Employment in the US
As an international student in F-1 or J-1 status, it is very important that you understand the regulations regarding work authorization. If you have any questions, please contact the International Center for assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.768.4870.
International students in F-1 and J-1 immigration status are authorized to work on campus (excluding work-study positions) for a maximum of 20 hours per week during fall and spring semesters (and up to 40 hours per week during summer, spring, and winter break). Students in other immigration categories may be eligible to work if they have US employment authorization.
Once you obtain employment on-campus, you will need a Social Security Number if you don’t already have one. You will need to work with the International Center to prepare the necessary paperwork to submit to the Social Security Office. Additionally, J-1 students will need to request permission from the International Center prior to starting any employment.
Before accepting an off-campus internship or job you will need to be certain your F-1 or J-1 immigration status allows you to begin. Working off-campus without prior authorization is illegal. You must work with the International Center to ensure you maintain your legal status.
Off-campus work permission is rather limited for F-1/J-1 students and certain employment authorizations can often take months to be approved.
The most common types of student work permission are for practical training related to your major/degree:
- F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT): authorization for an internship or placement that is a necessary part of your academic program
- F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT): to gain practical experience in your major field of study, not required by your academic program
- F-1 STEM Extension of OPT: an extension of Optional Practical Training, available only if your major field is on a designated list of specialized majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and if you are training a qualified employer
- J-1 Academic Training (AT): to gain practical experience in your major field of study