Is it legal to work in the USA as an international student? 

Updated on: Nov 4, 2023

Yes, it is generally legal for international students in the USA on F-1 visas to work, but there are specific regulations and restrictions governing the types of work and the number of hours you can work. Here are the key points to understand:

On-Campus Employment: F-1 students can work on the school's campus without special authorisation, but there are limits:

  • You can work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) while school is in session.
  • You can work full-time during school breaks and vacation periods.

Off-Campus Employment: Off-campus employment is generally allowed, but it requires specific authorisation:

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT): F-1 students can apply for OPT, which allows you to work in your field of study for up to 12 months after completing your program. OPT requires application and approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT is work authorization for internships or work that is an integral part of your curriculum. You must obtain CPT authorization from your university.

It's crucial to consult with your university for guidance on employment options and to ensure that you follow all regulations. Edvoy's study abroad consultants can also provide information and guidance on the best opportunities for you as an international student in the USA.