F-1 Student Employment Options

F-1 students must understand the rules of their visa status before engaging in employment or work opportunities in the U.S.

Employment in the U.S. is highly regulated by immigration and employment law and regulations, and it can often be confusing for students in F-1 status to navigate the regulatory limitations. It is essential that when a student is considering paid or unpaid employment or volunteer positions that they be familiar with the rules and contact ISS with any questions.

F-1 students MUST ensure that they have the appropriate work authorization prior to pursuing any employment activity, paid or unpaid.

Employment is defined as “work performed in exchange for compensation.” Compensation can include money, room and board, or other significant benefits. Most employment opportunities require authorization. Working without authorization has serious consequences and can impact your ability to study, travel, or work in the U.S. throughout your life.

F-1 status allows the following categories of employment:

  • On-Campus Employment
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) & STEM OPT Extension
  • Severe Economic Hardship & International Organizations

Students interested in these opportunities must work with their DSO/PDSO prior to starting or being authorized for any form of employment. Engaging in unauthorized or otherwise non-allowable employment will result in the loss of F-1 status. Details about work benefits and practical training can be found on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Study in the States website.

Additional F-1 Student Employment Resources

If you are interested in or have questions about your eligibility for employment or the processes for each type, please email iss@elmhurst.edu.

International Student Services

A.C. Buehler Library, Lower Level

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