How to work and study in USA as an international student

Can international students work full time in the USA ? Can international students work part time in USA ? Can international students work in the USA after graduation ?

work and study in the USA

Work and study in USA for international students explained

Do you have questions such as:- Can international students work full time in the USA ? Can international students work part time in USA ? Can international students work in the USA after graduation ? If those are your thoughts, I'll help you with all the answers you need.

If you're looking for information on how to work and study in USA as an international student, yes, you can work and study in the USA as an international student but it comes with rules that you must follow. 

One good thing is that the list of universities offering work study program in the USA for international students include almost every university. So, no matter what university or college you choose to study in USA, you'll almost certainly get an on-campus job, and later in your second year proceed to off campus job, which would pay you more money. 

Keep reading because later I'll show you the trick to get full time job while studying in the USA as an international student.

It's very important you know in advance that most times, the job you'll do while studying in the USA is required to be on or related to the course or program that you're studying. You risk having your student visa revoked if you violate the rule. But as promised, I'll show you a trick you can use to work full time while schooling if that's what you want.

There are two broad categories of work you can do as an international student in the USA. They are:-

1. On campus job

On campus jobs are works that you can do within the university or college where you school. It could also be an assignment outside your school but on behalf of the school. 

Remember, it's a part time job because you cannot be working while class is in session. However, you can do on campus job full time during holidays or breaks.

On campus jobs are relatively easy to get but you'll only be able to work for 20 hours a week when school is in session. 

You don't need an approval from the US citizenship and immigration service (USCIS) to apply for on campus job. 

Whatever the case, note that you'll need to apply for social security number (SSN) if you plan to earn any income in the USA, even if it's one USD, you'll need an SSN. Just consult your international student office and apply for necessary certifications and any available job position on campus.

2. Off campus job

Off campus jobs are works you do outside of your school's premises, and it has nothing to do with your school, except that most times it has to be a job related to your course or program. You can work for anyone you want but as I said previously, most times it's required to be related to the field of your course or program. 

For off campus jobs, you'll need a work permit from the US citizenship and immigration service (USCIS). 

In the USA, the work permit that international students must get is called employment authorization document (EAD). It takes about three months to get it, and the good thing is that you don't have to be employed or even have an employment offer to apply for an EAD. So, apply for your EAD as soon as possible.

There are three major categories that off campus jobs are classified. They are:-

a). Optional practical training (OPT)

Optional practical training as the name suggests is a hands on practical training that an international student in the USA can apply for during or at the end of their course or program in order to get practical knowledge of everything being taught or learned. 

You'll need to be approved by the US citizenship and immigration service (USCIS). Please consult your international students office for guidance.

Foreign students in the USA are allowed to work off campus for 20 hours per week under Optional practical training (OPT) and full time during holidays or breaks or if you've completed all your course work, then you can work full time.

Your OPT duration would expire after 12 months. The good news is that you can extend it for another 12 months (making a total of 2 years) if you have maintained a good student status during the previous OPT duration. Sometimes, the condition for OPT extension would be if your course or program is under certain STEM related field.

When should you apply for Optional practical training (OPT) ?

You can apply for optional practical training (OPT) from nine months after your admission. However, you can't work until you get an employment authorization document (EAD) card. Again, you don't need to be employed to get an EAD. So, get your EAD first, then apply for OPT. Start your EAD application in your first year in school..... anything from nine months after your admission.

Remember that approval depends on your being in good status and maintaining the conditions that your US student visa was issued.

b). Curricular practical training (CPT)

Curricular practical training (CPT) looks similar to OPT but they're not the same thing.

The difference is that curricular practical training (CPT) is mandated by your own school for you to participate in because it's of great importance to completing your course or program. CPT is a part and parcel of the course or program that you were given admission to study, and most schools have partner companies and organizations that offer study and work program for international students in the USA. You may do your CPT in such companies or organizations.

How do I apply for curricular practical training (CPT) ?

The procedure for application for CPT and OPT are much the same. The allowed working hours are also the same. However, if you work on CPT for a full year, you won't qualify for OPT anymore. If you want to participate in CPT and later do OPT as well, you must exit your CPA before you do 12 months on the job. Please get more clarification from your international students office.

c). Work with international organizations

As a foreign student studying in the USA, you can work at international organizations, such as the world health organization (WHO), United Nations (UN), Red cross, Doctors without borders, etc. 

These organizations often sponsor students to study in the USA and also offer work and study programs in the form of internships. Jobs at the organization would not affect your OPT, so you can still do an OPT when you're done with your internship at the organization.

Remember you need to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) from the US citizenship and immigration service (USCIS) to be able to work off campus as an international student in the USA.

d). Severe economic hardship

Another reason you could be allowed to work as international student in the USA is to notify your school's international student office that you face a "severe economic hardship" threatening your education. But you must understand how to go about it the right way.

There are many scenarios under which you can apply to be allowed to work full time under severe economic hardship as an international student in the USA. They include not earning enough money on campus or as I said earlier if you're facing a financial hardship that threatens your education. But you'll have to provide evidence to prove that you're in a serious economic hardship. The good news is that we'll help you on that.

We have compiled the different scenarios, plus sample letter you can show to your school as proof of severe economic hardship that threatens your education. This would allow you to get permission to work full time off campus while schooling in the USA. This method works no matter what country you're schooling in, not just in the USA. 

Order a template for applying for full time job under severe economic hardship. Order how to prove you have economic hardship in order to work full time off campus.  This works all the time.

work and study in the USA

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