International Admissions

Important Immigration Information for Current Students

Travel Outside of the U.S.
Students holding an F-1 visa should have page 3 of their I-20 endorsed by the OISS before leaving the country, if the current signature and date are more than 5 months old.

Employment

On-Campus Employment
F-1 students are allowed to work part-time on campus. "On campus" employment is defined solely as work for which you were hired by Whitworth University. Part-time is defined as up to 20 hours per week, while classes are in session, and up to 40 hours per week during school breaks.

Whitworth has many part-time on campus jobs available. If you are interested in on-campus employment, you can visit the student employment office in the Hixson Union Building (HUB), or search and apply online on our website click here.

Off-Campus Employment
Students are only allowed to work off-campus under specific circumstances, and with proper authorization. A student may be approved, for example, to work at an off-campus internship that is required by his program and which is approved both by his academic department and the OISS. For questions about off-campus employment, please contact the Whitworth Office of International Student Services.

Social Security Cards
Students who are employed must have United States Social Security Cards. Whitworth's Office of International Student Services, located in the International Education Center, can help you with the process of obtaining this card.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
According to U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as "Alternative 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." The CPT must, therefore, be "an integral part of an established curriculum."

Eligibility: You must have been enrolled full-time at their school for one academic year and maintained their status lawfully.

Criteria: The training to be engaged in must be required of all degree candidates in that program. The specific CPT employment must be approved by the student's department as well as the OISS.

Documentation: The student must bring copies of the following items to the OISS when requesting CPT:

  • passport, visa, I-20,
  • letter of recommendation for CPT from your academic advisor
  • letter from the prospective employer, on company letterhead

Upon meeting the criteria and providing the requested documentation, the OISS can authorize the CPT immediately and provide an updated I-20 that shows the authorization for CPT, and the dates of employment. The student may not work until he/she has received the approval from the OISS, the updated I-20, and the employment start date has been reached.

Students may engage in part-time CPT only during the school year, while classes are in session. During breaks, students may work up to 40 hours a week. Part-time is defined as no more than 20 hours a week.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)
International students may apply for practical work experience that is related to their academic program. Students can apply for either Pre-Completion or Post-Completion OPT. Pre-Completion OPT is work in which a student engages before the completion of his/her academic program. Post-Completion OPT begins after a student has graduated. OPT is authorized for a 12-month period.

Eligibility: You must have been enrolled full-time at your school for one academic year and maintained your status lawfully. You must work in a job directly related to your academic program and field of study.

You may apply for OPT up to 90 days before the anticipated start of their OPT.

The OPT Application Guidelines:

Step 1:

  • Make an appointment with the OISS to discuss applying for OPT. You can call (509.777.4571) or e-mail (mwhalen@whitworth.edu) to make an appointment

Step 2:

  • Receive a new I-20 updated with the request for OPT
  • Ask your academic advisor or head of your major department for an OPT letter. The OISS will give you a sample formatted letter.

Step 3:

  • Apply online for OPT at USCIS: www.uscis.gov. The new online system is recommended because you receive immediate notification that your application has been received.

Step 4:

  • Mail the following supporting documents and payment:
    • Letter from advisor (see sample)
    • Copy of the your completed online form I-765/receipt
    • Copy of your I-20 updated for OPT authorization
    • Copy of your I-94, front and back
    • Copies of your passport & visa pages, front and back
    • Two passport photos
    • Check for $380 payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (Fees may change. Check for updates at www.uscis.gov.)

IMPORTANT: These are guidelines only. Review all instructions on the www.uscis.gov site, as information, requirements and instructions related to OPT STEM Extension are subject to change.

Mail your supporting documents as soon as you have completed your online application. USCIS must receive the supporting documents within 30 days of the application.

You should mail your application before the date you complete your course of study. OPT decisions can take 2-3 months.

OPT Employers: Your employer must be, or must apply to become, an E-Verify employer. E-Verify is an online system allowing businesses to determine if their employees, or proposed employees, are legally able to work in the U.S. U.S. employers are required to employ only those individuals who may work legally.

OPT STEM Extension
Undergraduate and graduate students employed in post-completion OPT may apply for a 17-month extension, if they received their degrees in a STEM-designated field approved by the U.S. government for this purpose. "STEM" is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math. If you do not know whether your degree qualifies you for the STEM Extension, please contact the OISS.

OPT STEM Extension Application Guidelines
A student may file for the 17-month extension up to 120 days before the end date of his/her initial OPT.

Step 1:

  • Make an appointment with the OISS to discuss applying for OPT. You can call (509.777.4571) or e-mail (mwhalen@whitworth.edu) to make an appointment.
  • Verify that your degree qualifies for the STEM Extension
  • You must be currently engaged in OPT employment

Step 2:

  • Fill out the Form I-765 online (www.uscis.gov)
    • Check that you are applying for renewal
    • Fill out Question 16 of the I-765 as follows: (c) (3) (C)
    • For Question 17, please ask the OISS if you do not know the CIP code that is requested.

Step 3:

  • Mail the following supporting documents and payment:
    • Letter from your employer or proposed employer (an E-Verify employer)
    • Copy of the completed online form I-765 / receipt
    • Copy of your I-20 updated for OPT STEM Extension, and your previous I-20 authorizing you for initial OPT
    • Copy I-94, front and back
    • Copies of your passport & visa pages, front and back
    • Check for $380 payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (Fees may change. Check for updates at www.uscis.gov.)

IMPORTANT: These are guidelines only. Review all instructions on the www.uscis.gov site, as information, requirements and instructions related to OPT STEM Extension are subject to change.

Mail your supporting documents as soon as you have completed your online application. USCIS must receive the supporting documents within 30 days of the application. You should mail your application before the date you complete your course of study. OPT decisions can take 2-3 months.

OPT Reporting Requirements
F-1 students who have been approved for OPT or OPT Extension must find employment within 90 days of their approval date. If you have been approved, you are required by the U.S. government to report the following changes within 10 days:

  • Name change
  • Change of employer
  • Loss of employment
  • Change in the name of address of the employer