We assist individual international students, faculty, staff members and their families by advising them on federal immigration, taxation and labor regulations, and
by providing counseling on personal, academic, financial and social matters.

Employment

General Guidelines

International Students in F-1 and J-1 Status employment guidelines:

General Guidelines:

  • Students in F-1 and J-1 Status are restricted to a maximum of 20hrs/week in employment during required academic terms ( this includes on & off-campus employment)
  • Off-campus employment ( both paid and unpaid) require authorization from the U.S. government and the Office of Immigration and Visa Services
  • All Off-campus employment must be directly related to the major field of study ( the only exception is employment by an International organization)
  • On-campus Employment: Enrolled F-1 students are permitted to work on campus for 20 hours per week during academic year and 40 hours per week during summer and winter breaks.
  • Off-campus Employment: Off-campus employment is any type of work or services performed in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit that is not on the Howard campus. A work permit is required BEFORE any off-campus work is allowed. See the staff in ISS for advice and assistance.

Employment Options

  • Off-Campus employment
  • On-Campus employment

Categories of Off-Campus Employment

Off-Campus Employment includes:

  • F-1 Curricular Practical Training ( CPT)
  • F-1 Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training ( OPT)
  • F-1 Post-Completion Optional Practical Training ( OPT)
  • F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • F-1 Work with an International Organization ( IO)
  • J-1 On-Campus Employment
  • J-1 Academic Training ( AT)
  • Severe economic hardship

F-1 On-Campus Employment

  • Employment takes place in a campus facility.
  • Permissible from the time of validation for the semester
  • Requires that you be “in status” in SEVIS
  • Enrolled full-time/good academic standing
  • You may not work during “grace period” following degree completion
  • Does not require special permission from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ( USCIS)
  • Talk to your DSO before starting any type of employment in the United States
  • Employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session – accumulated total of all jobs.
  • Full-time (21 hours or more per week) during school spring , summer and winter break
  • Work on campus does not need to be degree related
  • All on campus employment ends the day  after you complete your program requirements
  • Students concurrently attending two institutions may work only on the campus of the institution that issued their SEVIS I-20 form

F-1 Off-Campus Employment

Authorization from the  United States Citizenship & Immigration Services ( USCIS) is required to work off campus.  The types of Off-campus employment include the following:

  • F-1 Curricular Practical Training ( CPT)
  • F-1 Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training ( OPT)
  • F-1 Work with an International Organization ( IO)
  • F-1 Post-Completion Optional Practical Training ( OPT)
  • F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • J-1 On-Campus Employment
  • J-1 Academic Training ( AT)
  • Severe Economic Hardship (OPT)

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

    • Curricular Practical Training is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including, internship and  cooperative education
    • CPT is integral to your major and the experience must be a part of your program of study
    • Eligibility – students must enroll for two full semesters in F-1 status with a declared major
    • Exception for graduate students- At the graduate level, your DSO may authorize CPT during your first semester if your program requires this type of experience for graduation. Ask your DSO for details.
    • Complete CPT application with International Student Advisor
    • Bring completed application and employment offer letter to the International Students and Immigration Service Office
    • Most students are eligible for 1 or 2 semesters of CPT
    • CPT must be authorized each semester
    • CPT is employer specific . You cannot change employers while on CPT. If a change of employer  is needed you will need to submit another application to your DSO.
    • CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or a letter from your employer
    • CPT permission is given only by the International Students and VISA Immigration Services Office
    • CPT can be Part-Time of Full-Time
    • Part-Time CPT is limited to 20 hours per week while you are enrolled in classes
    • You must be enrolled as  a full-time student and also be enrolled in the appropriate internship course  to maintain your legal status
    • Full-Time CPT permits employment of 21 hours or more per week
    • This option is only available under the following circumstances:
    • During the summer holiday if you will be enrolled full-time  the next fall semester
    • During school holidays if no classes are being held for the entire week ( e.g. Spring Break and Christmas Break, but not Thanksgiving Break)
    • For graduate students whose thesis or project requires a full-time internship and are enrolled in thesis credits
    • CPT authorization  cannot be extended, you have to reapply every semester
    • If you would like to continue CPT, plan ahead and submit another CPT application to the DSO approval two weeks  before the end date of the current CPT
    • Work authorization on CPT Is valid for the employer listed on your I-20 and the dates specified
    • Any work that takes place before after the dates listed on your I-20 is considered unauthorized employment
    • Proof of eligibility to work- Your DSO will provide you a new Form I-20  which shows that your employment has been approved

