Employment Information for Students with F -1Visas
F-1 students may only work in the United States under certain conditions. The Office of International Students must authorize all off-campus employment. Do not apply for off-campus employment without contacting us. All on-campus and off-campus employment requires a social security number.
1. On-Campus Employment
An F-1 student may accept employment at the institution he/she is authorized to attend. Students must be enrolled full time and may begin work immediately without approval from Immigration. On-campus employment means work performed on the school’s premises or work at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the school.
On-campus work is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and may be full time during vacation periods for students who intend to register for the subsequent academic term. Students are not eligible to continue working on-campus after the completion of their program unless they have received an EAD and their OPT dates cover the dates of employment.
2. Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Students may work off campus in conjunction with academic coursework, such as a co-op, internship, or fieldwork course which is related to the student's program of study. While this course does not have to be required for graduation, the credits from the course must be applicable towards graduation. Status as a student for one academic year is required to qualify for Curricular Practical Training. A specific job offer is also required. Employment may be part time (less than 20 hrs per week) or full time; however, more than six months of full-time CPT will be applied against the one year of Optional Practical Training available to students when they complete their studies.
3. Optional Practical Training (OPT) OPT FAQ
Students may engage in off-campus employment through Optional Practical Training for one year, full-time, after completion of studies in a job related to their major. Full- or part-time employment is also possible during the program of study; however, this time will be counted against OPT after completion of the academic program. No specific job offer is required for OPT. A work permit (EAD) issued by USCIS is required for OPT. Students can apply for OPT up to 90 days before the program end date OR up to 60 days after the program end date.
Students must find employment within 90 days to keep their status. They must provide employer information to International Student Services. Employment must be at least 20 hours/ week. Volunteer work can be considered as employment.Students in F-1 status who have been granted Optional Practical Training employment authorization to report the name and address of their OPT location/employer. Students must also report if their employment is interrupted at any point.
Students approved for post-completion OPT may not accrue more than an aggregate of 90 days of unemployment during the entire 12-month OPT period. Students must be engaged in at least 20 hours of OPT activity per week; periods with activity of less than 20 hours per week will be counted toward unemployment accrual.
17 Month OPT Extension for Recent STEM Graduates
Students who graduate with certain majors in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) may be eligible for an extension of their OPT authorization. The Student must have earned a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in a field on the DHS STEM Designated Degree Programs list and must be currently participating in a 12-month period of OPT, working for a U.S. employer in a job directly related to the student's STEM major area of study, and not previously received a 17-month OPT extension. Also, t he student's current or prospective employer must be registered with the DHS E-Verify employment verification system.
H-1B Cap-Gap Extension of Status and Work Authorization
A student's F-1 status and OPT employment authorization will be extended if the student is the beneficiary of a timely filed H-1B petition requesting change of status and an employment start date of October 1st of the following fiscal year. This benefit applies to all students on post-completion OPT. The extension of status and work authorization automatically terminates upon the rejection, denial or revocation of the H-1B petition filed on the student's behalf. Students should discuss with their advisor -- prior to the expiration of their OPT -- how they can take advantage of this benefit. Traveling outside the U.S.
Students should not travel outside the U.S. after completing their studies unless they have received their EAD. In order to reenter the U.S. in F-1 status during OPT after completion of studies, students will need their EAD, Form I-20 with the OPT endorsement, a travel signature less than six months old signed after receiving the EAD, a valid F-1 visa, and a valid passport. Students should also carry proof of their employment or other valid OPT activity, or a job offer. Students who have not secured OPT employment in their field are advised not to travel abroad after degree completion as they may not be readmitted to the U.S. in F-1 status.
Once students have completed their period of post-completion OPT, they are permitted to remain in the United States for up to sixty days in order to prepare for departure from the U.S. Students are not permitted to continue employment during this period. While travel within theU.S. is permitted during the grace period, departure from the country and reentry in F-1 status is not permitted during this time. Once a student departs the U.S., the grace period is concluded.
4. Employment authorized because of severe economic hardship
F-1 students who have an unexpected loss of funding may apply for off-campus temporary work authorization. This can be part-time during the school year and full time during the summer. A student must have had F-1 status for one year to qualify. Strong documentation of the circumstances is required. A work permit (EAD) issued by USCIS is required for employment due to severe economic hardship.
The employment authorization is only valid if the student continues to maintain full time status at the institution which has recommended the authorization; if the student leaves the school or transfers, the authorization is voided.
5. Employment sponsored by international organizations
F-1 students can request permission to work at international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, or the International Monetary Fund.