There are several ways an international student can get permission to work on or off campus. Often volunteering can be considered employment so it is important to see a DSO before you volunteer for any type of work, on or off campus.
Working on campus or off campus is a great way to explore career options and to expand your resume! There are many options for international students and we want to help you manage these options and the immigration rules surrounding them.
On Campus Employment
- All F-1 students are allowed to work on campus as long as they are in status and making progress towards their degree. IESL students will need to meet with their advisor to make sure their English level is appropriate for working and will not be allowed to work their first term.
- During school breaks or vacation terms, students can work up to 40 hours a week on campus but must limit themselves to 20 hours per week while class is in session and they are attending classes. If a student is also doing CPT they must have only a total of 20 hours per week (between their on-campus job and their CPT internship) during the academic year.
- Students need to maintain a 2.0 GPA in accordance with immigration regulations as well as Lane's official policy. Some offices may require a higher GPA in order to work on campus. If you do not maintain a 2.0 GPA each term and successfully pass 12 credits, you may no longer be eligible to work.
- If you are looking for on campus employment, Career and Employment Services offers many opportunities and can help you with a resume.
Off Campus Employment
OPT is one of the many benefits of your F-1 student visa and an excellent opportunity to gain one year of paid work experience in the U.S. in the field of your study. Many students choose to apply for OPT after they graduate with a certificate or Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate degree.
Information about OPT
- Students who are interested in OPT after graduation need to make an appointment with a DSO to prepare paperwork during the term before they graduate.
- Students are not allowed to take classes during OPT.
- Students are eligible for one year of OPT after completing a certificate, Associate's degree, Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, and PHD program (in that successive order).
- Students may not do OPT after two different programs at the same level. For example, if you earn a certificate and do OPT you may NOT do OPT after a second certificate.
- Students may not do OPT after a lower level of completion if they completed a higher level of education in the U.S. as an F-1 student. For example, if you have completed an Associate's degree in the U.S., you do not qualify for OPT after a certificate program.
- At this time students are not eligible for the STEM extension on OPT after an Associate's degree or certificate program.
- Once you are approved for OPT and have graduated, it is strongly advised that you not travel outside the U.S. or your OPT privileges may be considered abandoned and may be lost; this means you may not be allowed to reenter the U.S. If you do travel outside the U.S., your OPT application may be canceled and you will lose the money paid for the fees.
- The address you indicate on your OPT application must be an address where you can receive your mail and the U.S. Post Office has your name on file for that address. If you give an address and then move away or provide a friend's address and your friend moves, you may not receive your EAD card. The EAD card (or Employment Authorization Document) is a federal document and the U.S. Postal Service is not permitted to forward this document to another address. If they try to deliver it to an address that is not yours, they will be required to return the card to USCIS. This may require you to reapply. It will definitely result in you losing part of your OPT allotted work time. Please consult with an IP advisor about your address during your OPT application processing so you are sure to receive your EAD card.
- Once you do have employment, you may travel outside the U.S. with a signature from your school's DSO and a letter from your employer.
- You must not work before your graduation date OR the date on your EAD card.
- You may not have more than 30-days unemployment during your OPT year.
- You need to report your employer information to the IP office every time you change employers.
- You may volunteer or work for pay but you must work 20 or more hours per week.
- If you are interested in applying for OPT, it is important to see a DSO for a longer explanation and to make sure you are eligible for this opportunity. It is important you apply during the last term before your expected graduation date.
- To apply for OPT please see Colby Sheldon
Information about CPT
- Students who are in a college level program and have been in-status in the U.S. for 9 months are generally eligible for CPT.
- At Lane Community College, CPT is generally authorized for work through the Cooperative Education Program.
- In order to determine if you are eligible for CPT, you'll need to meet with Colby Sheldon.
- You must have your I-20 authorized for CPT before your first day of work and you must not work past the end date you are authorized for.
- If you complete 365 or more days total of CPT you will not be eligible to apply for OPT.
Information about Economic Hardship
- Students who have lost their sponsor due to illness or other factors, whose countries have extreme political or economic turmoil, or who are financially affected by other special factors may be eligible to work off campus through Economic Hardship.
- It is important to see a DSO if you believe you might be eligible for Economic Hardship. DSOs at Lane are Colby Sheldon, Jane Marshall, and Jennifer Falzerano.
- It costs $380 to apply for economic hardship and it is not guaranteed that you will receive it; however if you find yourself in either of the situations above please see International Programs to discuss this as an option. You must be in F-1 status for three full terms and at credit level to be eligible.