On-Campus Employment:

F-1 Students are generally permitted to work part-time on the premises of the school that issued their currently valid I-20, while they are attending that school and maintaining their F-1 status, although subject to some restrictions.

On-campus employment:

  • Can be used throughout period student is pursuing a full course of study
  • Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; can be full-time during school breaks
  • Once you have obtained an offer of employment, you must have your employer write you a formal offer letter for social security card obtainment purposes. It should include:

    • Employment start date
    • Position title (student aide, tutor)
    • The name of the department you will be working for
    • Estimated number of hours you will be working


    Supervisor's signature and phone number

    **You then must bring this letter to the ISS Office before to going to the Social Secuirty Office**


  • Initial entry students cannot begin work sooner than 30 days prior to the actual start of classes.

Please call Human Resources 292-2110 for on-campus employment opportunities.

Curricular Practical Training

It is defined as alternate/work study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school; an F-1 student needs to obtain authorization for practical training from the DSO.

  • Must be an integral part of an established curriculum, in the student's course of study
  • An F-1 student must have completed one full academic year with a full course load to be eligible for CPT.
  • Student must be in lawful F-1 status
  • Can engage in CPT before the completion of the educational object.
  • Students may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location, and period approved and recorded by the DSO in SEVIS.
  • Approved in increments of no more than one year- there is no cumulative maximum.
  • Must have an offer of employment from an employer offering work that qualifies as CPT.
  • Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training.
  • Must continue to maintain a full-course of study in F-1 status during the period of employment.
  • Must receive written authorization from DSO, who records authorization in SEVIS and issues SEVIS I-20 with notation before work begins. USCIS approval is not required.

Optional Practical Training

The temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student's major area of study. This option is available both before and after completion of the educational objective, but different rules apply to pre- and post-completion OPT; has to be authorized by DSO and USCIS.

  • An F-1 student must have completed one full academic year with a full course load to be eligible for OPT.
  • Must be directly related to and commensurate with the level of the student's course of study.
  • Student may not begin OPT until authorized by the USCIS, and after the date on their employment authorization document, Form I-766.
  • Total period of authorized OPT may not exceed 12 months.
  • Limited to 20 hrs/week for pre-completion OPT done while school is in session and the student still has coursework to complete.
  • Post-completion OPT must be requested prior to completion of study or the degree requirements!!!
  • 12 months must be used within 14 months of completion of course of study.

OPT is automatically terminated when student transfers to another

Checklist: Application for optional practical training

  • Form I-765 marked with code "(c) (3) (B)" at item 16
  • I-765 filing fee; $410.00 check or money order made out to DHS (Department of Homeland Security)
  • 2 ADIT style passport photos
  • Copies of all previously issued I-20 forms
  • Student's I-20 with page 3 including DSO's recommendation for OPT.
  • Copy of both sides of the student's I-94 arrival/departure card.
  • Copy of ID pages from student's passport. For applications for work authorization renewal a photocopy of the previously issued EAD card.
  • SEND to: USCIS, Vermont Service Center, 70 Lower Welden St., St. Albans, VT 05479

Employment with an International Organization:

This F-1 employment benefit allows the F-1 student to work for recognized international organizations within the meaning of the International Organization Immunities Act [59 Stat. 669] Your DSO has a list of the organizations that qualify, currently there are no certified international organizations in the Rochester area.

  • There is no 1 academic year waiting period.
  • Can be approved for full-time employment.
  • Must have a written offer of employment from a qualifying international organization.
  • Must apply for EAD from USCIS and receive EAD before employment begins.
  • Must continue to maintain a full-course of study in F-1 status during the period of employment.

Severe Economic Hardship

This F-1 employment benefit is intended to address situations where financial need beyond the student's control arises, which was unforeseen at the time the student applied to the school he/she is currently attending and after all other potential employment opportunities have proven to be insufficient.


  • Must have been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year.
  • Must prove to the USCIS that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship.


  • Granted by the USCIS in increments of 1 year at a time.
  • Authorization ends if the student transfers schools.
  • Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session.
  • Can be any job
  • Does not count towards the 20 hour on-campus maximum, nor does it affect eligibility for practical training.
  • Application cost $410