F-1 Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training ( OPT)

  • Enrolled for two full semesters in F-1 status before eligibility for OPT
  • Good Academic standing
  • F-1 students are eligible for 12 months total OPT per degree level
  • Employment permitted for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year
  • Full-time employment permitted during official university  holidays and vacations
  • Employment must be directly related to the major field of study

F-1 Post-Completion Optional Practical Training ( OPT)

  • Enrolled for two full semesters in F-1 status before eligibility for OPT
  • Good Academic standing
  • F-1 students are eligible for 12 months total OPT per degree level
  • Employment permitted for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year
  • Full-time employment permitted during official university  holidays and vacations
  • Employment must be directly related to the major field of study
  • STEM majors are eligible for an additional 24-month extension of work authorization
  • Apply 90 days before  date of completion or within 60 days of  program completion

F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • Students who have earned degrees in certain science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields may apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT employment authorization if they:
  • F-1 student who received a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree included on the STEM Designated Degree Program List
  • Employment with  an employer enrolled in E-Verify
  • Received an initial grant of post-completion OPT employment authorization based on their STEM degree.

Process to file Employment Applications

  • Generally, if you are an F-1 student who wants to apply for OPT, you must:
  • Request that your designated school official (DSO) at your academic institution recommend the OPT.
  • DSO will make the recommendation by endorsing your Form I-20 and making the appropriate notation in SEVIS
  • Properly file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS, accompanied by the required fee and the supporting documentation

Documents required for an F-1 Pre-Completion OPT Application

  • Form I-765
  • Application filing Fee – personal check, cashier’s check, money order, debit/credit card
  • Two recent passport photos (Write your SEVIS ID Number on the back with a pencil)
  • Form G-1145
  • Copy of new Form I-20 ( with OPT recommendation on page 2)
  • Copies of all previous I-20s
  • Copies of previous Employment Authorization Documents ( EADs), if applicable
  • Copy of passport biographic page
  • Copy of F-1 Visa
  • Copy of most recent I-93 Record

Documents required for an F-1 Post-Completion OPT Application:

  • Form I-765
  • Application filing Fee – personal check, cashier’s check, money order, debit/credit card
  • Two recent passport photos (Write your SEVIS ID Number on the back with a pencil)
  • Form G-1145
  • Copy of new Form I-20 ( with OPT recommendation on page 2)
  • Copies of all previous I-20s
  • Copies of previous Employment Authorization Documents ( EADs), if applicable
  • Copy of passport biographic page
  • Copy of F-1 Visa
  • Copy of most recent I-93 Record

J-1 On-Campus Employment

Information will be provided

J-1 Academic Training (AT)

Information will be provided

Social Security Card

  • An International Student with a valid job offer has to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • The purpose of a Social Security Number is to help the government keep track of an individual’s earnings for tax purposes
  • To apply for a Social Security Number, visit one of the local SSA offices to fill out an application.
  • Use a stable address that is not expected to change in the next three months.
  • All applicants must apply in person at any Social Security Administration Office
  • The following documents are required for a Social Security Number (SSN) application:
  • Letter of Employment
  • Letter from Howard University International Student and Immigration Services Office
  • Immigration documents
  • The required Immigration documents are:
  • F-1 Visa holders: passport, I-94 and I-20
  • J-1 Visa holders: passport, I-94 and DS2019

Forms (pdfs will be provided)

  • OPT application
  • CPT application
  • F-1 Transfer Verification form
  • J-1 Transfer Verification form
  • J-1 Application Form
  • Howard University Statement of Financial Resources

International Student Organizations

  • International iPALS
  • African Students Association
  • Caribbean Students Association
  • Saudi Arabian Students Association