International students holding F-1 visas are eligible to work legally in the United States under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT). The Cooperative Education program at Georgia Tech meets the criteria of both CPT and OPT. Students must be in F-1 status for at least two semesters before they are eligible to work off-campus using either CPT or OPT.
International students must work with both their assigned co-op advisor and with the Office of International Education (OIE). OIE staff members assist students with questions regarding maintaining valid F-1 status, obtaining social security numbers, and CPT and/or OPT process issues. For more information on OIE, visit their Web site,http://www.oie.gatech.edu.
Graduate Cooperative Education (Graduate Co-op) International students use the CPT work authorization, only, when working with C2D2. Their use of the OPT work authorization must be coordinated through the Office of International Education.
The validity of the I-20 Certification of Eligibility is canceled for F-1 Students participating in the Work Abroad program who are absent from the United States for five months or longer. In order to receive a new I-20 Certification, the student must provide financial documents to the Office of International Education. In addition, if the student has not been enrolled for two or more semesters, he/she will need to be re-admitted by the Registrar’s Office (http://www.registrar.gatech.edu/students/readmission.ph) before an I-20 Certification can be reissued.
Upon receipt of the new I-20, the student is required to pay a $100 SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee, payable at: http://www.fmjfee.com. SEVIS is an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students, exchange visitors and their dependents.
In order to be eligible for off-campus work such as CPT or OPT, the student will need to be a full-time student for two semesters after entering the U.S. with the new I-20.
Time spent studying abroad on a Georgia Tech Study Abroad program does NOT count towards the five months absence from the U.S. Work Abroad DOES count towards the five month absence, even if the student is registered for the work. For example, the beginning of the absence from the U.S. for a student studying abroad during the summer, and working abroad during the fall, would begin at the end of the summer semester.
CPT and OPT Work Authorizations
Click on the links below to view the steps for obtaining CPT or OPT work authorization, which must be done before each work term. Failure to do so will jeopardize the student's eligibility to continue working in the United States.