Internships FAQ

Q: Can international students work legally in the United States during summer internships?

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A: Yes, international students on an F-1 student visa are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) during the summer internship period. J-1 visa holders can acquire authorization called Academic Training (AT). Summer employment authorization is issued directly by the International Office at Northwestern University and no additional steps are required from the employer.

Q: Do U.S. employers have to complete any paperwork to hire a student on CPT or AT?

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A: No, the employer does not need to complete any paperwork. The necessary work authorization paperwork for summer internships is undertaken by the student and the International Office at Northwestern.

Q: How do students obtain CPT?

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A: Curricular Practical Training, employment authorization for a work experience that is a required or integral component of the student’s program of study, is granted by a designated school official, an advisor in the International Office at Northwestern, and requires an offer letter from the employer specifying the employer’s name, work site address, and dates of employment. There is no processing fee for the employer.

Q: How do students obtain Academic Training?

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A: Academic Training, a temporary employment authorization designed to provide students with an opportunity to apply knowledge obtained in an academic program to a practical work experience, is granted by a responsible officer or alternate responsible officer (ARO), an advisor in the International Office at Northwestern University, and requires an offer letter from the employer specifying the following: employer’s name, supervisor’s name, work site address, dates of employment, position description and salary. There is no processing fee for the employer.

Q: Can students in F-1 status travel internationally during CPT?

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A: Yes, students in F-1 status can travel during CPT provided they have the following: valid passport, F-1 visa stamp, form I-20 signed within 6 months of the return date of their proposed travel. F-1 students should always consult with both their employers and F-1 visa sponsors before committing to international travel plans during CPT.

Q: Can students in J-1 status travel internationally during Academic Training?

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A: Yes, students in J-1 status can travel during Academic Training provided they have the following: valid passport, J-1 visa stamp, form dS-2019 signed within 12 months of the return date of their proposed travel, valid Academic Training authorization letter, and evidence of employment. J-1 students should always consult with both their employers and J-1 program sponsors before committing to international travel plans during Academic Training.