The limitations on particular visas require careful awareness before acting outside of them. The risk of deportation or, in the case of student visas, the complete halt of a student’s U.S. education is a high cost to pay. 

It is illegal for any employer to hire any non-immigrant worker with a visa that does not allow for it. But as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services details, this does not mean students are unemployable. Under student visas, employers have to understand a few things including how they may affect the student’s school schedule as well as how their business relates to the student’s field of study. 

New students and relevant work

F-1 students may not work off-campus in their first year of full-time studies. Depending on their chosen field and particular visa restrictions, they may still work on-campus though. The biggest considerations revolve around whether or not the work counts as on-the-job training. 

Opportunities after year one

After the first academic year, as the Department of Homeland Security lists, F-1 students have three options (and an emergency fourth) to pursue: 

  • Curricular Practical Training – employment as part of an established curriculum. 
  • Optional Practical training – employment in training related to a student’s program of study. 
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT) – a 24 month extension of a student’s stay to pursue relevant and gainful employment after his or her studies. 
  • Severe economic hardship – employment approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program for students struggling with money due to unforeseen circumstances. 

Other considerations

F-1 students that work and receive money, though non-immigrants, still earn an income on U.S. soil and as such must take into account income taxes in their education plans.