skip to Main Content

Employment

Learn more about the types of employment Exchange, Hoakipa, and Independent Visiting Students are eligible for. 

F-1 Practical Training

Participants in an exchange or visiting student program offered through Mānoa International Exchange (MIX) are NOT permitted to participate in pre-completion or post-completion F-1 Practical Training. This includes Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), and internships.

On-Campus Employment

Exchange and visiting students are allowed to work on-campus within the dates of their program. Job postings at UHM can be found on SECE, the student employment website (UH login required, so you will not be able to search for jobs until you have been accepted into the program).

Types of On-Campus Employment:

  • Work employed by the I-20 issuing institution (e.g., teaching assistant, library, administrative office)
  • Work employed by on-campus commercial firms that provide direct student services (e.g., cafeteria)
  • Work done at off-campus locations, but treated as on-campus (e.g., research projects)

Conditions:

  • Eligible immediately upon obtaining F-1 status
  • Must be considered “on-campus”
  • Can be used throughout period students is pursuing a full course of study
  • Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; can be over 20 hours during official school breaks
  • Can be done in any on-campus position that does not displace a US worker; does not have to be related to course of study
  • Offer of employment not required for eligibility
  • All on-campus work is treated the same for the 20 hour per week limit; for example, teaching assistants who work 20 hours per week are not allowed to work more hours unless on break

Limitations:

  • “Initial” entry students may not begin work more than 30 days before class start
  • Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; over 20 hours during official schools breaks for students who are eligible and intend to register for the subsequent academic term
  • May not engage in on-campus employment during the 60 day grace period following completion of study except in the following situations:
    • Between programs when transferring schools

Off-Campus Employment

A student may be authorized for off-campus employment under the following circumstances only:

  • Severe Economic Hardship
  • Employment with an International Organization
  • Special Student Relief

This off-campus employment must be recommended by a Designated School Official (DSO) and adjudicated and approved by USCIS, which issues an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card). A student cannot begin the off-campus employment until they receives the EAD from USCIS.

Severe Economic Hardship:

This employment benefit is intended to address situations where a financial need beyond the student’s control arises, which was unforeseen at the time the student applied to the school they are currently attending and after all potential employment opportunities have proven to be insufficient. Examples of unforeseen economic hardship include:

  • loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student
  • substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate
  • inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs
  • unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support
  • medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses

Application Information and Procedures:

  • Set up an appointment with an ISS Advisor to discuss your eligibility.
  • If eligible for this benefit, your ISS Advisor will assist you in applying to the USCIS for the work permit.
  • Application may be by a paper or electronic process.
  • After USCIS receives the application, a receipt will be sent to the applicant to allow tracking the application online.

Employment with an International Organization:

This is a type of employment authorization for F-1 students who have been offered an internship with a recognized international organization. Such organizations include the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Organization of American States, and others. These international organizations are listed in 8 CFR 316.20.

Conditions:

  • Student is eligible as soon as they are in F-1 status; no waiting period.
  • Must be with a qualified international organization
  • Granted in increments of no more than one year, or until expected date of employment completion, whichever is shorter
  • Can be approved for full-time employment
  • Does not have to relate to course of study
  • Must have written offer of employment from a qualifying international organization
  • Must apply for EAD from USCIS, and receive EAD before employment begins
  • Must continue to maintain a full course of study in F-1 status during the period of employment

Application Procedures:

  • Set up an appointment with an ISS advisor to discuss the process and eligibility.
  • If eligible for this benefit, your ISS Advisor will assist you in applying to the USCIS for this work permit.
  • Application may be by paper or electronic process.
  • After USCIS receives the application, a receipt will be sent to the applicant to allow tracking the application online.

Special Student Relief:

This category is for specific groups of students from parts of the world experiencing emergent circumstances, such as severe natural disaster, war, etc. The Department of Homeland Security may choose to suspend or alter rules regarding duration of status, full course of study, and employment eligibility, for these select groups for specific periods of time. In these cases, DHS may allow additional on-campus or off-campus employment authorizations, and such announcements are made on the DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website.

Back To Top