International Students - Employment Information
WORKING ON- AND OFF-CAMPUS
You are eligible to work both on and off campus if you meet certain eligibility requirements and have the appropriate work authorization from the Office of International Programs or CIS in writing and before you begin working. Note: CIS defines an internship or practicum as “employment”, even if it is unpaid, so off-campus internships are also considered employment and must be pre-approved in SEVIS before you begin working.
On-campus Employment for F-1 students
You may work up to 20 hours per week on campus in a student position while school is in session if you have maintained lawful F-1 status. No written employment authorization is required from Liz Yaros. Meredith’s general policy allows students to work up to 10 hours a week in a department. Federal regulations state that you can work no more than 20 hours a week. So if you find employment in more than one department, make sure it does not exceed a total of 20 hours per week.
On-campus employment may be full-time between semesters (e.g., summer vacation and Christmas break) as long as you intend to resume fulltime studies the following semester. Employment must be through Meredith College and your paycheck must come through the Meredith Payroll Office.
Eligibility for on-campus employment is cancelled immediately if you complete your academic program, transfer to another school, or violate your F-1 status. For information regarding on-campus employment, please see the Office of Financial Aid in Johnson Hall.
Off-campus Employment for F-1 studentsEmployment off-campus for F-1 students is restricted by immigration regulations. The most common reasons for having off-campus employment approved are outlined below. Please see Liz Yaros for more detailed information regarding eligibility and the process of applying for approval.
- Economic Hardship
F-1 students who experience unforeseen and urgent economic difficulties may apply directly to CIS for off-campus employment authorization. You must have been in status for at least 9 months and send in a full application to CIS, including a $175 fee. You must receive CIS approval before you may start working, which can take up to 4 months and is not guaranteed.
- Curricular Practical Training
Students who must do an internship or practicum off-campus as an integral part of their major or who wish to participate in the cooperative education program are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). You must make an appointment with Liz Yaros to discuss your eligibility and the approval process.
You will be required to provide documentation from your advisor stating that this training is an integral part of your degree program as well as documentation from your potential employer. Cooperative education students must provide documentation through the Office of Career Services and their employer. CPT does not require authorization from CIS, but must be approved in SEVIS by Liz Yaros before you can begin your internship or work placement.
- Optional Practical Training
F-1 students are eligible for 12 months total of Optional Practical Training (OPT) before and/or after graduation. Optional Practical training is an F-1 benefit offering you full- or part-time work authorization in your field of study for a maximum of 12 months per educational level. You must first meet with Liz Yaros to go over the general requirements and be recommended for OPT in SEVIS.
OPT applicants must have been enrolled for at least 9 months and apply no later than the day before you graduate. A full application to CIS is required, including a $175 fee. Applications are currently taking 2-4 months for processing and you may not begin working until after you have received your Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD) card. You are not eligible for OPT if you have graduated, violated your F-1 status, or have worked over 12 months of full-time utilizing CPT.
F-1 students who work more than 20 hours per week during the semester, engage in unauthorized off-campus employment, or accept unauthorized payment for services are considered out of status and must be reported in SEVIS. No retroactive authorization, repayment of wages, or re-instatement to F-1 status is possible. Students whose programs are terminated in SEVIS must conclude employment immediately (with no “grace period”), are subject to deportation, and may be barred from subsequent entry back into the U.S.