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Off-Campus Employment and Internships

Always consult with ISSS before starting any employment. It is extremely important to keep in mind that it is your responsibility to engage only in employment authorized as permissible for F-1/J-1 students. F-1/J-1 students are non-immigrants. Therefore, they are not eligible for Financial Aid. Students may work part-time (up to 20 hours) during the semester and full-time (20+ hours) during summer and winter vacations. F-1 students must have been in legal immigration status for a minimum of one academic year (two semesters) prior to applying for any off-campus employment. Please refer to the employment categories listed in this guide for details, requirements, and limitations. For help finding off-campus employment please visit, Career Services & Internship Program and Handshake

Social Security Number (SSN)

If you do not already have a SSN you will need to be issued one before you begin working. If you have received an EAD card you should bring your EAD, I-20, passport, visa and I-94 to a Social Security Administration (SSA) office. If you have been approved for CPT you will need to bring your I-20, visa, I-94 and a job offer letter from your employer to a SSA office. Visit for the online application form, required documents, and address of the local SSA office. Contact ISSS immediately if you experience a problem.

Economic Hardship

An eligible F-1/J-1 student may request off-campus employment based on severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. F-1 students must have been in student status for one academic year and must be able to clearly document the circumstances causing the economic need. Approval is subject to USCIS adjudication. J-1 students may request employment authorization from the Responsible Official (RO).  

​Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training is and alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, student teaching, fieldwork or practicum which is related to an F-1 student's field of study. ISSS processes student requests for CPT authorization if the internship is required for a degree program or is recommended by the academic department. CPT is authorized by ISSS. In order to be eligible to apply for CPT, you must have been in lawfully enrolled full-time for a minimum of one academic year (2 semesters) or 9 consecutive months and maintaining F-1 status.

Submit a completed application to ISSS for review and the required approval. A completed application includes:

The deadline to obtain CPT approval is the Add/Drop deadline for each semester. You are required to enroll in an internship, practicum or directed study course. Contact ISSS for information or any questions. Contact the Internship Programs Office​ for assistance identifying internship sites.

J-1 students may be eligible to participate in academic training under certain circumstances. Consult with an ISSS advisor in ISSS for eligibility requirements. 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training for F-1 students is intended to provide hands-on practical work experience complementary to the academic program. An F-1 student is eligible for a maximum of 12 months of OPT. However, if a student begins a new academic program at a higher level (e.g. Master's after Bachelor's degree or Ph.D. after Master's), the student is eligible for another 12 months of OPT. 

NOTE: Certain science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree holders may be eligible for additional 24 months of OPT in addition to the regular 12-month OPT. 

Eligibility Requirements - To be eligible for OPT the student must:

  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year. 
  • Have maintained F-1 status. 
  • Work in a job directly related to the major field of study.​

NOTE: ISSS requires all students to attend an OPT workshop at the beginning of their final semester.  Students will be advised on the application process as well as other important information to maintain legal immigration status.

Contact Us

International Student and Scholar Services

Dr. Edward Minnock Institute for Global Engagement
25 Park Terrace
Bridgewater State University
Bridgewater, MA 02325
United States