Paid work for students here on F-1
visas is only permitted when tied to a curricular requirement (CPT), or occurring near to or directly after graduation and directly connected to the field of study (OPT). ISSS (International
Student and Scholar Services) has confirmed that this tie to the curriculum, which is required for the CPT can
be via an Independent Research project that contributes towards credit
acquisition for degree requirements.
To set up a CPT project,
students are responsible for two steps:
(a) securing employment with a legal employer; and
(b) setting up an Independent Research paper of at least 1
credit that is related to but DOES NOT DUPLICATE any work for which the student
has been paid
There are two sets of related forms
students are responsible for completing, securing signatures, and submitting
(a) CPT certification form, which provides basic
information about the student and employment site and includes a sign-off for
the academic advisor (Assistant Dean of Students) and faculty supervisor for
their Independent Research project. CPT forms are routed to ISSS with a
copy of the Independent research forms; and
(b) Independent Research form,
completed and submitted to the Registrar's Office for registration.
In terms of timelines, CPT work
is often done over the summer and the Independent Research project is often
completed in the fall. While it may happen that some Independent Research is started
in the summer, the projects are often completed in fall when faculty are more
accessible. This provides the basis for registering students in Fall
Independent Research even if they have Summer CPT.
Key considerations for students
setting up CPT:
- Students on F-1 visas CANNOT earn money from employment
unless they have made appropriate CPT arrangements;
- Paid work MUST be related in some way (even if
generally) to a credited exercise for the degree program, most often an
Independent Research project;
- Assignments for a credited exercise CANNOT duplicate
work that has been completed for an employer. For instance, if a student
is assigned a memorandum on an Intellectual Property question at work,
they cannot submit that memo for their Independent Research credit.
However, their Independent Research topic can and should relate to the
general field in which they are working, so they could validly complete
Independent Research on an Intellectual Property topic that was not the
same as the memo submitted for work.
For more information, contact the
Assistant Dean of Students office at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or 612-625-2456. See also the ISSS F-1 Work
Options web page at http://www.isss.umn.edu/fstudent/fwork.html.