Different US Work Study Program option for US F-1 Visa Students

The Work Study Programs in US is designed to help students apply their classroom knowledge to ‘hands-on’ practical work experiences in the United States.

The Primary benefits of US Work Study Program are:

Work with American companies up to 20 hours per week

Full/Part time job opportunities

Earn wages similar to American workers

Supplement Financial support

Class schedule to accommodate your work timings

Added experience to your Resume/CV

Increased cultural awareness
On-Campus Employment

On-Campus Employment is an option available for any F-1 Visa student in Active status. However, there are some things to keep in mind.

Though an F-1 student can work shortly after his/her arrival, being in Active Visa status and having the approval of your DSO are must. After the approval of the DSO, a letter of approval will be given. This letter, along with a letter from the employer, will help in getting a Social Security Number. When school is in session, the student may only work 20 hours per week.

Off-Campus Employment

The students are eligible for off-campus employment after a full year at school. To work off-campus, a special authorization from USCIS ( U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) is required. In order to apply for this kind of employment authorization, one must file a Form I-765 – ‘Application for Employment Authorization’ with USCIS and receive a recommendation from the DSO. After receiving the approval for employment from USCIS, they will send a Form I-766, EAD (Employment Authorization Document).

Until the EAD is received, one may not begin work. For off-campus work too, while school is in session, one are restricted to work 20 hours a week.

An F-1 Student Visa holder can receive work authorization for training related to the study program: OPT (Optional Practical Training) and CPT (Curricular Practical Training). Most of the time, for being eligible to either type of practical training, one must be enrolled in an SEVP-certified school as an F-1 Visa student for one complete academic year.


The CPT US Work Study Program must relate to one’s major and the experience must be part of one’s program of study. However, unlike OPT and other work, CPT can be full time and is not restricted by the limit of working 20-hours per week.

In order to qualify for CPT the DSO needs to provide a Form I-20, ‘Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status’ indicating the DSO’s recommendation for employment.


The OPT Work Study Program must relate to your major or course of study, and the student must have his/her EAD card before beginning working.

In order to obtain EAD, the DSO needs to provide a new Form I-20 indicating the DSO’s recommendation for employment, and one must submit a Form I-765, ‘Application for Employment Authorization’ to USCIS. The EAD card will come from USCIS. Under OTP, one is restricted to work 20-hours per week while school is in session.

17-Month STEM Extension

Students graduating with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) degree are eligible to remain in the United States for an additional 17 months on an OTP STEM extension.

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