Students and Employment

Work Opportunities for F-1 Students

On-Campus Employment: Students present in F-1 status may work in on-campus employment positions that provide direct services to students for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session subject to certain restrictions.

After the first academic year, F-1 students may engage in the following off-campus employment opportunities, each of which must be (1) related to their area of study and (2) authorized by the Designated School Official:

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT): An alternative work-study, internship, cooperative education or other type of required internship or practicum directly related to the student’s major area of study and offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. The CPT placement must be part of the school’s established curriculum.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT): A practical training experience directly related to the student’s major area of study. Students must obtain work authorization from USCIS prior to engaging in OPT. Students on OPT may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session or full time during times when school is not in session, such as summer or winter breaks. Students may only work a total of TWELVE (12) MONTHS on OPT, whether that time is during their studies or after they graduate.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Optional Practical Training (STEM OPT) Extension: Students receiving a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in the STEM fields may be eligible for a TWENTY-FOUR (24) MONTH extension of their OPT, for a total OPT allowance of THIRTY-SIX (36) MONTHS.

Work Opportunities for M-1 Students

M-1 students may only work after they have completed their studies and the job must be in the same field of study. At that point, they are only eligible for a period of practical training equal to 1 month for each 4 months they pursued a full-time course of study, not to exceed 6 months.

Duration of Status

Foreign nationals must be enrolled in a full-time program to maintain F-1 or M-1 status. Upon completion of the program students have either 60 days (F-1) or 30 days (M-1) to depart the United States before accruing unlawful presence or changing their status. Alternatively, F-1 students with timely-filed H-1B petitions may be eligible for an extension of their status until their H-1B employment begins (with some conditions and restrictions).

Accruing Unlawful Presence

On Aug. 9, 2018 USCIS issued a policy memorandum (Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J, and M Nonimmigrants) changing how the agency calculates unlawful presence for students and exchange visitors in F, J, and M non-immigrant status, including F-2, J-2, and M-2 dependents, who fail to maintain status in the United States.

What We Do

  • Provide guidance in maintaining the CPT/OPT/STEM OPT Status
  • Provide assistance to CPT/OPT/STEM OPT Status holders within the United States that wish to extend their visa, apply for a Change of Status (to H-1b for example) or Adjustment of Status

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