Working Under a Student (F1/J1) Visa

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Is it Possible to Work in the U.S. Under a F1 or J1 Student Visa?

If you are in the United States on a F1 or J1 student visa, it is possible to work under certain limited circumstances.

On Campus Employment

Any international student possessing a F1 or J1 visa may work up to 20 hours per week on the campus of their school while it is in session, or 40 hours per week if the school is on a recess.  The employment supposedly may not displace U.S. workers, but no proof of this is required. However, if a job is traditionally held by U.S. workers as opposed to students at the school, this may pose a problem, but such situations are rare.  

The only requirements to secure on campus employment are: 

Off Campus Employment

Since 1994, off campus work is generally prohibited for F1/J1 visa holders.  There are 3 major exceptions to this rule.

Examples of such emergencies include (but are not limited to) the sudden devaluation of his home currency, medical expenses, or the sudden financial loss of his sponsor.

However, any work done during curricular practical training will count against this 12/18 month period (i.e. if you worked as an intern 20 hours a week for 4 months while enrolled in school, this will count as 2 months of full time work already used up).  Students must have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before employment may legally begin.

How Can an Attorney Help?

Trying to work under a student visa is a complicated and dangerous process.  Innocently accepting a part-time job offer at a place you may believe to be "on-campus" but is actually off campus can result in your immediate deportation.  A skilled immigration attorney will be very familiar with all the various types of student visas, whether you can apply for a work permit, and how to best find the loopholes in the regulations that can allow you to support yourself while studying in the U.S.

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Last Modified: 08-09-2011 02:39 PM PDT

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