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The primary purpose of the F-1 and J-1 programs is academic study; however, students also have the opportunity to engage in work life in the United States.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provide a variety of opportunities, though specific and limited, for F-1 and J-1 international students to be employed during their studies. Students must first seek approval for the appropriate work authorization type. Working without proper authorization is a serious violation of F-1 and J-1 student status.

For on-campus student employment information, contact Human Resources.

For off-campus employment, you must receive authorization from either ISS or USCIS to engage in either academic or practical training.

Remember, employment options are limited to your immigration status and visa type. Unauthorized employment will result in termination of your status. If you have questions about your status and employment, please contact our office.

Special Topics

Economic Hardship Employment

Students experiencing severe economic hardship due to unforeseen change in their financial circumstances may be eligible for off-campus employment authorization.

Examples of severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control include:

  • loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, 
  • substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, 
  • inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, 
  • unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support, 
  • medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses. 

Students seeking this employment authorization must meet eligibility requirements. While F-1 review and approval is done by USCIS, J-1 review and approval is by ISS. We are currently discontinuing the economic hardship employment option. If you have immediate concerns regarding funding and finances, please meet with your ISS advisor to discuss other options for you.

Employment Options for Dependents

F-2 dependents are not to engage in employment or business under any circumstances. This includes any sort of self-employment or selling business.

J-2 dependents are eligible to work provided that they have a current work permit. J-2 Employment authorization is obtained from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services through an application process that takes about three to five months. The J-2 dependent would need to apply for the I-765, or the application for employment authorization, along with the required fee. Employment may not begin until the J-2 has received the work permit, also known as the employment authorization document (EAD). Holders of the EAD card must keep in mind that employment cannot extend past the end date of the EAD.

Engaging in any type of unauthorized employment will place you out of status. Also, employers may be cited, fined, and/or imprisoned for hiring persons ineligible for employment or maintaining employees who are no longer authorized to be employed.