Students often inquire as to the possibility for employment while studying in the U.S. Employment is any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. If students receive no pay or other benefit for work performed, this activity is not defined as employment and is considered to be volunteer work.
A fundamental eligibility requirement for all types of employment is that students must continuously maintain lawful F-1 status. Maintaining eligibility for most types of F-1 employment means that students must limit their work to no more than twenty (20) hours per week while school is in session. Students cannot assume that they are eligible to work without first contacting the International Advisor.
There are several categories of employment available for students: on-campus employment, off-campus employment, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT).