Employment with International Organization

Under certain circumstances, with an employment/internship offer from specific recognized international organizations, an F-1 student may apply to USCIS for authorization for Employment with an International Organization [8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(iii)]. 

To obtain this employment authorization, an eligible student must submit an application, with fee, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with Form I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization. Processing time can be between 2.5 to 5 months.

Some International Organizations may have policies regarding internships/employment for F-1 visa holders, or may have requirements to change status to G nonimmigrant status.  Students are advised to speak with their ISO Advisor before pursuing any visa application to pursue activity at an international organization.

Students can apply for work permits under this provision of F-1 status in increments of no more than one year and only prior to completion of degree.

Per SEVP guidance, work as an intern under this authorization can be for a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session, or full time during annual vacation period.  Students must maintain their full-time student status, enrolled in a full course of study, and this internship authorization must not interfere in normal progress towards degree completion.

This authorization is not available to students for any post-degree authorization (F-1 students would need to seek F-1 Optional Practical Training authorization, if eligible, for post-degree authorization in their field of study, based on their student status).  Please note that for post-degree opportunities with international organizations, a student can speak with the organization to see if other visa statuses may be available for employment/training experiences with that organization (such as A or G visa statuses).

List of Eligible International Organizations

8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(iii)

(iii) Internship with an international organization. A bona fide F-1 student who has been offered employment by a recognized international organization within the meaning of the International Organization Immunities Act (59 Stat. 669) must apply for employment authorization to the service center having jurisdiction over his or her place of residence. A student seeking employment authorization under this provision is required to present a written certification from the international organization that the proposed employment is within the scope of the organization’s sponsorship, Form I-20 ID or SEVIS Form I-20 with employment page completed by DSO certifying eligibility for employment, and a completed Form I-765, with required fee as contained in §103.7(b)(1) of this chapter.

Under 19 CFR 148.87(b), Designated public international organizations are defined as follows:

Designated public international organizations. The President, by virtue of the authority vested in him by section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act of December 29, 1945 (22 U.S.C. 288), has designated certain organizations as public international organizations entitled to the free entry privileges of that statute. The following is a list of the public international organizations currently entitled to such free entry privileges and the Executive orders by which they were designated:

  • African Development Bank
  • African Development Fund
  • Asian Development Bank
  • Border Environmental Cooperation Commission
  • Caribbean Organization
  • Commission for Environmental Cooperation
  • Commission for Labor Cooperation
  • Commission for the Study of Alternatives to the Panama Canal
  • Customs Cooperation Council
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • European Space Agency (formerly the European Space Research Organization (ESRO)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Great Lakes Fishery Commission
  • Inter-American Defense Board
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences
  • Inter-American Investment Corporation
  • Inter-American Statistical Institute
  • Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
  • Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization
  • International Atomic Energy Agency
  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
  • International Boundary and Water Commission, United States & Mexico
  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
  • International Civil Aviation Organization
  • International Coffee Organization
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • International Cotton Advisory Committee
  • International Cotton Institute
  • International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)
  • International Development Association
  • International Development Law Institute
  • International Fertilizer Development Center
  • International Finance Corporation
  • International Food Policy Research Institute — Limited privileges only
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • International Hydrographic Bureau
  • International Joint Commission — United States and Canada
  • International Labor Organization
  • International Maritime Satellite Organization
  • International Monetary Fund
  • International Pacific Halibut Commission
  • International Secretariat for Volunteer Service
  • International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT)
  • International Telecommunication Union
  • International Wheat Advisory Committee (International Wheat Council)
  • Investment Guarantee Agency
  • Multinational Force and Observers
  • North American Development Bank
  • North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission
  • North Pacific Marine Science Organization
  • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [formerly Organization for European Economic Cooperation]
  • Organization of African Unity (OAU)
  • Organization of American States      
  • Organization of Eastern Caribbean States 
  • Pacific Salmon Commission
  • Pan American Health Organization (includes the Pan American Sanitary Bureau
  • Preparatory Commission of the International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Provisional Intergovernmental Committee for the Movement of Migrants from Europe (now known as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration)  
  • South Pacific Commission
  • United International Bureau for the Protection of Intellectual Property     
  • United Nations
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization  
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization          
  • Universal Postal Union     
  • World Health Organization   
  • World Intellectual Property Organization     
  • World Meteorological Organization             
  • World Tourism Organization            

*Please view the link at eCFR for 19 CFR 148.87(b) to be sure to view the most up-to-date list of designated organizations. 

How to Apply

Obtain written certification from the international organization on the organization’s letterhead that the proposed employment is within the scope of the organization’s sponsorship, including: dates of the internship; number of hours per week; address of location of activity; supervisor’s name, phone number, email address; summary of duties that will be performed.

Submit the following documents to your ISO Advisor to request a new For I-20 with recommendation for Off-Campus Employment Authorization with Qualified International Organization:

  • Organization’s offer letter
  • Photocopy of Form I-94 record
  • Photocopy of passport identity/validity pages
  • Photocopy of previous EAD card(s) that authorized internship with international organizations

Mailing the OPT Application to USCIS

Students MUST be physically present inside the U.S. at the time the OPT application is received/receipted by USCIS; therefore, students can only mail/submit the application to USCIS while you are physically present in the U.S.

