As an F-1 Student, you are not eligible for off-campus employment, except for what is listed below. DO NOT RELY ON WORKING OFF CAMPUS TO PAY FOR YOUR TUITION!!! YOU MUST BE ABLE TO SHOW THAT YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY FOR SCHOOL BEFORE YOU ARE GRANTED A VISA.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular practical training (CPT) is another type of training, available to students who must work as part of their degree requirements. This is for an internship, only! In order to apply for curricular practical training, you must be registered for a course at Lindenwood University that requires off-campus employment, such as an internship course, and you must get a letter from your professor that the credits received for your internship will count towards your degree requirements. The ISO must endorse and approve all applications for CPT.
If you would like to do a paid internship related to your major, but not as part of a class requirement, you will not be allowed to do so. It must be for academic credit.
If you would like to do an unpaid internship, you do not need to get permission from US CIS.. As long as you are not receiving compensation of any kind, and you are not replacing a paid employee with your internship, you are allowed to do an internship at any off-campus location. A letter from the employer stating that you will not be compensated and that you are not replacing a paid employee must be submitted to the International Student Center.
If you suffer from unforeseen financial difficulties, due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be able to apply for work authorization based on economic hardship. In order to apply, you must provide proof that your financial sponsor has unexpectedly suffered financial difficulties. This may be due to sudden fluctuations in your country's currency, a sponsor losing their job, death of financial sponsor, or similar circumstances. You will also have to show that you made genuine attempts to obtain on-campus employment before seeking the economic hardship work permit, and that the on-campus jobs were either not available or were insufficient. Most applications for this authorization are denied.
DO NOT RELY ON TRYING TO WORK OFF CAMPUS TO PAY FOR YOUR SCHOOL. IT RARELY HAPPENS!!
Social Security Numbers: You may not apply for a social security number unless you have been authorized to work by the United States US CIS.
Optional Practical Training
Optional practical training (OPT) allows F-1 students to gain working experience off-campus in their field of study. While most students choose to use their practical training after they complete their studies, you can actually start practical training while you are still in school. You must be in the United States on a F-1 visa for at least one academic year before applying. The process for obtaining authorization from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (US CIS) takes about 60 - 90 days. The International Student Center will assist you in completing the application and must endorse you application before it is sent to US CIS. The maximum time for doing practical training is 12 months full-time. You can do part of your practical training before you graduate, and part of it after, although each separate period of practical training requires a $180 fee payable to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.