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Paid Internships for Current Students in US

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Hi guys,

Im currently in Orlando where I was supposed to have a full time paid Summer internship. However, instead of working right now I have to wait for indefinite amount of time before USCIS finish with processing my case. Here is some information I wish I knew before. I hope it will help people not to find themselves in the same position as I am right now.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) - Work authorization that any student can get. Duration can be 12 months in total. You can take it after you graduate or during summer breaks. Have in mind that USCIS will charge you $340 every time you apply for OPT and they will process your case 6 to who knows how many weeks before you get the OPT card. So make sure you apply on time. Some people wait more then 3 months!

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - Work authorization issued by your college. You can take it any time during your studies as long as your college have the internship course. If you take full time internship, you don't have to take any other courses and still be considered as a full time f-1 student. If your internship is half-time (20 hours/week or less) you have to take your courses at college to maintain full-time student status. Have in mind that you have to pay tuition for CPT as if it is a course at your college.

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  • 1 month later...


Thanks so much for this information - it is of great importance and lots of students are so exhausted after the admission process, that they do not realize there is more.

One thing I would like to add on this would be about STEM programs. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Undergraduate students that major in these areas are able to extend OPT up to 18 months.

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