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:
- For UCI Staff Appointments, please contact Michael M L Lawton at (714) 456-6487.
- For Academic Appointments, please contact Ilona Pak at (949) 824-4072.
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
- Due to International Center remote operations, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 824-8025
Hiring International Students (F-1/J-1) On-Campus
Below is a step-by-step guide to hiring prospective UCI international students.
Step 1: Determine if the Prospective International Student Employee Needs a Social Security Number
- If the employee needs to apply for a social security number, please review our Social Security Information to guide the student employee. The department will need to complete and prepare the SSN Verification Letter. This letter requires a signature from the International Center, which the student can obtain by visiting our office.
Step 2: On-Campus Authorization Request
- A student on a J-1 visa with a DS-2019 Form issued by the UCI International Center must receive approval from the International Center for on-campus employment. Approval is received by completing the J-1 Student On-Campus Employment Authorization Request form and submitting it to the International Center. The student will receive an email from the International Center acknowledging that his/her employment has been approved after their SEVIS record has been updated and employment documented as required by the Department of State.
Step 3: Prospective Employee Completes Hiring Paperwork
- Student will need to follow hiring department's hiring paperwork guidelines and instructions, including determining any GLACIER requirements.