There are several types of employment authorization for F-1 students. F-2 dependents can NEVER work. Please see an International Student Advisor if you have questions about work authorization BEFORE beginning any type of employment. Unauthorized employment is a serious violation of your immigration status.
As an F-1 student, you are eligible to work on the Cal State East Bay campus no more than 20 hours per week while you are enrolled full-time, or 40 hours a week during your authorized vacation term. Full-time employment (40 hours per week) is allowed during breaks between quarters. Employment on-campus is NOT allowed after you complete your degree requirements.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
An International Student Advisor may authorize an F-1 student to participate in curricular practical training which is "an integral part of an established curriculum." At Cal State East Bay, 'integral' is defined as a position which is required for your academic program, or a CO-OP which has been approved by your department and the Career Development Center. The employment must also be related to your degree program, and a job offer is required before the curricular practical training can be authorized. Students must be in lawful status for nine consecutive months before beginning the curricular practical training. Students who complete twelve months of full-time curricular practical training will be ineligible for optional practical training. For more information about Curricular Practical Training, download the CPT Handout (PDF, 216k, opens in new window).
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional practical training is available to F-1 students who have been enrolled on a full-time basis for at least nine consecutive months. An eligible F-1 student may request OPT in order to work in a position which is directly related to his/her major area of study. A total of twelve months of full-time OPT is available per degree level in the U.S. The immigration service in Laguna Niguel, CA must grant an employment authorization document (EAD) BEFORE a student may begin employment. Applications take up to 90 days for USCIS to process. For more information about Optional Practical Training, download the OPT Handout (PDF, 104k, opens in new window).
Employment Based on Economic Hardship
A student may apply for off-campus employment based on Economic Hardship through the USCIS regional service center in Laguna Niguel. The student must demonstrate that
- There are unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control which require off-campus employment, and
- Other employment opportunities (i.e. on-campus) are either unavailable or insufficient.
Employment based on Economic Hardship, if approved, is limited to 20 hours a week while school is in session (or full-time during your vacation periods). A student must be in F-1 status for 9 months before applying. For more information, download the Economic Hardship Handout (PDF, 121k, opens in new window).