DePaul University Global Engagement > Student Resources > International Student & Scholar Services > Employment

Employment

Employment options for international students are limited but available.​ F-1 and J-1 international students are eligible to work on-and off-campus with certain restrictions. Please familiarize yourse​lf with the following information b​ased on your visa type. If you have any questions about your eligibility to work on- or off-campus, please consult your International Student and Scholar Services (ISS) advisor.

Please note: All off-campus work authorization requires prior approval from the IS​​S.

On Campus Employment for F-1 Students

F-1 Eligibility for On-campus Employment

Non-immigrant students in F-1 status are eligible to work at the school they are attending and which issued them their SEVIS I-20 form. On-campus employment includes all on campus jobs, assistantships and fellowships. In order for a student to be considered eligible for on-campus employment, they must be enrolled as a full-time student and must be in lawful F-1 student status.

You may apply for on-campus jobs by visiting the Office of Student Employment​​​​.​ ​

If you were to violate your status and continue working on-campus, you would be engaging in illegal employment and would potentially risk having to leave the United States. You would also jeopardize your eligibility for any future benefits from the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), such as "practical training," "academic training" and/or adjustment to another non-immigrant status.​ 

Note: A student who has completed all requirements for their degree is no longer eligible for on-campus employment. Students in F-1 status are NOT ELIGIBLE for any positions specifically held aside for students awarded aid under the federal work-study program. 

How many hours are you allowed to work on-campus?

As an F-1 student you are limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year i.e. when school is in session. This 20-hour limit per week includes all types of employment combined, both on-campus and off-campus. Additionally, hours worked are limited and reviewed each week, not averaged for the 2 week pay period. Just because you worked 15 hours one week, does not mean you can work 25 hours the next week. 

F-1 students who are maintaining their status may be eligible to work more than 20 hours per week during school breaks or summer vacation (e.g. spring break, winter break).  For questions regarding full-time employment eligibility please see your ISS advisor.

What do we mean by "when school is in session?"

School is considered to be “in session” during official term/end dates (includes exam time). You are limited to 20 hours of work per week when school is “in session” i.e. during official term/end dates. See term begin/end date calendar here​.​

What are the consequences of working over the 20 hour per week limit?

If you work more than 20 hours per week when school is in session, you will lose your lawful F-1 student status which will result in the termination of your SEVIS I-20 record. In most cases, this means that you will need to depart from the U.S. and attempt to make a new lawful entry.​

What do you do if your manager asks you to work more than 20 hours per week?

Remind your manager that F-1 students may only work up to 20 hours per week. Additional hours or exceptions cannot be authorized by your manager; you may direct your manager to your ISS Advisor​ for more information. Remember - If you have multiple jobs, including stipend-paid positions, your total hours worked may not exceed 20 per week.​

What do you do if you forget to log hours and decide to enter them for another week?

Hours must be entered on your timesheet for the week that you worked. If the time sheet is not available for the week you worked, talk to your manager for help contacting Payroll to have the hours entered on the correct time sheet.​

What do you do if you are using web clock (punching in-and-out)?

Pay attention to the hours for which you are scheduled. Do not clock-in early or clock-out late. Do not take on extra shifts or substitute for another employee if those hours would put you over the total 20 hour per week limit.​
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Off-campus Employment for F-1 Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

CPT is off-campus work authorization that may be obtained from ISS. It requires that you receive academic credit for the work experience for which you request authorization.

Applying for CPT

  1. Complete the CPT Application Guide & Tutorial. Detailed CPT application instructions are available by viewing the tutorial.
  2. Complete the CPT I-20 Request Form​. You will complete the "Student Information" section and your academic advisor will complete the "Academic Recommendation" portion of the form. Submit the completed request to the ISS front desk. Please note: incomplete I-20 request forms may result in delayed processing times.
  3. Pick up your CPT I-20 from ISS before beginning your CPT employment. Your CPT I-20 will be available approximately 5-7 business days after you submit your I-20 request form.

Where can I get my questions answered?​

  1. Review the CPT Application Guide & Tutorial​.​ The application guide is designed to provide you with the information needed to complete your CPT request. ISS highly recommends that you begin by reviewing the entire tutorial.
  2. Still have more questions? Visit ISS during Walk-in Wednesdays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. or schedule an appointment​​ with your ISS advisor by contacting the front desk at (312) 362-8376. ​​

Quick Reference: Characteristics of CPT

  • Preconditions: ​​Student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a DHS-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for CPT. Exception exists for graduate students whose programs require immediate curricular training​. Available only while student is in F-1 status, before completion of the educational objective. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for CPT. 
  • Location: Stud​ents may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved and recorded by the DSO in SEVIS. 
  • Duration: D​epends on the specific period granted by the DSO. Granted based on dates corresponding to start/end of term. It can only be approved before completion of the academic objective (degree completion). 
  • Hours Per Week: Can be approved for part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (over 20 hours). 
  • Field/level of Work: Mu​st be an integral part of an established curriculum, in the student's course of study.
  • Offer of Employment: ​Must have an offer of employment from an employer offering work that qualifies as curricular practical training. 
  • Effect on Other Work: Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Traning (OPT). Use of part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT. 
  • Approval Process: ​Must receive written authorization from DSO, who records authorization in SEVIS and issues SEVIS I-20 with notation, before work begins. USCIS approval is not required. 
  • Miscellaneous: ​Must continue to maintain a full course of study in F-1 status during the period of employment. 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

What is OPT?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is "temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student's major area of study" that may be obtained from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a benefit of maintaining lawful F-1 status. OPT authorization allows F-1 students to gain work experience in their field of study. Eligible F-1 students earn 12 months of OPT at each academic level (i.e., bachelor's, master's, PhD). 

