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Brockport / International Students / Employment

Employment Options

Students in professional attire

As an international student at The College at Brockport, you may find that you want to work or participate in an internship during the academic year. It is likely that you will be able to work or intern while you are here, but is important that you are always aware of legal versus illegal employment. ANY illegal employment – even if it is only for a day or if you were unaware that it was illegal at the time – poses a grave threat to your ability to remain in or return to the United States.

Definition of Employment

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 benefit. If you receive no pay or other benefit for the work performed, this activity is not defined as employment, but is considered to be volunteer work.

“Legal” employment is authorized, meaning you have the necessary employment authorization prior to beginning work.

“Illegal” employment is not authorized. This renders you illegally present in the U.S. and, depending on how recent changes to immigration laws will be interpreted, it may immediately void your F-1 visa and prevent you from obtaining a new visa anywhere except in your home country. Additionally, it may begin the count toward illegal presence, which will bar you from re-entering the U.S. for a certain amount of time.

Eligibility Requirements

Different requirements exist for each type of F-1 employment noted below. But, there are basic requirements that must be met for any F-1 employment:

  • You must be enrolled for a full course of study (or have recently completed study, for post-completion optional practical training).
  • You must be authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Office of International Student Services to attend The College at Brockport.


Once employment has been authorized, you must maintain eligibility or you risk losing the right to continue employment, even if it was authorized in writing.

Categories of F-1 Student Employment

There are a number of different categories of F-1 Student Employment, each with different requirements for authorization. Please contact the Office of International Student Services for more information.

I. On-campus Employment

Work on The College at Brockport's campus is usually permissible if it meets certain requirements. The authorization for on-campus employment must be obtained from the Office of International Student Services; authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not necessary.

Work on-campus is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session but may be full-time (up to 40 hours per week) during holiday and vacation periods.

USCIS defines on-campus employment as the following:

Type 1: Employment by The College at Brockport. This includes any on-campus work for which you receive a paycheck (or other compensation, such as room and board) from The College at Brockport.

Type 2: Other Employment on The College at Brockport’s premises. This includes work on The College at Brockport's campus for an outside contractor, as long as this work provides direct services to students (i.e. BASC).

Type 3: Certain off-campus employment where there is an official educational relationship between The College at Brockport and the off-campus employer. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations allow work at an off-campus location provided the following apply:

  • The location is educationally affiliated with The College at Brockport.
  • The educational affiliation is associated with your school's established curriculum or is related to a graduate-level research project that your school has contracted to perform.
  • The work is an integral or important part of your program of study.

II. Internship with an International Organization

If you are offered employment in the form of an internship by a recognized international organization, you may accept such employment upon receipt of authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Examples of recognized organizations include the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc.

For more information, please consult with an ISS Advisor.

III. Curricular Practical Training

Some work experiences that are an integral part of your program of study may be the basis for curricular practical training employment authorization. These experiences may include alternate work-study programs, internships, cooperative education programs and practicum experiences that are either:

  • A required part of your academic program; or
  • Work for which you receive academic course credit.

IV. Optional Practical Training

F-1 students are eligible for 12 months of optional practical training (OPT). OPT provides an opportunity to apply practical work experience to theoretical knowledge obtained in an academic program. This employment opportunity must be directly related to your major field of study. It may, in certain circumstances, be full or part-time and may take place anywhere in the United States. You may apply to use OPT during your vacation periods, during the academic year, or when you complete your studies.

OPT requires authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you can start to work (This authorization typically takes four to 12 weeks to obtain).


For more information about employment rules and regulations, please refer to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Last Updated 6/7/11