This section is designed as a general overview of employment options for international students in F-1 status. It does not explain the various steps required for all categories. You should speak with an ISS staff member for more detailed application procedures. Employment is defined as any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefits.
A Note of Caution
Unauthorized employment is the most serious violation of your F-1 status. You must consult with ISS before accepting any employment. We can then help you with matters pertaining to to applications for employment authorization.
In general, there are two types of employment for F-1 students: On-campus and Off-campus employment.
F-1 international students are allowed to work on-campus once they begin at Wentworth. Acceptable employment includes work in any academic department or administrative office, including work performed on Wentworth's premises for an outside contractor such as the food service or bookstore. Employment is limited to 16 hours per week while classes are in session, but may be full-time during Wentworth's vacation periods. To be eligible to work on-campus, you must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) and include letters from ISS and your on-campus employer in your SSN application. For an on-campus employment authorization letter from ISS, submit a copy of your current I-94 card and two (2) copies of a letter from your on-campus employer on Wentworth letterhead stating:
- Student's full name
- Name of on-campus department
- Nature of student's employment (i.e. desk attendant, office assistant)
- Start and end dates of employment
- Pay rate per hour
- Number of work hours per week
- Name, title, address and telephone number of immediate supervisor
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training is defined as non-credit training that is required as part of an established curriculum. Wentworth student must accomplish two semesters of curricular practical training in order to satisfy their degree requirements for all majors. (This is referred to as Co-Op in the curriculum and Curricular Practical Training by the Department of Homeland Security).
Because a job offer is required for curricular practical training to be authorized by ISS staff, students participating in Co-Op must apply in the Student Service Center after their registration and job placement is completed. An entry is made in your SEVIS record and a special I-20 is issued with your employer's name and address. For directions on how to successfully get registered and certified for either of your Co-Op semesters, click here.
Optional Practical Training
To be eligible for this category you must have been in F-1 student status for one academic year (nine months). A job offer is not required to apply. You are eligible for a total of twelve (12) months of full-time optional practical training during the entire stay in the U.S. as an F-1 student. You may apply for periods of practical training before completion of studies, save the total twelve-month period to be used after completion of studies, or use a combination of both. Such employment may be full or part-time, but it must be directly related to your major field of study.
Any periods of optional practical training used before completion of studies will be deducted from the total twelve-month period available. For example, if you worked full-time for four months during summer vacation after your first year, you would have eight months of practical training available after graduation. For application instructions, click here.
Students who are currently on post-completion OPT and who received a Wentworth degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) may apply for a one time 17 month extension of their optional practical training. There are additional employment and reporting requirements for the extension detail and you should contact an ISS for more information about how to apply.
Employment Due to Severe Unforeseen Economic Hardship
To be eligible for this category you must have been in F-1 student status for one academic year (nine months). A job offer is not required to be eligible to apply for this category of work authorization. This employment benefit is intended to address situations where a financial need beyond the student's control arises, which was unforeseen at the time the student applied to the school he or she is currently attending. Examples of unforeseen economic hardship include a loss of financial support due to catastrophic loss of income by a sponsor, severe and unforeseen changes in currency exchange rates that affect the value of savings or an unexpected and substantial medical expense. For more information on qualifying circumstances and procedures for submitting an application, contact the ISS staff.