Working at a job can provide valuable practical and cultural experience to you during your studies. You have many options for work as an international student or international exchange student.

Comparison of F-1 Employment Options

What is considered employment?

Employment: Any work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, books, supplies, room and board, or any other benefit or compensation. 

Unpaid volunteering: You receive absolutely no benefit or compensation of any kind at any time.

Unauthorized employment is a serious violation of student status. Please contact the Office of International Affairs (OIA) if you have any questions or doubts about whether you are authorized to accept employment.

Registration for the Fall 2021 CPT/OPT Workshop

CPT Workshop

12 p.m. - 1 p.m., Tuesday, August 24, 2021 -

Join the Zoom Meeting

2 p.m. - 3 p.m., Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Join the Zoom Meeting

12 p.m. - 1 p.m., Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Join the Zoom Meeting


OPT Workshop

12 p.m. - 1 p.m., Tuesday, September 14, 2021 

Join the Zoom Meeting

12 p.m. - 1 p.m., Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Join the Zoom Meeting

Employment Options for International Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Learn more about CPT, including alternate work/study, internships, and cooperative education. See CPT. CPT approvals are dependent upon students' ability to satisfy academic policies regarding internship/co-op for credit which vary by College.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Find support for career and internships at the Office of International Affairs and across campus. See OPT.

Economic hardship (off campus work)

If you suffer economic hardship due to unforeseen financial circumstances beyond your control, you may apply to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) for authorization to work off campus or on campus for more than 20 hours. 

Examples of unforeseen financial circumstances include:

  • Unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source of support
  • Medical bills
  • Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on your part 
  • Substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
  • Inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs
  • Other substantial and unexpected expenses

The request must be submitted to the OIA along with the required documentation listed below. Be aware that it may take more than 3 months to be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Eligibility criteria and requirements

  • One academic year in F-1 status
  • Employment will not interfere with full course of study
  • Available only before completion of study
  • Work does not have to be related to field of study

Documentation required

Academic training for J-1

Academic training is employment in the field of your academic program in the U.S. The maximum length of time allowed for both pre- and post-completion academic training authorization is either 18 months, or the number of months you are a full-time student, whichever is shorter. If employment is required in order for you to graduate, you are eligible for 36 months of academic training. Part-time academic training counts the same as full-time toward your maximum allowance.

You are eligible for academic training authorization:

Before completing your program of study

After completing your program of study

You may work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods. 

Under certain circumstances, you may interrupt study to work full time (e.g., while you are writing your thesis.)

You may work if you can present your J-1 Responsible Officer with:

  • Documentation of an offer of appropriate employment
  • A letter of support from your academic adviser within 30 days of completing your program.

Important Eligibility and Requirements Information

Eligibility Criteria and Requirements
  F-1 J-1


  • Maintenance of lawful F-1 status
  • Valid DS-2019 is valid
  • Good academic standing
  • Enrolled full time.

Note: Enrollment is not required during winter break or summer session, but you must be eligible to enroll for the following semester.

Max time

  • Up to 20 hours per week during the semester
  • Full-time work allowed during the annual vacation and semester breaks
  • Up to 20 hours per week during the semester
  • Full-time work allowed during the annual vacation and semester breaks

Permission required

No permission is required 

Yes! To engage in any type of employment as a J-1 student, you must first obtain written authorization from the Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO).

Where allowed

Must be located on the UM-Dearborn campus

  • Anywhere required by a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship
  • On-campus jobs unrelated to study


Documentation Required

  • SEVIS I-20
  • Valid passport
  • I-94 card
  • SEVIS I-20
  • Valid passport
  • I-94 card

U.S. income tax is collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS has a special set of rules (and special tax forms and publications) for most international students and exchange visitors in the U.S. A copy of these regulations are listed in IRS publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

As an F-1 student or J-1 scholar, you are required to file a federal income tax return.

Please seek professional guidance from a qualified accountant or attorney in order to understand and meet specific tax obligations.

Work authorization

Visit the Social Security Administration’s site (SSA) to learn how to:

  • Obtain your Social Security Card
  • Browse frequently asked questions
  • Find your local Social Security office

Office of International Affairs

Room 108
The Union at Dearborn
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