"Employment" is work performed in exchange for compensation. Compensation can include money, room and board, or other significant benefits. Before accepting any kind of employment, be sure it is allowed by the F-1 regulations. Note that the off-campus employment opportunities generally require you to have completed one academic year (three quarters) to be eligible to apply for authorization. Consult an ISS adviser with any questions related to F-1 status and employment.
F-1 status allows the following five categories of employment:
- On-campus Employment
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- Severe Economic Hardship
- International Organizations
Having trouble deciding between CPT and OPT? This handout will help you figure out which to use.
Changing from the F-1 student visa to an H-1B employment visa:
Obtaining a Social Security Number