It’s not a secret that college costs in the US are high. At the best universities in the US, tuition and living costs could add up to around US$60,000 per year. Because of this, many international students need to work part-time to pay for their education and living costs. Of course, choosing to work part-time shouldn’t be based on how much money you need. It can be helpful for any student because it helps you build a good resume and get experience in your field.
But you should know that the US government takes working illegally very seriously. If you break the rules, you could lose your status as a student or even be deported. All of this doesn’t mean that you can’t work while you’re in school, and we’ll help you figure out how to get a work permit.
What kinds of things can you do if you have an F1 student visa?
After your F1 student visa is approved, you will be able to study in the US if you have been accepted to a university there and have taken all the steps you need to. Students in US universities, colleges, high schools, language training programs, and other academic institutions are the only ones who can get an F1 visa.
There are some rules about how international students can work in the United States. Students with F1 visas can usually work up to 20 hours a week on their university’s campus.
Talk to your school official at all times (DSO)
If you want to work part-time while you’re in school, the first thing you need to do is talk to the right person at your school (DSO).
The process should go smoothly as long as you have a valid US student visa and are doing well in school. Just talk to your DSO, and he or she will show you jobs that are open and might work for you.
A student can work in two main ways: on campus or away from campus. The second one usually doesn’t work for international students coming to the US to study, but we will talk about the requirements and limits for each one.
With a US student visa, you can work on campus
Your US student visa lets you work on campus up to 20 hours a week while classes are in session and full-time when classes aren’t in session (up to 40 hours per week).
On-campus employment is work that happens on campus or at a place off campus that is connected to the school. That could mean working in a university bookstore, cafeteria, or other place where students can help.
You can apply for this kind of job up to 30 days before classes start. Talk to your DSO about how to apply. If you are accepted, your DSO will give you an approval letter, which you will need to get a Social Security Number (SSN).
Getting a job off campus with a US student visa
If you want to work off campus, things can get a little more complicated, but F1 students can get permission to work through some training programs.
Off-campus work is, as you might guess, work that takes place away from the school. It’s not impossible to get, but only F1 students who have finished at least one full academic year of their program and have a financial hardship that meets the Department of Homeland Security’s criteria for “emergent circumstances” can get it.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) are two programs for students who want to get work experience in their field of study (CPT). Talk to your DSO about these to find out if you are eligible.
As you can see, international students can work in the US, but they need to make sure to follow all the rules and always check with their DSO. Sign up for the next free #StudyinUSA Virtual Fair and connect with US universities from the comfort of your own home to learn more about studying abroad in the US.