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Columbia College Chicago
International Student Resources

International Student Resources

ADTA resources

ADTA International Membership Sub Committee: http://adta.org/International_Membership_SubCommittee

ADTA Multicultural and Diversity Committee: http://adta.org/Multicultural_Diversity_Committee

International Student Employment Information

 Employment options for international students are limited but available. In general, students in F-1 and J-1 visa status are eligible to work on campus on a part-time basis (up to 20 hours per week).

 Students in F-1 and J-1 visa status are eligible to work off campus only after obtaining specific employment authorization from the International Student Office. Permission to engage in off-campus employment must be obtained in advance of beginning employment, even if it is for purposes of fulfilling an internship requirement.

 Employment opportunities are available only to students who have maintained their immigration status and academic standing.

  • The requirements for maintaining lawful student status include the following responsibilities:
  • Legal Name - reporting any change(s) to your legal name immediately to the OISA
  • Valid Passport - not allowing your passport to expire
  • Valid SEVIS I-20 (F-1) / SEVIS DS-2019 (J-1) Forms - not allowing your SEVIS documents to expire
  • Full Course Load - making sure that you are enrolled as a full-time student each quarter  (12 credit hours for undergraduate students / 9 credit hours for graduate students)
  • Change of Address - reporting immediately any change of your U.S. address via Campus Connection
  • Employment - refraining from working without legal authorization

International Students in the DCAT must apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) in order to work at their Field Placement and Internship sites. CPT is off-campus work authorization that may be obtained from the Office of International Student Affairs to accept employment in your academic field. You are eligible to apply for CPT once you have maintained your F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year. CPT requires that you receive academic credit for the work experience for which you are requesting authorization or that the proposed employment is based on a degree requirement. 

A student in F-1 status may apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) work authorization in his/her field of study if the employment is an integral part of an established curriculum, such as an internship.  If the internship is a paid internship, students must be registered for internship hours and are not limited in the amount of curricular practical training they can use.  Depending on the circumstances, curricular practical training can either be full-time or part-time: usually 20 hours per week during the academic year; unlimited hour per week during vacation periods.  However, students who use more than a year of full-time curricular practical training are not eligible for the 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) period after they graduate.

Application requirements:

  • You must be in legal F-1 student visa status for at least one academic year (Fall and Spring) or be a graduate student who is required by your department to begin an internship immediately.
  • You must be registered for a course corresponding to the internship
  • The following forms are needed:
    • Curricular Practical Training Request Form (available through the International Students Affairs office)
    • Columbia College SEVIS I-20 (student visa, available through the International Students Affairs office)
    • a valid passport


You are not authorized to begin work until your SEVIS Form I-20 has been endorsed by the Foreign Student Advisor.  Curricular practical training (CPT) is granted only for the beginning and ending dates that correspond to the semester during which you are registered for the related academic credit.  You may work ONLY during the period specified by the CPT authorization; these dates will appear on pg. 3 of your SEVIS I-20.  You are required by law to obtain permission BEFORE you begin your employment.