Employment Options for International Students on F-1 Visas
Employment Option – Employment on campus
Description – Employment on campus with the school itself or with an independent company serving the school’s needs
Eligibility – F-1 status
Limitations – Max 20 hours per week during school year, full time during vacation periods.
Authorization – Not required
Employment Option – Employment based on economic need
Description – Employment after one year of study if there has been an unforeseen change in your financial position (such as your country’s currency, loss of a scholarship, large tuition increase, etc.)
Eligibility – F-1 status for at least one academic year, good academic standing, continued student status, unforeseen financial hardship, and/or inability to find campus employment
Limitations – Max 20 hours per week during school year, full time during vacation periods; permission granted for one year at a time.
Authorization – By USCIS
Employment Option – Curricular practical training (CPT)
Description – Employment as part of a student’s educational experience, offered by an employer through agreement with the school.
Eligibility – F-1 status for at least nine months; (which can be waived for graduate student under certain circumstances), and/or continued student status.
Limitations – Limited to internships, co-op education, alternate work/study programs, required practicums.
Authorization – By designated school official
Employment Option – Optional practical training (OPT)
Description – Employment for up to one year after graduation in a job related to your field of study; OPT may start before graduation under specific circumstances.
Eligibility – F-1 status for at least nine months; need not to have offer of employment.
Limitations – Not eligible if you have already worked for at least one year in CPT; OPT can only be for full time jobs.
Authorization – By USCIS and the designated school official
Employment Option – Employment through H-1B visa
Description – Temporary employment through H-1B visas for specialty workers; sponsoring employers must have documents on file with the U.S department of Labor certifying, among other things, that they will offer the employee on H-1B visa at least the prevailing wage paid in the same geographic area for the same type of job.
Eligibility – Must have the offer of a specialty job from a qualified employer; must have the correct background for the job, incl. At least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience.
Limitations – Eligibility to work only for the H-1b sponsor; visa granted for up to three years at a time, subject to a maximum of six years.
Authorization – By USCIS