F-1 Employment

 


F-1 students allows the following five categories of employment:


 

On-Campus Employment

Your F-1 student status permits you to work on campus at the university while you are enrolled in a full course of study. Your SBU I-20 is your proof of work eligibility for on-campus employment at SBU only. You must maintain F-1 status to be eligible for this employment benefit; maintaining status means that you are a full-time registered student (except for approved exceptions) in good academic standing with a valid I-20.

  • Definition of “On-Campus” Employment
  • Time Limits
  • Expiration of On-campus Employment Eligibility
  • Work Study
  • Finding a Campus Job
  • Your Responsibility: Know the Rules

Definition of “On-Campus” Employment
On-campus employment includes:
• Employment for the SBU
    Examples: teaching assistant, clinic assistant, library student worker, etc.
• Work performed in a campus location for a commercial firm providing direct services to students
    Example: University Bookstore inside the school (but not on the Ave)
• Employment at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the SBU. The educational affiliation must be associated with your academic department's established curriculum or related to contractually funded projects at the post-graduate level, and be an integral part of your educational program. ISA interprets this to mean that the employment itself must be an integral part of your established curriculum

Time Limits
You are allowed to work:
• part-time (20 hours per week or less) during your regular full-time quarters (quarter dates are set by the SBU academic calendar and include finals week).
• full-time (more than 20 hours per week) between quarters.
• full-time (more than 20 hours per week) during your annual vacation quarter.

Expiration of On-campus Employment Eligibility
Your on-campus employment eligibility ends:
•  When you graduate, it expires the last day of your final quarter (per SBU calendar), even if your I-20 expiration date is in the future.
•  If you transfer to another university, your work authorization expires on the day of your SEVIS record release date.
• If you violate your F-1 status.

Work Study
Work study awards are part of federal financial aid packages and are only available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. As an F-1 student, generally you are not eligible for a work study position and should not apply.

Finding a Campus Job and Your Responsibilities
On-campus jobs are also advertised on flyers posted around campus—in elevators, office bulletin boards, etc.

Your Responsibility: Know the Rules
It is your responsibility to research and understand your on-campus work eligibility. It is generally not the job of SBU staff outside of ISA to thoroughly know the immigration regulations. Be sure to consult an ISA before you start to find on-campus jobs.

 


 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study. Your major field of study is listed on your I-20.

South Baylo University does not offer CPT at this time.

 


 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Please review the following links regarding applying for Optional Practical Training.

 


 

Optional Practical Training Overview

Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides F-1 students with an opportunity for hands-on work experience (work authorization) related to the academic field of study.

  • You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:
  • You are currently in F-1 status.
  • You have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year (three quarters, including final exams weeks) or will complete one academic year by the date the OPT approval begins.
  • You have not exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. (Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.)
  • You do not need a job offer first; you can apply for OPT without a job offer.

You are eligible for 12 months of full-time OPT per academic level. For example, you may apply for 12 months of OPT after completing a master’s degree and then another 12 months after completing a doctoral degree. You may apply for OPT authorization during your academic program, after your program completion, or a combination of both. You do not need to have a job offer before applying for the first 12 months of OPT. An additional 17-month extension may be possible depending on your field of study (stemlist).

OPT authorization that begins after completion of your academic program is called “post-completion” OPT. This is the most common type of OPT. Post-completion OPT is full-time, and it can begin:

  • after you complete your degree program*
  • after you complete all course requirements for your degree, excluding thesis or equivalent**

* You must apply for OPT based on your last registered quarter. If you missed the graduation application deadline, your degree will be awarded in a quarter in which you are not registered. In these situations, the OPT application must be submitted in the prior (registered) quarter. If you are not able to complete your program as expected, contact your ISA immediately to review your options.

** Graduate students: consult your ISA if you are considering applying for post-completion OPT to overlap with completion of the thesis/dissertation (prior to graduation).  

OPT used while you are still pursue course of study is called "pre-completion" OPT. Pre-completion OPT is rather uncommon. Usually current students are eligible for alternate employment authorization, such as Curricular Practical Training. Because pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12 months of OPT eligibility, most students prefer to save OPT for after program completion. You may start the OPT application process up to 120 days before your requested employment start date. Pre-completion OPT can be approved for different rates:

•       Full-time (more than 20 hours per week) or part-time (20 hours per week or less) during your annual vacation quarter and between quarter  breaks

•       Part-time (20 hours per week or less) while enrolled in a full course of study

While approved for OPT, you are still in F-1 status and must report address changes and employment information to ISA. 


