An F-1 visa can complicate things for students looking for work in the summer. If you are wondering how to work without risking your visa status, take a look at the kinds of jobs you may be eligible for.
Know the Rules That Come with Your F-1 Visa
There are a few rules you must follow if you want to get a job and maintain your F-1 visa.
The most important guideline to remember is that you cannot get an off-campus job during your first year in college. You may be able to get one after your freshman year, but you will need to contact USCIS first to get approval.
An F-1 visa allows you to get an on-campus job during your time in college, but you need to make sure you remain a full-time student. In addition, you cannot work more than 20 hours per week during the school year. You can work more – even full time – in the summer and during breaks.
On-Campus Job Opportunities
Job options for international students vary depending on the size of the campus and the number of amenities. But in general, most schools have places like cafeterias, coffeehouses and athletic centers, and they all need employees. You may want to get some help translating or writing your resume so you can easily apply to all these places.
Bookstores, libraries and student newspapers are additional options when you are trying to find an on-campus job.
In addition, you can find out if your professors or department heads need help with research or even simply staying organized. Of course, this may not be ideal if you are looking for a summer job.
Though most colleges offer summer classes, they are not usually as popular as fall and spring classes. Because of this, having an on-campus job likely means that your hours will be cut during these off-seasons.
If you need more job security during the summer, you should consider applying for off-campus jobs.
Off-Campus Job Options
Once you complete your first year of college, you can contact USCIS to ask for permission to get an off-campus job.
Such jobs usually pay more than on-campus opportunities, but your options are generally limited to positions that relate to your field of study.
One way to get an off-campus job with an F-1 student visa is to show USCIS that you are experiencing economic hardship that is based on circumstances beyond your control. This may include unexpected medical bills, a steep tuition increase, or a sudden change in the value of currency from your country.
You will need to provide evidence of your financial difficulties to USCIS. You will also need to prove that on-campus jobs either do not pay enough or are not available to you. If these conditions are satisfied, F-1 visa holders may be able to work off-campus jobs while in school.
CPT vs OPT
Another example of the type of employment you can get with an F-1 student visa is curricular practical training (CPT).
CPT jobs must be related to your major, and the experience must be part of your program of study. You need to prove this to USCIS before you are eligible. A major benefit is that it not only pays, but also offers experience in your field of study.
Comparable to CPT is optional practical training (OPT). OPT follows similar guidelines to CPT, but the job does not need to be part of your study program.
If you have any questions, you are encouraged to contact USCIS and/or an advisor who helps international students at your school. Otherwise, your summer job could jeopardize your F-1 visa.
How ULS Can Help
If you’re applying to jobs on an F-1 visa, ULS can help with all your translation needs. From diplomas and transcripts to recommendation letters and student resumes/CVs to medical records and birth certificates, we provide professional, certified translation services in more than 200 languages.