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Hiring International Students

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The diverse student population at Cornell University College of Engineering is among its greatest assets. International students come from all over the world to learn, explore, and create solutions to new problems. In our global economy, lessons learned in Engineering transcend borders and prepare students to work in the U.S. or return to their home countries in leadership roles.

While many students do plan to return home, most also place high value on U.S. work experience in either an internship, Co-op, or full-time position. Employers also acknowledge the unique talents that a person with multilingual and multicultural skills brings to the workplace.

Types of Visas

F-1 Most students traveling to the U.S. to pursue academic study have an F-1 visa. The student and the university are responsible for all paperwork.

J-1 A smaller number of students traveling to the U.S. to pursue academic study have a J-1 visa. The student and the university are responsible for all paperwork.

TN Visas for Canadian and Mexican citizens to work as NAFTA Professionals in the U.S. as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Profession must be listed on the NAFTA List and visa holder must have the qualifications of the position.

H-1B Non-immigrant visa issued to bachelor or higher degree holders or the equivalent who travel to the U.S. to work in a professional position related to their field of study. This is an employer-sponsored visa with U.S. work authorization for up to 6 years. H-1B is only one of many visas available.

Work Authorization

F-1 CPT Curricular Practical Training: F-1 work authorization designed to provide employment opportunities for students while they are still enrolled in their degree programs, where the practical training is integral to their curriculum, and Cornell credit or academic recognition is earned. Co-op work or internships for which a student earns credit or academic recognition applies toward CPT. A written offer is required of the employee. More information

F-1 OPT Optional Practical Training: Work authorization designed to provide U.S. employment opportunities for students with F-1 visas. May be used for internships or upon completion of study to begin full-time work for at least the first 12 months, with a possible extension of additional months for students with engineering degrees. No paper-work is required by the employer. More information

J-1 Academic Training: Work authorization designed to provide U.S. employment opportunities for students with J-1 visas. May be used for internships, Co-ops, or upon completion of study to begin full-time work as long as the total duration of time worked does not exceed 18 months. A written offer is required of the employer. More information

FAQs

Do international students need a Green Card to work in the United States?
No. Students who maintain an F-1 or J-1 visa status are permitted by federal regulation to work in their major field of study, for up to 12 (or even possibly 29) months for F-1 status and up to 18 months for J-1 status. Paperwork for F-1and J-1 work authorization is handled by the student and Cornell’s International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).

Are international students eligible for Co-op and internship positions in the United States?
Yes. F-1 visa holders are eligible for Co-op under CPT. F-1 visa holders typically use OPT for internships, but may be able to use CPT with faculty approval for an independent study. J-1 visa holders are eligible for Co-op & internships under academic training. A written offer is required of the employer; all other paperwork is handled by the student and Cornell’s ISSO.

Can F-1 and J-1 visa holders begin working full-time in the United States after graduation?
Yes. F-1 students who have not used all 12 months of OPT eligibility (or even up to 29 months if student is graduating with an engineering degree), and J-1 students who have not used all 18 months of academic training eligibility prior to graduation may work in their field of study for the balance of their eligibility. This employment is considered to be part of the program of study.

Are international students eligible to work in the U.S. after their F-1 or J-1 visa expires?
Yes. An H1-B visa allows non-immigrant employees, if eligible, to continue working in the U.S. for up to 6 years.

What is required to obtain an H1-B visa?
An application for the H-1B or temporary skilled worker visa status is made by the employer to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The H-1B visa may be extended for a period of up to six years. Although there are certain application forms that need to be filed with the state and federal labor departments for the H-1B, the employer does NOT have to prove that there are no U.S. workers available. Instead, the employer only has to demonstrate that the international is qualified for the job and will be paid the “prevailing wage” for that job. The application process can take anywhere from 5 weeks to 6 months depending on the area of the U.S. and the specific position. More information

Advantages to Hiring International Students

International students...

  • bring cross-cultural competencies and multiple language skills to your organization.
  • bring a new perspective for creativity & problem-solving.
  • demonstrate maturity, flexibility and dedication, as well as proven English language abilities.
  • can share business practices of other cultures and help your organization adapt to new challenges globally.