If you are an F-1 student in full time status, you may work on campus

without applying to USCIS for work authorization. 

Employment Rules


On campus employment must be limited to a total of: 

  • While school is in session: 20 hours/week
  • Vacation breaks: 25 hours/week

Off Campus Employment

Off campus employment may only be granted after applying to USCIS through our office. Do not work off campus without authorization from USCIS.

Maintain Your Status

F-1 students who drop below full time status, or who have otherwise failed to maintain their F-1 status, must discontinue on campus employment immediately. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Engage in JWU's internship program, which provides you with practical work experience in your chosen field of study, with academic credit for the experience. 

You are eligible to engage in CPT after being enrolled for at least a full academic year as a full time F-1 student, or whenever it is required for your degree program. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Process

Off Campus internship

Any off campus internship must be authorized by USCIS through our office before your internship starts.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Gain up to one year of real work experience in your field of study by applying for OPT. 

You are allowed one 12 month OPT period for each higher education level. 

Optional Practical training (OPT) Process


You must maintain your F-1 status for at least one academic year to be eligible for OPT.


An OPT information session is held at our office. The OPT Information Sessions and Application collection times & dates will be send to you on your wildcats email via I-News. You must attend one of these sessions before applying for OPT.

Economic Hardship

Severe economic hardship is considered to be hardship that is caused by situations beyond your control. 


You must maintain your F-1 status for at least one academic year to be eligible. 

In addition, you must be able to demonstrate:

  • Unforeseen severe economic hardship.
  • That employment on campus is not available or is insufficient to meet your needs.
  • That employment will not interfere with your studies.

This type of employment does not affect the 12 months of available OPT. You may only work part-time while school is in session, but full-time during vacation breaks.

Social Security Number 

You are not eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) unless you have secured an on campus job, obtain a paid internship (CPT) or is approved for OPT.

Documents you must provide to the Social Security Administration (SSA):

  • Most recent I-20
  • Valid passport 
  • F-1 student visa 
  • Most recent I-94 record
  • Enrollment Letter from Student Academic Services
  • Proof of work authorization/EAD card

In instances where a SSN is asked for, such as applying for a driver’s license, you must go through the application process for an SSN - but request for a SSN Denial Letter instead.