Frequently Asked Questions

International flags

Q: The signatures on page 3 of my I-20 are all full. What do I do?
A: First, ask if he/she has a major that is different from the one listed on his/her I-20. If there are no changes then have an advisor print out an additional page three which can then be stapled to the rest of the I-20.

Q: How often do I need to get my I-20 signed?
A: On page three, the I-20 states that each signature is valid for a year, so the students need to make sure that the signature is less than 6 months old when they leave the country.

Q: How soon do I need to request an initial I-20?
A: We recommend that you submit your request 3-5 months in advance.

Q: How long can I extend my I-20?
A: We are only allowed to extend your I-20 for one year at a time.

Q: Can I start working before I receive my I-20?
A: No

Q: Can I work more than 12 months of full- time CPT without it affecting my eligibility for OPT?
A: No, if you work full- time CPT for a total of 12 months (365 days) or more during your degree program, you will lose eligibility to work OPT.

Q: Can I work more than 12 months of part- time CPT without it affecting my eligibility for OPT?
A: Yes, part- time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT.

Q: What is the difference between OPT and CPT?
A: CPT is off- campus work authorization while the student is in school that is part of the curriculum. OPT or optional practical training allows the student to work off- campus for a year after graduation or on breaks. However, if a student uses this at any time before graduation, however long they work will be deducted from the amount of time they can work post graduation.

Q: What is the difference between OPT and CPT? How many credits can I take online?
A: You must have at least 9 credits on campus, and after that you can take as many online credits as you would like.

Q: Can a student get a job that is not directly related to their major, but their minor for CPT?
A: No, the job must be directly related to the student's major (which is listed on their I-20).

Q: What does the GS270R course entail?
A: The course is a pass/ fail course. The student is expected to submit three assignments including a job description, a letter from their employer, and a paper on what they learned from their job.

Q: Can I work full- time on breaks or holidays?
A: Yes, but you must receive authorization in advance.

Q: I would like to renew my work authorization with the same company. Do I need to get a new signature from my advisor, get a new job offer letter, and retake the GS270R class?
A: If the student is going to stay with the same company, we only require them to get their advisor's signature and take the GS270R class once a year. The student must get a new job offer letter though. Also, if the student was working for the company as an internship before and would now just like to work, they will need to enroll in the GS270R course.

Q: Is there anything I have to do once I get my work authorization?
A: Yes, you must notify us of any changes in the following during your year of work:

  • Employer name
  • Employer address
  • Personal address

Q: Can my job be related to my minor?
A: No, it must be directly related to your major.

Q: What is the difference between CPT and OPT?
A: CPT is off-campus work authorization while the student is in school. OPT allows the student to work off-campus for a year after they graduate.

Q: May I travel outside of the U.S. while on OPT?
A: Yes, but in addition to your regular travel documents, (passport, visa, I-94, I-20), we suggest that you request a letter from your employer stating that you are currently employed with them and that they expect you to return to work after your vacation. These documents do not guarantee entrance into the U.S. but may help.

Q: I want to transfer to graduate school. How will that impact my current OPT work authorization?
A: Once we transfer your record to your new graduate school, your OPT becomes invalid, and you may no longer work.

Q: I finished my OPT work authorization 61 or more days ago. Can I still transfer my SEVIS record?
A: No, you will need to leave the country and enter under an initial I-20 from your new school.

Q: If I transfer my SEVIS record to my new graduate school within the 60 day window, is there a certain time that I have to start my new program?
A: Yes, you must begin the new program within 5 months of your OPT end date, or date of transfer, whichever is shorter.

International Services Contact Info:

Office: Manwaring Center 276

Phone: 208-496-1320


Hours: 8 AM - 5 PM