US student visa for off-campus work

Off-campus work for international students in the United States is possible, but it is important to understand the eligibility requirements and regulations.

This article will provide you with everything you need to know about working off-campus with a US student visa, including:

  • Eligibility requirements
  • How to find an off-campus job
  • Important regulations to keep in mind

Am I eligible for off-campus employment with a US student visa?

To be eligible for off-campus employment with a US student visa, you must:

  • Be enrolled in a full-time program of study at an accredited school in the United States.
  • Maintain a valid F-1 visa status.
  • Have a valid Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
  • Have a Social Security number (optional, but required for many off-campus jobs).
  • Meet one of the following eligibility requirements:
    • Be enrolled in a program of study that requires off-campus practical training as part of the curriculum (Curricular Practical Training, or CPT).
    • Have completed one academic year of full-time study in the United States and be experiencing severe economic hardship (Severe Economic Hardship Employment, or SEH).
    • Be authorized to work off-campus under a special provision of US immigration law, such as Optional Practical Training (OPT).

How do I find an off-campus job?

There are a number of ways to find an off-campus job, including:

  • Contact your school’s international student office or career center. They may have job listings or be able to help you connect with employers.
  • Check your school’s website for job postings.
  • Attend job fairs and career events on campus.
  • Network with professors, classmates, and other students.
  • Ask friends and family if they know of any off-campus job openings.
  • Search online job boards and classified ads.

What types of off-campus jobs are available?

There are a wide variety of off-campus jobs available to international students, including:

  • Internships
  • Part-time jobs
  • Full-time jobs (during summer breaks and vacations)
  • Jobs in your field of study
  • Jobs outside of your field of study

How many hours can I work off-campus with a US student visa?

The number of hours you can work off-campus with a US student visa depends on your eligibility category.

If you are authorized to work off-campus under CPT, you can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during breaks.

If you are authorized to work off-campus under SEH or OPT, you can work full-time while school is in session and during breaks.

Regulations to keep in mind about off-campus employment

  • You must maintain valid F-1 visa status.
  • You must have permission from your school’s designated school official (DSO) to work off-campus.
  • You can only work off-campus in a job that is related to your field of study (for CPT) or in any job (for SEH and OPT).
  • Your job cannot displace a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must report your earnings to your DSO each semester.
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