The United States is home to some of the best universities in the world, making it a hotspot for international students. But along with prestigious institutions also comes expensive university fees, visa costs and living expenses.
To make the most of your study abroad experience, you might want to get a part-time job so you have some income to explore and enjoy life.
If you’re studying in the US, you will likely be on an F-1 visa. This visa allows you some working rights, but it is important to be clued up on what your visa entitles you to. Breaking your visa rules can have drastic implications, so read on to make sure you understand your rights and stay out of trouble while studying.
Can I work on campus?
The F-1 visa allows you to work up to 20 hours per week during term-time on your campus, as long as a US citizen is not denied a job as a result.
On campus jobs
Work performed on the school’s premises directly for your school
Work performed for on-location commercial firms which provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or cafeteria
Work completed at an off-campus location when the work is directly linked to the student’s education program
During semester breaks, your F-1 visa allows you to work full-time (40 hours per week) if you are continuing your studies next term.
If you are applying for or receive on-campus work, it’s important to discuss with the International Student Office and obtain a letter from them for the Social Security Administration. You need to use this letter to get the Social Security number.
Jobs outside of your school are only available to international students who have completed one full academic year and who have a qualifying economic hardship or an emergent circumstance.
Optional Practical Training
Possibly one of the best parts of the F-1 visa is it allows you to gain up to a year’s experience in a field relevant to your studies, also known as Optional Practical Training (OPT). This training can be done before, during or after your course, but you must be enrolled at your university to be eligible.
STEM OPT Extension
If you finish your studies and participate in a period of post-completion OPT, you might then qualify for the STEM OPT extension, which is a 24-month period of temporary training that directly relates to your program of study.
This extension is only available if your employer is enrolled in the E-Verify program and if you have a degree in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) fields on this list.
We at Aliff Overseas Consultant understand how confusing it can be navigating your visa and all the rules, so don’t feel shy to get in touch, and remember we are always there to help you.