F-1 Student Employment Alternatives

Center for International Education

F-1 Student Employment Alternatives


1. How soon am I eligible to work on campus?
2. What is considered to be on campus employment?
3. What do I need to do to get on campus employment permission?
4. What about graduate assistantships?
5. How many hours can I work on campus?
6. What is Economic Hardship work permission?
7. How do I qualify?
8. What are unforeseen circumstances beyond control?
9. Do I need a job offer in order to apply for Severe Economic Hardship?
10. What items must I present to OISS in order to gain permission for applying?
11. Does the Office of International Students and Scholars process the application?
12. How many work hours can I work with Severe Economic Hardship Employment?
13. What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
14.What if my department doesn't offer internships/practicum as part of my program?
15. Do I need a job offer in order to apply for Curricular Practical Training approval?
16. How many hours a week can I work on CPT?
17. What items must I present to OISS in order to apply?
18. Does the Office of International Students and Scholars process the application?
19. What is Optional Pre-Completion Practical Training?
20. How long do I have to be in USA to be eligible?
21.Is there just one form of Optional Pre-Completion Practical Training?
22. Do I need a job to get the work permission?
23. Will I still be able to have the optional POST-completion practical training?
24. How many hours can I work with Pre-Completion OPT?
25. What Items must I present to OISS in order to gain permission for applying for OPT?
26. Does the Office of International Students & Scholars authorize my work permission?
27. What is post completion practical training?
28. What are the eligibility requirements?
29. What is the completion date?
30. How much post completion training am I allowed?
31. I did Post-Completion Practical Training after my previous degree. Can I do it again?
32. Do I need to have a job to get this work permission?
33. What items do I need to take to the OISS?
34. Does OISS authorize my work permission?

F-1 Visas (ON CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT)

How soon am I eligible to work on campus?

As an F-1 student, you may apply for permission to work on campus (at WPU) provided you have been authorized to attend WPU by the U.S. Government AND you are enrolled as a full time student. There is no minimum time requirement in the US. Students can seek on campus employment as early as 30 days prior to start of classes. However work cannot begin until a student has applied and received a Social Security Number. (WPU internal policy)

What is considered to be on campus employment?

On campus employment is working directly for an office at WPU (such as your academic department or library).

OR

Working for a commercial firm that is contracted by WPU which provides direct services to the University (such as the Bookstore or Dining Services) can also be considered on campus employment. When offered employment from these departments, please come to the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) prior to accepting employment.

OR

There is one specific case when on campus employment may take place at a non-WPU site. This is if a company/agency has funded a research project with a professor(s) that is directly related to your studies, but the check for compensation is issued through the research grant. The site may also be located off campus if it is educational affiliated with WPU and, if it is appropriate for your degree level and if your supervisor at WPU directly supervises the work. When offered employment from these outside funded projects, please seek advice from the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) prior to accepting employment.

What do I need to do to get on campus employment permission?

An F-1 student will need to bring his/her current I-20 and employment offer letter to the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). The OISS will confirm your full time enrollment (12 credits for undergraduates and 9 credits for graduates) in the computer system. If you do not have a social security number, you will have to apply for one (this can take up to 6 weeks). You will also have to fill out an I-9 form for your employer (WPU hiring department).

What about graduate assistantships?

If your assistantship is listed on your I-20 the hiring department will process the I-9 paperwork for you, however you are still required to have a Social Security Number prior to starting employment. If the graduate assistantship was not included on your I-20 form, you need to bring your proof of graduate assistantship (award letter) to OISS, so that the adjustment can be made on your I-20 form. You will also be required to have a Social Security Number and fill out an I-9 form for your employer (WPU hiring department).

How many hours can I work on campus?

You may work part time, up to twenty (20) hours per week, during the school year (while classes are in session) and during annual vacations (winter break, spring break and summer break) you may work full time, up to forty (40) hours per week. On campus employment ends with the completion of your studies (you may not work during the 60 days grace period). Please note that none of these regulations are flexible.


F-1 SEVERE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP WORK PERMISSION

 What is Economic Hardship work permission?

It is the type of employment authorized for F-1 Students who have had severe and unforeseen economic hardship. However, work cannot begin until a student has applied and received an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

How do I qualify?

