This article is from the FAQ, by with numerous contributions by others.
The pilot off-campus employment program available since 1990 will expire on
September 30, 1994 and, as far as I have been able to determine, has not been
Off campus employment is still available in cases of severe economic
hardship. You must meet the following conditions to pursue off-campus
- you are in good academic standing and are studying full-time;
- you can show severe economic hardship (the following may be acceptable):
- loss of financial aid or on-campus employment through no fault of the
- major currency fluctuations
- inordinate tuition or living expense increases;
- unexpected financial changes in the students source of support;
- unexpected expenses
- on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable;
- one academic year has been completed;
- the foreign student advisor recommends work authorization
To obtain work authorization, Forms I-538 must be submitted to the foreign
student advisor for certification. The student must submit to the local INS
office the certified I-538, Form I-20 (student copy), Form I-765, a filing
fee for the I-765 (see list of fees in the FAQ), and supporting evidence
showing economic hardship. If approved, the student will receive a one-year
employment authorization card permitting up to 20 hours/week of work.
Employment authorization may be available under the curricular practical
training program if the proposed employment is an integral or important part
of the F-1s curriculum. Any employment required for a degree qualifies, but
the employment need not be a prerequisite for the degree in order to get CPT
if the course credit is available for the employment, CPT is listed in the
schools course handbook and a faculty member oversees the course.
Where employment is required for an undergraduate degree, 9 months of study
must be completed. Where employment is required for a graduate degree,
employment may begin right away. Where employment is not required, 9 months
of study must be completed, regardless of whether the student is at the
undergraduate or graduate level.
To apply, the foreign student adviser will mark on the back of the students
copy of the I-20AB whether the authorized work is full or part time. If
part time, only 20 hours/week of work are allowed. Full time work is
possible and enrollment is not necessary. There is no time limit on this
type of employment, though eligibility for post-completion practical
training is lost if curricular practical training lasts more than 12 months.
Optional practical training is available either before or after graduation
for a total period of up to twelve months. Pre-graduation and
post-graduation training periods are added together to determine if 12
months are exceeded. Part time work is counted as one-half the amount of
time of full time work. The training must be in the students educational field.
Pre-graduation practical training is available during the school year if
employment is less than 20 hours per week and the student has been enrolled
for at least 9 months. Post-graduation practical training is available upon
completion of required course work or when the course of study is complete.
While engaging in post-graduation practical training, the student may enroll
in school on a part time basis.
If a student returns home for five months or more and returns to engage in a
new course of studies, the student gets 12 more months of employment
authorization. But if a student merely transfers schools, he or she will
have to get new employment authorization and will have to split the 12
months between the schools.
To obtain practical training, the student must apply to the foreign student
adviser to endorse Form I-538. The student then applies directly to the
local INS office for an employment authorization document (EAD) by filing
Form I765 with fee and Form I-538.
You may apply for post-graduation practical training as early as 90 days
prior to completion or 30 days after. The INS will issue the EAD effective
from the date of completion of studies or the date on which the EAD is
created - whichever is later. An employment offer is not required.