There are two work benefits available to F-1 students. These benefits require you to follow immigration procedures, maintain your status, and receive authorization from your ISC advisor.
Optional Practical Training allows F-1 students to gain work experience off campus in their field of study. While most students choose to use their practical training after they complete their studies, you can actually start practical training while you are still in school. You must be in the United States on a F-1 Visa for at least one academic year before applying.
During the school year, you can work up to 20 hours per week (part-time) while maintaining your full-time student status. During the summer you can choose to apply for part-time or full-time practical training. You do not need to have a job offer before you apply, but you must be sure that the job you are doing is closely related to your major and appropriate for your level of education.
Applications for Optional Practical Training are done through the mail. The process for obtaining authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) takes about 60 - 90 days. The International Student Center will assist you in completing the application and must recommend your application before it is sent to USCIS. The maximum time for doing practical training is 12 months full-time.
If you want to do part-time practical training, it counts as half time (example: 4 months part-time = 2 months full-time). You can do part of your practical training before you graduate, and part of it after, although each separate period of practical training requires a $410 fee payable the Department of Homeland Security.
To get more information about Optional Practical Training, you are required to attend the monthly OPT Workshop offered by the International Student Center.
Curricular Practical Training is another type of training, available to students who are registered for internship credit that applies toward their degree/certificate requirements. In order to apply for CPT, you must be registered for a course at Seattle University that requires off-campus employment, such as an internship course, and you must get a letters from your academic program and employer.