Off-campus employment may be permitted for an F-1 student who has been in valid F-1 status for at least three consecutive quarters or 9 months before obtaining authorization to work off-campus. Work authorization must be recommended by the International Student Advisor and in some cases, must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service [USCIS]. Students must have approval before starting their work off-campus. The types of off-campus work authorization for F-1 students include:
Curricular Practical Training [CPT]: This can be used only before the student completes his or her degree and if the employment is sponsored and required by UCI as an integral part of the student's academic program. Click here to learn more about requirements and applying for CPT.
Optional Practical Training [OPT]: This type of authorization requires mailing a complete application to the USCIS after approval from the UCI International Center. The process can take up to 90 days to issue the work authorization permit [EAD card]. There is a limit of 12 months of full-time Optional Practical Training. Click here to learn more about requirements and applying for OPT.
If a student shows compelling evidence of unanticipated financial need, the student may be eligible for this type of work authorization. The USCIS applies these standards in a very strict manner, and insists on documented proof of severe and unexpected economic necessity. If permission is granted, students are allowed part-time work during the academic year [not to exceed 20 hours per week] and full-time work during the summer and other vacation periods. To discuss your options with this type of employment, you will need to schedule an appointment with an IC student advisor.