Work Authorization for International Students

International students in F-1 status are eligible to work legally in the United States under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT).  To be eligible for either CPT or OPT, F-1 students must be in full-time student status for one full academic year prior to beginning employment.  

International (F-1) students are eligible to work full-time (a minimum of 35 hours per week) or part-time (20 to 34 hours per week) during the summer semester, During the fall or spring semester students are only eligible to work part-time (20 hours per week). International student may use their CPT for internships which meet the registration criteria:

  • Work Weeks
    • ​Summer - 10 week minimum
    • Fall/Spring - 16 week minimum
  • ​Internship is directly related to student's major
  • Student MUST register for the appropriate Internship Course (Students will be given a permit for the Georgia Tech Internship Class only after they have obtained CPT or OPT work authorization.)

International students who wish to obtain OPT work authorization for an internship must start the process by viewing OIE’s mandatory OPT tutorial (oie.gatech.edu/OPT).  We recommend that you view the OPT tutorial several months before you wish to begin your internship. OPT is recommended by an OIE advisor but authorized by U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  It can take up to 90 days for USCIS to process an OPT application. Therefore, students should plan ahead if applying for OPT.

Failure to obtain work authorization prior to beginning employment may jeopardize a student's eligibility to continue living and working in the United States.  

F-1 STATUS RELATED ISSUES.  PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:

Summer Semesters: F-1 students may be authorized for full-time or part-time CPT or OPT.  Depending on the number of hours per week, F-1 students may register for 6, 9 or 12 internship credit as determined by their Career Development Advisor.

Fall/Spring Semesters: Students may work 20 hours per week, are eligible to enroll in 6 credits of Internship hours.  Since, F-1 students are only eligible to work part-time during a fall or spring semester, it is VERY important that students registering for the 6 credit hours, work exactly 20 hours per week to meet the criteria of the internship and in compliance with CPT and OPT regulations.

IMPORTANT: All F-1 students are required to enroll in at least 12 credit hours during fall and spring semesters.  Of the 12 credits, only 6 can be internship credits. The remaining 6 credits must be class credits.  F-1 students will not be allowed to enroll in the internship course until the student has approved work authorization. Therefore, it is HIGHLY recommended that students register for at least 12 credits of courses and only drop classes once their permit to register in the internship course has been issued.

Students not enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits by the end of phase 2 registration, are in violation of their F-1 status which can result in the termination of their SEVIS records.

Note:  International students not enrolled as "F-1 Visa Students” are encouraged to contact the Georgia Tech Office of International Education (OIE) for additional information on work authorization issues.