OPT, CPT & AT
OPT & AT
What are OPT & AT?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Academic Training (AT) are programs for international students studying in the United States. These programs allow international students to obtain work experience in the United States to enrich their educational experience.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a program for F-1 Visa holders to work up to 12 months after graduation in the United States. The U.S. government requires an application fee and the approval process may take 90-120 days. BYU-Hawaii and the U.S. government have criteria which is used to evaluate these experiences. Students should apply no later than 60 days in advance of their graduation for an OPT. Applications received after this time may not be approved.
Academic Training (AT) is a program for J-1 Visa holders to work up to a total of 18 months in the United States, which includes work before graduation (i.e. an internship; does not include student employment at PCC or BYUH). End-of-program AT experiences are subject to the same criteria used in evaluating OPT opportunities. The U.S. government does not require a fee and the approval process typically takes a few days. Students should apply no later than 14 days in advance of completing their academic coursework for an en-of-program AT experience. Applications received after this time may not be approved.
BYU-Hawaii Mission and OPT/AT Philosophy
The mission of BYU-Hawaii is to help students: Learn, Lead,and Build. Build means to "provide a significant group of faithful and committed church leaders who will assist in building the kingdom, particularly in the Pacific and Asia" (Retrieved from about.byuh.edu/mission). Our guiding philosophy when evaluating end-of-program OPT/AT opportunities is to favorably consider those which will help students fulfill the mission of the school by ultimately returning to their home region. We undertake a holistic review of each OPT or AT application. Many circumstances are considered, such as:
How will this opportunity enrich your educational experience?
How will this opportunity significantly increase your marketable knowledge, skills, or abilities?
How will this opportunity advance your career?
How will this opportunity help you return home?
Are there individual circumstances to consider why an OPT or AT is a good alternative for you?
Students may provide answers to these questions in their application. Please review other criteria required by BYUH under the Criteria tab. You may visit Career Services for more information.
BYU-Hawaii may sanction international students to work in the United States for an established period of time after graduation. Students who hold an F-1 visa may apply for Optical Practical Training (OPT). Students who hold a J-1 visa may apply for Academic Training (AT).
A. Employment Opportunity Criteria
An employment opportunity which is connected to a company or industry in the student's home region is highly preferred. A student must have no outstanding balance with the University or have made payback arrangements prior to application. The following criteria must be met for a post-graduation employment to be considered.
The employment opportunity:
- Must be related to the student's major
- Must require an earned bachelor degree or equivalent skill level
- Must significantly increase the student's marketable knowledge, skills and abilities.
- Must have support from the student's faculty department chair or dean.
B. Campus Position Criteria
BYU-Hawaii or Polynesian Cultural Center departments must have an existing or an approved position prior to offering a job to a student. Positions must have a clear description of duties and objectives. See OPT & AT Post-Graduation Employment Procedure for the steps to obtain position and/or canidate approval.
C. Employer Criteria
Providers will be screened to be eligible according to the Eligible and Ineligible Employer guidelines found in the Employer Recruiting Policy.
Examples of in-eligible employers include:
- Home based businesses.
- Temp agencies
- Non-career track positions, or positions which do not require a bachelor degree
- Network marketing organizations and franchise business opportunities; such organizations are those that engage in one or more of the following practices:
- Sponsorship of an individual in setting up his/her own business for the purpose of selling products or services and/or recruiting other individuals to set up their own business, i.e. direct sales organizations.
- Requirement of an initial investment from an individual, with the organization itself serving as an umbrella or parent corporation. The initial investment may be direct payment of a fixed fee, payment to attend an orientation or training session, and/or purchase of a starter kit.
- Compensation is often or exclusively in the form of straight commission, fees from others under their sponsorship in the organization, and/or a percentage of sales generated by others.
- Commission-only positions, with exception of those which requires licensure or professional certification recognized by the industry.
- Positions which require door-to-door or networking sales and anything that can be construed as part of an employer network marketing stratagem.
- Positions where the pay rate is less than the Hawaii state minimum wage.
|OPT||October 15th||February 15th||July 15th|
|AT||December 15th||April 1st||August 15th|
HOW TO APPLY:
Meet with a staff member in Career Services to review the employment opportunity and your eligibility. Gather the following information for your Application for an OPT/AT endorsement, and submit to Career Services. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
- OPT/AT application form.
- Position announcement.
- Offer letter.
- Letter outlining your career goals and the value of the OPT/AT experience.
- Professional resume.
- Official transcript.
- Learning Objectives (if completing an AT) completed with department internship coordinator.
Once your application is submitted, Career Services will obtain feedback from your academic department and clearance from Financial Services. Your application will be approved or denied and you will be notified. If approved, you will pick up your packet from Career Services and complete the application process with International Student Services. If denied, and you believe there are extenuating circumstances, you may appeal by submitting an appeal letter to Career Services outlining the key elements of your situation. Your appeal will be submitted by Career Services to the academic vice president for review. Career Services will notify you of the final decision.
Additional Forms Needed After Endorsement is Approved (* only use when directed by Career Services staff)
- Internship-AT-CPT Learning Agreement (PDF)
- I-765 Instructions_ F1 Candidates for OPT (DOCX)
- J-1 Academic Training Learning Agreement_ CompletionTips (DOCX)
For CPT, please see Internships & Experiential Learning. A CPT is an Internship for an international student that is paid. Internships for international students that are not-paid do not require a USCIS application.