F-1 On and Off Campus Employment

On-Campus Employment 

Federal regulations allow F-1 students to work on the premises of the school that issued their currently valid I-20 or DS-2019 if they are in good standing at that school and they are maintaining legal non-immigrant status.

On-campus employment must either be performed on the school's premises, (including on-location commercial firms which provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or cafeteria)” and are available under the Department of Homeland Security Regulation 8 C.F.R. §214, paragraph (f)(9)(ii)(B) or (C).

Top 5 Reminders For On-Campus Employment:

  • New students must complete the check in with ISS. Your record must be active in the SEVIS system in order to be eligible for on campus employment.
  • You may work 20 hours a week while school is in session and full time during the vacation periods (winter, spring, and summer break).
  • Do not work on campus after your I-20 has expired after the day of your graduation, receiving a Letter of Completion (graduate students only), or after the completion of your academic program.
  • If you plan to graduate and change degree level you may work over the break period AFTER receiving a new I-20 from ISS reflecting your new degree program beginning in the following semester.
  • You are not eligible for on campus employment at Texas A&M University if you transfer to another institution. If you plan to transfer out from Texas A&M University, you are no longer eligible to work once ISS transfers your SEVIS record to a new institution.
If you violate any of the on-campus employment rules from Department of Homeland Security, you will be in direct violation of the F-1 program. Your SEVIS record will be subject to termination and you may be required to leave the U.S. If your record is terminated, you may become ineligible for off campus employment such as CPT or OPT and you will be required to exit the U.S immediately.
  1. New F-1 students must enroll full-time in coursework and then complete a check-in with ISS through Terra Dotta.
  2. New F-1 students who do not yet have an SSN will need to request an SSN endorsement from ISS through Terra Dotta.
  3. New students may begin working up to 30 days prior to the start of classes once items #1 and #2 above are complete.
  4. Current students may work between the start and end date of their Form I-20s issued by ISS as long as they maintain legal F-1 status.
  5. Before employing students who are Iranian citizens, departments must file the Supplemental Work Authorization Form for Iranian Students with ISS.


According to federal regulations, international students "may work on campus full-time when school is not in session, or during the annual vacation" 8 C.F.R. 214(f)(9)(i).

  • Students may be able to start working more than 20 hours/week at 12:01 AM (midnight) immediately after the first day of Commencement.
  • Students will have to stop working more than 20 hours/week at 11:59 PM (midnight) immediately before the first day of classes.
  • Please note that Commencement dates and First Day of Classes may vary depending on the campus and professional college.

How many hours may I work on-campus?

Students are limited to 20 hour work weeks while school is in session, but may work full-time during vacation periods. Vacation time is defined as summer semester, spring break, and winter break.

When may I begin work on-campus?

Upon initial entry to begin a new course of study, students may not begin on-campus employment more than 30 days prior to the actual start of classes. Students transferring-in to Texas A&M may begin on-campus employment after their SEVIS release date and once they have received the new I-20 issued by Texas A&M University. All new students must Check-In with ISS BEFORE beginning on-campus employment. The ISS Check-In Hold will be removed from the student’s record once the check-in has been completed with ISS.

Do I have to have written authorization from ISS in order to work on-campus?

No. F-1 students are eligible to work on campus under 8 C.F.R. §214, paragraph (f)(9)(ii)(B) or (C). Once a student has checked in with ISS, they must check in with their on-campus employer and process normal HR paperwork. Students must present the necessary immigration paperwork (i.e. form I-20, I-94 card, passport, etc.) to be put on the payroll. However, if you violate your F-1 status in any way, you must stop working immediately.

I am an F-1 sponsored student. May I work on campus?

If you are a sponsored student, although you may be eligible for on-campus employment per federal regulations, on-campus employment may impact your contract and funding from your sponsor. You should check with your sponsor and Sponsored Student Programs for additional information.

When must I stop working on campus?

