F-1 and J-1 Student Employment

F-1 Students

On-Campus Employment

Off-Campus Employment

Optional Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training

Economic Hardship Work Authorization

On-Campus Employment

Students on the F-1 visa are generally permitted to work on campus. The work is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session or full time during official breaks and vacation periods. 

There are two types of student worker positions on campus - federal and state. International students who are here on a visa are only allowed to work under state student worker positions. 

To search for on campus positions, you must access the Student Employment Network

Once you have found a position, you will need to obtain a Work Study packet from the Work Study Office. They are located on North Campus in the Financial Aid Building. 

You will then need to bring to the ISO a letter from your prospective employer stating that they are hiring you for a state student worker position. We will then issue you a work permit for you to return to the Work Study office along with your completed Work Study packet. 

A letter will also be issued for you to bring to the Social Security Office if you do not already have a Social Security Number.


Off-Campus Employment

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that gives the F1 student an opportunity to apply knowledge gained from their academic program to practical work experience off campus. There are two types of OPT:

Pre-Completion OPT-

May be obtained while in school. Student is allowed to work 20 hours per Week/part time while school is in session. May work full time during school Breaks and holidays. Using pre-completion OPT deducts time from post- Completion OPT!

Post-Completion OPT-

Is intended for students to use after graduation. You receive up to 12 months of OPT after graduation, pending that no time was used from CPT or pre-completion OPT. Students in a STEM degree may receive a 17 month extension. Please see theISO for further details.



  1. be a full time registered student for a least one full academic year

  2. be physically present in the US

  3. be maintaining valid F1 status at the time of application

  4. Intend to work in a position directly related to the major field of study - You do not need an offer of employment at the time of application


To apply for either post- or pre-completion OPT, please gather the following materials and make an appointment with the ISO for further assistance:

  1. Form I-765

  2. $410 Filing Fee. Make check or money order payable to Department of HomelandSecurity

  3. Two 2” X 2” passport sized photos with a white background

  4. Copy of current I-20, I-94 admission number (go to www.cbp.gov/I94 to obtain number), passport pages, and visa page

You may also find the OPT Instruction Guide useful before making your appointment. It will answer many of the questions you may have. 

Bring all materials to the ISO for your appointment. We will issue a new I-20 to be signed and mailed to the USCIS service center for adjudication.


*It is important to apply early! USCIS can take up to 90 days to process applications. The best time to apply for OPT is 90 days before your graduation date and no later than 60 days after your completion date on your I-20.

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment that must be “an integral part of an established curriculum.” CPT is used primarily for students who are enrolled in a course that is required in their degree program that requires the student to work as part of an internship or other off campus employment. Therefore, CPT for F1 students is intended to provide work experience in situations where the work serves as an integral part of a student's academic program, prior to completion of that program.


To be eligible for CPT, you must have been lawfully enrolled full time for one academic year before being eligible. The ISO can authorize CPT if it can be clearly documented that the proposed employment meets one of the following conditions:

  • The training employment is required of all degree candidates in the program and is necessary for the awarding of the degree. There are only a few academic programs at Southeastern which require a period of off-campus employment for all degree candidates. This requirement must be formally documented in school publications.


  • The training employment will result in the awarding of academic credit. Included in this category is employment for a course specifically designed to award academic credit for an employment experience.


Part-time vs. Full-time CPT :
During the school year while classes are in session, students can engage in CPT on a part-time basis and are limited to no more than 20 hours per week.

A student can engage in full-time CPT during official University breaks and vacation. A student can also engage in full-time CPT during his/her dissertation or theses stage. However, if you participate in 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you will NOT be eligible for post-completion OPT.


How to Apply for CPT

To apply for CPT, you must make an appointment with the ISO and bring the following documents with you:

  1. Copy of your official offer letter on company letterhead that is signed by the prospective employer. A photocopy is acceptable. The letter should include the employer's name, address, and dates of employment.

  2. A CPT recommendation form completed by your academic advisor.

  3. Copies of your current immigration documents: passport, I-94 card, and I-20's.

If you are eligible for CPT, the ISO will authorize CPT by issuing a new I-20. You may engage in CPT employment only after you have received the I-20 with your CPT authorization noted. This work authorization is only valid for the specific employer, location, time period on a part-time or full-time basis as approved and recorded by the ISO. You may not continue employment beyond the date authorized unless you apply and are granted an extension of your permission. 


Economic Hardship Employment Authorization

To qualify for economic hardship employment, immigration regulations require that you meet the following conditions:

  1. You are a full-time student in good standing and have been in valid F1 status for at least one full academic year.

  2. You must be able to document the circumstances which led to your economic situation were unexpected and beyond your control.

  3. You must be capable of continuing full-time studies and maintaining F1 status while engaged in economic hardship work permission.

Immigration regulations state that unforeseen circumstances must "include substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, unexpected changes in the financial conditions of the student's source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.”



meet with the ISO to confirm your eligibility and review the conditions and procedures for applying. It is recommended that you bring a draft of a letter explaining your economic need and supporting evidence that documents this.

If USCIS authorizes your hardship employment application, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS granting you permission to work off-campus. This is usually granted for one year. Please also remember the following:

  1. You are limited to working up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. 

  2. You may work in any job, related or not related to your studies.

  3. You may not start work until you have received the EAD or before the start date indicated on the card.

  4. If you transfer to another school, your EAD becomes invalid