For F1 students, there are two ways to get an off-campus job.

  • Economic Need
  • Practical Training

Economic Necessity Work Permission (F-1 & J-1)

You can seek a work permit from the INS allowing you to work off-campus if you experience “severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond [your] control.”

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must have completed one full academic year (nine months) and be in good academic standing.
  • You must get a recommendation from a designated school official in favor of work authorization.
  • You must complete an elaborate application form – with supporting documentation (for example, proof of a substantial change in the value of your country’s currency, the loss of a graduate assistantship, or unexpected medical expenses).
  • You are not required to have a job offer.
  • The type of work is also not limited to your field of studies.
  • You may work up to 20 hours per week during the semester, and full-time during summer vacation or school breaks, if you are regeitered for the next term.

Economic necessity work permission is difficult to obtain, since as an international student, you must have proven that you are in good financial standing before obtaining your student visa. Also, if you travel outside the U.S. after this work permission has been approved, the INS will require a new I-20 to be issued to show the change in your financial resources.

Practical Training

You are eligible to work off-campus for a period of up to twelve months in order to enrich your educational program. The work must be related to your major field of study and appropriate for your level of education. This means that an English major cannot apply for practical training in order to work as a computer programmer.

There are two types of practical training, and a related academic training program. Click on each to learn more:

  • Curricular Practical Training
  • Optional Practical Training
  • Academic Training (J1 Students Only)