  • You are no longer eligible for on-campus employment after the day of your graduation. You may work up to the day of graduation. Your I-20 will be shortened by ISS to the day of your graduation per Department of Homeland Security regulations.
  • You may not work once the I-20 has expired.If you apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), it is your responsibility to inform the payroll department that your employment must end on the last date of the I-20. In some cases, graduate students in a PhD program or Master’s Thesis Option may apply for the OPT to begin prior to graduation. If you apply for OPT, it is your responsibility to note the end date of the new I-20 issued by ISS and inform your payroll office and employing department. You are not eligible to continue working once the I-20 past the end date on the OPT I-20.
For Example:
  • A student applies for Post-Completion OPT.
  • The student receives a new form I-20 with an updated end date due to the OPT application.
  • The student may not work past the new end date on their I-20. The student must inform his/her department of the updated end date of the I-20.
  • If you receive a Letter of Completion from OGS, you are no longer eligible to work in a student worker or graduate assistant position on campus. If you receive the Letter of Completion, your I-20 will be shortened to the issuance date on the Letter of Completion reflecting that your academic program has completed. It is your responsibility to inform your payroll and employing department that you are no longer eligible to work on campus once you have received the Letter of Completion from OGS.
  • If you violate your immigration status, you must stop working immediately! Students who have fallen out of legal immigration status as well as students with a reinstatement application pending with DHS (in attempt to re-gain legal immigration status) are not permitted to work on-campus.
Students must inform their on-campus employer of any changes to their form I-20. It is the student’s responsibility to know when they must stop working on campus. Failure to inform their department of a change in their form I-20 may result in the student engaging in unauthorized on-campus employment per Department of Homeland Security regulations.

For more information, F-1 students should review On-Campus Employment details.
1. New students must complete the check-in with ISS.

2. F-1 students with I-20 issued from Texas A&M University must receive SSN letter from ISS BEFORE the student will be eligible to work.  Please submit at the ISS front desk or email a scanned copy of your job offer letter to ISS at . The letter must include the following information:
  • Student name (as it is listed on the student’s passport)
  • Department
  • Position/Title
  • Start Date
  • Number of Hours per week
  • Rate of pay
  • Contact information for employer and supervisor
3. Once ISS has received your letter and verified you are eligible to work, ISS will attest the letter. You will receive an email when the letter is ready for pick up in the ISS office.

4. If you are currently a sponsored student, you are strongly advised to contact your sponsor to ensure that your work does not violate the conditions of your sponsorship. Failure to obtain the consent of your sponsor about your employment may impact your funding. Texas A&M University will notify your sponsor that you have requested and received authorization to work.

5. Before employing students who are Iranian citizens, departments must file the Supplemental Work Authorization Form for Iranian Students with ISS

Off-Campus Employment‚Äč 

Federal regulations allow that under certain conditions, F-1 students may work at an off-campus location while still being considered as working “on-campus”. In order for students to be considered working on campus but performing the work at an off campus location, the student must the satisfy the following requirements:
  • The employment MUST be associated with the school's established curriculum OR related to contractually funded research projects at the post-graduate level.
  • The research must be an integral part of the educational program and be commensurate with the level of study.
  • Whether paid or unpaid, the student must obtain authorization to conduct research at the off-campus location.
  • The student must register full-time while school is in session.
  • The student may not be compensated for more than 20 hours of work per week.
  • The student may work full-time during Texas A&M vacation periods if the student is eligible for a vacation.

Steps to Receive Approval:

  1. Submit the following documents to the ISS office in order to apply for on-campus work at an off-campus location:
    1. Employer Letter written on letterhead. The letter should state the following:
      a) The job title;
      b) That the student will not be compensated for more than 20 hours per week of employment, except during school vacation periods for which the student is eligible;
      c) The exact dates of the employment;
      d) How the employer is educationally affiliated with Texas A&M and that the educational affiliation is associated with an established curriculum OR how the work is related to a contractually-funded project at the graduate level;
      e) The salary and benefits.

    2. Departmental Letter written on letterhead. The letter must be written and signed by the Academic Advisor and Departmental Graduate Advisor. The letter should state the following:
      a) The name and physical address of the company/institution at which the graduate student will work;
      b) The exact dates and physical address of the employment;
      c) How the employer is educationally affiliated with Texas A&M and that the educational affiliation is associated with an established curriculum OR how the work is related to a contractually-funded project at the graduate level;
      d) That the work is an integral part of the student’s educational program that cannot be performed on campus and is commensurate with the student’s level of study;
      e) That the student is in good academic standing;
      f) The expected date of graduation (month and year).
    3. Student Letter. This letter must be address to “To Whom it May Concern”, include student’s name, signed and dated by the student with the following included:
      1. That the student is in legal status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
      2. That the student will be compensated for no more than 20 hours of work per week except during school vacation periods for which the student is eligible.
    4. Current Form I-20, I-94 and passport for the student as well as any F-2 dependents. ISS will photocopy the original documents

  2. International Student Services will review the application and provide the student with written authorization in the form of a letter detailing the specific dates and physical location of employment. 

  3. The student may not work at the off-campus site of employment until ISS has approved and provided the written authorization for the student.

  4. The student will be responsible for requesting renewal of the on-campus/off-campus work authorization (authorizations are issued with a maximum duration of one year).
Students who have a job offer from a recognized international organization are eligible to apply for work authorization through USCIS at any time during their academic career. Please see an ISS Advisor for details on eligibility and the application process. Find more information at the following SEVP website: