Current Students - Employment
As an International student in F-1 status, you are allowed to work on campus and may begin employment no more than 30 days before the program start date listed on the I-20. However, you must come by International Services and pick up a verification of legal status for employment purposes. Once you are hired, make sure you take the verification along with your I-20 and I-94 with you when go to the student employment office. The BYU-Idaho work week begins Saturday and goes through Friday evening. This is not the same as your pay period.
If you are on-track:
- You are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week on campus when school is in session.
- During weeks with holidays and semester breaks you may work more than 20 hours per week.
- During your last semester you are only allowed to work 20 hours per week, even if you are taking less than 12 credits.
If you are off-track:
- You may work more than 20 hours per week on-campus during your off-track, provided you do not have off-campus work authorization such as:
- Economic Hardship
- Permanent Residence or U.S. Citizenship
- Please note that university policy restricts you to 40 hours per week on your off-track. However, employment over 20 hours per week must be made available to on-track students for a period of time before an international student are eligible to apply.
During your last semester, you may not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.
You may not work off-campus unless you have the proper authorization. This authorization comes from USCIS and International Services. This includes Practical Training (CPT, OPT) and Economic Hardship.
Social Security Number
If you do not already have a US Social Security Number, you will need to have a job offer from an on-campus employer before you can apply. You will also need additional authorization from International Services. After you have found an on-campus job, come to International Services for further instructions and the remainder of the paperwork you will need.
Practical Training (CPT/OPT)
Practical training's primary purpose is to give you practical experience in your field of study. It includes internships, co-op education, practicum, and most other work experience opportunities. Most F-1 students are eligible to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) before completion of studies, and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT) during or after their program of study. OPT is generally used at the end or after you complete your program. You may request 12 months of OPT at each program level (Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, or PhD).
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT can be authorized by International Services for either full-time (more than 20 hours per week) or part-time (less than 20 hours per week). Full-time CPT can only be authorized during your off-track semester. Part-time CPT can be used at any time.
To be considered CPT, the work must be directly related to your major field of study and be an integral or important part of your studies. Training which is required by your degree program always meets the requirements for CPT regardless of whether or not you receive academic credit for your work. Training which is not required by your degree program may meet the requirements for CPT if you receive academic credit for the employment experience and if it is directly related to your major field of studies. To receive academic credit for work experience outside of your internship, you may enroll in GS-270R Basic Work Study. You must also maintain full-time student status for at least one academic year (two semesters)
You may apply for CPT at International Services. You will need the following when you come to apply:
- CPT Request Form (Complete E-Form Here)
- Department and/or Internship Aproval
- For a practicum or if you are taking GS270R Basic Work Study, you will need a letter from your practicum or academic advisor indicating the curricular nature of the work experience
- Offer of employment indicating duties, start and end dates and full or part-time status must be on company letterhead including address.
CPT can be approved in increments of up to one year, but if you use full-time CPT for a cumulative total of 12 months or more during your degree program, you lose the ability to apply for OPT after your graduation. Part-time CPT does not affect your eligibility for OPT after graduation. You may only work for the employer specified on your I-20 and you may not begin working until your CPT has been approved, complete with a new I-20.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT can be either full-time or part-time and is usually used after graduation, but must be applied for before you graduate. To apply for OPT you must have maintained full-time student status for at least one academic year (two semesters) before applying. If you used 12 months of full-time CPT you are not eligible for OPT. Since OPT is only good for a maximum of 12 months most students will wait to begin using OPT until after they graduate. The application process takes 3 to 5 months so be sure to apply early.
You may apply for OPT at International Services. You will need the following when you come to apply:
- OPT Request Form (Complete E-Form Here)
- Copies of current and previous CPT I-20 forms
- Copy of I-94 (both sides)
- Letter from department or advisor indicating current academic status and expected date of completion
- Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization marked with (c) (3) (b) at item 16 (download here). A cashiers check or money order for $380 payable to "USCIS"
- Two passport style photos
- Copy of your passport front page (with photo) or a copy of a government issued ID
Economic Hardship Work Authorization
If there is an unforeseen change in your financial situation you may be eligible to apply for a Severe Economic Hardship Work Authorization from the USCIS. You must have completed at least one academic year of schooling before you can apply. See the International Student Office for more information.