What is Employment?
Employment is any type of work performed or service provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefits, regardless of the name which is given (e.g. internship, short-term contract, scholarship, helping out at a family business, etc.) F-1 students may not work without authorization. If the Designated School Official (DSO) becomes aware that an F-1 international student is working illegally, he/she is required by law to report the offense to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Employment Categories for F-1 Students:
F-1 students are eligible to work (in accordance with immigration regulations) on campus for a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session. When school is not in session during winter and summer breaks, students can work more than 20 hours per week provided that they are registered for the next required semester.
Learn more about on-campus employment
To work off-campus, students must have written work authorization in the form of
- a notation on the I-20 form authorizing employment signed by the Designated School Official, or
- an Employment Authorization Document from DHS
- To request off-campus employment, students must
- hold F-1 status at the time of application, and
- have been a full-time student (there are some exceptions) for one full academic year
Learn more about types of Off-Campus Employment.