Understanding Work Authorization
Before searching for an internship or a job, whether it is paid or unpaid, on or off campus, it’s important to understand immigration requirements and university policies regarding your visa type.
For F-1 Students
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT is work authorization which allows a student to work in a job directly related to the student‘s major area of study before degree completion. CPT authorization is provided by ISSS and can be granted within 7 business days of application submission.
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT is work authorization which allows a student to work in a job directly related to the student‘s major area of study either before or after degree completion. OPT authorization is provided by USCIS and is usually granted within 2-3 months after the student submits an application.
For J-1 Students
H-1B Visa Info
Every semester, ISSS hosts an workshop on employment-based visa options such as H-1B, O-1, and L-1 visas.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Look for Internships & Jobs in the U.S. (and International Friendly Companies)
Job and Internship Search Sites
- Job, Internship, Volunteer Posting and Career Events database for U of M students
Center for Community-Engaged Learning: Gain real-world, skill building experience through volunteering.
Staffing Agencies: Staffing agencies hire short-term, temporary positions on behalf of other companies. These could be great opportunities to gain experience in addition to internships.
Deluxe E-ternship: Semester part-time paid internships with local startups.
Check with your career center for major and industry specific job posting sites
International Student Friendly Companies
Use these resources to research companies in the United States that are international student friendly.
Myvisajobs.com is an “employment website for foreign workers seeking opportunities in the United States.” Here are some tips for navigating this tool:
- Just because an organization listed on this site has sponsored H-1B visas, that does not necessarily mean they will hire international students and/or recent graduates.
- Check the job title and salary range for clues on whether the position is for entry level, mid-level, or experienced professionals.
- When searching for visa sponsors, you can check the “Cap Exempt” box to see employers that are exempt from the H-1B cap.
Use this database to research companies based outside of the United States (such as your home country) that have branches in the U.S.
- Top 200 CPT Employers of 2018; Top 200 OPT and STEM OPT Employers of 2018 (from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement)
- DISCLAIMER: All of these employers on these lists have not been invidually reviewed by UMN Career Services staff. It is important for students to thoroughly research employers they are interested in. Visit your career services office to discuss individual employers, and get any questions answered.
Top Employers who Have Worked with UMN Undergraduate International Students on CPT, OPT, and STEM OPT
Below are alphabetized lists of companies that have historically worked with UMN Undergraduate International Students on CPT, OPT, and STEM OPT. NOTE: These companies may have hired different numbers of students each year, and their hiring may be limited to specific majors. Please discuss with your Career Counselor if you have questions, and do not limit your applications to employers on this list. Please email International Career Consultant, Jane Sitter at [email protected] if you have questions about this information.
CPT Top Employers from January 2016 through September 2019
Alternatives for People With Autism, Inc.
Ernst & Young LLP
Exhibit Development Group
Frontier Marketing Inc.
Minnesota Department of Transportation
OPT Top Employers from December 2017 through May 2019
East View Information Services
Ernst & Young
Good Kids Education
Open Systems International
Pace Analytical Services
University of Minnesota
STEM OPT Top Employers from December 2015 through December 2017
American Engineering Testing
Pace Analytical Services LLC
University of Minnesota
Veritas Technologies LLC
Prepare for Job Search in the U.S.
Informational interview is a casual conversation with someone working in a position that you are interested in, and it can help you learn about a job, a career path, a company, or an industry. It’s a common practice in the U.S.
But if you have never done this before, it could be intimidating, even for domestic students. Here are some great tips to get you started!
Connect with International Alumni
One of the first steps of informational interview is finding the person you want to speak to. UMN alumni are happy to help, especially our international alumni!
Talking to international UMN alumni can help you discover opportunities and strategies you may not have thought of before. Join the Maroon & Gold Network to access UMN alumni and friends of the university who have volunteered to connect with students.
- Interview Prep Tips
- Practice interviewing online through interviewstream!
- Schedule a practice interview at your career office!
Skills for Success
Many employers look for leadership and teamwork skills in their candidates. Check out the following opportunities to develop these skills.
- ISSS Leadership & Professional Development Opportunities
- International Buddy Program: Become a mentor for new international students!
- Gopher Link: Taking on leadership roles in student groups is a great way to develop leadership and teamwork skills.
- Leadership Minor
Stories from International Alumni Working in the Twin Cities
Click here to watch videos of UMN International Alumni sharing their advice!
Video Topics include:
- Being Proactive to Get Experience
- Career Advice from Current International Students
- Continuous Nature of Exploraton
- Importance of Building Relationships
- Skills Gained From an On Campus Job