Carnegie Mellon University

Hiring CMU International Students

Carnegie Mellon University is delighted to attract and educate increasing numbers of talented and highly motivated international students who represent the brightest minds in the world. Given the importance of global competency and diversity in today’s workplace, CMU has become a key source of providing top international talent to leading innovative organizations. 

At CMU, over one-third of our student population is comprised of international students who are enrolled in world-class educational programs ranging from undergraduate to masters and PhD programs. A significant number of our international students are pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM)-related degrees, and can help to supply the shortage of STEM talent in the US needed to support our economic global growth.

Carnegie Mellon recruiting partners seek top student talent today and in the future, yet companies are sometimes reluctant to hire international students based on misconceptions of the process, timing, and costs.

Carnegie Mellon hopes to be an initial resource for you to help educate and de-mystify the process for hiring international students by providing you with an overview of the facts, processes, and resources to position your organization to hire this increasing population of top global talent.

Carnegie Mellon University does not provide legal advice.   The information presented below has been prepared for informational purposes only.   It is not intended to serve as a comprehensive guide to hiring international students and may not be relied on for legal advice.  Please consult with your own legal advisor or refer to the resources provided for more information before engaging in any hiring transaction.

The majority of international students at Carnegie Mellon are in F-1 (Academic Student) status.  F-1 status allows students to obtain practical training related to their degree program, making it easy for employers to hire them for both internships and full-time roles.

INTERNSHIPS: F-1 students do not require employer visa sponsorship in order to work in an internship however employment authorization is required prior to beginning the internship. F-1 students may apply for and use Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization.

FULL-TIME ROLES: F-1 students are eligible for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization. Students who have a degree in a designated STEM field may qualify to extend their OPT for an additional 24 months after the initial period.

LONG-TERM EMPLOYMENT: To retain talented international employees beyond their OPT work authorization, many employers choose to file an H-1B (the most common long-term work visa) application on their behalf.

See below for more detailed information regarding specific types of work authorization and work visas:


Employer Requirements

Permits employment during the academic program (includes summer internships), when employment is directly related to the major field of study and is an integral (required or credit-bearing) component of the academic program. Students are eligible after completing one academic year (2 semesters) of full-time study, but may begin CPT earlier if an internship is required as part of a graduate program. 

CPT dates must fall between the start and end date of one academic term. 

CPT eligibility is dependent upon the curriculum; some students are not eligible for CPT.

Provide student with a formal written offer letter which includes:

  • Name of company/employer
  • Company/employer address
  • Employment start & end date
  • Full-time or part-time status of employment
  • Description of job duties


Employer Requirements

Permits relevant work during or after the academic program.

Students can apply for up to a total of 12 months, to be used pre- or post-graduation. 

Students must have been in F-1 status for at least an academic  year to be eligible for OPT.

No employer requirements, however, job must be directly related to student’s major field of study (as indicated on the student’s I-20 form).


Employer Requirements

Students who have earned a degree in a designated STEM field , and have a job or job offer from an employer who participates in E-Verify, may apply for an additional 24 months of OPT after the initial period of 12 months.

Employer must be part of the USCIS E-Verify employment eligibility verification program and comply with reporting requirements as outlined on the Department of Homeland Security STEM OPT Hub. Includes working with employee to complete the Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.

Employers who wish to retain an international employee on a long-term basis (up to six years) may choose to apply for H-1B (Specialty Occupation) status on the employee’s behalf. The H-1B application does not require the employer to demonstrate that there are no US workers available to fill the specific position.

H-1B status is awarded based on a lottery which takes place at the beginning of April each year. A limited number of spaces are available each fiscal year. Many employers choose to engage an immigration attorney to help facilitate the H-1B application process.

  • TN: Permits qualified citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the U.S., as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • E-3: Permits Australian citizens to work in the specialty occupations.
  • H-1B1: Provides a special allocation of H-1B visas for citizens of Chile and Singapore, making it easier for them to apply and receive this authorization to work in the U.S. in specialty occupations.
  • L-1: Enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its foreign offices to one of its offices in the U.S. Also enables a foreign company that does not yet have a U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.