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12 Months of OPT: Application Procedures

Apply early! Do not wait for a job offer. You do not need a job offer to apply for OPT. Allow three months for processing by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), plus additional time for obtaining your academic adviser's signature on the OPT Request Form, ISA processing (one week), and mailing to USCIS. You cannot work until you receive OPT approval.

You may submit your application to USCIS as early as 90 days before your program end date and up to 60 days after your program end date. (Your program end date is the last day of your final quarter, including final exams week, according to the academic calendar.) Please note that your OPT application must arrive at the USCIS Service Center within 30 days of the OPT I-20 issue date, or the request will be denied.

ISA strongly encourages you to apply for OPT three months prior to your program end date. Though USCIS will accept your application up to 60 days after your program end date, you cannot begin work until the application is approved. A delayed application may result in delayed work authorization and/or loss of full OPT eligibility (12 months) due to the three-month processing time by USCIS.

 

How to Apply

Please read the following instructions carefully. Although an ISA provides information, the OPT application is your application. We do not approve the application or have the authority to influence the process. If there is a request for information or to correct a problem, we will notify you of the request but it is your responsibility to respond. Please note that if you choose to travel, it could be difficult to respond to requests from USCIS about your application.

Step 1: Complete Your OPT Application

Gather the Following Documents

  • Completed Optional Practical Training Request Form*
  • Completed I-765 Form
  • Photocopy of all previously issued I-20s (pages 1 and 3) (pages 1 and 2 of the redesigned I-20s)
  • Photocopy of passport identification page
  • Photocopy of F-1 visa page
  • Two passport-style photos
  • Photocopy of the front and back of your I-94 card--or, if you do not have an I-94 card, a copy of your F-1 admission stamp in your passport and a printout of your electronic I-94 information, which can be obtained at CBP.gov/I94
  • Photocopy of previously issued EAD (if applicable)
  • $380 check or money order payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" (Do not postdate your check. The date format for your check should be as follows: month/day/year)
  • Completed G-1145 Form (optional; it signs you up for email/text message notification of your application's arrival at USCIS)

Certification: Sign the form in blue ink.

 

Step 2: Submit Your Completed OPT Application to ISA

Submit your completed OPT application (except the check) to the ISA who will review your application. ISA will note any items missing or needing to be changed, and will issue a new, updated I-20 with an OPT recommendation printed on the back page. Allow one week for processing.

You will receive an email from either your ISAto pick up the application materials and new I-20. You will receive the checklist indicating the final application materials that must be mailed to USCIS.

 

Step 3: Pick Up Your Application From ISA; Mail to USCIS

  1. Review the checklist and your application to make sure it is complete.
  2. Sign your OPT-endorsed I-20 at the bottom of page 1 before photocopying it and mailing it to USCIS.
  3. Mail your application within 30 days of the new OPT-endorsed I-20 being issued. Late applications will be denied by USCIS.
    • Do not mail your original passport, I-94, or I-20.
    • It is recommended you send your application by certified mail, return receipt requested.
    • If your I-765 mailing address is in California,  mail the entire application to:
      • For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries
        USCIS
        PO Box 21281
        Phoenix, AZ 85036
      • For Express Mail and Courier Service Deliveries
        USCIS
        Attn: AOS
        1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S.
        Suite 100
        Phoenix, AZ 85034

After You Mail Your OPT Application to USCIS

USCIS will send you a receipt notice (I-797 Notice of Action) confirming receipt of your OPT application, assigning a "receipt date," and assigning a case number. Carefully review the notice to make sure your name is spelled correctly. If it is not, contact your ISA immediately.

You may use the case number on your receipt notice to check the status of your application online. It is normal for your case status to say "initial review" for most of the 2-3 month processing period.

You may not begin employment until USCIS approves the OPT application and you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Authorized OPT dates will be on your EAD. Be sure to review the reporting and employment requirements you must follow after OPT approval.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happens if I move after I mail my OPT application?
    • The U.S. Postal Service will not foward mail from USCIS if the address on the envelope does not match the name on the mailbox. Consider using the ISA address on the I-765 application. We will send you an email when the card arrives.
  • How long does it take to get approved for OPT?
    • Approximately three months from the date USCIS receives your application, though it can be faster depending on the time of year.
  • If I change my mind and decide not to work, can I cancel my OPT authorization?
    • The answer depends on your situation. If you were issued a new I-20 with the OPT recommendation but have not yet mailed your application to USCIS, you must notify your ISA your change in plans. ISA can cancel the OPT recommendation.

