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Work authorization and employment

F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. There are various programs available for F-1 students to seek off-campus employment after the first academic year.

On-campus work

Working in on-Campus Employment Application Process: Foreign students in F-1 nonimmigrant status may work on campus without the approval of a USCIS. Foreign student may work on campus for up to 20 hours a week when school is in session. International students needs to complete the Form I-9 and provide the documents from the Form List A. International students needs to send the work information to the international student service.

Locations where foreign students in F-1 nonimmigrant status may work include:

  • The school's premises, including on-location commercial firms that provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or cafeteria.
  • Somewhere off campus that is educationally affiliated with the school.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration site shows the types of documents that a foreign student in F-1 nonimmigrant status may be issued and could present to an employer for Form I-9 purpose.

Participating in curricular practical training

Curricular practical training—CPT—is any alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum.

To apply the CPT, international students should provide the following documents:

  • Unexpired foreign passport
  • I-20 Form with the endorsement from International Student Service
  • Form I-94 that indicating F-1 nonimmigrant status

When completing Form I-9 for an F-1 student in CPT, in Section 2 under List A, employers should enter the student's:

  • Foreign passport number
  • Form I-94
  • Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) number and program expiration date from Form I-20

Participating in optional practical training

Optional practical training—OPT—provides a practical training experience that directly related to an F-1 student's major area of study. A foreign student in F-1 nonimmigrant status participating in OPT must obtain an EAD from USCIS before they are authorized to work. The student may not begin employment until the date indicated on the EAD. A foreign student who received a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, the students may apply for an extension of their OPT while in a period of post-completion OPT.

STEM OPT students must work for an employer that is enrolled and in good standing with E-Verify. While a STEM OPT student may change employers, the new employer must be enrolled and in good standing with E-Verify before the student begins STEM OPT employment.

To apply the OPT or OPT extension, international students need to contact International Student Services.