Off-campus employment requires prior approval from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). Working without authorization from the BCIS or working before authorization is approved will have serious consequences for the F-1 student.
Item 12 on your Form I-20 (page 2) clearly states that "you may engage in employment only when you have received permission to work. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in the loss of your student status and subject you to deportation."
It is the student's responsibility to comply with immigration rules and abide by university policies regarding international students.
An F1 student may be eligible to engage in temporary employment to gain some practical training in his/her field of study before and after completion of study .
Practical training is divided into two categories (before completion of studies):
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
If a student is experiencing unforeseen financial hardship, he/she may be eligible to apply for economic hardship. Work permission based on unforeseen severe hardship is available to students who have maintained lawful F-1 status for one academic year, are currently in good academic standing, can demonstrate that they have suffered an unforeseen change in their financial circumstances, and have found that on-campus work opportunities are not available or adequate. Students should make a “good faith effort” to find employment on campus.
Severe Economic Hardship is described as “loss of financial aid or non-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, unexpected changes in the financial condition of student’s source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses”.
Employment authorization based on severe economic hardship is limited to no more than 20 hours a week when school is in session and full-time during breaks and vacation.
- be in F-1 status for one academic year;
- be in good standing and carrying a full course of study; and
- demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with student’s carrying a full course of study.
To be collected by the student:
- Completed I-765 form
- Completed General Information form
- Copy of Form I-20
- Letter from student explaining the unforeseen financial circumstances with detailed supporting documentation
- Photocopies of passport (expiration date, passport number, page with visa, etc.)
- Photocopy of I-94 card (front and back)
- Cashier’s check or money order in the amount of $380.00 made payable to DHS (no personal checks)
- Two full frontal color passport pictures that are not more than 30 days old when application is filed. For more information visit the Department of State website at http://www.travel.state.gov/passport/pptphotos/index.html
If authorized, the student is issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and limited to work part-time (20 hours while school is in session) and full-time during holidays and vacations. The student cannot begin employment until he/she obtains EAD. Employment authorization is automatically terminated if the student ceases to maintain lawful status.