      If you have already mailed your application to USCIS, a request can be submitted to USCIS to halt processing. Your application fee will not be returned and we cannot guarantee that your request will be honored. Contact your ISA for assistance. If you have received your EAD card and wish to cancel authorization, contact your ISA Cancellation in this situation is highly unlikely. OPT application are not meant to be cancelled.
  • I didn't submit my OPT application early enough, and I realize I might not get the OPT start date I requested. How do I know what date USCIS will authorize?
    • Unfortunately it is difficult to estimate. The authorization depends on when the application arrives and the workload at USCIS. If they process your application after your requested start date, they might defer the start date to their day of processing, up to 60 days after your program end date. However, there is no way to predict which date it will be.
  • How long does it take to get the Receipt Notice/Notice of Action (NOA)?
    • Approximately two-to-three weeks after USCIS receives your application. You might verify with your bank whether your check has been cashed. If so, the NOA is likely on the way.
  • When I receive my EAD card, should I give a copy to ISA?
    • Yes, if you requested your EAD be mailed to you directly, submit a photocopy to ISA. If your EAD is mailed to ISA first, we will make a photocopy before you pick up the EAD.
  • I have heard that I can apply for a "temporary" EAD card. Is this true?
    • In the past, students were able to apply for a temporary EAD card if their application was pending for more than 90 days. Processes have changed, and temporary EADs are no longer issued. If your application is pending for more than 90 days, contact your ISA.
  • What happens if my EAD card never arrives or has incorrect information on it?
    • Contact your primary ISA.
  • What if I lose my EAD card?
    • If you lose your card, you must apply and pay for a replacement. Complete a new I-765 Form and resubmit it to USCIS with all supporting documents, including the fee. Contact your ISA for an updated I-20. We recommend you keep your EAD at home (not in your wallet) because of the expense and time in applying for a replacement.
  • How can I get my EAD card if it is mailed to the school office and I move away from my area?
    • If you move from the Seattle area before your EAD arrives, you must arrange for the EAD to be mailed from ISA to your new address. We recommend choosing a mailing option that can be tracked. Standard First-Class mail through the U.S. Postal Service cannot be tracked, and if the EAD is lost, you must submit a new fee and application to USCIS for a replacement.
  • I am a graduate student and I’ve completed all required coursework. I only have thesis or dissertation remaining. Can I apply for OPT authorization to begin before I graduate?
    • You can apply for either pre-completion OPT or post-completion OPT. There are advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding which option works best for you.

 

Pre-completion OPT

Pre-completion OPT is only valid while you are a student finishing your thesis or dissertation. The OPT start and end date must fall before your I-20 expires and before you graduate.

Pros

  • You are not subject to the 90-day unemployment limit.
  • Your I-20 can be extended if you need more time to complete your thesis/dissertation.

Cons

  • If you graduate, you must submit a separate post-completion OPT application and another application fee.
  • There is the risk of a gap in employment authorization if you must submit a second OPT application and the timing is not perfect.
  • It is challenging to take advantage of the full 12 months of OPT allotted to you because of the dual applications.
  • You must continue to register full-time (which may or may not be a requirement from your department depending on your funding and/or defense quarter.)
     

Post-completion OPT

Post-completion OPT can begin either while you complete your thesis/dissertation or after you graduate. Procedurally, however, the OPT start date can only fall after the I-20 end date, so your I-20 will be shortened to the end of the quarter in which you submit the OPT application.

Pros

  • You will only submit one application and fee.
  • You are not required to register for the purpose of maintaining F1 status (though you must consult your department about Graduate School registration requirements depending on your funding, defense quarter, and ability to apply for on-leave status).

Cons

  • You are subject to the 90-day unemployment limit, an added pressure if you still need to focus on your thesis/dissertation.
  • The I-20 cannot be extended. If you do not complete your thesis/dissertation within the year, your F-1 status ends when the OPT expires, and you must travel and reenter with a new I-20 to continue your studies.

 


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17-Month OPT STEM Extension: Application Procedures

South Baylo University programs are not eligible for 17-month OPT STEM Extension.

