F1 Student Employment

Work opportunities are limited at OPSU because it is such a small campus. You may have a difficult time finding a job, however, a nonimmigrant who is permitted to engage in employment may engage only in such employment as has been authorized by BCIS (Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services). Any unauthorized employment by a nonimmigrant constitutes a failure to maintain status. While maintaining valid F-1 status, students may be employed on the campus of the school they are authorized to attend for a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session. During school breaks, students may work on campus for a maximum of 40 hours per week if otherwise eligible and intending to enroll for the next term.

All individuals working in the United States are required by the employer to show that they are eligible to accept employment. This is required for both on and off-campus employment.


An F-l student may accept employment only after obtaining a letter from their future on-campus employer. This letter is required to apply for a social security card. On-campus employment is limited to part-time (20 hours or less per week) during fall and spring semesters. It may be full-time (more than 20-hours a week) during summer and official university holidays.

To obtain permission for on-campus employment, bring the following documents to apply for a social security card:

  • Valid 1-94
  • Form 1-20
  • Valid Passport
  • Employer letter indicating permission to accept on-campus employment
  • Letter from International Coordinator verifying student status
  • Social Security Application

Off-Campus Options

Off-campus employment while on an F-1 visa is possible if you have been in F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year and meet the specific qualifications for one of the options below:

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." The training must be "an integral part of an established curriculum."

Optional Practical Training (OPT) - "temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student's major area of study."

Severe Economic Hardship - The severe economic hardship employment authorization benefit is intended to address situations where a financial need beyond the student's control arises, which was unforeseen at the time the student applied to the school he or she is currently attending and after all other potential employment opportunities have proven to be insufficient.