Immigration law has very strict guidelines when it comes to nonimmigrant students working in the United States.

When it comes to working in the United States, students in F-1 status have the following options:

  1. On-campus employment – benefiting the HPU student body
  2. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) – workplace learning that is a required part of a student’s degree program (e.g., internships). CPT is only available to F-1 students after one year of full-time academic study while in active status on the current visa.
  3. Optional Practical Training (OPT) – full-time employment in a field directly related to a student’s degree program which takes place within one year (or 18 months for STEM fields) following the completion of a student’s degree program (or occasionally immediately before completion). This is only available to F-1 students after one year of full-time academic study while in active status on the current visa and successful completion of the degree.

F-1 students are permitted to volunteer, but their position:

  • cannot be for compensation or any type of remuneration,
  • cannot displace a genuine employee,
  • must be for non-profit organizations doing charitable or humanitarian work only,
  • must not be work for which they had previously been paid or for work for which they may be paid in the future.

Please keep in mind that “employment” is any work performed or services provided (including self-employment) in exchange for money or other forms of compensation or benefits (e.g., free room and/or board). Unauthorized employment is taken very seriously by U.S. immigration officials; familiarize yourself with your F-1 employment (or internship or volunteer) eligibility options and always contact your DSO before accepting any positions.

 

On-Campus Employment

Students on an F-1 visa can work on campus up to 20 hours per week in certain positions which benefit the HPU student body. Before working, students need to obtain a qualified job and apply for a Social Security Number. Before attempting to work on campus, you must speak with a DSO and the Office of Student Employment to make sure you stay in lawful immigration status.

Read more information from the Social Security Administration about obtaining a social security card by International Students.

 

Off-Campus Employment

Off-campus work is not permitted.

 

Internships (Paid or Unpaid)

While some opportunities may keep you in lawful status if the experience is a required part of a class in which you are enrolled, generally, the restrictions on an F-1 visa do not permit exchange and study abroad students to qualify for practical training or hold an internship.

 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training or employment directly related to your major field of study or is an integral part of an established curriculum. This includes alternate work/study, paid or unpaid internships, cooperative education experiences, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with HPU. CPT is only available to F-1 students after one year of full-time academic study while in active status on the current visa.

 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is full-time employment in a field directly related to a student’s degree program authorized for one year (or 18 months for STEM fields) typically following the completion of a student’s degree program (but occasionally authorized before completion). This is only available to F-1 students after one year of full-time academic study while in active status on the current visa and successful completion of the degree.

OPT must be approved by both HPU and USCIS. Students must have an approved Employment Authorization Document (EAD) prior to working.