Employment | Chandler-Gilbert Community College
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 International Education Program

Immigration Regulations

Please refer to links above for additional information

Employment Options


F-1 status must be maintained - (see Requirements for Maintaining Legal Status on page 7)

  1. Must have a current and valid I-20 issued by Chandler-Gilbert Community College
  2. Limited to work on-campus for 20 hours (or less) a week ONLY during the semester (full time during semester breaks or summer vacation periods)
  3. Do not need USCIS authorization to work on-campus
  4. Cannot work off-campus without approved authorization (see Optional Practical Training)
  5. Must be registered full-time or been approved for Reduced Course Load
  6. Students must have a social security number (see Applying for a Social Security Number)
  7. Apply for "TAX BUDGET" jobs ONLY - DO NOT apply for "federal work study"
    CGCC's Career Center & Job Placement office has most employment opportunities advertised online.

Please review the instructions on the Career Center/Job Placement Services webpage: http://www.cgc.edu/careers to search for a job on campus. You must apply for positions just as any other student by completing an application and interviewing with the department. If you have concerns regarding your interviewing skills, please make an appointment with an advisor in the Career Center for assistance 480-732-5211.

Applying For A Social Security Number

Students need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) to begin working on campus. In order to qualify for a SSN number, students must have a valid F-1 student visa, current passport, enrolled fulltime, tuition paid and an official letter of employment offer. The department manager who wants to hire the student will need to write a letter to the International Education Program (IEP) office confirming the intent to hire the student, including job title, employment dates (beginning and ending). Bring the letter to the IEP office. You will also need to complete an SSN application and get a letter from the IEP Office written to the Social Security Administration Office, verifying full time enrollment at CGCC. Please contact IEP to pick up a SSN application and/or more information on how to obtain a SSN.


What is 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. 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. The maximum amount of time granted to work in F-1 OPT status is 12 months per degree level.

Who Can Apply For Opt?

All F-1 students are eligible for 12 months of OPT if you have maintained lawful status. This is an opportunity granted to eligible applicants by USCIS for work experience in the U.S., in the area you are studying. You must apply for OPT before completion of course of study and/or before your SEVIS I-20 expires. You are encouraged to apply at least 90 days before program completion. You CANNOT travel outside the U.S. until you have been approved for employment authorization by USCIS. We suggest you do not change residence until you receive your authorization - federal mail is not forwarded to new addresses - it is returned to the government. If your EAD card is returned, most likely you will not be able to track it and will lose the opportunity for OPT. The new rule also maintains that all OPT must be completed within 14 months following completion of program of study. Example: if you graduate May 13-16, the last day you can indicate on your application for OPT is July 15th if you want 12 months of employment. You can request to begin sooner (right after graduation) if you apply 90 days or more before your last semester.

Dates Of Optional Practical Training Authorization

The OPT card is approved for a specific beginning and end date. You must identify those dates on the OPT application form. For OPT after completion of studies or graduation, the beginning date can be no later than 60 days after the date you complete your studies. If you have questions about your OPT dates, please discuss this with someone in the International Education Programs (IEP) office.

OPT Eligibility Requirements

Students must be in valid F-1 status. The employment must be directly related to your major area of study, and must be equivalent with your educational level. The maximum amount of time granted to work in F-1 practical training status will be 12 months per degree level (not cumulative). You may change jobs during the 12 months. You can work anywhere in the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska). You are not limited to the state of Arizona. OPT requirements include:

  1. Directly related to field of study
  2. Must be in good academic standing
  3. Do not begin working until your authorization has been issued

How To Apply For Optional Practical Training

Step One

Download the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) and read through the entire application. Include the code "(c)(3)(i)" on item #16. The form can be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765.pdf.

Submit the following required documents to the International Education Program office for review and approval before mailing out to USCIS. A new I-20 will be issued for OPT to mail with your documents. This may take approximately one week.

Completed Form I-765, (website: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765.pdf)

  1. A completed "graduation check-out" by your academic advisor, confirming you are eligible for graduation, including degree program check sheets
  2. A copy of your graduation application
  3. An unofficial copy of your transcripts
  4. A completed Optional Practical Training I-20 Request Form
  5. A legible copy of your current SEVIS I-20
  6. A legible photocopy of both sides of I-94 Card (Arrival/Departure card usually stapled inside your passport)
  7. Two passport type photographs - can get them from Walgreen Pharmacy (Print your name and admission number lightly in pencil on the back of each photo, and put the photos in an envelope and attach it to the I-765 form)
  8. A legible copy of the photo page (identification page) of your passport, (a color copy is preferably). Also include pages that records extensions of the validity of your passport.
  9. Legible copies of ALL previous I-20s that have been issued to you, if applicable.
  10. $380 application fee, payable to U. S. Department of Homeland Security. You may send a money order or check, NO CASH. Attach the check to the front of the I-765 form.
  11. A legible photocopy of pages 1 & 3 of your new SEVIS I-20, endorsement for OPT by the IEP Director (this will be given to your once all the documents from 1 through 11 have been submitted to the IEP office)

Step Two

After your application has been reviewed and approved by IEP, mail the following documents (we suggest you use certified mail and insurance) to:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
US Citizenship and Immigration Services
California Service Center
P.O. Box 10765
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1076

Staple all above documents together and send by certified mail with a return receipt. After mailing in the documents, you will receive a notice (Form I-797) stating you need to wait for 60 to 90 days to receive your EAD card (Employment Authorization Document). With the receipt notice, you can check your case status on line at http://www.uscis.gov. In general, it takes about 3 months to get your card. If approved, your EAD card will be mailed to you.  If you have not received a decision within 90 days of receipt, you may obtain interim work authorization by appearing in person at the local USCIS district office.  You must bring proof of identity and any Notices that you have received in connection with your application.

Step Three

DON'T FORGET TO MAKE COPIES OF ALL DOCUMENTS FOR YOUR RECORDS QUESTIONS? Please visit with staff in International Education Programs, room SC-165 or call 480-857-5188 to make an appointment.

To Check Your Opt Application Case Status:

If you would like to find out about the status of your application, you can call USCIS at 1 (800) 375-5283 between 9am-2pm, Mon-Fri. or check online by visiting USCIS website and chose an option from the right hand side. If you have your case number on the receipt Notice of Action - I-797 form, you can visit: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

Local area U.S.C.I.S. Office location:
United States Citizenship & Immigration Services
Phoenix District
2035 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85004
(602) 379-3114/5

For driving directions get an online map: MapQuest at www.mapquest.com/

Employment Regulations for F-2 Dependents

USCIS does not permit individuals with F-2 status to be employed under any conditions. Employment is defined as the rendering of services, part- or full-time, for financial or other compensation, including self employment.