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International Student Resources

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VPGE New Students Gateway

Check out VPGE's New Students Gateway for information specifically relating to international students. This includes an admissions checklist, visa application information, and health insurance information.

Bechtel International Center

Bechtel International Center provides community and support for international students. 

Undocumented at Stanford

Undocumented at Stanford provides information and resources to prospective and current Stanford community members about undocumented status. 

Immigration Issues and Resources

If you need support with immigration issues, Stanford has resources standing by to help. 

Maintaining your visa status

The Bechtel International Center provides information on maintaining your J-1, F-1, or H-1B visa status, including necessary documents, regulations on leaving a re-entering the U.S., and change of visa status


What is OPT/CPT?

OPT and CPT are programs allowing students with F-1 visas to work in the U.S.A. before, after, or during their course of study, subject to certain conditions.

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

According to Study in the USA, "Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a program that temporarily allows international students with an F-1 visa in the United States to work up to 12 months total in relation to their major of study. F-1 visa students are eligible for OPT after completing their first academic year of study. OPT can be completed before or after completing your studies."

"International students with an F-1 visa who have completed degrees in certain science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are eligible for a 24-month extension for post-graduation completion of OPT employment. "

Types of OPT:

Pre-completion OPT allows you to work before completing your studies.

Post-completion OPT allows you to work after completing your studies.

OPT Eligibility:

According to the University of Washington at Tacoma, the following requirements apply to OPT eligibility:

- "Maintained F-1 student status at the time of application. 

- Be enrolled full time for three consecutive quarters before OPT benefit starts (time spent studying full time in a status other than F-1 may be counted)

- Has not exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT)."

For Post-OPT application timeframes and start dates, check out the University of Washington at Tacoma website.

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

According to Study in the USA, "Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a program that temporarily allows international students with an F-1 visa to gain practical experience directly related to their major through employment, paid or unpaid internships, or cooperative (co-op) education. It must be part of an established curriculum. CPT must be completed before graduating. In addition, CPT can be part-time (20 hours or less a week) or full time (20 hours or more a week)." Note: "if you work full-time for 12 months in CPT, you will lose your eligibility for OPT."


Sources/further information:

Study in the USA

University of Washington at Tacoma website


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Special thanks to the Stanford Earth graduate students for their assistance and feedback while this page was being developed!