With the proper permission from either ISSS or the US government, F-1 and J-1 students can work on or off campus while studying at American University.
You must receive employment authorization from ISSS before you report for your job/internship.
If you do not know whether your off-campus opportunity is employment or volunteer work please stop by the ISSS office to speak with an advisor.
F-1 students who are registered full-time and in good academic standing are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year. During winter and summer vacations students can be authorized to work full-time.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment option for F-1 students engaged in an academic program for whom work is considered an integral part of their studies. CPT authorization allows you to accept a one semester paid or unpaid internship in your field of study.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an employment option for F-1 students who wish to gain work experience directly related to their field of study. Eligible students may be authorized for up to 12 months total OPT per degree level. OPT can be used during a student's studies (pre-completion) or immediately after graduation (post-completion).
Students with a job offer from a recognized International Organization on the approved, U.S. Department of State list may apply for employment authorization while in F-1 status.
Under certain circumstances, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant employment authorization to F-1 Students who show clear evidence of the need for financial assistance.
J-1 students who are registered full-time and in good academic standing are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year. During winter and summer vacations students can be authorized to work full-time.
Academic training is an employment authorization granted to J-1 students to gain further experience in their field of study. Academic training can be authorized during your academic program and/or after you complete your studies at American University.
Learn about eligibility for academic training and the application process.
If you are a J-1 exchange visitor accompanied by J-2 dependents, your J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for employment authorization by submitting an I-765 (PDF) with other required paperwork. For details about the process, please contact ISSS.
Please note that J-2 dependents are not permitted to work or to receive a Social Security Number until they have received an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from USCIS. Processing time for the EAD card may take up to 3 months.
J-2 dependents with employment authorization may work until the end date on the EAD card or until the J-1 principal visitor completes his or her program, whichever comes earlier. J-2 dependents may apply to renew work authorization, as long as the J-1 visitor remains in J-1 status. If the J-1 visitor receives an extension of stay, the J-2 dependent must re-apply for work authorization after the extension has been granted. It is recommended that applications for extensions of the EAD card be made at least 3 months in advance of the expiration date on the card.
A Social Security Number (SSN) is required to receive payment for working in the United States. International students may be eligible to apply for a Social Security card if authorized for paid work on or off campus.