How to work as an F-1 International Student
Different requirements exist for each type of F-1 employment, but there are basic requirements which must be met for any F-1 employment:
- You must currently be in valid F-1 status and in good academic standing while engaged in a full course of study, except during summer and school holidays.
- Once employment is authorized, you must properly maintain your eligibility or you will lose your right to continue employment.
Types of F-1 Student Employment
F-1 students are permitted to work on the college’s campus. This work is part-time, limited to 20 hours per week when school is in session or full-time during holiday and vacation periods. Work on-campus is a benefit of F-1 visa status and no additional authorization is necessary.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
This is employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT is only available prior to your completion of studies. There is no application fee and this type of employment must be approved by the International Student Coordinator.
There are two types of CPT:
1) Required part of program- your program requires employment in the field of study to graduate
2) Non-required part of program- the practical experience is for credit and needs to be directly related to your field of study. You must be enrolled for the course while engaging in this type of CPT.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
This is employment authorization that gives F-1 students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to practical work experience off campus. Most students are eligible to apply for 12 months of OPT. Students who have received a degree in government designated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) may qualify for an additional 17-month period. You may file for OPT during last semester of senior year with International Student Coordinator.