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F-1 Employment

Students in F-1 status may accept employment under certain conditions. This page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have questions about or would like to determine your eligibility for F-1 employment, please contact us.

On-Campus Employment

As a student in F-1 status, you may work on-campus part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the academic year, and full-time (over 20 hours per week) during official school vacation periods. Thus, you may only work 20 hours per week if summer is your first or last semester of enrollment at the university. Please note that the university may have additional policies which limit the number of hours students may work on-campus during breaks - we recommend that you check with your Human Resources representative if you have any questions about additional restrictions.

On-campus employment for F-1 students falls into three general categories:

  • Any job for which the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will pay you.
  • Work with commercial firms performed on school premises.
  • Work that provides a direct service to students (such as the Daily Illini or Private Certified Housing).
  • Finally, some graduate students may be authorized to work at off-campus locations that are educationally affiliated with the school. This affiliation may be through association with the school's established curriculum, or related to contractually funded research projects at the post-graduate level. Before you accept any such employment you should check with ISSS that it complies with the regulations to be considered on-campus employment.

Please note that you must complete a Form I-9 via the Tracker Electronic I-9 system (access provided by hiring unit) prior to working on-campus and that your on-campus employment must stop once you complete your studies.

Off-Campus Employment

Financial Hardship Employment Authorization

On occasion, students in F-1 status experience a sudden and unexpected change in their financial situation. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may authorize off-campus employment to help alleviate the situation. In order to qualify for off-campus work, you must have been in F-1 status for at least nine months. You must also be able to document the nature of your financial problem so that the USCIS can decide if off-campus work permission is warranted. If permission is granted, you may still only work 20 hours per week during the academic year, and full-time during school vacations. Your total employment from all sources cannot exceed 20 hours during the academic year. Please make an appointment with an ISSS advisor if you think that you qualify for off-campus work permission due to economic hardship.

Practical Training

Practical training authorization permits you to take a job that is directly related to your field of studies and commensurate with your educational level. In most cases, you must have been a full-time student for at least nine months prior to applying for practical training permission. You may work in practical training either prior to or after completion of studies. There are two types of practical training for F-1 students: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT).

If you have further questions, contact us to schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor.