By: Sindhuja Kodivalasa, Guest Writer

The Thunderbird student body comprises heavily of international students. These students require assistance with the work authorization process. To assist with this, Ms. Felicia Smith Welch, Associate Director of International Students and Scholars at Thunderbird School of Global Management, conducted a workshop in Snell 22 between 1:00 to 2:00 PM on Tuesday, February 24.

Das Tor brings a brief tutorial of this workshop, enabling students to have an insight into the process. In this session, she touched base on several important aspects such as taxation, CPT and OPT for international students. Some of the key aspects of this workshop were:

Taxation Policy in the U.S. requires all international students to file tax returns with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Though students have not earned in 2014, it is essential to file their transactions within the U.S. In the case that students were employed in 2014 they will receive tax returns. This makes it essential for every student to file for taxes. The last dates are:

April 15, 2015 Deadline to file a return on wages earned

June 15, 2015 Deadline to file a return on non-wages earned

Many first year, Fall 2014 students were present to understand the process of Curriculum Practical Training (CPT). As they have finished two trimesters (i.e. one academic year at Thunderbird), they are now eligible for CPT and can seek an internship in the summer trimester, starting this May.

The highlights of the workshop were that international students will be given approval for CPT by Ms. Welch and cannot work until and unless they have the approval. The internship must be a registered credit. CPT will be issued towards a single employer in a particular location. Thus, it is advisable to not start the process unless the student is sure to take up the internship.

It is to be noted that CPT is not an authorization to work in the U.S. However students can be issued a Social Security Number (SSN) after the approval of CPT. Students can employ their CPT only after the beginning of the summer trimester. The internship should be a minimum of eight weeks, extending up to 10 to 12 weeks. In case further extension is required, prior intent should be sent to the school. It is to be noted that international students cannot stay out of the U.S. for no longer than five months. In this case, the F1 visa status becomes invalid and it is necessary to apply for a Visa once again. However, this five-month period does not include the student’s time spent in a module abroad.

In the case of graduating students, they have the option of enabling Optional Practical Training (OPT). This is a 12-month work authorization in the U.S., following completion of the academic program. U.S. Immigration takes three months to process an application, thus it is advisable to start the process well in advance.

The deadlines for the application process are

Program Completion: First Module Spring 2015 (March 13, 2015)
Application time frame:  December 12, 2014 through March 27, 2015

Program Completion: Second Module Spring 2015 (May 8, 2015)
Application Time Frame: February 9, 2015 through May 22, 2015


To further assist the students in the process of OPT application, there is the Thunderbird Student Support Center – first floor in the Herberger building.

For more details, it is advisable to talk to Felicia Welch in administration. Detailed information is also available on the MTB page.

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