Hiring International Scholars & Employees
Hiring Scholars on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)
What is Optional Practical Training?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization available to degree-seeking international students who have been in valid F-1 status for at at least one full academic year and who plan to seek employment in the U.S. in their field of study. OPT is recommended by the international office at the institution at which the student obtained his or her degree, but final approval is granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Usually OPT is used after the student completes the degree, and is initially approved for a period of up to one year.
If an employee is currently working on OPT, and the appointment will be extended beyond the dates of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), what steps should the department and/or scholar take?
Since each case is unique, the department should contact the International Center 6 months prior to the OPT expiration date to discuss the time frame and next steps. The timeframe and process can vary and starting the discussion in advance will allow more options for the scholar and department to consider.
Can OPT be extended?
Some students who have received a U.S. Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degree programs, are eligible for a one-time, 24-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 36 months) if they work for an employer registered with E-Verify. For information about whether a particular employee is eligible for an extension of OPT, the employee should check with the international office at the institution at which the student obtained his or her degree. The International Center can only confirm STEM extension eligibility for employees who graduated from UCI. Employees that graduated from UCI and want to extend their OPT, must follow current IC process.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.
Is UCI registered with E-Verify?
UCI is registered with the E-Verify program. If you have further questions about the E-Verify program at UCI, you may contact the following:
Hiring International Scholars (J-1, EAD, F-1 OPT/CPT) With or Without Salary
Below is a step-by-step guide to hiring prospective international scholars at UCI.
Step 1: Check-In at the International Center
- The UCI host department will need to upload the international scholar/employee’s check-in documents to the International Scholar Upload Tool.
- The department administrator will need to login with their UCInetID and follow the instructions to upload the scholar’s check-in documents.
- Select J-1 process, “New Scholar Check-In” and upload the scholar’s check-in documents.
- UCI sponsored J-1 Scholar: Complete New Scholar Check-In form, copies of DS-2019, visa stamp, I-94, receipt of J-1 online immigration orientation, proof of health insurance
- Non-UCI sponsored J-1 Scholar: Complete New Scholar Check-In form, provide copies of DS-2019, visa stamp, I-94, J-1 sponsor letter authorizing you to be at UCI for the specific activity (research, teaching, etc.)
- F-1 OPT/EAD: Complete New Scholar Check-In form and provide a copy of I-20 and EAD card
- F-1 CPT: Complete New Scholar Check-In form and provide a copy of I-20
Step 2: Complete International Center Check-In
- Once the scholar's documents have been reviewed by an IC advisor, the IC will send a confirmation e-mail to the scholar and UCI department administrator, verifying employment authorization on-campus. This e-mail confirmation must be presented to the hiring department to start the processing of employment paperwork.
If the employee needs to apply for a Social Security Number, please review our Social Security information to guide the employee.
Step 3: Prospective Employee Meets with Hiring Department
- Department will complete hiring paperwork.
Step 4: Determine GLACIER Requirements
- The hiring department will determine if the international employee will need a Glacier record. If it is required, the department will submit a request to the Taxation Department.
*NOTE: For H-1B, TN or O-1 scholars, please contact Simon Jarusauskas at email@example.com or (949) 824-8025
Hiring International Students (F-1/J-1) On-Campus
Hiring International Students in F-1 or J-1 Visa Status
- International students in F-1 or J-1 visa status are authorized to work on-campus
- On-campus employment is defined as working for UCI, including UCI Health Services, or for an on-campus entity that provides services to students (for example, UCI bookstore, Dining Services).
- The student must have a valid I-20/DS-2019 issued by UCI, and must be enrolled full-time.
- Visa regulations limit work to 20 hours a week during the academic year (fall,winter, spring quarters/semesters); visa regulations allow work over 20 hours only during school breaks.
- Departments should assist student employees with following the visa regulations by ensuring that they do not work beyond 20 hours a week during the academic quarters.
- Employment eligibility for an F-1 or J-1 student ends on the date of their UCI visa document (I-20/DS-2019); employment eligibility may end earlier that the date of the I-20/DS-2019 if the student employee is no longer enrolled at UCI (for example, they graduate or withdraw).
- Refer to your department HR representative with questions about the UCI hiring process and/or hiring paperwork.
UCI Hiring Paperwork is Completed Following Your Department Process
- The hiring department will need to follow their internal hiring process.
- Departments should consult with their HR representative if they have questions about hiring paperwork or other requirements.
- Review Glacier for Administrators information. Glacier is the non-resident tax compliance system used by UCI.
International Student Must have a Social Security Number
- Social Security Number(SSN) is required for income tax purposes.
- If the student employee does not have an SSN they must apply for one.
- Students in F-1/J-1 student status must have a job offer in order to apply for an SSN.
Applying for the Social Security Number
- The student employee will provide proof of a UCI job offer with the SSN Verification Letter when they apply for the SSN.
- The hiring department will need to complete the top section of the SSN Verification Letter, and print on department letterhead.
- After the letter is printed and signed, the department will give the letter to the student.
- The student will submit the letter to the International Center. Instructions for students on how to submit the letter to the International Center can be found here.
- If the student employee needs information about applying for the SSN, they should review the Social Security section of the International Center website.
FOR J-1 STUDENTS ONLY: Complete an On-Campus Authorization Request
- A student in J-1 visa status with a UCI DS-2019 Form must receive approval from the International Center for on-campus employment.
- A student must submit the J-1 Student On-Campus Employment Authorization Request form to the International Center.
- The International Center will update the SEVIS record as required by the U.S. Department of State.
- The student will receive an email from the International Center acknowledging that his/her employment has been approved.
Questions about eligibility for employment for an F-1 or J-1 student, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions about hiring paperwork, including tax forms, I-9, etc. should be referred to your department HR representative.