Friends of International Students

Hiring International Students

Hiring international students is easier than you think - and at potentially no cost!

Learn more about:

Internships via Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Hiring via Optional Practical Training (OPT)
CAP Gap: Form I-20
H-1B Visa Sponsorship

Hiring an F1 International Student for an Internship via Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a work authorization that allows F-1 International students to accept training-related employment in their academic major after one (1) year of full-time study. Students that meet the CPT eligibility requirements are able to work part-time and in some cases, full-time during the Fall, Spring or Summer semesters. CPT must be directly related to the student's academic major.

The duration of employment is usually one semester. Visa sponsorship is not required by employers.

CPT is almost solely the responsibility of the student. 
Employers provide an offer letter that must include the dates of employment, employer's name and physical address, job responsibilities and compensation.
Attend a mandatory CPT workshop.
Submit the required CPT documentation to the CSU International Center.
Enroll full-time in the Fall and Spring semesters of that academic year.
For more about CPT training, please visit our Center for International Student Services and Programs page here.

Hiring an F1 International Student via Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a post-degree employment authorization that allows F-1 international students to gain practical work experience that leverages the knowledge and skills associated with their major.

OPT employment is 12 months and an additional 24 months for STEM OPT employment.

Applying for OPT is solely the responsibility of the F1 student.
OPT can be granted to a student with or without an offer of employment.
Employment extension for STEM OPT students does require a prospective employer to complete and sign Form I-983 during each year of STEM OPT employment.
The employee must have the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card and the student must complete the I-9 form before they begin work.
1. F1 student must submit an internal application which is processed and approved by an international student advisor.
2. F1 student must complete the USCIS application that is necessary to secure OPT work authorization via USCIS.
The USCIS application fee is $380 and is paid by the student.
The Cleveland State CISP office processed the application within 5 business days.
The USCIS processing time for OPT takes an average of 90-days during peak application periods.
For more about OPT employment, including a complete list of rules, regulations and dates/times of workshops, please visit our Center for International Student Services and Programs page here.
For more about STEM OPT employment, visit our Center for International Student Services and Programs page here.

STEM employment includes:

  • Computer Information Science
  • Information Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Business Analytics
  • Digital Communications and Media
  • Data Processing
  • Web page/site information services 
  • Project management
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Financial mathematics and statistics
  • Management science
  • And many more. For a complete list, please download the PDF file here.

Check out these frequently asked questions about STEM OPT employment here.

Cap Gap and Form I-20

An F1 student who has valid OPT status at the time they receive an H1B approval from a for-profit employer (re: the employer is not Cap exempt) and who has an H1B start date on October 1st of that year is eligible to have the OPT authorization extended until September 30th, irrespective of the expiration date of their OPT Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card.

The prospective H1B employer must complete a new Form I-9 for the student employee that correctly reflects F1 Cap Gap employment.

H-1B Visa Sponsorship

Applications for H-1B visas are submitted to the USCIS by the sponsoring company on behalf of the international employee.

Only 65,000 H-1B visas are granted for prospective employees who have completed undergraduate degrees. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas are available for those who have completed graduate degrees in the United States. At the present time, H1-B supply does not meet H1-B demand.

The cost to apply for an H-1B visa is generaly between $2,500 and $5,000. The costs related to H-1B sponsorship may not be passed on to the H-1B employee, it is unlawful to do so.

The employer is responsible for filing the H-1B application on behalf of the international employee.
Historically, there has been a high demand for H-1B visas in the corporate, for-profit sector.
It is strongly recommended that new H-1B applications should arrive before April 1st at USCIS if you are a for-profit employer.