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International Services Office

SURF Program Information for International Students

Special Requirements for International Students

International students enrolled in associate's or bachelor's degree-granting programs at U.S. colleges or universities are eligible to participate in the SURF Program on either the La Jolla or Jupiter campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).

Once SURF offers are made, international students must discuss securing employment authorization with an international student advisor at their home institution. The type of required authorization will depend on the type of visa status the student possesses. International students who are in F-1 visa status will be required to apply for either Curricular or Optional Practical Training.  Students currently in the U.S. in J-1 student visa status must apply for Academic Training.

If you have received an offer to participate in the SURF Program and, after consulting with your current academic institution, still have questions about securing work authorization, you may contact an advisor in TSRI International Services Office for additional guidance and information. The International Services Office can be reached by phone at (858) 784-8120 or by email at tsriglobal@scripps.edu.

F-1 Students Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): This type of practical training can be granted through a student's current academic institution and does not require an application to be submitted to USCIS. Each college or university in the U.S. has established specific guidelines and procedures for authorizing CPT. To find out the specific qualifications for this type of Practical Training, students should consult with an international student advisor at their current academic institution.

Optional Practical Training (OPT): This type of practical training requires students to submit an application for work authorization directly to USCIS. Prior to submitting the application, students must obtain an amended Form I-20 with the OPT recommendation from an international student advisor at their home institution. Therefore, students should consult with their international student advisor at their current academic institution to discuss the application process.

CAUTION: USCIS may take in excess of 3 months to approve an application for OPT. Once this application is approved, USCIS will send the student an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Students are NOT allowed to begin SURF until they have received the original EAD from USCIS.

J-1 Students Academic Training

Academic Training is granted through a student's home institution and does not require an application to be submitted to USCIS. Each college or university in the U.S. has established specific guidelines and procedures for authorizing Academic Training. To find out the specific qualifications for this type of employment authorization, students should consult with an international student advisor at their current academic institutions.


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