Can I work while studying in the USA? 

Updated on: Aug 10, 2023

Yes, it is possible to work while studying in the USA as an international student, but there are certain limitations and restrictions that you need to be aware of.

As an international student in the US, you are allowed to work part-time on campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and full-time during the summer and other school breaks. However, you cannot work off-campus during your first year of study, and you can only work off-campus after that if you have received authorisation from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

There are two types of off-campus work authorization: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). CPT is temporary employment directly related to your major field of study and requires prior approval from your school's international student office. OPT is temporary employment related to your field of study and can be used either during your studies or after you graduate. OPT requires a separate application to USCIS and can take several months to process.

It is important to note that while working can help you earn some extra money and gain valuable work experience, your studies should always come first as an international student. Therefore, it is important to make sure that any work you take on does not interfere with your academic obligations.