Employment for International Student

Learn about campus employment, OPT, internships/CPT, and getting a social security number.

Find Jobs in jwuLink

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
  • During vacation break: 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.

Learn More

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

STEM OPT Extension

The STEM OPT extension is a 24-month period of temporary training that directly relates to an F-1 student's program of study in an approved STEM field. Eligible F-1 students with STEM degrees who finish their program of study and participate in an initial period of regular post-completion OPT (often for 12 months) have the option to apply for a STEM OPT extension. Students may not apply for STEM OPT extensions during the 60-day grace period following an initial period of regular post-completion OPT.


Here is a brief summary of the eligibility requirements under the 24-month STEM OPT rule:

Qualifying Degree and School

CIP code of degree's major field of study must appear on the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List. Degree must be from an accredited, SEVP-certified, U.S. institution of higher education.

Qualifying Job

Job must be a full time, paid job at each STEM employer.

Qualifying Employer

Employer must be enrolled in E-Verify and have an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN); DHS says that there must be a "bona fide employer-employee" relationship; Student may not be self-employed or work from home.

Form I-983 Training Plan

The student and employer must complete a Form I-983 Training Plan, and the student must present the completed I-983 to the DSO before the DSO recommends STEM OPT in SEVIS.

Filing Deadlines

USCIS must receive the student's STEM OPT application package before the expiration of the student's current OPT, and no later than 60 days from the date the DSO recommended the I-20 in SEVIS. The STEM OPT application package includes: Form I-765, I-765 filing fee, Form I-20 with the 24-month STEM OPT recommendation from DSO, and other supporting documentation of the qualifying STEM degree.

To Apply

Please reach out to your international advisor 4 months before your regular OPT expires for the STEM OPT Guidance & Checklist Packet.

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.