 

Reporting Requirements to ISA

You must notify ISA about these updates during your OPT year:

  • Employment/Practical Training information
  • Address changes
  • Name changes (within 10 days of any legal name change that happens during your OPT.
  • Final departure from the U.S. (if earlier than your OPT end date)
  • By law, address changes and STEM employment must be reported within 10 days.

Proof of Employment

Keep documentation of your OPT employment history for your own records. You might need it for future benefits applications. The immigration regulations do not specify what documents are "proof of employment." Examples of employment documentation could include:

  • Offer letter from your employer
  • Letter from your supervisor on official letterhead that confirms continued employment (or internship/volunteer service)

If the connection between your field of study and your employment/practical training is not obvious, it might be helpful for the letter to explain how your practical training relates to your studies.

  • Payment records
  • Timesheet/activity log for unpaid practical training experience

Limits on Periods of Unemployment

Between the start and end date of your post-completion OPT authorization (the dates on your EAD), you cannot be unemployed for more than 90 accumulated days. If you received a 17-month STEM extension, you are allowed an additional 30 days of unemployment for a total of 120 days. Each day (including weekends) that you do not have qualifying employment counts as a day of unemployment. There is no grace period after 90/120 days of unemployment. To avoid violating status, Immigration recommends that prior to reaching the unemployment limit, you should prepare to transfer to another school, change education level, depart the U.S., or change to a different immigration status.

Employment Allowed While on OPT

During the 12-month OPT period, you may accept any job that is directly related to your field of study and commensurate with your level of education.

You should be employed at least 20 hours per week. Regardless of your job title or how the position is classified, such as an "intern," "temp," "freelance contractor," "post-doc," etc., the following employment options are allowed:

  • Multiple employers: you may work in your field of study for more than one employer.
  • Short-term multiple employers (performing artists): musicians and other performing artists may work for mutiple short-term employers (gigs). Keep a list of all positions, dates, and duration.
  • Work for hire: contract employment in your field of study
  • Self-employment: you may start a business and be self-employed in your field of study. You must have a business license and document your active engagement in business related to your degree.
  • Employment in your field of study through an agency or consulting firm.
  • Volunteer service: you may work as a volunteer or unpaid intern in your field of study, as long as this does not violate any labor laws.

All of the employment above counts for purposes of maintaining F-1 status. Please keep documentation of working an average of 20 hours per week.  It is your responsibility to report any employment change.

Money Matters

You will need a Social Security number in order to receive payment from your employer.

In general, as an F-1 student you will be exempt from Social Security (FICA) taxes for your first five years in the U.S., as long as you continue to declare nonresident status for tax purposes. Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the U.S. and your home government, your earnings as an F-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes, and employers are required to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. For more information on taxes, consult the Internal Revenue Service.

Travel and OPT

During your final quarter, after you submit your OPT application:

You can travel and reenter the U.S. as a student during your final registration quarter. You will use the new I-20 with the OPT recommendation printed on page 2, along with the other regular travel documents. If you plan to return to the U.S. before the expiration date of the new I-20 (your program completion date), it does not matter whether your OPT application is still processing or is approved, and whether or not you have a job offer yet.

After graduation, while your OPT application is processing:

After your final quarter ends, you can travel and reenter the U.S. while your post-completion OPT application is processing. However, please be aware of these risks:

  • USCIS sometimes sends a request for more information or for you to correct a problem with your documentation. These requests are sent by postal mail, so it might be difficult for you to respond if you are not inside the U.S. It is your application, so ISA does not have the authority to respond for you.
  • After your OPT application is approved, you must also have proof of employment and your EAD in order to reenter the U.S. If the OPT application is approved while you are abroad, and if you do not yet have proof of employment or your EAD, this could jeopardize your return to the U.S.
  • You must have a valid F-1 visa to travel during the OPT year (except for short trips to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean). It is risky to apply for an F-1 visa while your OPT application is pending. If your current F-1 visa is expired, we recommend waiting until your OPT application is approved and you have a job offer before applying for a new F-1 visa.

After graduation, and after your OPT application is approved:

After graduation, if your post-completion OPT has been approved and your EAD issued, you can travel and reenter the U.S. only if you have proof of employment. If you are still looking for practical training opportunities, you should not travel internationally.

For travel, carry the following documents with you:

  • I-20 signed for travel by an international student adviser within the last 6 months
  • Proof of employment in your field of study (letter of employment, written job offer)
  • EAD card (on the EAD card, there is a statement "Not Valid For Reentry." This means the EAD card cannot be used by itself for reentry to the U.S.)
  • Valid passport
  • Unexpired F-1 visa (unless you are Canadian or are returning from a short trip to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean)

You can apply for an F-1 visa during your OPT year. Bring the documents list above, as well as proof of financial ability to stay in the U.S. and proof of continuing ties to your home country.

