OPT Application Workshops - Spring 2017

April 10th, 3-4pm - Register Here

April 11th, 1:30-2:30pm - Register Here

Maintaining Status

U.S. federal government regulations require all international students to maintain F-1 student status. It is your responsibility to be aware of the factors that impact your legal status and make sure you remain compliant. Non-compliance is a very serious matter with severe consequences. While the responsibility for maintaining compliance is yours, IPGE is here to help you navigate the complexities of U.S. government regulations and procedures. This section will assist you in providing key information for maintaining your student status.

Full-Time Enrollment

You must maintain full-time enrollment each academic term (except during designated vacation periods) and make normal progress toward the completion of your program of study. Full-time enrollment is as follows:

  • Undergraduate students: 12 units during the spring and fall semesters 
  • Graduate students: 9 units during the spring and fall semesters

Change of Address/Email/Phone Number

You must update IPGE and your MySacState within 10 days of any change. To update IPGE, complete an address update form at the IPGE front desk.

Extension of Program

If you are unable to complete your program of study before the program end date on your I-20, you must apply for an extension of stay from ISSS at least 30 days before the program end date on your I-20.


Curricular Practical Training:

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus work authorization which permits eligible F-1 international students to engage in paid or unpaid work experience which "is an integral part of the established curriculum" and "directly related to the student's major area of study." Employment includes alternate work/study internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum.

Optional Practical Training:

Through OPT, F-1 students can gain hands-on work experience related to their academic field of study. Learn more about eligibility, the application process, and reporting requirements while on OPT in the links below. 

Post-Completion OPT

12 Month OPT Application and Instruction

12 Month OPT update form

STEM OPT Extension:

Some students may be eligible for the 24 month STEM OPT extension. For eligibility criteria and application processes, please read the application materials below and visit the STEM Hub:

24 Month STEM OPT Extension Application

24 Month STEM OPT Extension update form

Field of Study: The degree used to apply for the extension must be one of the approved CIP codes listed in area 14, 26, 27,
40 and other codes approved by DHS. To find your CIP code, look on your I-20 next to "Major." Qualified STEM fields of study at California State University, Sacramento include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Construction Management
  • Engineering:
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Software Engineering
  • Environmental Studies
  • Geology
  • Math
  • Math/Statistics
  • Physical Science
  • Physics

A complete list of programs at Sacramento can be found in the Catalog.

On-Campus Employment:

There are numerous on-campus locations where you can work. We encourage you to start your job search with the CSUS Career Center. Please see below for an employment guide that lists on-campus offices that commonly employ students:

On-Campus Employment Guide for International Students

Social Security:

International Students who have been approved for on or off campus work will be required to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) before they may begin work. SSNs are generally assigned to F-1 and J-1 students who are authorized to work in the United States and are used to report their wages to the IRS. Please be aware that an SSN is not a work authorization.

How to Apply for an SSN:

Present the following documents at the Social Security Administration Office.

  1. Valid Passport
  2. Original I-20
  3. I-94
  4. SSN Support letter from IPGE
  5. SSN Support letter from Employer

To receive an SSN Support letter from IPGE, you must first be authorized to work (On-campus, CPT, or OPT). Then, complete a letter request form at the IPGE front desk. Your SSN Support Letter will be available to pick up the next business day.

Note: If you are a new student, please wait 10 days after the semester starts before you apply for an SSN.