F-1 Visa Employment

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International Services

The Office of

F-1 Employment: Introduction

Employment eligibility and options for F-1 foreign students are limited by U.S. immigration regulations and are available only to students who have maintained lawful F-1 student status and are in good academic standing.

In all cases, students are required to obtain the prior, written authorization of either the Office of International Services (OIS) or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before beginning employment. Students should not work without specific authorization from either the OIS or the USCIS. Failure to obtain prior authorization constitutes a serious violation of U.S. immigration regulations.

A list of F-1 employment options are listed below. Specific information about each option is available in this section of our web site. Please read all information carefully.  Because individual situations may vary, it is essential that students consult with the OIS before pursuing or accepting any employment offers. 

F-1 On-Campus Employment Options

  •     Employment at Teachers College, Columbia University, or Columbia Affiliates
  •     "Affiliated" Employment

F-1 Practical Training Options

  •     Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  •     Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 Other Employment Options

  •     Severe Economic Hardship Employment
  •     International Organization Employment

Important Note: While school is in session, F-1 students enrolled are limited to 20 hours of work per week. Possible exceptions include full-time Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training after completion of all requirements for your degree except dissertation, thesis or integrative project (see the information on Practical Training).