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On-Campus Employment

F-1 students are allowed to work on campus as long as they maintain immigration status.


On-campus employment must take place either at the school or at an educationally affiliated (associated with the school’s established curriculum or part of contractually funded research projects at the postgraduate level) off-campus location.

  • On the school premises
    • Work that takes place at the school location could be for an on-campus department, office, or commercial business such as a bookstore or cafeteria. These work must directly provide services to students.
    • Employment located on-campus that does not directly involve services to students (such as construction work) does not qualify as on-campus employment.
  • Educationally affiliated off-campus location
    • Work with an employer that is contractually affiliated with the school is on-campus employment even if the work site is not located on the campus (such as a research lab affiliated with the school).

For more information, review: 8 CFR 214.2(9)(i)


Basic Guidelines for On-Campus Employment

  • Must maintain immigration status and be enrolled full-time (undergraduate students 12 hours/ graduate students 9 hours) or received an approved Reduced Course Load to be enrolled less than full-time
  • May work on campus only at the school listed on the I-20
  • May only work in student employee or graduate student employee positions
  • May work up to 20 hours per week when school is in session, and full-time (over 20 hours per week) when school is not in session (i.e. spring break) or during annual vacation (summer)
  • May not work after graduation date or completion of studies
  • Graduate students with assistantships should contact the Graduate College regarding allowable work hours before working during the summer.

On-campus employment is contingent on maintaining your full-time student status. For example, if you drop below full-time hours without authorization from ISSS, your permission to work on-campus is immediately canceled. F-1 students who continue to work are violating the US law and will be considered "unlawfully present". Not complying with on-campus employment guidelines may be a violation of status that could result in the F-1 student having to leave the US.

For more information, review Basic Guidelines on F-1 Student On-Campus Employment


Quick-reference: Characteristics of F-1 On-Campus Employment

Characteristic Note
Preconditions Eligible immediately upon obtaining F-1 status; no waiting period. In transfer scenarios, can begin at the transfer-in school after the transfer release date, but no sooner than 30 days before the program start date on the transfer-in school's I-20.
Location Must be considered "on-campus"
Duration Can be used throughout period student is pursuing a full course of study. Cannot be used after a student completes the course of study.
Hours per week Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; can be full-time during official school breaks.
Field/level of work Can be in any on-campus position that does not displace a U.S. worker; does not have to be related to course of study.
Offer of employment Not required as a condition of eligibility.
Effect on other work on campus All 214.2(f)(9)(i) on-campus work is treated the same for the 20 hour per week limit; e.g., a teaching assistant working 15 hours per week can only work 5 additional hours per week in another on-campus job
Approval process Employment is "incident to status," and does not require DSO or DHS approval. But see 11.F.2 Social Security Numbers, for a discussion of SSA requirements for obtaining a Social Security Number
Miscellaneous Employment must not displace a U.S. resident [8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i)].


Frequently Asked Questions:

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  • An F-1 may not begin on-campus employment more than 30 days prior to the I-20 program start date.

    New F-1 students needing SEVIS record activated see here: New F-1 Student SEVIS Activation Request.

    If an F-1 student finishes a program (such as a bachelor’s degree) and starts another program of study at the same campus, the student may continue on-campus employment as long as the student plans to enroll in the new program of study for the next term. The student should check with the Graduate College or Career Services for complete academic policies governing employment eligibility.

  • In the case of off-campus locations, educational affiliation means the location meets one of two important criteria:

    • Associated with the school's established curriculum
    • Related to contractually funded research projects at the post-graduate level

    In the case of on-campus locations, educational affiliation means the location meets the following criteria:

    • Included in a financial aid package
    • Scholarship
    • Fellowship or assistantship
  • Yes. However, the F-1 student’s total work hours for all jobs cannot exceed 20 hours during the school term. The F-1 student may work full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during the student’s annual break.

  • No. The 60-day "grace" period after graduation or post-completion OPT is for an F-1 student to prepare to leave the US, unless the student is beginning a new program of study. An F-1 student may consider applying for post-completion OPT to continue working after graduation.

  • On-campus employment is only available to the SEVIS transfer student after an I-20 is created and the student may not begin on-campus employment more than 30 days prior to the I-20 program start date.Once the SEVIS record is released the student is ineligible for on-campus employment at the transfer-out school.

  • The F-1 student needs to ensure the new position adheres in full to the rules and regulations discussed on this page.