Employment is work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food, or any other benefit.

Even if you receive no pay or other benefit for an activity, it may still be considered employment if others performing the work are being paid.

Volunteer work refers to philanthropic activity without financial gain.

On-Campus Employment

On-campus employment includes the terms of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship or any part-time on-campus job. On-campus employment does not need to be directly related to your area of study. You may work up to 20 hours per week on-campus when school is in session. During scheduled breaks you can work up to 40 hours per week. For more about on-campus jobs visit Student Employment Office website.

F-1 Students

Employment options for F-1 international students in the US are restricted by law. It’s illegal for employers to knowingly hire non-immigrants who do not have a permit to work. Employers must verify employment eligibility for every employee, regardless of an employee’s citizenship or immigration status. Employment is verified by completing the Form I-9. Employment permission, when necessary, is given by International Student Services or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

F-2 dependents (spouses and children of if F-1 students) are not eligible to work.

USCIS allows F-1 students who are maintaining their student status to be employed on-campus.

J-1 Students

J-1 students must obtain on-campus work authorization from their J-1 Responsible Officer prior to starting any on-campus employment. This permission can be granted for up to one year at a time. This officer represents the J-1 program sponsor and issues the Form DS-2019. Before approval, the J-1 Responsible Officer must evaluate the proposed employment in the context of your program and personal circumstances. They will then decide whether it would be appropriate or not.

When RIT is the sponsor, the J-1 Responsible Officer is one of the ISS advising staff. If the sponsor is an agency and you are uncertain how to reach their J-1 Responsible Officer, an ISS advisor will assist. Our advisors can help get information, but they have no authority to grant employment permission.

Submit this form for on-campus work authorization.

J-2 dependents may apply for work authorization once admitted to the US. Please email issj1@rit.edu for more information.

Off-Campus Employment

F-1 Students

You are only eligible to work off-campus after maintaining your student status for one full academic year. All off-campus work must be within your area of study and requires approved work authorization prior to working. Working outside of this authorization is a serious violation of student status. Please consult our office before participating in any form of off-campus employment.

Types of off-campus employment for F-1 students:

  1. Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  2. Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  3. OPT STEM Extensions

You may be eligible for off-campus employment if you are suffering from severe economic hardship. This is only possible if there are serious, urgent, and unforeseen circumstances beyond your control.

J-1 Students - Academic Training

Academic Training is employment related to your course of study.

  • Before completion of the program of study.
    With permission you may work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods. Under certain circumstances, you may interrupt study to work full-time. Some examples would be writing a thesis or to pursue cooperative education. The limit is 18 months or the amount of time you have been a J-1 full-time student, whichever is shorter, unless the employment is a degree requirement
  • After completion of the program of study.
    You may be authorized to participate in Academic Training if you can show the J-1 Responsible Officer a written offer of appropriate employment. This must be before the expiration date on your DS-2019. Academic Training is limited to 18 months or the time you were a student, whichever is shorter, minus any previous Academic Training.

For more information, try our Academic Training Workshop.

To request authorization, please complete this form.


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