International Student Employment

About Employment

For immigration purposes, employment is the exchange of services for any form of compensation, monetary or otherwise. Compensation can be hourly pay, a stipend, a tuition waiver, reduced rent, or a bus pass.

Federal immigration regulations limit employment for F-1 and J-1 students in terms of:

  • types of employment
  • the number of hours per week
  • length of employment

You should verify that you have authorization before beginning any form of employment.

On-Campus Employment

See our on-campus employment page for more information.

Off-Campus Employment

Students in F-1 or J-1 immigration status must receive prior authorization from ISSS (or the program sponsor, if different, for J-1 students) or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) prior to engaging in off-campus employment. The type of employment authorization you may receive will depend on the nature of the employment, your immigration status, and the relationship of the employment to your academic program.


Max Duration

Authorized by


F-1 CPT *



Required or integral internship prior to completion of studies

F-1 OPT *

12 months per degree level


Practical training in field of study, generally following completion of studies

F-1 OPT Extension for STEM Majors

24 additional months of OPT


Extension of OPT benefit for students who completed Bachelors, Masters or PhD degrees in qualifying STEM fields.

H-1B Cap-Gap Extension

6 months (for employment with companies subject to the H-1B cap)


Extension of OPT benefit to cover gap between end of OPT and start of requested/approved H-1B status.

J-1 Academic Training

18 months total for UG + Master's, 36 months for doctoral degree. Given for max amount allowed or duration of program, whichever is less.

Program Sponsor

Internship/practical training in field of study before or after completion of studies

Economic Hardship

None. Given in one-year increments

USCIS (F-1) or Program Sponsor (J-1)

Work authorization in unforeseen financial situations

More Information

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorizes an F-1 student to engage in an on- or off-campus paid training that is integral to or required for the academic program.

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Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorizes an F-1 student to engage in practical training in their major field of study for up to one year.

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Academic Training

Academic Training permits a J-1 student to engage in practical training in the field of study before or after completion of studies.

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Social Security Number

The Social Security system provides public assistance to the disabled, unemployed, and retired.

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Non-resident international students who did not work must file a Form 8843. Your tax return or form 8843 must be filed by April 18th.

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Economic Hardship

Employment authorization for economic hardship may be given when unforeseen circumstances beyond a student's control create a serious financial burden.

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