On-Campus Employment

On-campus employment is defined as employment which occurs on the KU campus. Positions include teaching assistantships (GTA), research assistantships (GRA), and student hourly employment (KU Dining Services, Library, etc). Note: international students are NOT eligible for student work study jobs.

F-1 students are eligible to work on campus a maximum of 20 hours per week when school is in session during the Fall and Spring academic semesters. During breaks and official vacation periods F-1 students are eligible to work more than 20 hours a week on campus. A student who has a valid I-20 and intends to enroll for next regular term may work on campus incident to status. No special work permit is needed.

Please note that on-campus employment is not permitted after completion of a degree program unless the student has been issued a Form I-20 to begin a new program.


Off-Campus Employment

NEVER work OFF campus without authorization!!!

Opportunities of work off campus are greatly restricted and a work permit is always required.

Work includes receiving ANY compensation for single or multiple services such as honorarium, musical performance (or lessons), tutoring, babysitting, etc.

Off-Campus Work Authorization Options

F-1 students must be lawfully enrolled on a full time basis for one full academic year to be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), and Employment based on Severe Economic Hardship.

Exception: Internship with an International Organization does not require one year of full time enrollment prior to eligibility.

Main Points for Comparison

Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Must be in F-1 status and have been enrolled full time for two semesters (Fall & Spring) before the OPT can start
  • Work must be directly related to major
  • Limited to 12 months total per higher degree level
  • Can be part time (up to 20 hours per week) or full time, but each requires a separate application
    • Can only be part time during academic semester (and must remain enrolled full time)
    • Can be part time or full time during official school breaks
    • Can be part time or full time once required course work is finished for Masters or Ph.D. while working on thesis, dissertation or equivalent
    • Can only be full time after completion of degree
    • If used part-time, time is deducted at half the full-time rate (i.e. four months part time = two months full time)
  •  Does not require a job offer to apply
  • Application is made to the U.S. government (after receiving recommendation from ISS)
  • Processing time varies; 2-3 months typically
  • $410 application fee

​​Get details about Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Must be in F-1 status and have been enrolled full time for two semesters (Fall & Spring) before the CPT can start
  • Work must be required or an integral part of program and directly related to major
  • Pre-completion of degree only
  • Academic credit MUST be received for the employment experience and the course MUST count toward degree requirements
  • Employment authorization usually cannot extend beyond the end of the academic term for which credit is received
  • Must remain enrolled full time during Fall & Spring semesters
  • Can be part time (up to 20 hours per week) or full time (more than 20 hours per week)
  • No time limit; however, if used 12 months full-time, optional practical training is forfeited
  • Employment is employer specific (i.e. must have a job offer to apply)
  • Application is made to ISS, 2 Strong Hall
  • The authorization process is usually 30-60 minutes; however, it is strongly recommended that you apply at least 1-2 weeks in advance because it must meet strict eligibility requirements
  • No application fee

Get details about Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Economic Hardship
  • Must have been in F-1 status two semesters (Fall & Spring) before the work authorization can begin
  • Must be able to demonstrate severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances (must show that money on I-20 is not available for reason’s beyond student’s control)
  • Is granted one year maximum at a time; can apply to extend
  • Can work any where in U.S., but restricted to 20 hours per week while school is in session
  •  Application is made to the U.S. government
  • $410 application fee
  • Processing time varies; 2-3 months typically

Get details about Economic Hardship

International Organizations
  • An opportunity for internship employment with an international organization recognized under the International Immunities Act.
  • Must be in valid F-1 status, but unlike other types of F-1 off-campus employment (CPT, OPT, Economic Hardship) there is no waiting period to be eligible to apply
  • Work does not need to be related to field of study (but probably will need to be to qualify for the job)
  • Work may be full time, but must otherwise continue to maintain F-1 status during period of employment (including enrollment in a full course of study)
  • Is granted one year maximum at a time; can apply to extend
  • Does not impact eligibility for either CPT or OPT
  • Authorization cannot extend beyond the end of the academic program
  • Application is made to the U.S. government
  • $410 application fee

Get details about Internship with International Organizations

Off-Campus Summary

Social Security Numbers

A social security number, often called SSN, is a tax ID number and is needed for employment.  F-1 students must have a job offer in order to apply for an SSN.

How to apply for an SSN

  1. Go to iHawk and complete Evidence of Employment for SSN under F-1 Student Services.
  2. Complete the SSN application form (called Form SS-5) on Page 5 of the PDF.
  3. Pick up ISS letter for the SSN application in ISS.
  4. Take the completed forms along with all original immigration documents to the Social Security Administration.

Note: In order for KU to get your SSN directly from the Social Security Administration , you have the option of submitting an SSA Consent form at step 4.  This may help you get paid faster.  Without the consent form, you must wait to get your SSN card in the mail so KU can have your SSN.  The SSA Consent form is available in ISS, the Shared Service Centers and the Recruitment and On-boarding Center.

Immigration Advising Hours

ISS Virtual Drop-In Advising

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1:30pm to 4:00pm. These virtual drop-in sessions are only for:

  • General and specific questions (for students and scholars)
  • Processing of reduced course load requests (electronically signed I-20s). 

All other processes require a virtual appointment.  To request a virtual drop-in, click the button below and provide your full name and the purpose of your “drop-in” request.

>>Virtual Drop-in Request

Advising by Virtual Appointment

Call 785-864-3617 to set up an appointment for all processes (except a reduced course load with approval on an electronic I-20).


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