F -1 EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The F-I (student) visa falls in the category of nonimmigrant visas and is issued for entry into the US "temporarily and solely for the purpose of study." * The status conferred to the holder of an F-l visa, then, by its very nature, precludes employment. Nevertheless, a student may find it necessary to work in order to fulfill the purpose of the visa. For example, there may be a drastic and unforeseen change which affects the ability to fund the studies; or, a course of study may require an internship or practical, on-site training in the form of paid employment in a business, organization, or industry. The Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS), recognizing this, has for many years allowed for employment by the F-I student where necessary and justified. To remain in status, the Fl visa holder must be enrolled as a full-time student and work only as established and authorized by the INS. Currently, the rules permit these types of employment after one full academic year of full-time enrollment.
On-Campus Employment :An F-l student may work on-campus (for the university or a firm which provides services to the university) in 'work study' type employment, part-time (20 hours per week or less) while school is in session or full-time (more than 20 hours per week) during vacations or breaks. No special authorization or approval by INS is necessary for this type of work.
Employment Because of Unforeseen Economic Hardship: In order to qualify for this type of employment, the student must: demonstrate that the employment will not affect his ability to carry a full course of study; demonstrate that the employment is necessary due to an unforeseen change in his financial situation caused by circumstances beyond his control; demonstrate that on- campus employment is unavailable or that a job on campus will not pay a sufficient amount to meet the needs caused by the unforeseen circumstances. This type of work requires a recommendation by the international student advisor after careful review of the situation and certification that the conditions have been met and formal approval by the INS.
EMPLOYMENT AS TRAINING IN MAJOR FIELD TWO FIELDS
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Work required by the educational program. The student may enroll in a course which has a practical work experience requirement or a certain type of project, research, or training in business/industry/academia may be necessary for satisfactory completion of the degree or of a component of the degree. CPT most often involves part-time work during the academic year or summer internships. A letter from the employer describing the work and the dates of the training period by the OISS. There is no stated time limit for CPT, but if a student completes twelve months of full-time employment as CPT, he is not eligible for OPT (See below.)
Optional Practical Training: (OPT) The Fl student is eligible for one year (twelve months) of full-time employment in a field directly related to his major which may be completed in parts before completion of the degree. It is not necessary to have a job offer to apply for OPT. The application procedure and regulating policies for OPT are very defined. The student must submit Form 1-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), photographs, signature/fingerprint card and payment of $100.00 along with copies of a valid 1-20 form with the International Student Advisor's recommendation on page 4, Form 1-538 (Certification by Designated School Official), Form 1-94 (Arrival/Departure Record, front and back), and passport pages showing name, passport number, -and expiration date to the INS Regional Service Center corresponding to the state where the students resides.