Paid Employment Options
 

On Campus Employment

Two types of on campus employment are allowed without explicit USCIS authorization. The students should maintain their status of F-1/J-1 by taking full time course load.

  • While school is in session the student cannot work more than 20 hours per week, although during vacations the student may work full time. The student can work for a commercial firm that contracts with the school to provide services, such as bookstore or cafeteria.
  • While the work must be "on campus," USCIS regulations allow work at some off campus locations. This includes employment as part of a scholarship,. assistantship, fellowship, post-doctoral appointment, etc.

Off Campus Employment because of Economical Necessity

Any unanticipated change in financial resources or funding can be a sufficient reason to get permission from USCIS to work off-campus after nine months of school attendance. Example of this situation are, a severe devaluation in the currency of student's home country, substantial increases in the cost of tuition or costs of living or medical bills.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type or required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.
An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a CPT program that is an integral part of an established curriculum.

Eligibility

Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for post-completion academic training. Exceptions to the one academic year requirement are made for students enrolled in graduation studies that require immediate participation in Curricular Practical Training. A student can start his CPT only after receiving his Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.
This can be processed either under Non-SEVIS process or under SEVIS process.
Participation in a CPT is a good opportunity for F-1 students to gain work experience and find potential employers.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

This option is designed to give the foreign student an opportunity to further their education by gaining practical experience. It is usually available after the successful completion of academic program. The job must be related to their field of study, and the authorization to work is for 12 months only, whether it is obtained during school or after graduation. OPT must be completed within 14 months of the student's completion of the academic program.

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