Off-Campus Employment 

As an F-1 student, you may be authorized to work off-campus on a part-time basis after you have been in F-1 status for one full academic year provided that you are in good academic standing as determined by your international student advisor. The employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session, though you may work full-time during holidays or school vacation. Your off-campus employment authorization is automatically terminated if you fail to maintain status. 

Categories of Off-Campus Employment

There are four categories under off-campus employment:

Internship with an International Organization 
If you maintain lawful F-1 status and want to participate in an internship with a recognized international organization—such as the United Nations or the World Bank—you may if you obtain written permission to engage in this work. You must maintain your F-1 student status while employed by such an organization.

Severe Economic Hardship
If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request off-campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. These circumstances may include loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.

Learn more about U.S. government guidelines regarding severe economic hardship 

If you believe you may qualify under severe economic hardship, please contact International Student Office to discuss your situation.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) 
CPT must relate to your major and the experience must be part of your program of study. It can be defined as an internship, alternate work/study, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.

You must have an offer of employment before applying for CPT and must enroll in the course that would require you to have the work experience. It can be done on a part-time basis (no more than 20 hours per week) or a full-time basis (40 hours per week or more during the summer). Any student who works for one year or more in full-time CPT is not eligible for OPT.

In order to qualify for CPT your international student advisor needs to provide you with a Form I-20, indicating the recommendation for employment.

Learn more about Curricular Practical Training 

Optional Practical Training (OPT) 
You may be eligible to be employed in a job that is directly related to your major field of study for up to one year. Such employment may take place at any location in the United States. 

This employment falls into two main categories:

  • Pre-completion OPT: Employment occurs while you are still in school (This type of CPT is restricted to a 20-hour work week while school is in session).
  • Post-completion OPT: Employment occurs after you have completed your study program.

Approval for OPT requires a special authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In order to apply for an OPT employment authorization, you must receive a recommendation from your international student advisor and file a Form I-765—“Application for Employment Authorization”—with USCIS. After USCIS approves your employment, they will send you a Form I-766—“Employment Authorization Document” (EAD). You may not begin work until you have received your EAD. Just as with on-campus work, you are restricted to a 20 hour work week while school is in session.

Learn more about Optional Practical Training 

International Student Office