F-1 Student Employment

F-1 student visas are primarily study visas, rather than work visas. There are four legal types of employment for students on F-1 visas. which are all highly regulated. Legal employment types include, 
1) On-campus employment
2) Curricular Practical Training
3) Optional Practical Training
4) Severe Economic Hardship
Students should consult a DSO to determine eligibility for legal employment as an F-1 visa holder. 
As an F-1 student, it is important to not work illegally. Working illegally
  • cannot be rectified (no reinstatement of status allowed),
  • could ruin future plans, and
  • DSO’s are obligated to report this and have no discretion in this reporting obligation.

Work is defined as anything that is compensated with

  • money,
  • housing,
  • food or living essentials,
  • reduction in fees, and/or
  • knowledge (in some experiential learning situations).
  • Wages need not be received in order for an activity to be considered work