Working in USA

If you’re an international student studying in the USA, there are chances and opportunities for you to take part-time work. The only issue is that you may be restricted by the type of visa issued to you at the time of entry into the US It is advisable that you acquaint yourself with all the requirements and restrictions on your visa type.

The right thing to do is to get inquiries from an immigration attorney or visit our international student immigration center to know more about your type of visa.

  • USA Employment Rules for F1 Students
  • On-Campus Employment
  • Off-Campus Employment
  • (OPT) Optional Practical Training
  • General OPT Requirements
  • (CPT) Curricular Practical Training
  • Severe Economic Hardship
  • International Institutions

F-1 visa is a kind of USA student visa which is issued to most international students. Under certain conditions, Students with an F-1 visa are allowed to work in the United States, in accordance with some restrictions and complex guidelines issued by thе USCIS (United Stаtеѕ Cіtіzеnѕhір аnd Immіgrаtіоn Sеrvісе).

We have the on-campus and the off-campus employment. On-campus employment is the most freely available option to students though there are other several categories of employment available to a student with F-1 visa.

The On-campus employment is the freest category of employment without USCIS approval that is available and permitted by the USCIS regulations.

On-campus employment is the kind of employment that allow students to work inside the campus but this kind of employment opportunities are always limited in most schools. Although you can’t rely on On-campus employment to be able to meet up with all your financial needs for the year, and most times On-campus jobs are not related to your studies. Also, most of the schools do require that permission from the International Student Office must be obtained before the student can be accepted to work on-campus which such student may not be permitted to work in a student’s first semester.

F-1 students are subject to the following rules for on-campus employment:

  • As a student, you must maintain your valid F-1 status.
  • Per week student can work for up to 20 hours while school is in session
  • If a student intends to register for the next academic semester, such student can work full-time on campus during vacation periods and holidays.
  • The employment may not displace or take job away from a USA resident

There are four categories of off-campus employment which are:

  • (OPT) Oрtіоnаl Prасtісаl Training
  • Currісulаr Prасtісаl Trаіnіng (CPT)
  • Economic Hardship
    International
  • Institutions

As an international student in the USA with a valid F-1 immigration status, you are permitted to work off-campus with an OPT (optional practical training) during and after completion of your degree. All OPT (optional practical training) employment requires prior authorization from USCIS and from your school’s International Student Office.

A student can apply for OPT (optional practical training) only after being enrolled and studying for at least nine months, and also student can’t begin employment until (EAD) Employment Authorization Document from USCIS is received. OPT employment can be from anywhere in the US and as a student if the application is started early enough then it will take 90 days for USCIS to process the application.

A student must ensure to work closely with the International Student Office as the International Student Office is capable of helping maintain student status throughout their stay.

As an international student in the USA with a valid F-1 immigration status,

  • F-1 status must be maintained by the student
  • Student employment must be directly related to student’s major
  • Before completion of all work towards a degree, It is a compulsory that student must apply for OPT
  • Students are not eligible if such student has engaged in full-time (CPT) Curricular Practical Training and 12 months OPT
  • Students can work 6 months for part time and 9 months for full-time
  • Students can do 12 months of OPT before and after completing their degree

OPT before completing a degree:

While school is in session, students can only work 20 hours per week as long as such student return to school after break, Students may work full-time during breaks and summer and also after completion of all coursework.

OPT after completing a degree:

  • Student may only work 40 hours per week.
  • Within 14 months all OPT must be completed after completion of degree.
  • USCIS must receive applications for post-completion work before completion of the degree.
  • Any student who leave the country before completion of degree, may not be readmitted.

Special extension of OPT program are available to students who are employed by companies enrolled in the E-Verify program, and must be studying any of the following courses below:

  • Engineering
  • Life Sciences
  • Actuarial Science
  • Computer Science
  • Applications
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Technologies
  • Military
  • Technologies
  • Physical Sciences

CPT is an off-campus type of employment which is an integral part of the established curriculum to an alternative study and work, cooperative education, internship, or any  internship that is offered by sponsoring employers through a cooperative agreements with the school or option for F-1 students.

For a student to be qualified for CPT, such student must have some work experience in relation to his or her degree or an academic credit awarded to such student.

For a student to be eligible fоr Currісulаr Practical Training еmрlоуmеnt:

  • Such student must have been enrolled full-time in school for one year as a valid F-1 status.
  • The CPT Curricular Practical Training employment must be an integral part of your degree рrоgrаm or rеԛuіrеmеnt fоr a соurѕе for whісh you rесеіvе academic credit.
  • Student must have received a job offer that qualifies before them to submit their CPT authorization request.
  • Offer for jobs must be in student’s major field of study.
  • International Student Office must authorize all student for CPT.
  • A student who has received CPT authorization can only work for the specific date and employer which he or she is approved to work with.
  • There is no limit to how long a student can work regardless of whether such student is approved for part-time or full-time.

As defined by USCIS any F-1 student suffering severe economic hardship is eligible to work off-campus per week for up to 20 hours and full-time during breaks while school is in session.

Under severe economic hardship to a student must:

  • Be in good academic standing
  • For at least 1 academic year which is 9 months, student must be in valid F-1 status
  • Student must provide evidence of economic hardship beyond the student’s control based on unforeseen circumstances
  • Student must show that on-campus employment is either not available or sufficient
  • He or she must make a number of effort to lосаtе еmрlоуmеnt оn саmрuѕ before аррlуіng.

Examples оf Sеvеrе Eсоnоmіс Hаrdѕhір:

  • The circumstances for Severe Eсоnоmіс Hаrdѕhір  may іnсludе:
  • Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student.
  • Sudden changes in the financial condition of the student’s guardian or support
  • Inordinate increment in living costs and tuition fees
  • High fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
  • Medical bills or other substantial and unexpected expenses.
  • The student must apply for (EAD) Employment Authorization Document with the help of the Student International Office and guidance.

The International Institutions is the final category for international students in the USA on F-1 visas.

As an International Institution, to qualify for job offers an organization must be on the official State Department list. And must be a listed organizations in the Red Cross, the World Health Organization, African and Asian Development Banks,  the World Trade Organization, and many other similar but less well-known organizations.

Requirements for students to work for an international organization:

  • For a student to be employed to work for an international organization, such student must have an employment/internship with a recognized international organization. Such employment must be within the student’s field of study and the scope of the international organization’s sponsorship.
  • A student must be in good academic standing and possess a valid F-1 status for at least 1 full academic year.
  • Any student who meets the above requirements can then apply for an (EAD) Employment Authorization Document from the (USCIS) United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. A student can only resume work if only such student has received his or her Employment Authorization Document which can take up to 3 months.
GGSA Educational Consulting Agency