F & J Student Work Permission

Departments planning to offer a full time academic appointment to someone who is currently in the United States on a student visa should be sure to submit the required information via ISD. International students usually hold either an F-1 or a J-1 student visa. Under certain circumstances, the Government allows an international student in either F-1 or J-1 status to request work permission beyond the graduation date in order to gain practical work experience related to his or her field of study in the United States.

For F-1 students the work permission is called Optional Practical Training (OPT) and for J-1 students it is called Academic Training. Harvard appointments for individuals eligible for OPT or Academic Training should be handled carefully. It is not always possible to obtain a change of visa status for J-1 students in order to allow them to continue their appointment beyond the expiration date of the Academic Training because of the two-year home country residence requirement.

Individuals who come to Harvard to work in administrative or staff positions will not usually be eligible for Harvard-sponsored visas at the end of their OPT or Academic Training. They will be limited to working only until the end of their OPT or Academic Training. For questions about an appointment for someone completing an academic degree at a U.S. institution, please be sure to consult an advisor in the HIO.