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NEW: All first year OPT information is now available at Optional Practical Training
Employment options for F-1 international students in the U.S. 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, by completing the Form I-9. Employment permission, when necessary, is given by International Student Services or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Note: Immigration regulations prohibit all employment for F-2 dependents (spouses and children of F-1 students.)
"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. Students participating in work for which no other employee receives employment benefits would be considered doing volunteer work.
USCIS allows F-1 students who are maintaining their student status to be employed on-campus. Types of on-campus employment include 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 a student’s area of study. F-1 students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week on-campus when school is in session, and up to 40 hours per week during scheduled breaks. For further information about on-campus jobs, interested students should contact the Student Employment Office
Students are only eligible to work off-campus after maintaining student status for one full academic year. All off-campus work must be within a student’s area of study, and requires approved work authorization prior to working. Working improperly or without authorization is a serious violation of student status. Students should always consult with the International Student Services office before participating in any form of off-campus employment.
Types of off-campus employment:
If students are suffering from severe economic hardship based on unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, they may be eligible for employment off-campus. Students in this situation should contact ISS to make an appointment with an International Student Advisor.