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Employment and Training for F Visa Holders

Information workshops are held each semester by the international student advisor.

Check the International Education events calendar for details.

On-Campus Employment

All F-1 or J-1 students are eligible to begin on-campus work no earlier than thirty days before the start date on their I-20 and must end before or on the end date of their I-20 and can only apply for state work study jobs.

Check the Student Employment Center website for available positions.

On-campus employment by F-1 or J-1 students is permitted as long as the student works no more than twenty 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-campus location. On-campus employment may be of a type normally performed by students, such as work in the school library, cafeterias, computer center, or in a students' store, or employment that is part of a student's scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship.

Under no circumstances are students permitted to accept off-campus employment without the authorization of the Office of International Education and/or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To do so is to violate USCIS law and would seriously jeopardize your F-1 or J-1 visa status.

Students working on campus are exempt from having to obtain an employment authorization card (EAD) from USCIS.

Off-Campus Employment

There are three types of off-campus work permission. All require prior approval by the Department of Homeland Security or the international student advisor. Please attend a workshop in advance of your needing permission. Approval can take some time to obtain.

Curricular Practical Training (Internship)

Cooperative education and internship programs allow students to obtain practical work experience in their field of study. In order for F-1 students to participate in off-campus work experience, immigration regulations require that students receive academic credits for the work experience, unless it is a required component of their degree program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services refers to this kind of off-campus work experience as Curricular Practical Training.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Undergraduate students must have completed nine months in F-1 visa status.
  • Graduate students can begin as soon as their program requires.
  • Students must be in legal F-1 visa status, in good academic standing, and making normal, satisfactory progress toward completion of their degree.
  • The type of employment must be directly related to a student's major.

General Information

  • CPT can be full time (forty hours per week) or part time (twenty hours per week).
  • The foreign student advisor approves CPT.
  • Students must apply at least two weeks before the start of the internship.

Helpful Websites, Forms, and Documents

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Pre-completion Practical Training

Pre-completion practical training is permitted for F-1 students as long as the work is for no more than twenty 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 twelve months of full-time employment available for post-completion practical training. For example, if the student works twenty hours a week for four months, he/she would have two months deducted from the twelve months of post-completion practical training.

Applications are submitted to the Citizenship and Immigration Services for final decision.

Post-completion Practical Training

F-1 students are entitled to up to one year post-completion practical training for each successive and higher degree. Time spent in pre-completion practical training is deducted from the twelve-month period.

Students must apply ninety days before completion of the degree.

Applications are submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for final decision.

Helpful Forms and Documents

Off-Campus Employment Based on Severe Economic Hardship

Eligibility Requirements

  • Have maintained valid F-1 visa status for at least one academic year (nine months).
  • In good standing as a student and carrying a full course of study (twelve credits for undergraduates and nine credits for graduates) during the academic year.
  • Able to demonstrate and document unforeseen, severe economic hardship and lack of available on-campus employment.

Possible Circumstances That Can Cause Severe Economic Hardship

  • Loss of financial assistance or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student.
  • The value of currency from the student's country dramatically decreased.
  • Inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs.
  • Unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support.
  • Incurring large medical expenses.

Applications are submitted to the Citizenship and Immigration Services for final decision. Workshops are held each semester by the foreign student advisor.

  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.