Employment Opportunities for International Students
F-1 students at Marymount California University may be employed in most on-campus jobs. On-campus employment may not exceed 15 hours per week during fall and spring semesters. Full-time (more than 20 hours per week), on-campus employment is allowed only when classes are not in session – during winter break, spring break and summer vacation, and with approval from the department supervisor. Authorization for on-campus employment may begin no more than 30 days before the start of classes and does not require any governmental approval. On-campus employment during summer vacation and academic breaks is permissible only if the student is eligible and intends to continue attendance at Marymount following the break. Please contact the Director of International Services for additional information regarding employment options. You must maintain valid F-1 immigration status in order to be authorized for on-campus employment.
In general, off-campus employment is not permitted for F-1 visa-holders, per the federal regulations governing the F-1 visa. However, F-1 students are eligible for limited off-campus employment if they experience an unforeseen financial hardship. This requires and application and governmental approval. Please schedule an appointment with the Director of International Services for more information about how to apply for this type of work authorization BEFORE accepting any off-campus employment.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students
Curricular practical training is employment which is an integral or important part of your academic curriculum. It is a type of work authorization for a student who is seeking an off-campus internship where the job is directly related to the student’s major.
- Students must have maintained lawful F-1 visa status for at least one academic year (2 semesters)
- The CPT must be defined as an approved Career Services internship opportunity that is offered for MCU credit and approved by a MCU faculty member, the on-site supervisor of the internship and the Director of Career Services and Internship (or delegate)
- Be enrolled in the appropriate internship course upon submission of a complete application.
The following procedures are applicable regardless of whether the training is paid or unpaid. Approval and authorization for CPT must be finalized with the Office of International Services BEFORE the internship employment begins.
- Once you have met with the Office of Career Services and Internships and received the application materials for the internship, seek all the required signatures for approval. For the OIS Director signature, schedule a meeting with the Office of International Services. This will be the last signature you receive prior to the submission of your application.
- At your meeting, the Director of International Services will help you fill out the CPT Authorization Application and request the CPT authorization in SEVIS. You will receive a new Form I-20 listing the approved CPT with specific dates and employer information on page 2.
- Receiving all signatures on the application and being issued a new Form I-20 with the CPT authorization constitutes a complete application. The application form is then sent to the Office of the Registrar for the internship course to be added to your schedule.
You are not authorized to begin your internship until CPT is authorized in SEVIS and the requested start date has arrived. If you are endorsed for part-time CPT, you can work no more than 20 hours per week. You can only work for the employer for which you are originally approved.
There is no limitation on the length of time you may participate in part-time CPT (less than 20 hours per week). However, if you engage in full-time CPT (more than 20 hours per week) for a total of 12 months or more it will affect you eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
If you are engaging in a paid internship, you and your employer must complete a form entitled Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). You will need to show your employer your new I-20. The endorsement for CPT on your I-20 meets the government’s eligibility requirements for employment. You may also need to present to your employer other documents to verify identity, such as your passport.
Participants in a paid internship will also need to get a Social Security Number in order to receive payment for employment. The Office of International Services can provide you with information and an application for a Social Security Number. Any earnings are subject to applicable U.S. Federal, State and local taxes.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) For F-1 Students
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as temporary employment in the field of study for purposes of gaining practical experience. International students in F-1 student visa status who have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year are eligible to apply for the OPT benefit. Application materials are submitted to USCIS for approval. Once an application is approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) authorizing work in the U.S. for a specified amount of time.
- Been or will be in F-1 status for at least one full academic year;
- Have not previously used your 12 month OPT benefit; and
- Have not had more than twelve months of full-time Curricular Practical Training.
You do not need a job offer to apply for OPT. However, you are expected to work or be actively seeking employment during the time OPT is authorized. If you are applying for OPT before completing your studies, it is recommended that you are sure of a job offer before applying to avoid loss of any unused benefits.
OPT is an application requiring governmental approval. For more information pertaining to the application and approval process for OPT, schedule a meeting with the Director of International Services for detailed information.
Social Security and Other Taxes
F-1 students seeking on-campus or authorized off-campus employment should see the Office of International Services for more information on the application process for a Social Security Number. For on-campus employment, a SSN is the key to receiving payment for your work.
It is also critical to remember that any money earned is subject to U.S. Federal, State and Local taxes. Each January, MCU’s Office of International Services provides a tax software free of charge to F-1 students wishing to use it to prepare the required documents to file your taxes. Tax Day in the U.S. is on or around April 15th. This is the date by which most all tax forms must be submitted.
REMINDER: Working without proper authorization is a serious violation of your F-1 status. You should consult with the Director of International Services before seeking any type of employment in the United States.