Off-campus employment without proper authorization is illegal and will result in termination of your F-1 status.
Working On Campus
- You are limited to 20 hours per week on-campus when school is in session at the school that issued the I-20
- You can accept a job paid by MBU (hourly or institutional aid. NOT Federal Work Study)
- You may work more than 20 hours per week when school is not in session (and you are not enrolled full-time over the summer)
Where do I look for a job?
Please look at Handshake for current job opportunities.
Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a type of work authorization granted to F-1 students by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to work in their field of study. F-1 students are eligible to apply
- After one full academic year of full-time enrollment
- If they have maintained their F-1 status
A maximum period of 12 months per degree level can be granted. Students can choose to use OPT while they are completing their program of study (Pre-completion OPT) or after graduation (Post-completion OPT). Students are eligible for an additional 12 months with each higher degree level.
How to Apply
- You must attend an OPT workshop to obtain the OPT packet and learn about the application process. OPT workshops are offered multiple times at the start of each Fall and Spring semester. Contact the Office of International Experiences for more information.
- Gather all of the required documents.
- Schedule an appointment with the Director of International Experiences to request OPT authorization in SEVIS.
- Submit your application to USCIS.
When to Apply
- Students applying for OPT prior to completion of studies can submit the application 90 days prior to being enrolled for one full academic year.
- Students applying for Post-completion OPT can submit the application 90 days prior to the date of program completion.
- Applications for OPT following completion of studies must be filed prior to the end of the 60-day grace period following graduation.
More information regarding OPT can be found here.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training [CPT] is a form of employment authorization that allows F-1 students to work off-campus in practicum or internships, which are required for a course or the student’s major. The requirements of CPT are:
- The internship/practicum/research must be directly related to the student’s field of study
- The practical experience must be an integral part of the academic program and/or curriculum.
- Full-time enrollment for at least one academic year prior to beginning CPT.
How to Apply
- Enroll in the course that requires an internship or practicum.
- Meet with your academic advisor to complete the Curricular Practical Training Recommendation Form (contact Office of International Experiences).
- Submit all necessary paperwork to the Director of International Experiences for approval.
- You will be given a new Form I-20 with the CPT authorization.
When to Apply
Schedule an appointment with the Office of International Experiences at least two weeks before your internship or practicum is scheduled to begin.
Federal Immigration Regulations state, “If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request off-campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.”
To qualify for Economic Hardship work authorization, a student must meet the following conditions:
- Have experienced hardship due to a reason listed in the immigration regulations. These include, “loss of financial and/or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.
- Enrolled for one academic year of full-time enrollment.
- Are maintaining their F-1 status.
How to Apply
Please contact the Office of International Experiences to apply for Severe Economic Hardship work authorization.