International students in F-1 status are eligible to work legally in the United States under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT) depending upon whether the position is classified as a CO-OP or Internship. To be eligible for either OPT or CPT, F-1 students must be in full-time student status for one full academic year prior to beginning employment.
The Undergraduate Cooperative Education Program at Georgia Tech meets the criteria of both CPT and OPT. International CO-OP students must work with both their Career Development Advisor and the Office of International Education (OIE) prior to each work term to obtain CPT or OPT work authorization. Although similar, CPT and OPT differ in a number of ways including associated application fees, processing times and impact on post-graduation work authorization.
Click on the links below to familiarize yourself with these differences and the procedures for applying for CPT or OPT.
Note: OPT is recommended by an OIE advisor but authorized by U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It can take up to 90 days for USCIS to process an OPT application. Therefore, students should plan ahead if applying for OPT.
Failure to obtain work authorization prior to beginning employment may jeopardize a student's eligibility to continue living and working in the United States. Students will be given a permit for the CO-OP class only after they have obtained CPT or OPT work authorization for that term.