Important: The OPT application must be received by the USCIS Processing Center within 29 days from the date the ISO Advisor issued/signed the new Form I-20 with recommendation for OPT.

Checklist of documents to be mailed to USCIS:

Please put together your application in the following order. Do not staple your documents. Be sure to keep a photocopy, or scanned copy, of all documents mailed to USCIS for your records.

  • Original Form I-765 with signature (https://www.uscis.gov/i-765) Use most recent edition, read all the I-765 Instructions, type your form instead of handwriting, sign in black ink. Be sure to click on this USCIS link to use MOST CURRENT Form I-765. Be sure to use correct code per Form I-765 noting employment with International Organization (c)(3)(ii) on item #27 on Page 3 of the Form I-765. Make sure signature fits within signature box in Form I-765.
  • Bank-Certified Check or Money Order for Form I-765 application fee (check USCIS Form I-765 webpage to confirm fee amount) made payable to “US Department of Homeland Security” (in the memo line of the check/money order, please write “Form I-765” and your SEVIS ID number), OR
    Form G-1450 with credit card information (Note: given recent student reports, may be advisable to notify your bank/credit card company of this upcoming charge so they do not have their system flag it as potential fraud).
    IMPORTANT NOTE: If filing application by mail to USCIS, it is strongly recommended that students use a bank-certified check, cashier’s check, or money order to pay the USCIS application fee rather than paying by credit card (given if there is a problem with the credit card payment student would not be notified for many weeks and would have to resubmit the application — but if after filing deadline the application would not be able to be resubmitted).
  • (Recommended) Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. To receive a text message and/or email from USCIS when USCIS has received/receipted your Form I-765 OPT application.   
  • 2 passport photos (less than 30 days old). Write your name and SEVIS # number in pencil or felt pen lightly on the back and towards the bottom of each photo — so as to not damage the photos or have writing appear on the face of the photo. Paper clip photos on top of Form I-765.  Further information is available at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/photos.html)
  • Copy of any previous Employment Authorization Documents (EAD cards), front and back, if applicable.
  • Copy of new Form I-20 with recommendation for F-1 Internship with International Organization (Pages 1 and 2; please remember to sign your I-20)
  • Letter from International Organizations with internship offer
  • Copies of all previous Forms I-20 (in order from newest to earliest issuance date — Pages 1 and travel signature page – including forms issued by MIT and any previous institution) 
  • Copy of I-94 card (front and back) or electronic Form I-94 Form record (retrieve the I-94 number from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/)
  • Copy of identity pages in passport (pages with name, photo, date of birth, passport number, issue and expiration date — passport must be valid)
  • Copy of F-1 Visa (even if the visa is expired) – NOTE: Does not apply to Citizens of Canada, who are not issued an F-1 visa issued by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.

Where to Mail

Mail all documents above to the address designated for the employment authorization type as indicated on the Form I-765 instructions “Where to File” (https://www.uscis.gov/i-765).

Students may not begin their internship until they have received their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from USCIS and until the start/begin date listed on the EAD card.

Please mail your application documents via express mail either via U.S. Postal Service (USPS) or via Private Courier Service (FedEx, DHL, UPS) to the proper USCIS mailing address indicated for OPT applications in the Form I-765 Instructions at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765.

Helpful Tips: 

  • Keep a copy of all documents submitted to USCIS for your records.  Also, keep a mailing return receipt of your package as evidence that you submitted the application in a timely manner.
  • The U.S. Postal Service cannot forward USCIS government mail using the USPS Mail Forwarding service. If you need to update the mailing address on the Form I-765 after you submit the application to USCIS, please contact your ISO Advisor for more information.
  • When filing a paper application by mail to USCIS, it is advised by USCIS that you do NOT do the following:
    • Hole punch, staple, paper clip, binder clip, or otherwise attach documents to one another.
    • Include photos or scanned documents smaller than 4×6 inches for evidentiary purposes. Provide photocopies of these items instead. The only exception is when we request a passport photo with the filing.
    • Include anything that contains electronic chips and batteries (such as musical greeting cards) or any non-paper materials such as cassette tapes, CD-ROMs, DVDs, toys, action figures, or thumb drives. We will not accept these types of materials. However, we will accept photographs or photocopies of these items.
    • Submit forms or evidence documents bound with a binding or spiral wire/plastic.
    • Submit evidence using photo albums, scrapbooks, binders, or greeting cards.
    • Fold documents. 
    • Place sticky notes on documents. 
    • Use insertable tab dividers. 
    • Print forms on colored paper. 
    • Submit more than one copy of the same document or evidence unless required by the form instructions or regulations. If you are required to submit a copy of a complete prior application, petition, or request, clearly mark it as a “COPY” at the top of each page to ensure it is processed as intended. 
    • Send original documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, naturalization certificates, except when:
      • Required by the form instructions for the application, petition, or request you are filing; or
      • We specifically issue a request for you to submit an original document.

Students interested in this authorization should consult the regulatory information below and consult with their ISO Advisor