Working in the United States

International students who would like to engage in employment, either on-campus or off-campus, must follow both University and Federal regulations governing international student employment. Below you will find introductory information on on-campus employment, F-1 off-campus employment, J-1 and J-2 off-campus employment, and other opportunities including unpaid positions.

On-Campus Employment

Related to a scholarship, assistantship, or fellowship; or

Occurs on school premises, including on-location commercial firms which provide services for students on campus, such as the university bookstore or food services

For both F-1 and J-1 students

  • Up to 20 hours/week during term
  • Above 20 hours/week between terms and in summer vacation for continuing students
  • Graduate students with teaching and/or research assistantships: GTA/RA responsibilities are considered on-campus employment and should not exceed the above hourly limits

J-1 Additional Requirements

Obtain authorization before beginning employment:

  • OSU Sponsored: request through OIS
  • Not OSU Sponsored: contact program sponsor directly
  • Approvals expire after 12 months and automatically upon program transfer or termination
I found an on-campus job, now what?

Once you have a job offer and any required authorization documents (J-1 students), you can apply for a Social Security Number if you don't already have one. If you have a Social Security Number already, you do not need to apply for a new one. Once you have applied for this number, you are ready to start your employment!

More Info on Social Security Numbers


Off-Campus Employment

You must obtain authorization for any type of off-campus employment before starting to work.

Curricular Practical Training

F-1 students who would like to complete an internship or off-campus employment before degree completion may be authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) by OIS. To learn more about CPT, please complete the free CPT workshop available in Canvas prior to applying for CPT or accepting an offer.

More Info

Optional Practical Training

F-1 students who would like to gain practical work experience in their field of study, generally following the completion of their program, may be authorized for Optional Practical Training (OPT) by USCIS. To learn more about OPT, please sign up for a free OPT workshop or complete the online module in Canvas.

More Info

Academic Training: J-1 Students

J-1 students who would like to complete an internship or gain practical work experience in their field of study, either before or after the completion of their program, may be authorized for Academic Training by their program sponsor.

More Info

J-2 Employment

J-2 visa holders (dependents of J-1s) are eligible to apply for employment authorization from USCIS. The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is valid for any kind of employment full-time or part-time.

More Info


Unpaid Opportunities

Many students may wish to participate in an unpaid or volunteer opportunity. Typically, even unpaid positions require authorization due to the broad definition of “employment” used by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The US Department of Labor provides guidance on whether a position can truly be considered a volunteer opportunity and thus not require authorization, however, please speak to an International Student Advisor before deciding to engage in ANY opportunity, paid or unpaid, for additional guidance.

Economic Hardship

F-1 and J-1 students may be eligible to apply for off-campus employment authorization based on “unforeseen economic necessity” and financial hardship that arose after enrolling at Oregon State University. If you think you qualify, please make an appointment with an international student advisor to discuss your situation.