Foreign Students: Employment Options

Employment Options for F-1 Students:

This web-page briefly outlines the most commonly utilized employment options for foreign students. It is meant to serve as a general guide only.

On-Campus Employment:

A student in valid F-1 status may accept employment on-campus without prior approval from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The student must be enrolled in a full course of study, and the employment is limited to 20 hours per week during the semester. He/she may work fulltime between semesters, when school is not in session. Additionally, a U.S. worker may not be removed from a position in order to hire a foreign worker.

On-campus work can also be employment at an educationally affiliated off-campus location, such as contractually funded research conducted on-site with a private employer.

Off-Campus Employment based upon Economic Necessity:

The key to qualifying for this type of employment authorization is that the hardship must be due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. Normal increases in the cost of living or poor planning on the part of the student would not qualify. This type of employment requires authorization from the INS.

To qualify, an F-1 student must have been enrolled for one full academic year and be in good academic standing. Again, the employment is limited to 20 hours per week.

Practical Training:

Practical training is divided into two categories: curricular and optional. In most cases, the alien must have been in lawful status as a student for a minimum of nine consecutive months in order to qualify.

Curricular: This category includes employment that is either required by a work/study program, earns the student course credit, or is mandatory for graduation. INS approval is not needed for curricular practical training; authorization is obtained through the school. There is no limitation on the amount of curricular practical training a student may utilize. However, students who have engaged in one year or more of curricular practical training are ineligible for optional practical training.

Optional: To qualify, the employment must be directly related to the student's major field of study and can be granted for an aggregate of 12 months maximum. The training may be undertaken during or after completion of studies. Optional practical training requires approval from the school, as well as authorization from the INS. The school's foreign student advisor can provide further details in connection with obtaining optional practical training authorization.

Forms and Documents Checklist

Economic Necessity:



Practical Training:



For more information on the various employment options available, contact the school's foreign student advisor. If further information or clarification is needed, you may wish to contact Capriotti & Associates.

RO 9/95

TM 12/98

DG 4/99

NZ/KC 8/01

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The information given in this Web site is intended as general information only.
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