You must: be a F-1 Student for one full academic year, currently enrolled in a full course load, be in good academic standing, demonstrate that employment will not interfere with course work, show proof that employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control and that on campus employment is either unavailable or not sufficient to meet your personal/family expenses.

What are unforeseen circumstances beyond control?

You will be required to submit supporting information (proof) that your economic hardship is beyond your control and/or unexpected. Some examples include substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, loss of graduate assistantship at no fault of your own, or inordinate increases in tuition or living costs. You will need to write a letter explaining your situation. Supporting information can come from websites, news articles, the Office of Graduate Studies (in case of non renewal of a graduate assistantship).

Do I need a job offer in order to apply for Severe Economic Hardship? NO

What items must I present to OISS in order to gain permission for applying?  

  • Unofficial transcript and current registration
  • Copy of every I-20 that was issued to you (here and at other colleges/universities)
  • Passport and I-94
  • 2 Passport Photos
  • Form I-765
  • Personal Check or Money Order for $340 payable to USCIS (new fee, effective July 30, 2007)

Does the Office of International Students and Scholars process the application?

No, the OISS recommends the work authorization by issuing a new SEVIS I-20 with an endorsement for Severe Economic Employment. You are then responsible to send the entire application via certified mail/return receipt to the USCIS Vermont Service Center. USCIS reviews the application and authorizes or denies the request. Within 2-3 months you will be notified and if approved you will be sent an EAD card specifying permission to work due to Economic Hardship. EAD’s are approved for up to one year at a time.

How many hours can I work with Severe Economic Hardship Employment?

You may work part time, up to twenty (20) hours per week, during the school year (while classes are in session). During annual vacations (winter break, spring break and summer break) you may work full time, up to forty (40) hours per week.

 YOU MAY NOT BEGIN LEGAL EMPLOYMENT UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN ISSUED AN EAD CARD!


CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)? `

It is work in your field of study, which is considered to be an integral part of the curriculum. This work experience must fit into one of the two following categories:

  • First: the work experience can be an internship. An internship means the work component is a required part of your program and that you are receiving credit(s) in addition to other compensation (money, traveling costs, etc.).
  • Second: the work experience can be a practicum. This is a non-credit work experience that your department requires of all degree candidates. You receive compensation other than credits for your degree program.

However, please note that work cannot begin until a student has received an endorsed I-20 form.

* Some departments require working experience outside WPU where students receive credit with no compensation/money (Education majors do both a practicum and student teaching experience for credit with no pay). This is the same as taking a course and you do not need to be approved for CPT, however we advise you to check with the Office of International Students & Scholars to ensure that this does not constitute a violation of status.

What if my department doesn’t offer internships/practicum as part of my program?

If your department does not offer internships or practicum as part of your degree program, you will NOT be able to pursue this type of employment. Because CPT is directly linked to the curriculum of your degree granting department, not every F-1 student at WPU will be eligible for this opportunity. Please refer to Information on Pre Completion of studies OPT for another option.

Do I need a job offer in order to apply for Curricular Practical Training approval?

YES, you need a job offer and job details should be described in a letter from your academic department or prospective employer. Please see the CPT Packet for a detailed explanation.

How many hours a week can I work on CPT?

CPT may be authorized on a part time (20 hours or less per week) or full time (more than 20 hours per week) for a semester. If you need two semesters, you need to get permission each semester. While on CPT you must still be registered for a full course load (12 credits minimum). Please note that if you work 12 months or more of full time CPT, you will forfeit all post completion practical training (OPT).

What items must I present to OISS in order to apply? (Please see CPT packet for details)

  • Unofficial transcript and current registration
  • Every I-20 ever issued to you
  • Passport and I-94
  • An approval letter from you academic advisor
  • A letter from you prospective employer with an offer of employment including beginning and ending date

Does the Office of International Students and Scholars process the application?

Yes, the OISS reviews all the paperwork to determine CPT permission. If approved a new SEVIS I-20 with a CPT endorsement will be issued and OISS will notify USCIS of your CPT.

You may not begin legal CPT until it has been authorized by OISS & USCIS has been notified.

Optional Practical Training (Pre-Completion)

 What is Optional Pre-Completion Practical Training?

