International students may be authorized to work on or off-campus. There are very specific requirements for authorized work to stay in legal student visa status, and students must have authorization from the International Programs Office before beginning any type of employment. Generally, international student employment may fall under these three categories:
First-year students and beyond may work on-campus. To gain authorization to work, bring a job-offer letter from your on-campus employer to the International Programs Office. The International Student Advisor will assist you with obtaining a social security number, and we will keep record of your on-campus employment letters on file, but we do not need to update your Form I-20. Students may work up to 20 hours per week on-campus during regular academic sessions and up to 40 hours per week on academic breaks such as Christmas holiday, spring break, and summer break. Most on-campus jobs at Augustana offer students 2-4 hours per week, allowing students to earn some spending money while encouraging a focus on your studies.
Students may be authorized to work off-campus after their first two semesters of completed academic study if financial need is documented as a result of severe economic hardship or the employment is directly related to the student's field of study. Visit with IPO staff if you think you may qualify for work authorization due to significant financial changes, and we can advise you on this process.
More commonly, though, students may work off-campus through Curricular Practical Training (CPT). To obtain authorization to work under CPT, bring a job-offer letter from your potential employer to the International Programs Office. The letter should include the job duties, anticipated start-date, as well as the employer's address and phone number. The International Student Advisor or other IPO staff will review this request and may update your Form I-20 with authorization to work if the employment meets the federal guidelines for your visa and the employment is directly related to your field of study. We will then issue you an updated Form I-20, which will be your employment authorization document. Students may do CPT part-time (20 hours per week or less) during regular academic sessions, and full-time (up to 40 hours per week) during school breaks and off-sessions.
Toward the end of an academic program, students may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) which may begin before graduation (Pre-Completion) or after graduation (Post-Completion. OPT, like CPT, must be related to your major or course of study. Students can apply for 12 months of authorized OPT work whether or not there is a job offer. To apply for OPT, meet with the International Student Advisor early. You can apply for OPT as early as 90 days prior to your program end-date, and it is often to your advantage to apply early. Below is the process for applying for OPT:
- Designated School Official (DSO - International student advisor or other IPO staff) will recommend you for OPT in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and then print an updated Form I-20 for you. This step must be done first before you submit any other application materials.
- Make photocopies of your passport, visa, and all past and present versions of your Form I-20.
- Print your I-94 record.
- Obtain 2 passport photos and print your name and SEVIS number on the back in pencil.
- Complete Form I-765 online with the assistance of a DSO.
- Mail in the above supporting materials to the address given to you in the application confirmation page along with the application fee.
- Follow the next steps outlined in the application confirmation page to complete other required steps such as attending a biometrics appointment as it is assigned to you.
Please vist with the International Student Advisor or other IPO staff regarding the details of this process for further information.