Once the approved period of OPT has begun, time spent outside the U.S. will count as unemployment against the 90/120-day limits.  However, travel while employed either during a vacation authorized by an employer or as part of your employment will not count as unemployment. Please keep your ISA informed of any travel plans while on OPT that may affect your status.

If you have dependents in F-2 status who will travel without you, be sure they carry a photocopy of your EAD card and proof of your employment along with their updated F-2 I-20 that is properly signed for travel.

Study While on OPT

While approved for OPT you may take recreational courses, but if you begin a new degree program, your OPT is automatically terminated.  Exchange students are not eligible to take courses at the UW while on post-completion OPT.

Grace Period

Students who do not exceed 90/120 days of unemployment and report employment to the ISA as required are automatically granted a 60-day grace period after the end date listed on the EAD (Employment Authorization Document). Within this 60-day grace period, you have the following options:

  • Depart the U.S. Once you leave the U.S. (including trips to Canada and Mexico) after completing your studies and OPT period, you are not eligible to reenter with your current I-20. The grace period is meant for travel within the states and preparation to depart the U.S.
  • Request a new I-20 if you will continue at SBU in a new degree program.
  • Transfer your SEVIS record to a new school.
  • Apply to change status to another visa category.

  


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H-1B Cap Gap Extension

 

About the "Cap Gap"

H-1B is a work visa that is sponsored by an employer. Students commonly transition from Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization, part of F-1 status, to H-1B status. There are a limited number of H-1Bs available each fiscal year, for most employers, and this limit is often called the "H-1B cap."

New H-1Bs become effective each October 1, but the application period for most employers begins six months earlier, April 1. The "cap gap" occurs when a student's F-1 status and/or OPT expire before their approved H-1B begins October 1.

The Cap Gap Extension

The H-1B Cap Gap Extension allows certain students with pending or approved H-1B petitions to remain in the U.S. in F-1 status until the start date of their approved H-1B employment period, even if the OPT authorization and/or F-1 grace period would have otherwise expired before October 1.

Eligibility

You are eligible for the cap gap extension if both:

  • Your employer files an H-1B petition for you, on or after April 1, and requests a change of status to H-1B to begin October 1.
  • You are still within your OPT authorization period, or 60-day grace period following the OPT expiration, when your employer submits the H-1B petition on your behalf (on or after April 1).

If your OPT authorization is still valid when your employer submits your H-1B petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), your OPT authorization is extended. You can continue working in F-1 status through the extension date.

If your OPT authorization is expired but you are in your 60-day grace period when your employer submits your H-1B petition to USCIS, your F-1 status is extended. You cannot work but you can remain in the U.S. through the extension date.

Extension Dates

The length of your extension depends on your H-1B petition phase:

  • Filed: If your H-1B petition is properly filed (but not yet receipted or approved), your OPT authorization is extended to June 1. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to June 1.
  • Selected for receipting: If your H-1B petition is selected for receipting, your OPT authorization is extended to September 30. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to September 30.
  • Approved: If your H-1B petition is approved, your OPT authorization is extended to September 30. If your OPT authorization already expired but you were in your 60-day grace period at the time of filing, your F-1 status is extended to September 30.

How to Apply

The cap gap extension of F-1 status is automatic. It begins when your employer submits the H-1B petition to USCIS.

To obtain documentation of your F-1 status extension, email your ISA the following information:

  • Include your employment information/history as instructed at Reporting Requirements to ISA.
  • State in your email how you would like to receive your new I-20 (pick-up from ISA or mailed; if you prefer mail, include your mailing address).
  • Attach proof of your H-1B petition.

If your H-1B petition is:

  • Filed: submit a copy of the petition and FedEx, UPS, or USPS Express/certified mail receipt to your ISA. (If your regular OPT authorization is valid through June 1, do not request a new I-20 based on H-1B filing only. Wait for the receipt or approval notice.)
  • Selected for receipting: submit a copy of the I-797 Notice of Action (receipt notice) to your ISA.
  • Approved: submit a copy of your approval notice (I-797) to your ISA.

