Employment for F-1 Visa Students

What is Employment?

Employment is any type of work performed or service provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefits, regardless of the name which is given (e.g. internship, short-term contract, scholarship, helping out at a family business, etc.). F-1 students may not work without authorization. 

If a Designated School Official (DSO) becomes aware that an F-1 international student is working illegally, he/she is required by law to report the offense to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Employment Categories for F-1 Students:

On-Campus Employment

F-1 students are eligible to work in accordance with Department Homeland Security on campus for a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session. When school is not in session during winter and summer breaks, students can work more than 20 hours per week provided that they are registered for the next required semester. To apply for on-campus employment, students must apply through the Center for Career Development’s website, Handshake. Once students have found and been offered an on-campus job, they will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). Students can request a letter to show at their SSN appointment through the ISSS portal.


Off-Campus Employment

Students can participate in off-campus employment ONLY in three conditions: Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), and STEM Optional Practical Training Extension (STEM-OPT Extension).  ISSS offers CPT and OPT workshops every semester so please visit ISSS’s Engage page or the Immigration Programs & Social Events page for a list of upcoming sessions. You can learn about each type in the section below.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Undergraduate Students

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Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Graduate Students

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Optional Practical Training (OPT)

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STEM Optional Practical Training Extension (STEM OPT)

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