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Office of International Student & Faculty Services

F1 Employment

On-Campus Employment

On-campus employment is defined as employment on the university's premises.  F-1 students who are maintaining their status may work beginning with their first term. Some important facts to know:

  1. USCIS approval is NOT required for on-campus employment if the F-1 student is maintaining F-1 status.
  2. On-campus authorization is approved by the PDSO/DSO.
  3. On-campus employment is defined as employment on the college's premises, but it can be with an on-location commercial firm providing on-campus services for the college's students (such as Thompson Hospitality).
  4. On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Students can work full-time during vacation periods.
  5. Student must be pursuing a full course of study, or, if employed during annual vacation, intend to register for the next academic term at MSU.
  6. Employment may begin no sooner than 30 days prior to the start of classes for new students with initial entry to a new program.
  7. Student employment can only occur at the school responsible for the student's SEVIS record. Once a student's SEVIS record has been transferred, student is no longer eligible to work at transfer-out school.
  8. F-1 student who is maintaining status is eligible to work on-campus until the end date on Form I-20 unless the student graduates before that date at which point employment is terminated.
  9. Students are subject to federal and state taxes and exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes. For more information on taxes, please consult a tax authority.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

(CPT) is defined as alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum, which is offered by sponsoring employers through internship agreements with Morgan State University . CPT is a legal temporary working opportunity to gain practical experience within a student's field of major.

CPT can be done during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. It is granted only on a semester-by-semester basis. It can be done on either a part-time or full-time basis. During the Fall and Spring Terms, CPT can only be part-time of no more than 20 hours per week. Students must maintain a full course of study during the Fall and Spring terms. Full-time CPT can be pursued during Summer terms. Full-time CPT consist of 21 hours per week or more.


  1. Students must be in valid F-1 status for two consecutive semesters to apply for CPT.
  2. Students must be in a degree-seeking program.
  3. It must be a direct requirement of your program, for example a mandatory internship that is required for all students in your degree program and be an integral part of your curriculum.
  4. CPT must be approved through the PDSO/DSO. You must register for the internship and it will appear on your transcript.
  5. Obtain a "hire letter" from the employer. This letter states the position title, start and end dates of employment, number of hours per week and the company name and address.
  6. Make an appointment with PDSO/DSO and bring the following documents: current SEVIS I-20, hire letter, and letter from a faculty approving the internship. At the appointment, documents will be reviewed for eligibility. If you are approved, the PDSO/DSO will authorize the CPT via SEVIS and issue a new SEVIS I-20.
  7. After the CPT end date noted on page 3 of your I-20, you must stop working.
  8. Remember that CPT runs on a semester-by-semester basis, and you will need to get new CPT authorization each semester.

If you have any questions about CPT, or any other F-1 immigration concerns, please contact your PDSO/DSO.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

(OPT) is a temporary employment benefit extended to F-1 students who have been maintaining status for an academic year. Its purpose is to give students the opportunity to gain work experience of their degree and is limited to 12 months total for each degree level in a field directly related to the student's course of study.

Documents needed to apply: (make an appointment with PDSO/DSO)

  1. Complete I-765 Form
  2. 2 passport photos
  3. Copy of passport ID page
  4. Copy of visa page
  5. Copy (front and back) of I-94
  6. Check for $340.00 made payable to USCIS
  7. You will need to select a start date for your OPT. This start date must be within 60 days of your program completion date.
  8. Endorsed (by PDSO/DSO) recommendation of OPT on page three of a newly generated SEVIS I-20.
  9. While your application is pending, you should NOT travel outside of the United States. This may be considered abandoning the application. If you must travel for emergency purposes before your OPT is approved, please contact PDSO/DSO to discuss this before leaving the U.S.

Economic Hardship

If on-campus employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request employment authorization based on severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control.

Bring the following documents to appointment with PDSO/DSO:

  1. Personal letter describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, attach backup documentation; for example, news articles, a letter from home telling of a change in family circumstances or proof of a currency devaluation in your country, etc.
  2. Completed I-765 Form.
  3. Use the code (C)(3)(iii) at item 16; DO NOT date the form until you are ready to send the application to U.S.CIS
  4. 2 passport photos
  5. Copies of your current and previous I-20s
  6. Copy of your latest I-94 card (front & back)
  7. Copy of passport page
  8. Copy of visa page
  9. Copy of your F-1 visa page (except Canadians) OR approval of change of status to F-1 (I-797) if applicable
  10. Copy of your unofficial transcript
  11. Check for $340.00 made payable to U.S.CIS

You will also need...

  1. A new SEVIS I-20 recommending economic hardship (completed by PDSO/DSO)