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F-1: Off Campus Employment

Regulation that defines off-campus employment for F-1 students is in 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(9)(ii). Generally, Off Campus Employment is employment that is for economic need and does not necessarily have to relate to the student's academic course of study.

There are three types of Off Campus Employment:

  • Severe Economic Hardship
    • This is defined as a financial condition caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control that make it difficult for a student to continue education in the United States. According to SEVIS, examples of these circumstances may include:
      • Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment through no fault of the student
      • Substantial changes in the exchange rate or value of the currency upon which the student depends
      • In ordinate increases in tuition or living costs
      • Unexpected changes in the financial state of the student's source of support
      • Medical bills
      • Other substantial and unexpected expenses
  • Special Student Relief (SSR) due to emergent circumstances
    • Under emergent circumstances, the U.S. government may suspend some requirements for affected F-1 students, including the requirements for off-campus employment. In such cases, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will issue a notice in the Federal Register, giving details of such suspension.
  • Internship with an International Organization
    • Students who are offered an internship with an international organization may be eligible for an employment benefit provided that the internship is (1) in the United States and (2) with a public international organization that falls within the International Organization Immunities Act, as defined in 22 U.S.C. § 288 59 Stat. 669.


Off Campus Employment is generally not permissible before you complete your first academic year of study in the U.S. You must complete two full-time consecutive semesters in the U.S. in F-1 degree status before you are eligible to work Off Campus. Exceptions are possible for emergent circumstances (SSR), as noted by DHS.


To request Off Campus Employment Authorization, students need to:
  1. Submit a completed Off Campus Employment request through the ISSS portal, Tab 4 "Initiate & Manage Requests"
  2. Allow up to 10 business days for ISSS to review your request. If we have questions or need more information, we will email your student account. If you have questions, you may schedule a meeting with an Advisor or visit the ISSS office during drop-in hours.
  3. Once issued, print and hand sign the updated I-20 (Remarks section will include statement of recommendation or student's eligibility)
  4. Student prepares an I-765 application and submits it to USCIS

DO NOT WORK OFF CAMPUS without USCIS authorization! Unauthorized employment is a non-reinstatable offense.

Hours Permitted

All international students may work no more than 20 hours per week, except during office school breaks, such as summer break, winter break, and spring break.  During school breaks, you may work more than 20 hours per week.

There is an exception for students who are participating in an internship with an International Organization. These students may work full-time while school is in session, however, it is required that students also maintain a full course of study.


Off-Campus Employment authorization ends 1 year after issuance or upon completion of the program, whichever comes first, and unless otherwise stipulated. To extend Off-Campus Employment authorization, the student would need to submit another application to USCIS.