There are three types of employment that F-1 students may pursue:
You are permitted to work on campus up to 10 hours per week. While F-1 regulations allow you to work up to 20 hours of work per week on campus while classes are in session, the College is only able to provide students with ten hours of campus employment per week. You may, however, work on campus full-time during Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer Break.
Please note that you may not work off-campus even if positions are offered through F&M. Examples include the College Hill Children's Center as well as the Ware Institute's Public Service Summer Internships (PSSI's), Manheim Summer Mentoring Program, and F&M Works program. (Please read the next section if you are interested in doing one of the Ware Institute's programs as an Internship for Credit via Curricular Practical Training.)
You may also not work for Sodexo's Catering department, since many of their events are held at off-campus locations. Furthermore, you would not be permitted to accept a clerical position at College Row in exchange for free housing. This would qualify as employment, and does not fall into on-campus employment.
You may complete an Internship for Credit (IFC) providing that the internship is directly related to your major. While you are on CPT (employment authorization), you are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week total while classes are in session including campus employment. You may work full-time during vacation periods including the summer. This means that you may complete a paid full-time internship for credit during the summer. Please visit the following page of the F&M website to learn more about IFC's: http://www.fandm.edu/student-and-post-graduate-development/students/jobs-internships/internships-for-credit
Please note that you would need CPT in order to do a Ware Institute Public Service Summer Internship (PSSI), the Manheim Summer Mentoring Program, or an an internship through F&M Works. This means that the internship/program would have to be credit-bearing AND directly related to your major.
In the case of F&M Works, the Office of International Programs in collaboration with the Ware Institute will determine which majors would be appropriate for specific internship sites. Since this is a year-long program, you'd be required to arrange two Internships for Credit for .5 credit for the fall and spring semester. (You'd register for these courses with all of your other courses.) This would entail securing a faculty advisor for the year-long experience. You will be contacted by email if you qualify to apply for this opportunity.
F-1 students are prohibited from doing an unpaid internship not for credit within the United States. There is risk associated with such unauthorized employment, which may impact your F-1 status or a request for a future immigration benefit. An example of such a future benefit would be a change of status to H-1B.
You must be authorized for CPT by Dean Haring prior to the start of your internship for credit. To acquire CPT, please schedule a 30 minute appointment with Dean Haring and be sure to bring a copy of your completed Internship for Credit (IFC) application as well as proof that you've registered and paid for the internship course. Proof of payment is not necessary during the academic year.
This process will produce a new I-20 in SEVIS. Please note that you can complete 364 days of full-time CPT before it affects your OPT eligibility. (Part-time CPT does not count.)
For each higher level of study you complete (i.e, Bachelor’s, Master’s), you are entitled to one year of full-time work authorization in your major field of study. Nearly all students choose to use their OPT following graduation. You may fill out the OPT application and submit it up to three months in advance of your graduation date. You do not have to have a job before applying for this benefit. Please note that these applications must be sent to USCIS via the Texas Lockbox.
Processing of OPT applications usually takes three months so apply early. Most applications are complied and submitted in February, March, or April in preparation for use after graduation. You may also submit the application after graduation during your 60 day grace period if it becomes absolutely necessary. However, applying after graduation is strongly discouraged for a variety of reasons. Dean Haring will be available to assist May graduates with compiling their OPT applications from mid-February to mid-April.
Please check with the Office of International Programs about your timeline for applying if it's after graduation. These summer applications be problematic. If you are completing your studies in December, please contact Dean Haring in October or November about OPT.