Can International Students Work in the USA?  How International Students Can Secure Work in the USA

Can International Students Work in the USA

Have you been asking this question can International Students Work in the USA? If you are an international student wondering if you can legally work in the United States then you’re not alone.

Every year, thousands of international students come to the USA to pursue educational opportunities. Unfortunately, many students have questions about how they can work while studying.

This article answers all of your questions about whether or not you can work in the USA as an international student. We’ll also discuss the different types of work visas available for international students and other important considerations. Keep reading to learn more about working in the USA as an international student.

Can International Students Work in the USA

READ ALSO Top 10 High-Paying Jobs for F1 Students in the USA

How to secure work in the USA as an international student

Here are some steps to help you in the process:

1. Understand your visa restrictions: As an international student on an F1 visa, you are allowed to work in the United States, but there are limitations. Familiarize yourself with the specific rules and restrictions imposed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ensure you comply with the terms of your visa.

2. Research on-campus employment opportunities: Most universities provide on-campus job opportunities for international students. Explore the career services or student employment office at your institution to find out about available positions. These jobs often have flexible hours and are designed to accommodate student schedules.

3. Network with faculty and peers: Building a strong network with faculty members and fellow students can open up potential job opportunities. They may have connections to employers or be aware of job openings that align with your interests and skills. Attend career fairs, join relevant student organizations, and participate in networking events to expand your network.

4. Opt for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT): CPT and OPT are programs that allow F1 students to work off-campus in positions related to their field of study. CPT is for work experience during your academic program, while OPT is for post-completion employment. Consult your university’s International Student Office or Designated School Official (DSO) for guidance on eligibility and application procedures for these programs.

5. Utilize online job search platforms: Websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and CareerBuilder are excellent resources for finding job opportunities in the United States. Tailor your resume to highlight your skills and experiences, and actively apply to relevant positions. Some platforms also have filters to specifically search for jobs that sponsor visas.

6. Follow immigration regulations: Make sure to comply with all the immigration regulations related to employment. Understand the limits on the number of hours you can work while on an F1 visa and maintain your student status. Stay informed about any updates or changes in immigration policies that may impact your employment eligibility.

7. Seek guidance from career services: Take advantage of the resources offered by your university’s career services department. They can provide assistance with resume writing, interview preparation, and job search strategies. They may also have connections with employers who are open to hiring international students.

8. Consider internships and cooperative education programs: Internships and cooperative education programs provide valuable work experience and may lead to future job opportunities. Check with your academic department or career services office for internship programs or cooperative education opportunities that align with your field of study.

Remember that securing work as an international student in the USA may require patience and perseverance. It’s crucial to plan ahead, stay informed, and leverage the resources available to you through your university and other professional networks.

How to Apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is another employment option available to international students studying in the USA. CPT is an off-campus work authorization program that allows students to work in jobs or internships that are directly related to their major or field of study.

To apply for CPT, students must first be enrolled in a qualifying degree program and have completed one academic year of full-time study. They must also have a job offer that meets the CPT requirements. The job must be related to the student’s field of study and must provide practical training or work experience.

Once these requirements are met, students must apply for CPT authorization through their designated school official (DSO). The DSO will review the student’s application and job offer to ensure that they meet the requirements. If approved, the DSO will issue a new Form I-20 that authorizes CPT.

CPT authorization is typically granted for a specific period of time, and students must work only for the employer and in the position specified in their CPT application. It is important for students to maintain their full-time student status while on CPT, and to report any changes in employment to their DSO.

How to Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

One of the options available for international students who wish to work in the USA is Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT is a temporary employment authorization that allows students to work in their field of study for up to 12 months after completing their degree program.

To apply for OPT, international students must first obtain a recommendation from their designated school official (DSO). The DSO will help the student complete the necessary paperwork and submit it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for processing.

There are two types of OPT: pre-completion OPT and post-completion OPT. Pre-completion OPT allows students to work part-time while still enrolled in their degree program, while post-completion OPT allows students to work full-time after completing their degree.

To be eligible for post-completion OPT, international students must have completed at least nine months of full-time study and be in good academic standing. They must also submit an application to USCIS within 90 days of completing their degree program.

It is important to note that OPT is not guaranteed and can be a competitive process. Students should work closely with their DSO and start the application process early to ensure they have the best chance of success.

Can International Students Work in the USA


Can international students work in the USA?

Yes, international students in the USA are eligible to work, but there are certain regulations and restrictions they must follow.

What types of work are available to international students?

International students can engage in on-campus employment, which includes jobs within the university or college they are attending. They can also apply for off-campus work authorization, such as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). Additionally, international students can engage in internships, co-ops, or other work experiences related to their field of study.

How do I become eligible for on-campus employment?

As an international student, you are eligible for on-campus employment from the start of your studies. However, you must maintain full-time student status and be in good academic standing to work on campus. You do not need any specific work authorization for on-campus jobs.

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and how do I apply for it?

CPT is a type of work authorization that allows international students to engage in off-campus employment related to their field of study. To apply for CPT, you need to obtain a job offer from an employer, and your designated school official (DSO) must authorize the employment by endorsing your Form I-20.

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT) and how do I apply for it?

OPT is another type of work authorization that allows international students to work off-campus in a job related to their major area of study. You can apply for OPT after completing one academic year. To apply, you must submit Form I-765 and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


As an international student, the prospect of working in the USA can be both exciting and daunting. However, with the right guidance and information, it is entirely possible to work and gain valuable professional experience during your studies in the United States.

Remember that finding employment as an international student can take time and effort. However, the experience can be rewarding both financially and professionally, helping you gain new skills and valuable contacts that could benefit you in your future career.


You May Also Like