SURF - Non-Caltech International Students Already Studying in the United States
Because you are currently studying in the United States in F-1 or J-1 status through another school, you must consult with your current institution's International Advisor to understand your school's requirements and deadlines for authorizing off-campus work authorization.
F-1 students must apply for either Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). J-1 students must apply for Academic Training. CPT, OPT, or Academic Training must be approved by your home institution prior to beginning your SURF placement. If you or your International Advisor have any questions, contact ISP as soon as possible.
Practical Training for F-1 Students in the U.S.
CPT can be granted through a student's current academic institution and does not require an application to immigration. Each college or university in the U.S. has established specific guidelines and procedures for authorizing CPT.
OPT requires the student to submit an employment authorization application directly to immigration, with a new I-20, endorsed by the student's current international advisor, for OPT. When the application is approved, immigration will send the student an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Students may NOT begin SURF until the EAD is received. Caution: OPT can take more than three months to process!
Academic Training for J-1 Students in the U.S.
Academic Training is granted through a student's home institution and does not require an application to immigration. Each college or university in the U.S. has established specific guidelines and procedures for authorizing Academic Training.
STEP 1: Submit Immigration Documents to ISP
As early as possible, but prior to beginning SURF, you are required to submit copies of the following documents to complete your mandatory immigration check-in. You must submit these documents in order to be permitted to begin SURF. Submit documents in either for file format of PDF or jpg.
- Passport ID page
- I-20 with CPT, or I-20 with OPT + EAD card, or DS-2019 with Academic Training
- I-94 (print electronic I-94 from online)
Email the documents to ISP at firstname.lastname@example.org
STEP 2: I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification
Prior to being permitted to begin SURF, you will complete a mandatory I-9 employment eligibility verification process. You will be contacted at a future date and provided specific instructions on how to complete this requirement for Caltech. If you cannot satisfy the I-9 requirement, you will not be allowed to participate in SURF.