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International Student Orientation

A warm welcome to the United States and New England College! Our special International Student Orientation program is aimed at helping you become a successful and engaged part the NEC community. We’ll show you around campus, help get the right supplies, introduce you to other students and faculty, and make sure you have what you need. Your experience is important to us, so please don’t worry if you need some help.

For additional information and support, please click the links below:

New England College is proud to have a large international student population on campus because it makes the experiences for all students, staff and faculty rich with diversity and culture.

The Office of Student Development, which oversees the International Student Advising Program, understands there may be challenges for students from other countries. Through orientation, ongoing programs, and immigration advising, our International Student Advising Program fosters development and education of the College’s international student population and encourages students to take full advantage of all its services. We look forward to meeting you.

Jason Buck
International Student Advisor
jbuck@nec.edu

  • Arrival Information Form
  • Health Forms (must be completed prior to the start of Orientation)
  • Housing/Meal Contract
  • Check List for Travel
  • Campus Map
  • Directions to Campus

Curricular Practical Training: Information for International Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorized employment off campus, which is done as part of a student’s curriculum of study.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations define CPT as employment which is an integral or important part of your curriculum, including: alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.

Job Eligibility Requirements

To be considered for curricular practical training, the work must be an integral or important part of your studies as well as related to your major or field of study.

Even “voluntary” or unpaid internships should be authorized following the procedure below. Occasionally employers offer a reward or stipend for outstanding work, but without prior authorization, a student cannot legally accept this bonus.

Student Eligibility Requirements

You must (1) have a lawful F-1 Status and (2) have been a full-time student for at least nine months.

English Language Students

Students enrolled in English language training programs are NOT eligible for CPT and their time enrolled in the English language program does not count towards future eligibility.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT

Part-Time Training

Employment for 20 hours or less per week while you are also enrolled for classes is considered “part-time” CPT. The employment authorization written on page 3 of your I-20 Form should specify permission to engage in “part-time” training and you must be careful to limit your work to no more than 20 hours per week. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part-time curricular practical training but you must be simultaneously enrolled at New England College in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.

Full-Time Training

Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered “full-time” CPT and the employment authorization on your I-20 Form should, in this case, specify permission to participate in “full-time” training. There is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in full-time curricular practical training but if you participate for 12 months or more, you will not be eligible for Optical Practical Training.

Curricular Practical Training and Eligibility for Optional Practical Training

It is important that you understand that if you participate in 12 months or more of “full-time” CPT, you lose eligibility to apply for 12 months of Optical Practical Training (OPT) after you complete your studies. Participation in “part-time” CPT does not affect your eligibility for OPT.

Application and Authorization Procedures

Authorization for CPT is granted by any International Student Advisor on campus.

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that gives F-1 students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. You may use some or all of the available 12 months of practical training during your course of study or save the full 12 months to use after you complete your studies. Authorization for optional practical training is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) – formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS – and can take at least 90 days and frequently up to 120 days to obtain. It is important that you apply for the authorization at the earliest possible date.

OTP Eligibility

  • you must be a full time student for at least one full academic year preceding the submission of your OPT application;
  • you must maintain valid F-1 status at the time of the application; and
  • you must intend to work in a position directly related to your major field of study.

When to Apply:

If you are a student completing the first academic year of study (or are in a one year program), the earliest you can submit the application is 90 days prior to the date you complete your first academic year. If you are beyond the first year of study, we recommend you submit your application no earlier than 120 days prior to the start date you request for your OPT.

If you are applying for OPT based on completion of all coursework and/or completion of your academic program, you must submit an application for optional practical training prior to your completion date. Applications received at USCIS after the completion date will be denied.

What is needed to apply?

  • Completed form 1-765
  • Completed 1-538 form
  • Letter of support from Academic Advisor
  • New 1-20 endorsed for OPT (provided by advisor)
  • Copies of all old 1-20s
  • Copies of passport ID page, US visa page (most current F-1 visa), and 1-94 card (both sides)
  • $380 filing fee; make check or money order payable to: US Department of Homeland Security (on the memo line write 1-765 fee). Do not abbreviate. Do not send cash. Do not use starter checks (those that do not have your name/address printed on them).
  • Passport Photos – two photos, in envelope, with receipt.

Visit the U.S. Department of State to view the specific style. Do not staple your photographs to your application. Print your name and birthdate lightly on the back of your photos.

Mailing Applications

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:

USCIS
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

For express mail and courier deliveries:

USCIS
Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

After Mailing Your Application

Receiving USCIS Requests for Additional Documentations

You may receive a request – normally a blue sheet of paper – from USCIS asking for additional information or documents such as new photographs. Please consult with your International Student Advisor prior to responding to the information request. Once you have prepared your reply to USCIS, including the original blue sheet placed on top, keep a copy of your materials and send the originals by return receipt mail.

Checking the Progress of Your OPT Applications

USCIS will immediately process your OPT payment check upon receipt of the application. You may monitor your bank account to know when the check has been cashed. You will then get a receipt for USCIS (mailed to the address you indicated on your 1-765 application) informing you that they have received your application. This receipt will have your case number printed on it, in the format as follows (with numbers in place of the “#”s): EAC-###-###-####.

You may then check the status of your application by entering your case number into the USCIS website. It is also recommended that you register (on this website) for the Case Studies Portfolio with Updates via Email. Follow the instructions to register as a “customer” and you will receive an e-mail once your application is approved.

Starting Employment with OPT

You may only begin employment once you have the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in your possession, and you may only work within the dates printed on the card. A telephone or web confirmation that your application has been approved is not by itself employment authorization. Graduating students are not permitted to work on campus after graduation, unless the job qualifies under OPT, and only within the dates of the EAD.

Reporting Requirements after Graduation

In order to maintain legal F-1 status in the U.S. during OPT; students are required to report certain information to their International Student Advisor. Any changes listed below must be reported to the advisor so that your SEVIS record stays updated:

  • your current address (where you physically reside) within ten days of a change;
  • your employer name and address;
  • changes in your name or your dependent’s name(s);
  • intention of transferring from OPT to another F-1 program in the United States;
  • change of VISA status (e.g. F to H or J, etc.).

Unemployment

Your OPT will become invalid if you are unemployed for a total of 90 days during your OPT.

Traveling after Graduation

Printed on the EAD will be the statement “not valid for reentry.” This statement means that you must have ALL documentation printed below in order to travel and return to the United States after graduation. In many cases students will also need to apply for new F-1 visa stamps before they may return to the United States. The following is a list of documents required to reenter the United States using OPT after graduation.

A valid Form 1-20, signed on page 3 by an International Student Advisor (the signature should not be more than six months old at the time of reentry to the United States).

  • A valid passport
  • A valid F-1 visa stamp in the passport
  • The EAD issued by USCIS
  • Evidence of a job offer, evidence of resumption of employment or, if not yet employed, evidence that you are searching for employment.