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Work as You Study in USA

Most international students who Study in USA are allowed to work. However, because they are given visa for studying purposes only, there are certain restrictions. In spite of the restrictions, it is very much possible for students to find decent work in the USA.

F1 student visa is given to students who fulfill the following criteria:

  • Are pursuing a full-time degree, diploma or a certificate
  • Are enrolled at a high school, college or university
  • Are enrolled for a language training program or at a seminary
  • Have enough funds to cover their study in USA

F1 students wanting to work in the USA have to keep the following in mind:

  • A DSO or designated school official has to verify and approve the job.
  • Students can work for only 20 hours in a week. They can work for 40 hours during holidays.
  • All international students who study in USA need to apply for a Social Security Number(SSN) before joining a job.
  • First year students are only allowed to do on-campus jobs.
  • Their employment shouldn’t take away the job from an American student.
  • A student is allowed to work “off campus” if their workplace is affiliated or related to their school/college.
  • Off-campus employment isn’t allowed unless the DSO or the designated school official authorizes the same for the student. In order to work off-campus, the student has to go through extreme financial hardship because of situations which aren’t in his control. For example, a sudden increase in tuition fees or devaluation of the student’s home currency.
  • Other types of off-campus employment are as follows. (Only for second and third-year students).

Optional practical Training or OPT –OPT is a student getting a job which is related to his field of study. It can be done while studying or after obtaining the degree. A student can pursue OPT for a year.

Curricular Practical Training – This is an internship which a student has to do for completing their study in USA.

OPT extension through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) 

Any student pursuing a degree in any of these four subjects, can go for additional OPT (17 months).

In order to join either OPT, OPT extension through STEM or CPT, students have to apply for a “Employment Authorization Document” at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Types of “work as you study” jobs available for students are as follows:

  • Research Assistant for a professor of the college/university
  • Teaching assistant for a professor of the college/university
  • Staff positions in university bookstores, libraries or cafeterias
  • Staff positions in dormitories and administrative departments
  • Staff positions in student affairs office or international students office
  • Technician jobs in computer labs
  • Working for a firm which provides services to students of the college/university(on-site)

M1 student visa is given to students who qualify for the following:

  • Are pursuing full-time (18 hours) vocational studies.
  • Are enrolled at a flight school or technical or mechanical studies.
  • Are taking cooking classes.
  • The period of their study in USA is from six months to a year.
  • Can prove that they have enough funds to cover their studies and their stay.

Students with M1 visas aren’t allowed to do jobs while they are still studying.