Employment for Students on F-1 Visas

International students on F-1 visas can seek on-campus employment if the position meets the criteria described below. Contact International Student Services at iss@ou.edu.

There are two components for qualified on-campus employment for F-1 students:

  1. There are limits on the type and location of the employment as described on the tabs above.
  2. Employment is limited to jobs that do not displace a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
    • See U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement's FAQs about Basic Guidelines for On-campus employment.

F-1 students may engage in employment on the campus they are authorized to attend (indicated in Section 2 of the I-20 Form) for a maximum of 20 hours per week during normal enrollment periods and up to 40 hours per week during the summer or other officially recognized school breaks. No special authorization from the USCIS is necessary in order to engage in on-campus employment. F-1 students may also engage in on-campus employment at an off-campus location.

Before completion of studies, F-1 students may engage in employment (on-campus or off-campus) that directly relates to their major field of study via Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT is granted by the student’s Designated School Official (DSO) and the Form I-20 is endorsed with the dates the student is eligible to work, as well as the number of hours per week.  A student with CPT must present an original Form I-20 indicating CPT approval to an intended employer before employment may lawfully commence.  CPT can be divided into two categories:

  1. An internship/practicum that is a required part of the program curriculum
  2. A training program that is not required but is integral to one's program of study and for which academic credit is received. Employment may be part-time (20 hrs per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hrs per week). Off-campus locations may be approved by the student's DSO.  NOTE: F-1 students who engage in full-time CPT for 12 months or more will forfeit their period of Optional Practical Training (see tab above) following completion of studies.

F-1 students may be authorized to engage in employment (on-campus or off-campus) that is directly related to their major fields of study through Optional Practical Training (OPT).The maximum amount of time an F-1 student may engage in OPT is 12 months. The student is limited to working in the field in which they received a degree.  For example, an international student with an accounting degree could work in a bank setting. However, the student with an accounting degree would be prohibited from working as a librarian.

OPT can be divided into four categories:

  1. Part-time or full-time work in their field of study during the student's annual vacation period and at other times when school is not in session if the student is currently enrolled and eligible and intends to register for the next term.
  2. Work in their field of study taking place while school is in session, provided the employment does not exceed 20 hours per week.
  3. Full-time work after completion of all course requirements for a degree in their field of study (excluding thesis or the equivalent).
  4. Full-time work after completion of the entire course of study. 

NOTE: F-1 students who have engaged in full-time "Curricular Practical Training" for 12 months or more are ineligible for OPT.  

ATTENTION: Students engaging in OPT CANNOT begin work until they receive approval from their DSO and subsequent authorization by the USCIS  in the form of a valid  Employment Authorization Card (EAD). F-1 students may also apply for an EAD based on economic hardship.

If you are a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) student requesting a 17-month extension of your currently authorized optional practical training (OPT), you must also submit a copy of your degree reflecting the conferred degree as well as your major field of study. In addition, the employer with whom you are seeking the 17-month OPT extension must be registered in E-Verify. You must list the employer's E-Verify Company Identification Number or a valid E-Verify Client Company Identification Number in Item 17 of the Form I-765. Please refer to the section on Foreign Students in the form instructions.

Documents for F-1 STEM Students - OPT
These forms are used by F-1 STEM Students applying for Optional Practical Training.
HR983 TRAINING PLAN FOR STEM OPT STUDENTS
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa
HR983E REQUEST FOR I-983E EVALUATION
Campus: Norman, OUHSC, Tulsa