On-Campus

The F-1 student visas allow on-campus work only for up to 20 hours during the fall and spring semesters and up to 40 hours during summer and other school breaks. Off-campus work is permitted only when a student has both applied and been approved for off-campus work authorization.

CAUTION: Any kind of off-campus work that is done without approved employment authorization is illegal and is a violation of your F-1 immigration status. This must be reported in the SEVIS database through which your immigration status, including work benefits, will be ended. There is no flexibility in this regulation.

If you need assistance in determining if a job opportunity is legal, please contact Jeff Constant at jconstant@lander.edu, or by calling 864-388-8896.

To remain eligible for on-campus employment as an F-1:

  • You must be in good academic standing with the university and be maintaining your immigration status.
  • You must have a passport that is valid throughout the term of employment.
  • Your I-20 must not be expired and you must still be pursuing your degree.
  • You must be enrolled in a minimum 12 hours if you are an undergraduate or 9 hours if you are a graduate student.
  • Enrollment during summer terms is optional.

 

Off-Campus

CAUTION: Any kind of off-campus work that is done without approved employment authorization is illegal and is a violation of your F-1 immigration status. This must be reported in the SEVIS database through which your immigration status, including future work benefits, will be ended. There is no flexibility in this regulation.

To protect your F-1 visa status, make an appointment with the Office of International Programs to discuss eligibility for work authorization benefits before starting employment.

 

Off-Campus Employment Options

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a work authorization benefit allowing F-1 students to gain up to one year of experience in their fields of study, generally after completion of studies. Employment must be directly related to the student’s area of study. OPT can also be used before completion of studies during school breaks (40 hours per week) and while school is in session (up to 20 hours per week).

No job offer is needed to apply. Students who have maintained F-1 status for at least one academic year before applying are eligible. OPT work authorization is granted by USCIS and processing times vary widely throughout the year. Therefore, students should plan ahead to allow for processing times of at least two months and also should allow two weeks processing time.

Deadline to apply: Students must apply at least two weeks before completion of studies date and can apply as early as 90 days in advance of their completion-of-studies. Any OPT done before completion-of-studies is subtracted from the 12 month total available to you.

Students interested in OPT should set up an appointment with the Office of International Programs to discuss the application. Call 388-8896 to schedule an appointment. A Form I-765 will need to be completed by the student.

Economic Hardship

Students who have experienced a severe and unforeseeable change in their financial situations since entering the U.S. may apply for economic hardship work authorization. This authorization permits off-campus work for up to 20 hours per week during the school year and up to 40 hours per week during school breaks. The work does not have to be related to the student’s field of study.

The student must submit an application through the International Student Advisor to the USCIS and should expect a minimum of two months processing time. Furthermore, the student must provide a convincing case that the financial difficulty was severe and unforeseeable.

Students interested in economic hardship work authorization should set up an appointment with the International Student Advisor to discuss the application. Call 388-8896 to schedule an appointment. A Form I-765 will need to be completed by the student.

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training is employment authorization for off-campus employment that allows an F-1 student to participate in a paid internship, practicum or research in the student's field of study which meets Lander University’s degree requirements.

Depending on a student's eligibility and academic needs, employment can be either part-time or full-time. Employment authorization is granted by the International Student Advisor, in consultation with the student's academic department. Written authorization for employment based upon Curricular Practical Training must be received prior to beginning employment. Two weeks processing time is required.