On-Campus Employment
F-1 students are eligible to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the academic year and full-time (more than 21 hours per week) during winter and summer vacation. F-1 students can work on-campus (such as tutoring, in the campus bookstore or in food services, etc.) without obtaining employment authorization from the P/DSO or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Please note that student employment on campus is very limited. It is important to seek out these opportunities as early as possible. Note: F-1 students are not eligible for work-study appointments. 

Off-Campus Employment
F-1 students may not engage in off-campus employment (including paid and unpaid internships) before receiving proper employment authorization from the P/DSO and USCIS.

Types of Off-Campus Work Authorization:

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Employment authorization approved by the P/DSO for you to engage in an internship or employment opportunity directly related to your field of study and integral to your academic program.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT): Up to 12-months of employment authorization approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for you to gain practical experience in your field of study upon completion of a degree program.
  • Both types of the above Off-Campus Work Authorization require application and approval from the P/DSO and USCIS. Please contact a P/DSO for further information. To learn more about CPT and OPT, please visit Training Opportunities in the United States.

NOTE: You must have a Social Security Number (SSN) to receive wages from employment in the U.S. The Bristol student ID number (900-XXX-XXX) is not a U.S. Social Security Number. To learn more about applying for a SSN, please visit Steps for Obtaining a Social Security Number.

Once a SSN number is secured, it is the student’s responsibility to report this to the Admissions Office and the Student Accounts Office as necessary and appropriate.

Employment Authorization - Economic Hardship
USCIS considers severe economic hardship only in situations that are unforeseen and beyond a student’s control, such as documented significant devaluation of home currency or unexpected changes in the financial condition of your main source of income (due to loss of job, illness, death, etc.). If you believe you may qualify for Employment Authorization due to economic hardship, please contact a P/DSO to discuss further.

More information is available via the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website: Working in the United States.