International Student Employment

While F-1 students are studying in the U.S., they may wish to work. Whether it is to gain experience in their field of study, earn money, or another reason, F-1 students may work on or off campus. However, they are not permitted to work at will in any job they choose. All international student employment must be approved by either the PDSO/DSO and/or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), depending on the type of employment. Types of employment include:

On-Campus Employment

On-campus employment is a job that is on Adrian College’s campus and paid for by Adrian College. F-1 students may work up to (but no more than) 20 hours per week on campus while school is in session. As a reminder, not complying with these regulations may be a violation of status that could result in the F-1 student having to leave the U.S.

Off-Campus Employment

Off-campus employment is a job that is not on Adrian College’s campus and is paid for by an entity other than Adrian College. There are two types of off-campus employment:

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT): F-1 students enrolled at Adrian College whose program of study requires training outside of the classroom may apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. F-1 students must have been in F-1 status for 1 academic year before they are eligible.
  • Off-campus employment opportunities may be granted to F-1 students (with proper authorization) who are:
    • Experiencing an economic hardship,
    • Seeking special student relief due to emergent circumstances, or
    • Participating in an internship with an international organization

Experiencing an economic hardship is classified as, "A financial condition caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control that make it difficult for a student to continue education in the United States." Emergent circumstances for student relief include famine, war, economic downturn, etc. in the student's home country. An international organization must be a public entity that falls within the International Organization Immunities Act.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work done for an off-campus employer in an F-1 student’s field of study, usually following graduation. F-1 students may request that the PDSO/DSO recommends them for Optional Practical Training (OPT). 

Students may apply to receive 12 months of OPT at each degree level, most commonly used after the completion of that degree. F-1 students must apply for OPT two months prior to completing their degree. OPT is automatically terminated when students transfer to another school or begin study at a different academic level. Students on OPT are still responsible for notifying the PDSO/DSO of changes in their biographic information as well as changes in employer or employment status. Something to note: applying for OPT does not guarantee approval or automatically deem the F-1 student eligible to remain in the U.S. past their 60-day grace period when they complete their program of study. 


Unauthorized Work

Any work outside of the parameters listed above may be considered unauthorized work. Unauthorized work is a violation of F-1 student status. If this occurs, the F-1 student will be immediately ineligible for the usual benefits afforded to them under F-1 status, including reinstatement after their I-20 is terminated. 

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