Applying for OPT

  1. Complete the OPT Application Guide & Tutorial​. ​​Detailed OPT application instructions are available by viewing the tutorial. The tutorial is designed to assist you in completing your own OPT application. Contact your ISS advisor if you have questions.
  2. Complete the OPT I-20 Request Form​​. You will complete the "Student Information" section and your academic advisor will complete the "Academic Recommendation" portion of the form. Submit the completed request to the ISS front desk. Your OPT I-20 will be available approximately 5-7 business days after you submit your I-20 request form. Please note: incomplete I-20 request forms may result in delayed processing times.
  3. Compile and mail your application materials to USCIS. Carefully collect and review your application materials for accuracy. Make a copy of the complete application for your records. Follow instructions for mailing your OPT application. ​​

24-Month STEM Extension OPT

F-1 students who received a U.S. Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) field may be eligible for an extension of post completion OPT. 


OPT STEM EXTENSION RESOURCES: 
Applying for the 24-month STEM Extension: 


Severe Economic Hardship

Work permission based on unforeseen severe economic hardship may be available to students who: 
  • Have maintained lawful F-1 or J-1 status for one academic year (At DePaul University this is equivalent to at least three consecutive quarters or two semesters). 
  • Are currently in good academic standing and can demonstrate that they have suffered unforeseen change in their financial circumstances. 
  • Have found that on-campus work opportunities are not available or adequate. 
  • For more information schedule an appointment with your ISS Advisor​


​On-campus Employment for J-1 Students

Eligibility for J-1 On-campus Employment

Non-immigrant students in J-1 status are eligible to work at the school they are attending. However, students must obtain written authorization from their program sponsor (the institution that issued their SEVIS DS-2019) before they start working on campus. On-campus employment includes all jobs, assistantships and fellowships. In order for a student to be considered eligible for on-campus employment they must be enrolled as a full-time student and must be in lawful J-1 status. 


On campus employment for J-1 students is limited to no more than 20 hours per week during the academic year i.e. when school is in session. This 20-hour limit per week includes all types of empoloyment combined, both on-campus and authorized off-campus. J-1 students who are maintaining their status are eligible to work full-time during holidays and annual vacation periods, provided they intend to register for the next academic session. 

You can apply for on-campus jobs by visiting the Office of Student Employment​​. J-1 students must recieve written permission from ISS prior to beginning any on-campus work. You will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) which is used to report your wages. 

If you were to finish your program early or violate your lawful J-1 status and continue working on-campus you would be engaging in unlawful employment and would risk long term immigration consequences. You would also jeapardize your eligiblity for any future benefits from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services  (USCIS), such as academic training and/or adjustment to another non-immigrant status. 

Note: 

A student who has completed all requirements for their degree is no longer eligible for on-campus employment. Students in F-1 and J-1 non-immigrant status are NOT ELIGIBLE for any positions specifically held aside for students awarded aid under the federal work-study program. ​​
​​

Are you allowed to work on-campus?

As a ​J-1 student, you are allowed to work on-campus ONLY IF you have already obtained written authorization from ISS. 

How many hours are you allowed to work on-campus?

A​s a J-1 student you are limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year​ i.e. when school is in session. This 20-hour limit per week includes all types of employment combined, both on-campus and off-campus. Additionally, hours worked are limited and reviewed each week, not averaged for the 2 week pay period. Just because you worked 15 hours one week, does not mean you can work 25 hours the next week. 

J-1 students who are maintaining their status may be eligible to work more than 20 hours per week during school breaks or summer vacation. For questions regarding full-time employment eligibility, please contact your ISS advisor.​

What do we mean by "when school is in session?"

​School is considered to be "in session" during offical term/end dates (includes exam time). You are limited to 20 hours of work per week when school is "in session" i.e. during offical term/end dates. See term being/end date calendar here​

What are the consequences of working over the 20 hour per week limit?

​If you work more than 20 hours per week when school is in session, you will lose your lawful J-1 student status which will result in the termination of your SEVIS DS-2019 record. In most cases, this means that you will need to depart from the U.S. and attempt to make a new lawful entry. 

What do you do if your manager asks you to work more than 20 hours per week?

​Remind your manager that J-1 students may only work up to 20 hours per week. Additional hours or exeptions cannot be authorized by your manager; you many direct your manager to your ISS Advisor ​for more information. Remember - if you have multiple jobs, including stipend-paid positions, your total hours worked may not exceed 20 per week. 

What do you do if you forget to log hours and decide to enter them for another week?

​Hours must be entered on your timesheet for the week you worked. If the time sheet is not available for the week you worked, talk to your manager for help contacting Payroll to have the hours entered on the correct time sheet. 

What do you do if you are using web clock (punching in-and-out)?

​Pay attention to the hours for which you are scheduled. Do not clock-in early or clock-out late. Do not take on extra shifts or substitute for another employee if those hours would put you over the total 20 hour per week limit. 


Off-campus Employment for J-1 Students

Academic Training (AT)

​As a J-1 student, you may work off-campus (other than DePaul) ONLY if you have obtained special work permission from ISS BEFORE beginning your work. 

This is what you need to know about working off-campus:
  • You need special work permission to work outside DePaul (off-campus). 
  • You may not begin work until you have received written permission from ISS. 
  • The proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study. 
  • You must be in good academic standing and maintaining lawful J-1 status to be eligible for work authorization. 
  • You need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) which is used to report your wages. 
The type of off-campus work authorization for which most J-1 students are eligible is known as Academic Training. Academic Training is available before and after completion of your program of study. If you stay within the specified time limits, you may work either part-time or full-time while classes are in session as well as during vacation periods. You must apply for and receive written authorization for Academic Training from iSS before beginning employment. 

For more information, please see the following handout: Academic Training for J-1 Students. ​