Student (F-1) Visa - Job Options


Employment allows students the opportunity to gain experience, interact with American business, and, where necessary, supplement family support personal resources due to changed financial need.  Can an F1 Student legally work?


Option 1: On-Campus Employment


F-1 students may be employed on-campus as long as the student works no more than 20 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-site location.  It includes employment of a type normally performed by students, such as work in the school library, cafeterias, or a student store, or employment that is part of a student's scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship.


Option 2: Off-Campus Cooperative Programs and Internships


Cooperative (or co-op) training programs are (called "curricular practical training'' by the INS) are work-study programs required as part of a student's work toward a degree.  A student cannot qualify for curricular practical, training until he or she has completed nine months of study or is enrolled in graduate studies that require immediate participation in curricular practical training.  The maximum amount of curricular or post-completion practical training is 12 months.  Thus, if the curricular practical training is 12 months in length (on a. full-time basis), the student will be ineligible for post-completion practical training.


Option 3: Pre-Completion Practical Training


Off-campus pre-completion practical training in a field related to studies is permitted for F-l students as long as the work is for no more than 20 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 12 months full-time employment available for post-completion practical training.


Option 4: Economic Hardship


Where unforeseen circumstances lead to a change in the student's economic situation, the student can obtain permission to work off-campus in any job of the student's choosing, 20 hours per week, full-time when school is not in session.  Employment based on necessity is not deducted from time allowed, for post-completion practical training, but the student must have completed one academic year in F-l status to qualify.  And, the student must be in good academic standing.


Option 5: Internship with an International Organization


An F-1 student may be granted employment authorization to work for an "international organization" that is recognized under the International Organization Immunities Act.


Option 6: Post-Completion Practical Training


An F-l student is entitled to up to one year of post-completion practical training.  However, as previously explained, students who have received one or more of full-time curricular practical training ineligible for post-completion practical train.  Note, also that time spent in pre-completion practical training is deducted from the 12-month maximum.Authorization for post-completion practical training may be granted for a maximum of 12 months and takes effect only after the student has graduated; or completed a course of study. In any event, practical training must be completed within a 14-month period following the completion of studies.  An F-1 student may be authorized to engage in post-completion practical training only once for the duration of student status, regardless of the number of degrees pursued.


Application Procedures


All categories of employment for F-l students require the cooperation of the college or university international advisor.  Additionally, the last four categegories listed here (Pre-Completion Practical Training; Severe Economic Hardship; Internship with International Organization; and Post-Completion Practical Training) require the F-1 student to apply to the INS for a work permit.  The student will need to submit a completed Form 1-765, along with a documentation of the type of employment offered and an I-20 endorsed by the school within 30 days prior to applying.  The student may work only after the INS issues the work permit.