On-Campus Employment is an automatic benefit of F-1 students to work part-time (19 hours per week) on the premises of the school that issued their current I-20. On-campus employment does not require special authorization. All F-1 international students are eligible for part-time on-campus employment while enrolled in classes. F-1 visa holders are eligible to work more than 20 hours per week during semester breaks and annual summer vacation. F-1 visa holders are eligible to work more than 20 hours per week of on-campus employment if they are less than full-time enrolled in courses. For example, during the student’s final semester the student may only be enrolled in one course to complete the degree requirements and therefore is eligible to engage in full-time employment. If the student is part-time enrolled the student can be full-time employed. If the student is full-time enrolled the student can be part-time employed. If an F-1 visa holder works over their allowed period of on-campus employment even by minutes, it is a serious violation of immigration status that will result in a termination of status. Please note that on-campus employment is competitive and there are limited job opportunities.
ALL OFF-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT REQUIRES ADDITIONAL AUTHORIZATION BY THE INTERNATIONAL SERVICES OFFICE. Any participation in off-campus employment without the required authorization is a serious violation of immigration status that will result in a termination of status. Please see information below on how to obtain off-campus employment authorization.
CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization linked to an academic program in order to allow students to participate in either an internship or training required of all students obtaining that degree, or employment that is for degree credit and is an integral part of the degree program. Therefore, you must be enrolled in your internship course when requesting CPT. Since CPT must be part of your academic program it is not available after you complete your academic program. Students must receive CPT authorization when enrolled in their internship or practicum class whether it is paid or unpaid. If you enroll in the same internship for a different semester, you must receive CPT authorization.
If you have been lawfully enrolled in school full-time for two semesters and are currently in F1 status, you may be eligible for Curricular Practical Training. CPT is a departmental privilege, and thus may be revoked for academic reasons at any time. In order to apply for CPT, students must submit the CPT Application Form and a job offer letter from their potential employer on the company’s letterhead, which must include the following information:
1. Your full name
2. Company name and address (physical address, not a P.O. Box)
3. Position title with job description
4. Supervisor’s name, phone number, and e-mail address
5. Salary/hourly wage for the position
6. Number of hours per week to be worked
7. Start Date and End Date
OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that gives F-1 students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. You may use some or all of the available 12 months of practical training during your course of study or save the full twelve months to use after you complete your studies. Authorization for optional practical training is granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and can take at least 90 days to obtain. It is important that you apply for the authorization at the earliest possible date. Students will need to contact International Student Office for more information about applying for OPT. If you are in your final semester, please contact the International Student Office at the beginning of your final term regarding OPT.
24 MONTH OPT STEM EXTENSION (Please review STEM OPT Hub to help understand OPT STEM Extension regulation)
You may be eligible for an additional 24 months of Optional Practical Training if:
- You have graduated with a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD in a STEM field. These are identified by CIP code. For a complete approved list please go to www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm
- Application must be submitted during the period of your current OPT, but no earlier than 90 days prior to OPT end date.
- You have not applied for the 24-month extension previously.
- Your employer is registered in the E-Verify Program.
SEVERE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP
If you are suffering a severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances, you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus. To apply for economic hardship you must prove to USCIS that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond your control that arose after obtaining F-1 status. Economic hardship does not alleviate you from the full-time enrollment requirement! You must continue to maintain F-1 status.
- Loss of financial support
- Substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
- Inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs
- Unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source of support, such a loss of a family business
- Excessive medical bills
The employment authorization is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time. You must have other income as the authorization allows for only 19 hours per week of work while full-time enrolled. You may work 20 hours or more per week during semester breaks and your annual vacation. This employment does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
Employment authorization is automatically terminated if you graduate, fail to maintain status or transfer to another school.
If you would like to apply for economic hardship, please contact the International Services Office to check for eligibility and the application requirements.
This page was last modified on January 4, 2017