F-1 Students at Work, Requirements at a Glance

On-Campus EmploymentOff-Campus Employment
Economic hardshipCPTCPT mandatory programInitial OPT - 12 monthsOPT extension - 17 months
School authorization requiredYesYesYesYesYesYes
USCIS authorization requiredNoYesNoNoYesYes
Job related to student's field of studyNoNoYesYesYesYes
Eligibility for employmentMust have valid F-1 status. Can begin work before school start date.Valid F-1 status and student status for an academic year. Valid F-1 status and student status for an academic year. Valid F-1 status. Enrolled in grad program. Can begin work after program start.Valid F-1 status. Student status for an academic year or completion of coursework.Valid F-1 status. Must have a STEM degree and be in an OPT program.
Work hoursLess than or up to 20 hrs/wk during school; full-time during school breaksLess than or up to 20 hrs/wk during school; full time during school breaksLess than or up to 20 hrs/wk during school; full time during school breaksUp to full-timeLess than or up to 20 hrs/wk during school; full time during school breaks. Full time post-degree.Full-time
DurationDuration of school program, excluding time for practical training work12 months, may extend in consecutive one year intervals for duration of school program12 months cumulative, if extend past, OPT not availableDuration of school program. If greater than 12 months, then OPT not available12 months17 months
Labor market testNo U.S. worker displacementNoneNoneNoneNoneNone
Authorization suspended if strike at workYesYesYesYesYesYes
Work after graduation?NoNoNoNoYesYes
Source:
 
See 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f).