Employment for F-1 Students

On-campus Employment

  1. An international student with an F-1 visa who is in status may work up to 20 hours per week on campus while registered as a full-time student (12 credits for undergraduates and 9 credits for graduate students).
  2. There is no exception to the 20 hour-per-week limit even if the employment is a teaching or graduate assistantship.
  3. On-campus employment may be full time during vacation periods (for example, summer or semester breaks) for students who have maintained a full time course of study before the vacation and have registered for the next semester. 

Off-campus Employment

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is defined as alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, service learning, or any other type of a required internships that sponsoring employers offer through cooperative agreements with Castleton. You will need authorization from the International Student Office for this type of practical training. If you are authorized for one year or more of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Part-time CPT, under 20 hours per week, will not affect OPT. Please contact the ISO for more CPT application information.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

This program allows you to take a job in your field of study, part or full-time. The duration that you can work under OPT is 12 months per higher educational level. OPT may be done during specific times before you graduate, or after you graduate. Castleton’s student employment positions do not qualify as jobs for OPT. You should apply for OPT during the semester you will complete your degree requirements. You will need a recommendation from the International Student Office (ISO) and authorization from the S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for OPT. Please contact the ISO for detailed OPT application information.

Off-campus work due to serious economic hardship

The USCIS can authorize this kind of work permission when a student has fully documented severe economic hardship arising after being in status with a F-1 visa for one full academic year. This option requires the ISO to verify that adequate employment on campus is not available. 

What does USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) consider as “employment”?

If you receive any form of compensation, even “in-kind” compensation such as meals, housing, insurance, or other items, for work completed by you, the USCIS considers this to be employment. 

The information contained on this page is intended for informational purpose only and is not to be taken as legal advice. Please speak to someone in the International Student Office about your specific situation so that we can properly advise you.