You should not assume that you are automatically eligible to work in the United States. Unauthorized employment is one of the most serious violations of F-1/J-1 student status. Any unlawful employment—even for one day—even if you did not know it was illegal—poses a serious threat to your ability to remain in or return to the United States. If you have any doubts, you should speak with an International Student Advisor before accepting any employment.

Definition of Employment

Employment is any type of work performed for services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit.


U.S. Department of Labor laws prohibit an international student from choosing to be unpaid for work that would otherwise be paid to someone else.

If engaged in activities that would normally be paid, you are considered to be working even if payment occurs at a later time (this means you can’t choose to volunteer until work authorization is approved).

F-1 Employment Options

International students in F-1 status may be eligible for the following types of employment opportunities or authorization:

J-1 Employment Options

International students in J-1 status may be eligible for the following types of employment authorization:

Employment Resources