International students on F-1 visas can seek on-campus employment if the position meets the criteria described below. Contact International Student Services at iss@ou.edu.

There are two components for qualified on-campus employment for F-1 students:

  1. There are limits on the type and location of the employment as described on the tabs above.
  2. Employment is limited to jobs that do not displace a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
    • See U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement's FAQs about Basic Guidelines for On-campus employment.

F-1 students may engage in employment on the campus they are authorized to attend (indicated in Section 2 of the I-20 Form) for a maximum of 20 hours per week during normal enrollment periods and up to 40 hours per week during the summer or other officially recognized school breaks. No special authorization from the USCIS is necessary in order to engage in on-campus employment. F-1 students may also engage in on-campus employment at an off-campus location.

Before completion of studies, F-1 students may engage in employment (on-campus or off-campus) that directly relates to their major field of study via Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT is granted by the student’s Designated School Official (DSO) and the Form I-20 is endorsed with the dates the student is eligible to work, as well as the number of hours per week.  A student with CPT must present an original Form I-20 indicating CPT approval to an intended employer before employment may lawfully commence.  CPT can be divided into two categories:

  1. An internship/practicum that is a required part of the program curriculum
  2. A training program that is not required but is integral to one's program of study and for which academic credit is received. Employment may be part-time (20 hrs per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hrs per week). Off-campus locations may be approved by the student's DSO.  NOTE: F-1 students who engage in full-time CPT for 12 months or more will forfeit their period of Optional Practical Training (see tab above) following completion of studies.

F-1 students may be authorized to engage in employment (on-campus or off-campus) that is directly related to their major fields of study through Optional Practical Training (OPT).The maximum amount of time an F-1 student may engage in OPT is 12 months. The student is limited to working in the field in which they received a degree.  For example, an international student with an accounting degree could work in a bank setting. However, the student with an accounting degree would be prohibited from working as a librarian.

OPT can be divided into four categories:

  1. Part-time or full-time work in their field of study during the student's annual vacation period and at other times when school is not in session if the student is currently enrolled and eligible and intends to register for the next term.
  2. Work in their field of study taking place while school is in session, provided the employment does not exceed 20 hours per week.
  3. Full-time work after completion of all course requirements for a degree in their field of study (excluding thesis or the equivalent).
  4. Full-time work after completion of the entire course of study. 

NOTE: F-1 students who have engaged in full-time "Curricular Practical Training" for 12 months or more are ineligible for OPT.  

ATTENTION: Students engaging in OPT CANNOT begin work until they receive approval from their DSO and subsequent authorization by the USCIS  in the form of a valid  Employment Authorization Card (EAD). F-1 students may also apply for an EAD based on economic hardship.

An F-1 student who received a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) from an accredited and SEVP-certified school may apply for a 24-month extension of their optional practical training (OPT). 

Employment must be directly related to the student’s major area of study. The employer must be enrolled in and be in good standing with E-Verify. The E-Verify company identification number is required for the student to apply to USCIS for the STEM extension using Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. A STEM student may change employers or work at a different hiring site for the same employer, but the new employer or new hiring site must be enrolled in and be in good standing with E-Verify before the student begins their STEM OPT with the new employer or hiring site.

To apply for STEM Optional Practical Training based on employment with the University of Oklahoma, please forward a completed and signed HR983; Request for STEM Students I-983 Training Plan for OPT extension to the International Faculty & Staff Services on the appropriate campus (refer to form for instructions and campus contact locations).  


The student's expired OPT EAD with an endorsed Form I-20 is acceptable for employment purposes until USCIS makes a decision on the Student's I-765 application, but for not more than 180 days from the date the student's initial OPT EAD expires. Employment authorization must be re-verified after 180 days from the date the EAD expires in order to continue employment.  Refer to the USCIS Handbook for Employers M-274.
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