An F-1 student who is maintaining status may work 20 hours per week on-campus while school is in session and 40 hours per week during breaks and the summer vacation. A student cannot continue on-campus employment after graduation except in the following situations: 1) student has employment authorized under OPT and will be working in their field of study; or 2) student has been issued an I-20 for a new program at WSU.
Individuals on F-2 visas are never permitted to accept employment.
Foreign students are not eligible for work study employment due to Federal regulations.
Students must meet with an adviser in the Office of International Education to determine eligibility.
Curricular Practical Training is an employment benefit authorized by USCIS for eligible F-1 students, allowing them to accept employment in connection with their major field of study and concurrently with enrollment in their degree program. The training is usually done through the Cooperative Education Program. These are academic programs designed to provide students with the opportunity to supplement their course work with practical application in the field of study. They are not employment programs, but an academic experience. Authorization is given by a designated school official (DSO) through the Office of International Education on a semester by semester basis. The student may not begin employment until this authorization has been entered on their I-20. There is no filing fee. However, the student must enroll in and pay for the corresponding class. Please note that students who have completed all program requirements are not eligible for CPT.
Optional Practical Training is an employment benefit authorized by USCIS for eligible F-1 students providing them with an opportunity to gain actual employment experience in their chosen profession for a maximum of one year per educational level. A student becomes eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he or she completes a higher educational level.
In order to apply for OPT, a student must obtain a letter of recommendation from their department. OPT is not a part of the degree program, but must be related to the student's field of study. A student may apply for OPT in their final semester of study, up to 90 days before their program end date. The Office of International Education will assist in completion of the application. However the student applicant is responsible for mailing the completed application packet and the $380 filing fee (scheduled to increase to $410 effective December 23, 2016) to USCIS within 60 days of completing all program requirements. Failure to submit the application by the deadline may result in denial.
If approved, the USCIS will send the student an EAD card as evidence of work authorization. The student may not work until: 1) they receive this card and 2) the date specified on the EAD card.
Keep in mind that the approval process may be quite lengthy, often taking up to 3 months.
For detailed information, please see the OPT Tutorial Online
In case of unforeseen economic hardship, an international student may apply to the USCIS for off-campus work authorization. The Office of International Education will assist in completion of the application, but the application itself must be submitted to USCIS with $380 filing fee (scheduled to increase to $410 effective December 23, 2016) by the student along with documentation of the unforeseen economic hardship. If the application is approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The student may then work up to 20 hours per week during the school year and full-time during breaks and the summer vacation period. The student may not work until: 1) they receive this card and 2) the date specified on the EAD card. It is not required that the employment be in the field of study.
SEH authorization is only granted for one year at a time. Upon graduation or transfer, the EAD card is no longer valid.
You may apply for an extension: 1) if your severe economic conditions continue and 2) you are maintaining your status and 3) you are in good academic standing. Again, keep in mind that the approval process may be quite lengthy sometimes taking up to 3 months.