F-1 students who are maintaining status may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. F-1 students may work on campus over 20 hours per week during annual vacation and breaks between quarters.
F-1 students may look for an on-campus job online at https://www.mccnebjobs.com and/or by going to different departments and asking if they have a position available. Some departments include the Bookstore, the Institute of Culinary Arts, Library, Maintenance & Grounds, and the Learning and Tutoring Center.
Working off-campus is very limited for students in F-1 status. However, there are some guidelines for practical training and severe economic hardship work authorization that students can read to see if they qualify. Please contact International Student Services for more information.
There are two types of practical training: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). Practical training allows students to work in their field of study for a specified period of time, depending on which type is authorized. Each type of practical training requires that students have attended at least a full academic year of studies and have maintained their F-1 status. A student in English as a Second Language program is not eligible for practical training.
To apply for both types of practical training, email firstname.lastname@example.org for directions.
Curricular Practical Training
Several academic programs have an internship requirement to complete the degree.
CPT is reviewed and authorized by International Student Services (ISS). The amount of time that ISS can authorize depends upon the work required to complete the course. Thus, CPT varies by program. CPT is usually part-time and is not subtracted from a student’s year of full-time OPT.
How to Apply for Curricular Practical Training
- Make sure that an internship course is either required for graduation or can be used to fulfill graduation requirements.
- Make an appointment with an ISS staff member approximately one month before your internship class starts to make sure you understand the policies.
- Follow the requirements listed in the CPT form from ISS.
- After ISS completes the CPT work authorization, take your I-20, I-94, and passport to the Social Security Administration office to apply for a Social Security Number. For directions on how to apply, please review the Social Security Number webpage for more information.
Access the directions and forms for Curricular Practical Training by clicking on ISS Forms.
Optional Practical Training
F-1 students may request Post-Completion OPT to obtain work in their field of study.
To apply for OPT, students need to email email@example.com. ISS will review OPT requests based on immigration regulations and MCC policies. IMPORTANT: F-1 students will need a new I-20 with an OPT recommendation on page two from ISS. If students do not include this I-20 in the application, USCIS will most likely deny the application.
Students are allowed 12 months of work during the 14-month period following completion of studies. OPT ends when students transfer to another school or begin study at another educational level.
F-1 students are potentially eligible to apply for OPT if they meet the following criteria:
- Lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for a full academic year
- Maintained F-1 status for at least a full academic year
- Have not exceeded 12 months of full-time CPT authorization. (Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.)
F-1 students may begin to look for employment in their field of study, but they may NOT begin working until they receive their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card, which shows their start date. F-1 students may tell a potential employer that they have filed for practical training and are waiting for a response from USCIS. Employment must be related to the field of study!
Access the OPT Application Instructions by clicking on ISS Forms.
After OPT Approval
All OPT employment must be directly related to the student’s field of study and commensurate with the level of education.
F-1 students may work at a full- or part-time job. Part-time jobs must be over 20 hours per week.
Self-employment is allowed. F-1 students must prove that they have proper business licenses.
Volunteer work or unpaid internships that do not violate U.S. labor laws are acceptable. The work must be over 20 hours per week.
F-1 students may have more than one job as long as all jobs are related to the field of study.
Reporting Requirements to International Student Services
- F-1 students are required to report personal contact information (name, address, phone number and email address) and employment information changes to International Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 days of the change.
- F-1 students must email a PDF of their Employment Authorization Document (work permit) to email@example.com.
- F-1 student need to email their job offer letter to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as they receive it.
- F-1 students need to report their employment information either by 1) accessing the OPT Employment Information Form by clicking on ISS Forms or 2) by logging into in the SEVP Portal. The gov't will email a link to the approved students to their person email addresses.
- If F-1 students decide to go home (i.e., giving up OPT) and complete the F-1 status prior to the OPT expiration date, please email International Student Services before leaving the U.S.
Severe Economic Hardship
Students in F-1 status who have an unforeseen change in their economic situation, such as substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the sponsor, medical bills or other substantial and unexpected expenses, who have maintained status for three consecutive quarters and are in good academic standing, may be eligible for severe economic hardship work authorization. Severe economic hardship work authorization can be potentially issued for a maximum of one year or until the end of a student’s studies, whichever comes first. This authorization does not affect a student’s ability to apply for optional practical training or subtract from the employment time. Students should make a good faith effort to locate employment on campus before applying for off-campus employment.
F-1 students may begin to look for employment, but they may NOT begin working until they receive their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card, which shows their start date. F-1 students may tell a potential employer that they have filed for severe economic hardship and that they are waiting for a response from USCIS.
It takes approximately 90 days to receive an EAD card from USCIS, if approved.
Access the application instructions for Severe Economic Hardship by clicking on ISS Forms.