Employment is work performed in exchange for compensation. Before accepting any kind of employment, be sure it is allowed by the F-1 regulations. Note that the off-campus employment opportunities generally require you to have completed one academic year (two semesters) to be eligible to apply for authorization. Consult your international student adviser with any questions related to F-1 status and employment.
F-1 status allows the following categories of employment:
- On-campus Employment
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- Severe Economic Hardship
There are a limited number of on-campus employment opportunities for students attending the Minneapolis or Winona Campuses. There are no on-campus employment opportunities at the Apple Valley, Minnetonka, Oakdale or Rochester Centers.
CPT may be part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week).
Training may be required or optional for your degree. Required training must be clearly identified and described in the course catalog or similar publication. If the training is not required you must receive academic credit from an internship, cooperative education program, practicum or similar course.
The following programs at Saint Mary's University offer opportunities for CPT:
- Graduate Certificate in Addiction Studies
- Graduate Certificate: K-12 Reading Teacher
- M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management
- M.A. in Counseling and Psychological Services
- M.A. in Instruction
- M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy
- M.A. in Special Education
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology
You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:
- You are currently in F-1 status.
- You have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year (three quarters, including final exams weeks) or will complete one academic year by the date the OPT approval begins.
You are eligible for 12 months of full-time OPT per academic level. For example, you may apply for 12 months of OPT after completing a bachelor's degree and then another 12 months after completing a master's degree. You may apply for OPT during your academic program (pre-completion) or after your academic program (post-completion). An additional 17-month extension may be possible depending on your field of study.
While approved for OPT, you are still in F-1 status and must report address changes and employment information to your international student adviser.
At the end of your approved OPT, as indicated by your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), you have a 60-day grace period. During this grace period you must either depart the U.S., be issued an I-20 for a new program of study, or change to a different immigration status.
You may apply to use your 12 months of OPT, at different rates, during your academic program, after your program completion, or a combination of both.
OPT used during your academic program, and ending before your program is completed, is called "pre-completion" OPT. It can be approved for different rates:
- Full-time (more than 20 hours per week) or part-time (20 hours per week or less) during your annual vacation quarter and between quarter breaks, provided you are eligible and intend to register the following semester
- Part-time (20 hours per week or less) while enrolled in a full course of study
OPT that follows completion of your program requirements is called "post-completion" OPT. It can be approved after completion of your degree.
Please contact your international student adviser for additional information.
You must have been in F-1 status for one academic year, be in good academic standing, and document that on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient to meet your financial needs. Examples of unforeseen circumstances include loss of financial support or on-campus employment, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of your source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.
Contact your international student advisor to discuss your situation.
A Social Security number will not be issued for non-work purposes.
F-1 students authorized for Optional Practical Training:
Apply for a Social Security number in person at a local Social Security Administration office. Apply on or after the start date on your EAD card.
Bring with you:
- Form I-20 (updated and endorsed for practical training)
- I-94 card
- EAD card