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Job Options for F-1 Students
Employment allows students the opportunity to gain experience, interact
with American businesses, and , where necessary, supplement family
support or personal resources due to change financial need.
F-1 students maybe employed on campus as long as the student works
no more than 20 hours a week while school is in session. Students may
be employed full-time during vacations and recess periods as long as
they intend to register for the next term.
On-campus employment means employment performed on the premises
of the school or at an affiliated off-site location. It includes employment
of a type normally performed by students, such as work in the school
library, cafeterias, or a student store, or employment that is part of a
student's scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship.
Off-Campus Cooperative Programs and Internships
Cooperative (co-op) training programs and paid internships (Called
"curricular practical training") are work-study programs that are part of or
related to a student's degree. A student cannot qualify for curricular
practical training until he or she has completed nine months of study or
is enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in
curricular practical training. Curricular practical training can be either
part-time or full-time. Once students work in full-time curricular practical
training for 12 months or longer, they will be ineligible for
post-completion practical training at that academic level.
Pre-Completion Practical Training
Off-campus pre-completion practical training in a field related to studies
is permitted for F-1 students as long as the work is for no more than 20
hours a week while school is in session. Full-time employment under this
category is allowed during vacations and recess periods as long as the
student intends to register for the next term. Time spent in
pre-completion practical training will be deducted from the 12 months
full-time employment available for post-completion practical training at
that academic level.
Employment Authorization Based on Severe Economic Hardship
Where unforeseen circumstances lead to a change in the student's
economic situation, the students may apply for permission to work
off-campus in any job of the student's choosing for 20 hours per week
and full-time when school is not in session. Employment based on
necessity is not deducted from time allowed from time allowed for
post-completion practical training, but the student must have completed
one academic year in F-1 status to qualify. The student must be in good
Internship with an International Organization
An F-1 student may be granted employment authorization to work for an
"international organization" that is recognized under the International
Organization Immunities Act.
Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)
An F-1 student is eligible for up to one year of post-completion practical
training. However, students who have received one year or more of
full-time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion
practical training. Time spent in pre-completion practical training is
deducted from the 12-month maximum.
Authorization for post-completion practical training may be granted for a
maximum of 12 months and takes effect only after the student has
graduated or completed a course of study. In any event, practical
training must be completed within a 14-month period following the
completion of studies. An F-1 student may be authorized to engage in
post-completion practical training after each higher educational level.
An F-1 student's dependent spouse and unmarried children under the
age of 21 may be granted F-2 status. These F-2 dependents may not
be employed while in the U.S. Moreover, F-2 spouses are prohibited
from engaging in full-time studies at any level. A dependent child in F-2
status, on the other hand, may attend primary and secondary schools
full-time, but may not (without changing from F-2 to F-1 status) proceed
to any post-secondary schooling on a full-time basis.
All categories of employment for F-1 students require the prior approval
of the college or university's international advisor. Additionally, students
seeking pre- or post-completion practical training, hardship-based
employment, or an internship with an international organization need to
apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a work
permit by submitting a Form I-765, along with a fee, and an I-20
endorsed by the school within 30 days before applying. The student
may work only after USCIS issues the work permit. When applying for
post-completion OPT, the application must be submitted to USCIS before
completion of studies.