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:
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.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
F-1 students may participate in a training program, which is a required and integral part of the established curriculum. This might include internships or alternate work/study. Students must fill out an application and get a notation on the form I-20 authorizing employment and signed by a Designated School Official (DSO) at the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) office prior to any employment. Learn more about Curricular Practical Training.
Internship with an International Organization
Students participating in short-term internships or employment with recognized international organizations, such as the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank, are eligible to apply for work permission from Department of Homeland Security. Please see an International Student Advisor for more information.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training directly related to the current major is permitted part-time during studies or full-time during annual vacations and after the completion of studies. An F-1 student is eligible for 12 months of full-time optional practical training per degree level. Students may be able to apply for a 24-month extension through the STEM program if they qualify. Students must fill out an application, get a recommendation from a Designated School Official (DSO) and apply to USCIS. Learn more about Optional Practical Training.