In addition to continuing education, working in the United States helps to ease the financial burden on international students or allow them to earn a little pocket-money to take care of their daily needs without pressuring their parents. But to work in the US, the candidate must ensure that they are legally allowed to make money. So, if students want to work on a part-time basis, let’s look at the process of how an international student gets the work permit in the US. Remember that, as an international student in the US on a visa, you cannot just go out and get any job you want. There are rules that you must follow. Working illegally will put you in trouble and nobody wants that.
The Department of Homeland Security outlines four ways for international students to work legally on the US student visa:
- On-campus employment permit
- Off-campus employment permit
- Curricular practical training (CPT) permit
- Optional practical training(OPT) permit
On-campus employment permit:
On-campus employment is a category that is approved by USCIS regulations. Although F-1 visas include an on-campus employment facility, most US schools do not have this facility. Even if you can get a job on campus, you cannot rely on it to prove a financial institution for the year, and often these jobs are unrelated to your studies. Many schools want you to seek permission from the International Student Office before accepting any on-campus employment.
Off-campus employment permit:
In case of F-1 visa, you are not allowed to work off-campus unless approved by the DSO (Designated School Official). Off-campus employment depends on serious financial hardship only after the student is in the appropriate status for at least one full academic year. Also, other conditions must be met, and the eligibility will be determined by the DSO.
Curricular practical training (CPT):
CPT should be a part of your school curriculum. It is designed to give you real-world experience in your field of study, such as an internship or practice with a partner. Unlike other employment genres, curriculum practical training can be full-time, with no weekly hour’s limit. At the same time, you may have multiple curricular practical training approvals.
Optional practical training permit:
Optional practical training (OPT) refers to short-term employment related to your course of study. You will require the authorization of the DSO (Designated School Official), who will then approve your application and help you to submit it to US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Criteria for getting work permit while studying in the US:
Different student visas have different rules and limitations to allow international students for part-time jobs while studying in the United States. You must fulfil the following criteria when working in the United States as a student:
- Need to possess a valid F-1, J-1 or M-1 student visa
- Enrolled in a US institution approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program and Immigration and Customs Enforcement
- To qualify for off-campus employment under an F-1 visa, you must have completed one year of study in the United States
- Your job under your F-1 or M-1 visa must be related to your field of study and approved by the DSO
The United States is considered a world-class education hub. Educational institutes like Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Yale and Columbia are the renowned name and every year many international students are coming to pursue their dreams. USCIS allows three types of visa to international students and student visas have the benefit of part-time and full-time work in the United States. After fulfilling all criteria international students can easily get work permit along with their study.