International Student Center
Current Students


  • Types of Employment Available to F-1 Students

    On Campus Employment

    As an F-1 visa student, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and 40 hours per week during the summer on the Seattle University campus. You will need to make sure that you can complete a full-time course load each quarter in addition to your employment. To find listings of on-campus jobs, please go to

     The priority for on-campus jobs goes to "work-study" students. Work study students are American students who are receiving a financial aid package from the government which requires them to work on campus. International Students are not eligible for work-study.

    Some offices may only be able to hire work-study students, while others may have a budget for hiring non work-study students. Working on campus does not require getting any written permission from the International Student Center or the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), and you can start working as soon as you begin your studies at Seattle University.

    Optional Practical Training (OPT)

    Optional practical training allows F-1 students to gain working experience off-campus in their field of study. While most students choose to use their practical training after they complete their studies, you can actually start practical training while you are still in school. You must be in the United States on a F-1 visa for at least one academic year before applying.

    During the school year, you can work up to 20 hours per week while maintaining your full-time student status. During the summer you can choose to apply for part-time or full-time practical training. You do not need to have a job offer before you apply, but you must be sure that the job you are doing is closely related to your major, and is giving you experience appropriate for your level of education.

    Applications for optional practical training are done through the mail. The process for obtaining authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) takes about 60 - 90 days. The International Student Center will assist you in completing the application and must endorse you application before it is sent to BCIS. The maximum time for doing practical training is 12 months full-time.

    If you want to do part-time practical training, it counts as half time (example: 4 months part time = 2 months full time). You can do part of your practical training before you graduate, and part of it after, although each separate period of practical training requires a $340 fee payable to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

    To get more information about optional practical training, you can attend the free workshops offered by the International Student Center and the Career Development Center.

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

    Curricular practical training is another type of training, available to students who must work as part of their degree requirements. In order to apply for curricular practical training, you must be registered for a course at Seattle University that requires off-campus employment, such as an internship course, and you must get a letter from your professor that the credits received for your internship will count towards your degree requirements.

    Paid Internships

    If you would like to do a paid internship related to your major, but not as part of a class requirement, you must apply for optional practical training.

    Unpaid Internships

    If you would like to do an unpaid internship, you do not need to get permission from BCIS or the International Student Center. As long as you are not receiving compensation of any kind, and you are not replacing a paid employee with your internship, you are allowed to do an internship at any off-campus location.

    Economic Hardship

    If you suffer from unforeseen financial difficulties, due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be able to apply for work authorization based on economic hardship. In order to apply, you must provide proof that your financial sponsor has unexpectedly suffered financial difficulties.

    This may be due to sudden fluctuations in your country's currency, a sponsor losing their job, death of financial sponsor, or similar circumstances. You will also have to show that you made genuine attempts to obtain on-campus employment before seeking the economic hardship work permit, and that the on-campus jobs were either not available or were insufficient.

    Employment with an International Organization

    You may work off-campus at an international organization as defined in the International Organization Act. Examples include the United Nations, World Health Organization, and the Asian Development Bank, to name a few. Most of these organizations are located in Washington, D.C. or New York City, so if you would like to work under this program, it would need to be during your vacation quarter.