International students are permitted to work in the United States, though firm immigration regulations apply to all employment options.
Any unauthorized employment violates your legal status and compromises your ability to remain in or return to the United States.
On & Off Campus Work
- You are automatically eligible to work on campus for Davidson College for up to 20 hours per week during the spring and fall semesters.
- Working for a vendor operating on campus (e.g. Campus Summit) is not allowed.
- You are eligible to work full-time on campus during vacation periods and during the summer session.
- You must receive official work authorization prior to working anywhere off-campus.
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT) can be granted for internship experience within your major field of study. Optional Practical Training (OPT) grants work authorization for one year after graduation (STEM majors are eligible for two additional years).
- You must be in status for nine months (two semesters) to be eligible for CPT or OPT.
- You will be out of legal F-1 status and ineligible to remain in the U.S. if you work without authorization.
- Work is considered anything for which you are compensated, such as money, food, or room/board. Volunteering may be considered employment as well, so please check with International Student Programs before accepting any position.
Severe Economic Hardship
If something severe and unforeseen happens to your financial situation, you may apply for a Severe Economic Hardship (SEH) work permit. Employment on SHE does not have to be related to your major. Steps for gaining SEH authorization include:
- Meet with International Student Programs to determine your eligibility
- Write a cover letter to USCIS explaining your situation, noting the severity of the circumstances and how the situation is out of your control
- Collect documents (medical bills, bank statements, etc.) to support your case
- Complete Form I-765
- Bring documents back to International Student Services for the SHE request to be entered in SEVIS. A new I-20 will be returned to you.
- Mail copies of everything, along with a $380 application fee and two passport-sized photos to USCIS
- Wait. You may not begin working until you receive your Employment Authorization Document from the government. Note: the government can take 3 months to process SHE applications.
Special work permits are also available for F-1 students offered employment with certain international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, International Monetary Fund, etc. Learn more about the application process for this work permit.