Employment

International students on an F-1 student visa are limited in amount and type of employment they are allowed to do in the United States.

The United States government views work as a priviledge for international students and that students should focus on academics, not work while studying here.  Southwestern College requires that all international students who want to obtain work information speak with Rena Rodriguez before any employment options are explored.

There are four types of work options for F-1 visa students.  The first three will utilize an Employment Authorization Card.  The card will be sent to the student's address listed on the I-765 form.  A student can not work until Immigration Services has sent the card.  The card is then used by the student to give to the employer as proof of their eligibility to work.

1)  Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • Must be in F-1 status for 2 semesters before authorization can be granted.  MUST BE IN GOOD STATUS!
  • The employment must be directly related to major.
  • Limited to 12 months of full time employment.
  • Does not require a job offer to apply.
  • Application is made to Immigration Services in Lincoln, NE.  Processing time is usually 2-4 months and the current application fee is
  • Application to OPT must be made BEFORE graduation date.  Immigration Services allow students to apply up to 120 days before graduation.
  • Eligible after completion of each degree.  For instance- after Bachelors degree student is eligible for a 12 month OPT- then if the student proceeds on and completes a Masters degree, the student is eligible for anther 12 month OPT.
  • For information on how to apply for OPT here at Southwestern College, please click here.

2)  Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  • Must be in F-1 status nine consecutive months before authorization can be granted.  MUST BE IN GOOD STATUS!
  • Employment must be an integral and critical part of program and directly related to major.
  • Academic credit MUST be received for the employment experience.
  • Employment is employer specific.
  • To apply for CPT here at Southwestern College, please click here for more information.

3)  Severe Economic Hardship

  • Must be in F-1 status nine consecutive months before authorization can be granted.  MUST BE IN GOOD STATUS!
  • Must be able to demonstrate severe economic hardship caused by unforseen circumstances.
  • Is granted for a one year maximum, but then students can reapply to extend the time.
  • Employment is restricted to 20 hours a week.
  • Application is made to Immigration Services in Lincoln, NE.
  • Current application fee is $
  • Processing time is currently 2-4 months.
  • To apply for Severe Economic Hardship at Southwestern, please click here for more information.

4)  On Campus Employment

  • Can work part time up to 20 hours a week while in school.  Allowed to work up to 40 hours a week during vacation periods.
  • No application to Immigration Services needed.
  • Employment does not need to be related to major.
  • Employment opportunites are listed in the Career Services section under work study.  Students can contact Career Services or Financial Aid for information.  Students may also e-mail Plant Operations at marsha.branch@sckans.edu or Sodexo Food Service at Chris.stettnisch@sckans.edu for potential job opportunities.
International Student Information