Employment for F-1 Students

There are two types of employment options for F-1 students, on-campus employment and off-campus employment.

On-campus employment

On-campus employment has been defined as employment located on the Eastern Mennonite University campus. F-1 students may accept employment on campus without the approval of U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the International Student Adviser (ISA), provided that the student is enrolled in a full course of study and within the hourly limitations discussed below.

Immigration regulations permit F-1 students to be employed for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during vacation periods, provided that you will continue your studies in the following term. Some undergraduate international students are eligible for employment under an EMU program called “work study” or “work program.” Contact the financial aid office to see if you are eligible. However, EMU has limited funds for work-study employment and even if you are eligible for this program, you will not be permitted to work more than 10 hours per week.

In addition to work study positions, there are a number of positions available to any F-1 student (including graduate students) through private companies on contract with EMU; employment in the cafeteria is the most common.

Off-campus employment

For students on F-1 visas, there are a few opportunities for off-campus employment. Prior approval is required before a student can engage in off-campus employment. Students will need to contact the international student services office, if interested in pursuing off campus employment.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is designed to provide the international student with temporary employment to gain practical experience in his/her field of study. If your program of study requires you to complete an internship, you may accept employment and receive pay. The employment/internship may be either part-time or full-time, but you should be aware that if it is a full-time position lasting for one year it will eliminate your ability to work in Optional Practical Training following graduation. If your major requires such an internship, you must speak with the ISA to complete appropriate paperwork and receive approval.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is designed to provide the international student with temporary employment to gain practical experience in his/her field of study. A maximum of one year can be authorized. Students can work part-time during the school year, part or full time during school vacations, and/or full-time immediately following completion of a program. Employment must be directly related to the students major area of study and commensurate with the students educational level.Students who are completing a program must apply for OPT before all requirements are completed. Students need to receive authorization by USCIS prior to accepting employment under OPT.

Based on severe economic hardship

Severe Economic Hardship Employment is off-campus employment authorization for students who are experiencing serious financial difficulties caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. Off-campus employment is only available after you have been in F-1 status for one academic year and are able to document the unexpected economic hardship that was not present when you entered school. If authorized, you may get any kind of job, anywhere, and work a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during vacation periods. Read more about F-1 Severe Economic Hardship Employment Authorization …