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Working in the USA

During study :

On-Campus Employment

F-l students may work in any on-campus job which is limited to 20 hrs/week during the semester and full time is permitted during vacation periods. No special work permission is needed to begin working.

Off-Campus Employment

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Students holding F-1 status are eligible for CPT only after having been enrolled full-time for one academic year and before completing the degree program. Exceptions are available for graduate students whose programs require immediate curricular training.

The CPT must be considered an integral part of the established program curriculum. It may be part-time or full-time depending on the curriculum requirements.

The student must have an offer of employment from a curriculum-approved CPT employer .

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

International students are eligible to apply for OPT after one full academic year of full-time study. Before beginning work, the student must apply for and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the DHS ( Department of Homeland ) with the assistance of the university. The student may work on or off-campus as long as the practical training is directly related to the student’s program of study as confirmed by a written recommendation from the student’s academic advisor. Employment may take place before program completion for up to 20 hours per week. However, the student must maintain a full course of study. Full-time OPT is allowed after completion of the student’s required courses.

OPT is allowed for a cumulative maximum of twelve months. However, use of previous full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for OPT. Students must apply for OPT prior to completing their course requirements up to a maximum of 90 days in advance of completion.

After finishing study:

Once you have finished your study you can switch to following category

  • Optional Practical Training on an F-1 Visa ( as above)
  • Non-Immigrant H3 Visa (Trainee)
  • Non-Immigrant H-1B Visa Specialty Occupation
  • Non-Immigrant R-1 Visa Religious Worker
  • Non-Immigrant E1/E2 Visa
  • Non-Immigrant L-1 Visa
  • Non-Immigrant Obtaining a Green Card
  • Employment Based Immigration