If you’re an international student studying in the United States, you may be wondering if it’s possible to work part-time while on a student visa. The answer is yes, but there are specific rules and limitations that you need to follow. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about working part-time with a US student visa.
What Is A US Student Visa?
Before we dive into the details of working part-time with a US student visa, it’s essential to understand what a student visa is. A US student visa is a type of visa that allows international students to study at accredited universities or other educational institutions in the United States. There are two primary types of student visas: F-1 and M-1.
The F-1 visa is for students who plan to attend an academic program, while the M-1 visa is for those who plan to attend vocational or technical schools. Both visa types allow students to stay in the United States for the duration of their studies, but they come with specific rules and regulations.
Can You Work Part-Time with a US Student Visa?
The short answer is yes. International students on an F-1 or M-1 visa are eligible to work part-time while studying in the United States, but there are specific rules and limitations that you need to follow.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows international students to work part-time on-campus or off-campus while studying. However, you must obtain permission from the designated school official (DSO) before you start working.
On-campus employment refers to working for the school you attend or for a company that has a contract with your school. Examples of on-campus jobs may include working at the campus bookstore, cafeteria, or library.
International students with F-1 and M-1 visas are eligible to work on-campus part-time up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during academic breaks, such as summer or winter break. Additionally, on-campus employment does not require approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
International students with F-1 and M-1 visas may also be eligible for off-campus employment under certain circumstances. However, off-campus employment requires approval from the USCIS.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option for F-1 students that allows them to participate in internships, co-ops, or other work-study programs that are directly related to their field of study. To be eligible for CPT, international students must have completed one full academic year of study, be enrolled in a program that requires practical training, and have an offer of employment from a company that has a formal agreement with their school. CPT can be part-time or full-time and can be used during the academic year or during academic breaks.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is another off-campus employment option for F-1 students that allows them to gain work experience in their field of study after completing their academic program. OPT can be part-time (up to 20 hours per week) or full-time and can be used during the academic year or during academic breaks. To be eligible for OPT, international students must have completed one full academic year of study and apply for authorization from the USCIS.
Severe Economic Hardship
Severe Economic Hardship is an off-campus employment option for F-1 students who have experienced unforeseen economic difficulties that would make it difficult for them to continue their academic program without additional income. To be eligible for Severe Economic Hardship, international students must have completed one full academic year of study, be in good academic standing, and provide evidence of the economic hardship. Severe Economic Hardship employment is limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year and can be full-time during academic breaks.
Limitations on Working Part-Time With A Student Visa
While international students with F-1 and M-1 visas are generally allowed to work part-time on-campus jobs and off-campus jobs under certain circumstances, there are some limitations to keep in mind.
Firstly, it’s important to note that the 20-hour-per-week limit for on-campus and off-campus employment is cumulative. This means that if you work 10 hours per week on-campus, you can only work an additional 10 hours per week off-campus.
International students with F-1 and M-1 visas must maintain their full-time student status to remain eligible for employment. This means that you must be enrolled in a full course load and making progress towards completing your academic program.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the income from part-time employment may not be enough to cover all of your living expenses. International students should have sufficient funds to support themselves for the duration of their academic program and should not rely solely on income from part-time employment.
It’s essential to ensure that you are complying with all visa regulations related to employment. Violating these regulations could result in the loss of your visa status and may impact your ability to remain in the United States.