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Career Exploration And Development
261 Schwartz Center

Employment Search Guide for International Students

At Kent State, nearly 1,600 international students from over 98 countries are enrolled.
This guide aims to answer questions and provide help for your employment needs.

Career Planning Assistance

Your career development is a lifelong process that actually started when you were born! Our career coaches can help you better understand the many factors that influence your career direction including your interests, abilities, values, personality, background, and circumstances.

Meet with a Career Coach to:

  • Learn how to navigate Handshake (https://kent.joinhandshake.com/login) to find positions on/off campus

  • Explore careers and majors

  • Write an American style resume and cover letter as the formats are vastly different from international formats

  • Obtain tips on how to network for internships and jobs

  • Prepare to attend the Fall and Spring Internship, Co-op, & Career Fairs

  • Practice interviewing in-person or online with Interview Stream (https://kent.interviewstream.com/Account/Login)

Career Peers are available during daily drop-in hours for 10-15 minute sessions to quickly answer career questions. For more in depth concerns, schedule a 30 minute, private appointment with a Career Advisor through KSU Advising.

How to Work in the United States

Most international students who hold an F-1 visa are permitted to work in the United States, but only under certain conditions. Below is a summary of the most common types of employment authorization available to F-1 visa holders. However, you should note that immigration regulations are subject to change. Please consult with an advisor at the Office of Global Education prior to accepting any form of employment to avoid violating the terms of your immigration status.

On-Campus Student Employment

  • Students can work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week on-campus while classes are in session and up to 28 hours when classes are not in session (winter/spring breaks and summer).

  • On-campus departments may interview and offer employment to international students without a Social Security number but MAY NOT allow the students to begin work before they have completed the required employment eligibility forms through the Career Exploration And Development.

  • To look for on-campus jobs, log into https://kent.joinhandshake.com/login.

  • Once you have received a signed Student Job Offer Form and the Social Security Employment Verification Form from

    your supervisor, you need to go to the Office of Global Education (OGE) with these documents and valid forms of ID.

  • At the OGE, your Social Security Employment Verification Form will be completed.

  • The next step is to go to the Social Security Administration Office in Ravenna to apply for your Social Security Card and

    collect your document showing proof of application.

  • Next, call 330-672-8640 to schedule an appointment with the Payroll Office to complete tax forms.

  • Finally, visit us at CED to complete remaining job forms. You will need to present the following:

    • Student Job Offer Form (from hiring department)

    • I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form (from Career Exploration and Development)

    • Tax Withholding Form (from Payroll Office)

  • Once all your paperwork is completed and you have electronically signed the Student Employment Certification Statement, your supervisor will offer you the job through CampusWorks.

  • After you accept the position, you will be notified via a Employment Confirmation email when permission to work has been granted.

Internships in the U.S. on an F-1 Visa

  • To work in an on or off-campus internship, you must be authorized to complete Curricular Practice Training (CPT).

  • To be eligible for CPT, you must prove that:

    • The position or internship is an integral part of your program or major.

    • You have been enrolled at KSU for a full academic year.

    • You received the internship/job offer first and it is “directly related” to your major.

  • Visit the website for the Office of Global Education (OGE) and fill out the CPT form.

  • Your academic advisor needs to fill out the CPT form as well, stating the internship is an integral part of the program.

  • Approval is granted by an Advisor at OGE and processing could take up to one week.

  • The CPT is typically valid for 12 months. Using CPT for more than 365 days WILL CANCEL your OPT.

  • You may also use Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) to intern or work in a field related to your major before you graduate if your curriculum does NOT “require” this experience.

  • You may intern/work up to a maximum of 20 hours/week if classes are in session or more by contacting ISSS.

  • You can work full-time when classes are not in session (summer/winter break).

  • There is no cost for filing the CPT.

Full-time Employment Off-Campus on an F-1 Visa

  • The most common route is to apply for Post-Completion Optional Practice Training (OPT) which is a 12 month work authorization status within the F-1 visa.

  • OPT can be used for full-time employment (40 hours a week) in a job that is directly related to your major/degree.

  • OPT is approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

  • Those in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) may apply for an extension of 24

    months, over and above the 12 months granted.

  • A student can apply for OPT after completing a full academic year, but cannot start employment until the Employment

    Authorization Document (EAD) is received from USCIS.

  • Begin this process early since it takes 90+ days to process applications. USCIS must receive your application no later

    than 60 days after your graduation date.

  • OPT is permitted for each degree level earned. For example, you get 12 months for Bachelor’s and another 12 months

    for Master’s and so on.

  • The OPT does not require company sponsorship and the company does not need to file any paperwork on your behalf.

  • You can change positions using this authorization.

  • There is a $410 cost associated with filing the OPT.

Long-Term Employment After Graduation

  • The best option to work full-time for up to six years is to have an employer apply directly for an H-1B visa on your behalf.

  • Current law caps the annual number of available H-1B visas in the U.S. at 85,000. Applications are accepted the first business day of April, and ends once the cap has been reached. The earlier you apply the better.

  • Become an expert in the H-1B visa sponsorship process. Prepare to answer any questions prospective employers may have about the process.

  • Identify employers who hire in your field and have an international presence.

  • Certain employers are exempt from the H-1B quota including not-for-profit institutions of higher education. See the

    websites below for H-1B information and locating sponsoring employers:

For more information on OPT/CPT and Steps to International Student Employment, visit the website for the Office of Global Education.