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