Employment for F-1 and J-1 Students

International students must follow employment regulations and are urged to meet with an immigration advisor before accepting or beginning any off-campus employment. Failure to receive the proper authorization is a serious violation of your immigration status and can result in the loss of your F-1 or J-1 status. Protect your immigration status and do not expose yourself to penalties caused by unauthorized/illegal employment. The income you earn will be of little value to you if you are not permitted to complete your program in the U.S.

F-1 Students

An F-1 student may work on-campus at Colorado State University as long as the student is in good academic standing and is maintaining their immigration status. On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours total per week during the Fall and Spring semesters, but there is no limit during official University vacation periods.

Graduate Research and Teaching Assistantship hours are counted as on-campus employment and limited to the 20 hour per week limit while classes are in session. GRA’s and GTA’s can increase their work hours during official university vacations. Some key facts to know are the F1 Student Employment Timeline, the F1 STEM Extension Timeline and knowing all important numbers as an F-1 student.

All other work for any kind of compensation (free housing, groceries, laptops, etc.) is considered to be employment and is not authorized unless the student has approved work authorization under Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training.

Severe Economic Hardship: Students facing financial difficulty that is unexpected and unforeseen should meet with an immigration advisor to see if they qualify to apply for Severe Economic Hardship employment authorization through USCIS. This benefit is very limited by USCIS and not a guarantee that applying will result in approval.

F-2 dependents are not permitted to accept employment under any circumstances.

J-1 Students

J-1 Exchange Visitors in the student category may be granted permission to accept on-campus employment by written approval of the responsible officer of their sponsoring agency prior to beginning work. CSU may not authorize work permission for another sponsor. The Exchange Visitor student may be authorized to work on campus up to 20 hours per week during Fall and Spring semesters, but there is no limit during official University vacation periods–as long as the student is in good academic standing, is engaged in a full course of study, and has received written approval in advance from the responsible officer for the specific employment. Such approval may be valid for up to twelve months but is automatically withdrawn if the student’s program is terminated.

J-1 students may also qualify for academic training to work on or off campus. Academic training, as described by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is authorized employment for up to 18 months that may be taken prior to or following the completion of a student’s course of study. True Postdoctoral positions may utilize up to 36 months of Academic Training. Non-degree students may also be eligible for academic training. Please see the Academic Training Request Packet for more information.

J-2 dependents may apply for permission from USCIS to accept employment if they make their request in writing, stating that the income will be used only for the support of the J-2 dependents and not for the support of the J-1 Exchange Visitor. Please see the J-2 Dependent Employment Authorization Page for more information.

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