F-1 Employment Options

General Information

Employment is a benefit of the F-1 student status; however numerous rules and restrictions apply. Employment is considered to be the rendering of services for compensation. This includes financial compensation as well as other types of compensation, such as meals, housing, books or any type of reimbursement for transportation, lodging, etc. Working or accepting employment in the United States without proper authorization is considered a serious violation of immigration status, which can affect your ability to remain in the United States. F-1 students considering any type of employment in the United States should consult with International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) prior to beginning work. All students who plan to work in the U.S. must obtain a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) for employment and taxation purposes. Details about the Social Security Number application can be found on the Social Security Number (SSN) page.

F-1 Employment Options

For information regarding F-1 employment options, please click on the links below.

Information Regarding All Types of Employment

  • Working or accepting employment in the United States without proper authorization is considered a serious violation of immigration status, which can affect your ability to remain in the United States.
  • An F-1 student may not engage in any type of employment off-campus until the student receives written employment authorization or an EAD card and the start date has been reached.

  • On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week when school is in session. 

  • Acceptance of an honorarium without employment authorization is a violation of immigration status and could result in the loss of your immigration status.

  • F-2 dependents are not permitted to work or accept employment of any kind in the United States.
  • Self-employment is still employment, and requires the appropriate work authorization.  Any plans to start a business in the US should be discussed with an immigration attorney before any work begins.  

Updated: 3/02/16