Student Off-Campus Work & Training

Maybe you’ve seen an advertisement looking for a tuba player or Spanish-language translator, you’ve been offered a management internship with a start-up company, or perhaps you want to build your resume by working at a firm or conducting research at another university’s lab. Before accepting an off-campus internship, job, or any payment for services, you will need to be certain your F-1 or J-1 immigration status allows you to begin.

Keep in mind that off-campus work permission for international students in the U.S. is quite limited, applications for certain employment authorizations can often take months to be approved, and that you must always have valid employment authorization to begin employment.

Training in Your Major Field

The most common types of student work permission are for major-related training:

  • F-1 student Curricular Practical Training (CPT): for an internship or placement that is a necessary part of your academic program
  • F-1 student Optional Practical Training (OPT): to gain practical experience in your major field of study, not required by your academic program
  • F-1 student STEM Extension of OPT: an extension of Optional Practical Training, available only if your major field is on a designated list of specialized majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and if you are training at a qualified employer
  • J-1 student Academic Training (AT): to gain practical experience in your major field of study

Other Permissions

Economic Hardship

  • F-1 and J-1 Student Severe Economic Hardship: If you have experienced unexpected economic difficulties due to circumstances beyond your control, you may qualify for off-campus work permission to help you continue to meet the expenses of your academic program.

Work with International Organizations

  • F-1 student Work with International Organizations recognized under the International Organization Immunities Act. For a list of organizations eligible for this work benefit, see 8 CFR 316.20(c). If you secure an internship placement or employment with a designated international organization, you may also qualify to apply for work permission for that organization.