It is employment in your field of study, which may be a maximum of 12 months full time. F-1 students may engage in this employment prior to completing his/her studies. However work cannot be started until a student has applied and received an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

How long do I have to be in USA to be eligible?

You must have been in valid F-1 status for at least nine months (one academic year) at the time of application.

Is there just one form of Optional Pre-Completion Practical Training?

No, there are three types: During your annual vacation, after completing all course work (but still working on the thesis/project/dissertation) and during the academic year while pursuing a full time course load.

Do I need a job to get the work permission? NO

Will I still be able to have the optional POST-completion practical training?

You are eligible for a maximum of 12 months of optional practical training. This total includes BOTH pre-completion and post-completion. For example, if you were authorized three months of pre-completion work during the summer, you would only be eligible for nine months of post-completion practical training.

 How many Hours can I work with Pre Completion OPT?

You may work part time, up to twenty (20) hours per week, during the school year (while classes meet). During annual vacations (winter break, spring break and summer break) you may work full time, up to forty (40) hours per week. This is not flexible.

What items must I present to OISS in order to gain permission for applying for OPT?

  • Your original I-20
  • Unofficial transcript and current registration
  • Valid Passport and I-94 card
  • A letter from your academic Advisor or Department Chair
  • 2 passport photos
  • Form I-765
  • Personal Check or Money Order for $340 payable to USCIS (new fee, effective July 30, 2007)

 

Does the Office of International Students & Scholars authorize my work permission?

NO, the OISS recommends the work permission by issuing a new SEVIS I-20 OPT endorsement. You are then responsible to send the entire application via certified mail/return receipt to the USCIS Vermont Service Center. USCIS reviews the application and authorizes or denies the request. Within 2-3 months you will be notified and if approved you will be sent an EAD card specifying permission to work for OPT.

YOU MAY NOT BEGIN LEGAL EMPLOYMENT UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN ISSUED AN EAD CARD!

Optional Practical Training (Post-Completion)

What is post completion practical training?

It is employment directly related to your field of study, following the completion of your academic degree. If planning to travel on Post Completion OPT, seek advice from OISS.

What are the eligibility requirements?

You most have been in valid F-1 status at least nine moths. You must have completed – or about to complete your degree. Finally there is a regulated deadline to apply – the earliest is 90 days before completing your studies AND THE LATEST IS THE COMPLETION DATE LISTED ON YOUR I-20. However work cannot be started until a student has received a Social Security Number.

What is the completion date?

It is the earliest date our department can verify you have finished all coursework, any project / thesis / dissertation for the degree. IT IS NOT YOUR GRADUATION DATE , which is a date when WPU formally recognizes those who have recently completed their studies.

How much post completion training am I allowed?

You era eligible for a maximum of 12 months. However, any optional practical training you did will be deducted from the twelve months possible total. For example, if you had three months of pre-completion, you would only be entitled to nine months of post completion. Finally, if you did 12 months or more of full time curricular practical training, you would not be eligible for any post completion practical training.

I did Post-Completion Practical Training after my previous degree. Can I do it again?

Yes, you are eligible for 12 months of practical training for each level of education. However if you decide to pursue 2 bachelors degrees you only get 12 months. If you complete a bachelors, you receive 12 months of OPT and then you pursue a masters degree you will receives another 12 months of OPT.

Do I need to have a job to get this work permission? NO

What items do I need to take to the OISS?

  • Your original I-20
  • Unofficial transcript and current registration
  • Valid Passport and I-94 card
  • A letter from your academic Advisor or Department Chair
  • 2 Passport Photos
  • Form I-765
  • Personal Check or Money Order for $340 payable to USCIS (new fee, effective July 30, 2007)

Does OISS authorize my work permission?

NO, the OISS recommends the work permission by issuing a new SEVIS I-20 OPT endorsement. You are then responsible to send the entire application via certified mail/return receipt to the USCIS Vermont Service Center before the end of your last semester of enrollment. USCIS reviews the application and authorizes or denies the request. Within 2-3 months you will be notified and if approved you will be sent an EAD card specifying permission to work for OPT.

 YOU MAY NOT BEGIN LEGAL EMPLOYMENT UNTIL YOU HAVE BEEN ISSUED AN EAD CARD!

Click Here To Apply for OPT

Click Here To Apply for CPT

Click Here To Download Economic Hardship permission