The United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) regulations allow for some employment opportunities for foreign students. You can work on campus. However, employment without proper authorization is a serious violation of status.
On Campus Employment
You are eligible to apply for “Regular Payroll” positions on campus. These positions are competitive among all students. You are encouraged to prepare a resume and apply early. On campus jobs are limited to 20* hours per week when school is in session but can be full time (40* hours per week) during official school breaks.
*this maximum number includes the total number of hours from all on-campus jobs, combined
Off Campus Employment
Students who experience severe economic hardship may be eligible for off campus employment. Applying for off campus employment is burdensome and most students who need employment find work on campus where no permission procedures are necessary. Allow several months for processing of off campus employment applications by USCIS.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Curricular Practical Training is employment off campus that is an integral part of an established curriculum such as an internship, cooperative education or practicum. CPT must be approved by your academic department, and you must enroll in appropriate course for the term of the employment.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training is temporary employment for practical training directly related to your major area of study; most commonly utilized after degree completion.
Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN)
Once you have secured a job offer on-campus, through CPT or off-campus, you must obtain a social security number. Ask your hiring supervisor to give you an employment form letter and bring it to the International Program Center to request a work eligibility letter. The IPC will give you more detailed information at that time.