
Click here to register for a virtual OPT workshop on one of those dates:
Wednesday, March 22 12:00 pm
Thursday, April 20 4:00 pm
Thursday, June 1 12:00 pm
Reporting Requirements for Students on OPT:
Report changes in your residential address or employment via your SEVP portal, within 10 days of a change.
STEM OPT may be available to students who have a STEM major.
Click here to register for a virtual STEM OPT workshop on one of those dates:
Wednesday, April 19 5:00 pm
Tuesday, July 18 5:00 pm
Search for employers who participate in e-verify here.
Special Reporting Requirements for Students on STEM OPT:
Students who are on STEM OPT must report certain information to OIP regularly, to confirm residential address and employment details, as well as changes in employment.
STEM OPT required reporting (every 6 months).
Click on above link and Login using your MaineStreet credentials, then go to “F-1 & J-1 Student Services”, then click on “STEM OPT required reporting”.
Report a change in STEM OPT Employment
Click on above link and Login using your MaineStreet credentials, then go to “F-1 & J-1 Student Services”, then click on “STEM OPT changes to employment”.
Report changes in your residential address via your SEVP portal, within 10 days of moving.
J-1 Student Options
Academic Training (AT) may be granted to J-1 students (both degree and non-degree seeking) who would like to pursue a practical training experience in their field either during or after studies. Your academic adviser or Associate Dean (for non-degree) must recommend the training experience and provide documentation to the Office of International Programs regarding the employer, number of hours, suitability of employment, etc.
Click here to sign up for a virtual AT workshop, on one of those dates:
Tuesday, February 21, 2023 4:00 pm
Wednesday, March 29, 2023 12:00 pm
Learn more about Academic Training
F-1 and J-1 Severe Economic Hardship
Both F-1 and J-1 students may be eligible for off campus work authorization which is necessary because of serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since acquiring F-1 or J-1 student status. For J-1 students this authorization is issued by OIP and is for a specific job. F-1 students must file an application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and if approved will be eligible to work for any employer. There are many factors to consider when applying for Severe Economic Hardship work authorization. Please make an appointment with your OIP adviser before applying to decide whether or not this is right for you.
For more information on F-1 and J-1 Severe Economic Hardship visit this site.
To explore employment opportunities on campus please visit the Student Employment website. Please note that international students are not eligible to accept any positions designated as “Work-Study”.
The University of Maine’s Career Center is an excellent place to search for jobs and internships. Be sure to check out Going Global, a search engine that offers access to international career resources including world-wide job openings, internship listings, industry profiles, and country-specific career information. The Career Center also has many other important resources such as career counseling, resume writing workshops, and programs to connect you with UMaine alumni working in your field.
U.S. Employer’s Guide to Hiring University of Maine International Students
Share this valuable resource with potential employers to explain CPT, OPT and various options for work authorization after F-1.