Your ISA will print a new I-20 for you that indicates the extension of your F-1 status and (if eligible) extension of your OPT employment authorization. Please allow one week for ISA processing. The extension benefit is automatic, so you can continue working (if eligible) and remain in the U.S. while waiting for the new I-20.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can my ISA check my SEVIS record for H1-B application updates?
  • Only your employer can provide accurate, official updates regarding your H1-B application. If your initial OPT expires before October 1, please follow the instructions above (in the “How to Apply” section) to request an updated cap gap I-20 from your ISA.
  • Can the cap gap extension of OPT be extended beyond September 30 if my H-1B petition is still pending?
  • No, the cap gap extension is only until September 30. If the H-1B petition is pending beyond October 1, you can remain in the U.S. based on the pending change of status petition. However, you must stop working until the H-1B petition is approved.
  • Will I receive personal notification of my cap gap extension?
  • No, you will not receive automatic notification. You must be in close communication with your employer's immigration specialist so you know the status of your H-1B petition. When you are eligible for the cap gap extension, you must contact your ISA if you want documentation of the extension (though it is not required).
  • What happens if my H-1B petition is rejected, denied, or revoked?
  • You will have a 60-day grace period from the date of the notification of the denial, rejection, or revocation, during which time you can make preparations to depart the U.S.
  • Can I travel outside the U.S. during a cap gap extension period and return in F-1 status?
  • ISA recommend you consult your employer's immigration specialist before traveling internationally during the cap gap extension period.
  • Does the 90-day unemployment limit apply during the cap gap extension period?
  • Yes, the 90-day unemployment limit continues during the cap gap extension period.
  • Are there resources with additional information about the Cap Gap Extension?
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides thorough Cap Gap information.

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Severe Economic Hardship

Overview:

If you are suffering a severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances, you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus.

Examples of unforeseen circumstances:

  • Loss of financial support or on-campus employment
  • Substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
  • Inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs
  • Unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source of support, such a loss of a family business
  • Excessive medical bills

The employment authorization is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time.

The authorization allows you to work for any employer up to 20 hours per week while you are registered full-time.

It also allows you to work more than 20 hours per week during quarter breaks and your annual vacation quarter.

This employment does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Employment authorization is automatically terminated if you graduate, fail to maintain status, or transfer to another school.

Eligibility:

  • You must have been in F-1 status for one academic year
  • You must be in good academic standing
  • You must document that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient to meet your financial needs.

How to apply:

Contact your ISA to discuss your situation before you complete the required documentation. Your adviser will determine your eligibility and assist you in completing the application and submitting it to USCIS. Required documentation includes:

  • Form I-765 (write (c)(3)(iii) in item 16)
  • $380 fee (make your check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
  • Photocopy of Form I-20, with your ISA's recommendation for economic hardship employment
  • Two passport style photos
  • Photocopy of I-94 card (front and back)
  • A letter describing your financial difficulties and why on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient; include supporting evidence
  • Photocopy of passport identification page
  • Photocopy of visa page
  • Photocopies of any previously-issued EAD cards

If your I-765 mailing address is in California, mail the entire application to:
USCIS
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036

Application processing times vary between two to four months. Do not begin working until you receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

 


 

Employment With an International Organization

As an F-1 student, you may work for a qualified international organization, as defined by the International Organization Immunities Act of December 29, 1945. If you have an offer from an employer on the List of International Organizations you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Contact your ISA to discuss your situation before you complete the required documentation. Your adviser will determine your eligibility and assist you in completing and submitting the application to USCIS. Required documentation includes:

  • Form I-765 (write (c)(3)(ii) in item 16)
  • $380 fee (make your check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
  • Photocopy of Form I-20, bearing the ISA’s recommendation for employment with an international organization
  • Two passport style photos
  • Photocopy of I-94 card (front and back)
  • Written certification from the international organization that your employment is within the scope of their sponsorship;
  • Photocopy of passport identification page
  • Photocopy of visa page
  • Photocopies of any previously-issued EAD cards.

Application processing times vary between two to four months. If approved, USCIS will issue an EAD for a maximum of one year. Do not begin working until you receive the EAD. You may work part-time or full-time but must maintain a full course of study in F-1 status during your employment. This employment does not affect your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Employment authorization is automatically terminated if you fail to maintain status or transfer to another school.

Your employer may suggest or require that you change to G-1 status, a nonimmigrant status reserved for employees of international organizations. If you change your status, your eligibility for benefits based on your F-1 status may be affected. You should consult your ISA for more information.

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