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  • Work While You Study Options in the USA

    Work While You Study Options in the USA
    Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    International students currently studying in the United States of America have the option of taking up work while studying. However,  job opportunities is limited by the terms of the visa. Students should be thorough with the restrictions and requirements imposed by their visa.

    US Employment Rules for International Students with F1 Visa

    F1 Visa is the most common type of visa granted to international students. It is the non-immigrant visa given by the US to students only. While students holding F1 visa can take up employment in the US, they are subject to certain conditions.

    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or the USCIS has a complicated set of restrictions and guidelines for employment opportunities to F1 Visa holders. All job opportunities are dependent on the terms of the visa. There are quite a few categories of employment options that can be availed by F1 students in the USA.

    On-Campus Employment

    USCIS is liberal about on-campus employment. In this case, the student does not have to get an approval from USCIS. However, these employment opportunities are rather limited at a majority of schools and are generally not related to the student's course of study. Some schools also require the student to get a permit from the International Student Office before accepting a job.

    Work performed on the premises and campus of the school or institution, directly for the school is considered on-campus employment. The prerequisites for a student to get on-campus jobs are:

    • A valid F1 status

    • The employment of the international student should not end up taking away the job of a US resident.

    • Students can work for a maximum of 20 hours per week when the school session

    • Students intending to register for the following academic semester can work full-time during vacations and holidays.

    Optional Practical Training

    • International students can work off-campus under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) status. This can be taken up during the degree or after its completion. Students have to obtain an authorization from the USCIS and the International Student Office of the school before taking up this option. The prerequisites for the OPT option are:

    • The job must be directly related to the major chosen by the student.

    • F1 status must be maintained during the employment period.

    • The application for OPT must be submitted during the course of their degrees.

    • If the students have already completed a minimum of one year of full-time curricular practical training, they will not be considered eligible for OPT opportunities.

    • Students can work for a maximum of 12 months in OPT full-time. However, if a student has worked part-time for  six months then he/she can work full-time for nine more months as perthe OPT.

    It is now possible for students to extend their OPT period if they are pursuing certain courses and are employed by companies participating in the E-Verify programme.

    There are numerous employment opportunities available for international students with the F1 Visa. They include Curricular Practical Training. Students who are economically weak have a different set of rules.

    Working with the International Student Office of their schools or universities will enable the students to get a clearer understanding of the employment opportunities available for them and the various procedures involved therein.

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