What Qualifies as On-Campus Employment for an F-1 Student

The definition for on-campus employment is in 8 CFR 214.2(9)(i).
There are two types of limits on the employment. The work must take place either at your school or at an educationally affiliated (associated with the school’s established curriculum or part of contractually funded research projects at the postgraduate level) off-campus location:

  • On the school premises:
    • Work that takes place at your school location could be for an on-campus commercial business, like a bookstore or cafeteria, as long as the work directly provides services for students.
    • Employment located on-campus that does not directly involve services to students (such as construction work) does not qualify as on-campus employment.
  • Educationally affiliated off-campus location:
    • Work with an employer that is contractually affiliated with the school is on-campus employment even if the work site is not located on the campus (such as a research lab affiliated with your school).

On-campus employment must not displace a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR).

Basic Guidelines for On-Campus Employment

An F-1 student has three main employment-related guidelines:

  • May work at any qualifying on-campus job that does not displace a U.S. citizen or LPR.
  • May work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session (full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during the annual vacation)
  • Should report their work to the DSO and receive an enrollment verification letter to present to the Social Security Administration in order to be able to receive a Social Security Number.

Not complying with these guidelines for on-campus employment may be a violation of status that could result in the F-1 student having to leave the United States.


An F-1 student may begin working as much as 30 days before the start of a program of study. They should inform the DSO before they begin work.

If an F-1 student finishes a program (such as a bachelor’s degree) and starts another program of study at the same campus, the student may continue on-campus employment as long as the student plans to enroll in the new program of study for the next term. If otherwise eligible, an F-1 student may continue to work on-campus with a pending application for reinstatement or change of status.

Where Can On-Campus Jobs Be Located?

The job must be physically located on the school’s campus or off-campus at the site of an educationally affiliated organization.

Restrictions for Students Under On-Campus Employment

Employment on-campus has to be for the school or for a company that contracts with the school to serve students directly.
For example, if your school contracts with a food service company, an F-1 student can work for the company at school facilities but not for the same company at any off-campus locations.

  • An F-1 student cannot work for a company contracting with the school for something other than student services
  • An F-1 student cannot work for a company that does not contract with the school, even if the work location is physically located on school property.

For example, an F-1 student cannot work for a construction company, even if the job site is on the campus.

However, an F-1 student may work for a contractually affiliated company such as a school bookstore, because it provides services to students.