On Campus Employment
F-1 students who are maintaining status may engage in on-campus employment. Employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session and 40 hours per week during vacation periods.
You can look for an on-campus job by going to different departments to ask if they have a student help position available. Some departments you may want to try include the Bookstore, Einstein Cafe, the Institute of Culinary Arts - FOC 21, Library, Maintenance & Grounds, the Academic Success Center, or check with an instructor.
Off Campus Employment
Unfortunately, working off-campus is very limited for students in F-1 status. However, there are some guidelines for practical training and severe economic work authorization that you can read to see if you qualify. Please contact International Student Services for more information.
Severe Economic Hardship
Students in F-1 status who have an unforeseen change in their economic situation such as substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses, and who have maintained status for three consecutive quarters and are in good academic standing, may potentially be eligible for severe economic hardship work authorization. If approved by USCIS, this authorization allows students to work off-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week (part-time work) while school is in session, and a maximum of 40 hours per week (full-time work) while school is on vacation or break. Severe economic hardship work authorization can be potentially issued for a maximum of one-year or until the end of your studies, whichever comes first. It does not affect your ability to apply for optional practical training or subtract from the employment time. Students should make a good faith effort to locate employment on-campus before applying for off-campus employment.
Access the directions and forms for Severe Economic Hardship by clicking on ISS Forms.
You should begin to look for employment, but you may NOT begin to work until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from USCIS, and the beginning date noted on the card. You can tell a potential employer that you have filed for severe economic hardship and that you are waiting for a response from USCIS.
Normally it takes approximately 90 to receive your EAD card from USCIS.
Go immediately apply for a social security number. Please see the section marked How to Apply for a Social Security Number for more information.
There are two types of practical training: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT), Curricular and Optional. Practical training allows students to work in their field of study for a specified period of time, depending on which type is authorized. Each requires that you have attended at least a full academic year of studies and have maintained your F1 status. A student in an intensive English-language program is not eligible for practical training.
To apply for both types of practical training, you must make an appointment by calling 402-457-2281 or by emailing email@example.com approximately three months in advance of your internship class or your graduation. Please know that we review your request for practical training completely based on whether or not you meet requirement of the immigration regulations and MCC policies.
Curricular Practical Training
Several professional programs, such as the Institute for Culinary Arts, have an internship requirement to complete the degree.
Curricular practical training (CPT) is reviewed and authorized by International Student Services. The amount of time that we can authorize depends upon the work required to complete the course. Thus, CPT varies by program. CPT is usually part-time and is not subtracted from your one year of full-time Optional Practical Training. However, if you engage in an aggregate of 12 months or more of full-time curricular practical training, you become ineligible for optional practical training, (8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i). There are very few instances when we can grant full-time curricular practical training, but it depends on your class and degree requirements.
How to Apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Make sure that your program requires an internship course in order to graduate. Immigration regulations state that the CPT/internship/practicum must be integral to your curriculum.
- Make an appointment with an ISS staff member approximately one month before your internship class commences to make sure you understand the policies.
- Work with an academic advisor to start the enrollment process. You will not be able to register yourself for the course. Usually it is the dean and the dean's associate that approve your registration for the internship class.
- Make sure the course shows on your schedule.
- Work with a faculty member or the program coordinator for your major to find an appropriate place of employment. Career Services may have some suggestions.
- Request a faculty member or program coordinator to write a letter addressed to the ISS including that he or she approves your enrollment in the class and place of employment, and that this internship will satisfy the class requirement that is necessary for graduation.
- Bring a letter from your internship/practicum supervisor on the company’s letterhead briefly describing your job duties, stating the company's physical address and telephone number. If you will be working at a company’s branch office, be sure to include this address and telephone number. The start date and end date must be included in the letter. Usually these date line up with MCC's quarter dates
- Write a letter to an "International Student Advisor"requesting CPT.
- Bring all of your original I-20s and passport(s).
- After ISS completes the CPT work authorization, take your I-20 and passport to the Social Security Administration office to apply for a social security number. Please see the section marked, How to Apply for a Social Security Number, for more information.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Students may request OPT to obtain work in their field of study prior to the completion of all course requirements for the degree or prior to the completion of the course of study.
To apply for OPT you must make an appointment with an International Student Services staff member. The International Student Services will review your request for OPT completely based on whether or not you meet requirement of the immigration regulations and the MCC policies.
Students are allowed 12 months of work during the 14 month period following completion of studies. This OPT option may not be used after 14 months following completion of study, even if the student has not been able to work for the entire 12 month period. OPT is automatically terminated when students transfer to another school or begins study at another educational level.
You are potentially eligible to apply for OPT if you meet the following criteria:
- You have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year
- You have maintained your F-1 status for at least a full academic year
- You have not exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. (Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.)
- You will complete a degree or program
Access the directions and forms for OPT by clicking on ISS Forms.
If you don't already have a resume prepared, you should create a resume. You should begin to look for employment in your field of study, but you can’t begin to work until you receive your EAD card which shows the date you can begin working. You can tell a potential employer that you have filed for your practical training request and that you are waiting for a response from USCIS. Employment must be related to your field of study! (Please see the After OPT Approval section for more details.
Normally, it takes approximately 90 days to receive an EAD card from USCIS. However, it can take longer, especially during Spring and Summer Quarters. This is due to the fact that thousands of international students throughout the U.S. graduate at this time. Therefore, USCIS has more applications to review and process.
After OPT Approval
- OPT Employment/Job must be directly related to your field of study and commensurate with your level of education.
- You can work at a full- or part-time job, whichever is related to your field of study. For a part-time job, it must be at least 20 hours per week.
- Self-employment is allowed. You must work full time and prove that you have the proper business licenses and are actively engaged in work related to your field of study.
- Volunteer work or unpaid internships that do not violate U.S. labor laws are acceptable. Your work must be at least 20 hours per week.
- Reporting Requirements to International Student Services
You are required to report to any of the following changes to the International Student Services within 10 days of your change:
- Personal contact information, such as name, address, phone number, and email address
- Employment information:
- Name of employer
- Address of employer
- Start date of employment
- Clarifying if it's a paid or unpaid employment
- Number of hours per week
- Describe how this job is directly related to your field of study
- Change of employer, with end date of the previous employment and start date of new employment
- Indicate “unemployed” and the end date of your last job if it’s more than 10 days of unemployment
- If you decide to go home (i.e., giving up your OPT) and complete your F-1 status prior to the OPT expiration date, please contact International Student Services before you leave the U.S.