The main thing you must know and understand about employment while you are in the United States – ask. Whatever you are considering – part-time, full-time, volunteer, OPT, CPT – ask.
Provided they meet specific criteria, guidelines, and deadlines, international students may be eligible to seek employment on- and off-campus both during and after completion of their degree. Most employment options are highly regulated and no two situations are exactly the same. As a result, any student interested in working on- or off-campus at any point in their college career, must first see the International Student Advisor for authorization.
International students have the following employment options:
International students are eligible for on-campus employment as long as they remain full-time students in good standing. Any international student interested in on-campus employment must first speak with their International Student Advisor before beginning any on-campus position.
International students have several options if they wish to pursue off-campus employment:
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
International students may participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) when it is an integral part of the students’ curriculum, such as an internship or co-op. This means that the CPT must be required by the curriculum or the student must receive academic credit for the experience. Students interested in this opportunity must speak with their International Student Advisor to receive approval and ensure they maintain their status.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows international students to take on additional relevant employment that is directly related to their major field of study. Students normally take OPT after they graduate. Additionally, students in STEM fields may see extensions to the length of time they are eligible to work and stay in the United States on OPT. OPT requires approval from the International Student Advisor as well as the Department of Homeland Security and can take upwards of 3 months to receive approval. If a student wishes to complete OPT, they must start the approval process early.
King’s Career Services office provides resources and can help connect students with employers provide CPT and OPT opportunities. Consulting with Career Services in conjunction with their International Student Advisor is vital to their successful completion of CPT or OPT.
Furthermore, Career Services can provide helpful advice, resources, and strategies for a successful career after graduation and / or completion of a CPT or OPT.
As an F-1 student, you must provide evidence of your ability to financially support yourself. Sometimes, however, situations change and If you find yourself, through no fault of your own, unable to support yourself with the finances stipulated in your I-20, you may qualify for an economic hardship and be eligible to work off-campus. These circumstances may include the following:
- Loss of financial aid due to no fault of the student
- Loss of on-campus employment if it is not the student’s fault and no other on-campus job is available
- Large increase in tuition or living costs
- Substantial decrease in the relative value of the currency that the student depends upon to pay expenses
- Unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s sources of financial support
- Unexpectedly large medical bills
- Other substantial, unexpected expenses