Working in the U.S.

Looking to make some money while you complete your studies? International students on F-1 status are eligible for part-time on-campus employment, but some rules apply.

Types of Employment

International students on F-1 status must get formal approval before starting work. The process is different based on the type of employment you are seeking.
  1. Off-Campus Employment

    International students on F-1 status are not permitted to work off-campus without authorization from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    USCIS makes case-by-case decisions for off-campus employment for students who:

    • Have been enrolled for at least one academic year
    • Are in status
    • Are in good academic standing that show new, unexpected, emergent circumstances beyond their control that have created severe economic hardship.
    We encourage you to meet with the International Student Services team to review this information.

    If you are eligible for off-campus employment, you will need to apply for an employment authorization card with USCIS. International Student Services is here to guide you through that process.

    Do not take part in any type of employment without approval from USCIS and International Student Services. This is a serious offense and violation to your F-1 visa status.

  2. Part-Time On-Campus Employment

    For on-campus jobs, which are limited to 19.5 hours per week, you will need to meet with Career and Transfer for more information. They will be able to help you find open job roles that you qualify for. 

    The final step is to find an on-campus job opening that you're interested in and go through the hiring process. Once selected for hire, you will get assistance from International Student Services to apply for a social security number.

Training Related to Your Degree

Many of our degree programs have a working component to them, allowing you to get real job experience from actual employers. Even though it’s part of your program, you will still need to get authorization to work. There are two main training categories.
Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is for students that are pursuing a program that requires a mandatory internship/practicum in order to complete their program of study. You’re eligible for CPT after you’ve been enrolled for at least one academic year. 

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Students approved by USCIS for OPT may be eligible for one year of employment authorization. OPT allows you to work in an area directly related to your degree once you graduate from San Jacinto College. You’re eligible to apply after you enroll in your final academic semester before you graduate. You must have completed one academic year. 

Contact International Student Services

Do you have questions about employment or are struggling to make ends meet? Your Designated School Official (DSO)and the International Student Services team is here to help.