F-1 Student Work Authorization
F-1 students who are in-status are allowed to work on-campus for 20 hours per week during each long semester, and full-time during the summer and holiday breaks. This means that as long as you are in good immigration status and enrolled as a full-time student, you may work on-campus. See the On-Campus Employment handout for more information on how to get an on-campus job.
F-1 students may work off-campus only with special permission. This permission may be granted in the following situations:
Curricular Practical Training (CPT). This is temporary employment authorization directly related to an F-1 student’s academic program for which the work counts as course credit. According to immigration regulations, the work performed has to be in the student’s major field of study. Check out the CPT explanation page and the CPT form.
Off-Campus Work Authorization due to Severe Economic Hardship is available to F-1 students who have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year, and are in good academic standing. To qualify, you must demonstrate that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control and that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient to meet your needs. Applications must be filed with the USCIS and take at least ninety (90) days or more to process. If your application is approved, the permission to work is granted for one year. For more information or to apply, make an appointment with the Immigration Specialist in the CIE.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that is related to an F-1 student’s academic program. Students must have maintained F-1 status for at least 9 months to be eligible to apply. OPT may be used during a degree program as well as after completion of course requirements. The application process takes approximately three (3) months to be processed. Watch the Alerts and Events page for OPT seminars that take place each semester. Click here for additional information on OPT.
Remember: Any off-campus work without USCIS permission puts you out of F-1 status and immediately places you at risk for deportation.
Disclaimer: The CIE makes every attempt to provide accurate immigration advice for F-1 students. The information on our website is general and should not be taken as legal advice. Please contact an immigration attorney if legal advice is needed. It is your responsibility to understand and follow the rules given by DHS and the University.
Request an Appointment
Sign up for an appointment with the staff of the Center for International Education.