UAH

Student Employment

Employment Options For International Students F1

Working on campus is a great opportunity to build your social network, expand your academic opportunities and earn extra spending money while studying in the U.S. International students are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week (on campus) while school is in session. For more information check with the International Student and Scholar Office or visit the Career Development website uah.edu/careerservices.

Students who are maintaining F status are eligible to work on campus. Work performed on the school premises is "on-campus" employment as long as the employment provides direct services to students. If you are unclear if a job would be considered "on-campus" employment, please check with an international student advisor.

Students are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session and full-time during holidays or school vacation periods, provided the student intends to enroll full-time during the academic term following the vacation period. This 20 hour total includes hours spent working on an assistantship. For example, a one-third time assistantship is equivalent to 13 hours of work; therefore, the student can work a maximum of 7 additional hours on campus to total 20 hours.

On-campus employment is not permitted after graduation (other than with work permission through Optional Practical Training) unless the student has been accepted, received an I-20, and is planning to enroll in a new educational program at the same educational institution. 
Special Considerations for Graduate Students 
USCIS regulations allow graduate students to work at an off-campus location provided that

  1. the location is educationally affiliated with the school

  2. the educational affiliation is associated with the school's established curriculum or is related to a graduate level research project which the university has contracted to perform

For example, if an academic department has a research contract with a private company, a graduate student may be employed under that contract and the work will be considered by USCIS regulations as if it were on campus. Please work with the international student advisor to get the employment paperwork completed before accepting a job.

J-1 Exchange Visitors


Students in J-1 status must speak to the Responsible Officer of their sponsoring program to learn if they are eligible to work while in the US.

Off-Campus Employment


Immigration regulations require F-1 and J-1 students to be complete a full time course of study for one full academic year before becoming eligible for any type of off campus employment.

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)


Students who are offered a Cooperative Education position through the UAH Coop Office will be authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

UAHuntsville does not authorize CPT for students desiring a summer job or internship unless it is required for graduation. Required internship courses are listed under the degree requirements for each major in the UAHuntsville catalog and will be indicated on the Program of Study. Students must register for the internship course during their employment time.

Students who want a summer job or internship must apply for Optional Practical Training.

Students who use 12 months of full time CPT will be ineligible for Optional Practical Training.

F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Curricular practical training, (CPT), is off-campus employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum. CPT is only available to F-1 students who have maintained lawful F-1 status for at least 1 academic year. A student may be eligible for CPT if enrolled in an internship course, which is required by the department for completion of the degree OR they are approved for a Co-op through the Cooperative Education Office. The student must receive academic credit in the form of an “internship course”. Independent study, directed study, or research courses are not appropriate to obtain CPT authorization.

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)


See blue sheet for detailed information on Optional Practical Training

OPT is typically used by students during the 12 month period immediately following graduation from UAHuntsville.

Students who want a summer job or internship may apply to use part of their Optional Practical Training in the summer while school is not in session. The portion used during summer subtracts from the 12 months of total OPT for that degree level.

It normally takes about 90 days to receive OPT employment authorization from the Immigration Service. A current processing estimate is provided by the Immigration Service when the student applies for OPT.

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary work permission granted to F-1 students to work in their major area of study. OPT work authorization can be granted after completing one academic year of full-time classes in the degree listed on their I-20. OPT is NOT an immigration status. While authorized for OPT, students must continue to follow F-1 immigration laws to ensure that the OPT work authorization remains valid. Transfer to a new school or a new degree program at the same school, change to a new immigration status, or violation of F-1 status will invalidate the OPT authorization. After submitting a complete OPT application to the ISSO, the student advisor must make a request in SEVIS, issue a new I-20 and prepare the application. Then the application is mailed and processed by the USCIS service center. Immigration processing can range from 30-90+ days from the date USCIS receives the OPT application. A temporary work permit is issued by immigration with the dates of authorization and the appropriate OPT notation. There are two types of OPT; pre-completion and post-completion OPT.