F-1 Visa Employment Authorization

By Tiara

An employment authorization (“EAP”) is an item that must be included in your personal possession while you are living in the United States as a nonimmigrant student. You can only work for pay if you have valid employment authorizations!

If your status changes, such as when your visa expires or if you lose your visa, you cannot work without proper EAPs. This could potentially put stress on students who are trying to earn money to survive since they would likely run out of funds before the school year is over.

This article will go into more detail about what kind of employment authorization is needed for dependent children, spouses, and unmarried partners under 21 years old. We will also discuss how to verify employee eligibility via Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and IRS databases.

We will close this article by talking about some easy ways to remain productive during times of joblessness.

Who can get an F-1 visa?

An individual may obtain employment authorization as an exchange student if they are enrolled in a degree program at an accredited university or college. To be considered for this status, you must first prove that you have adequate resources to fund your education while studying abroad.

Next, you will need to show proof of sufficient income to pay for daily living expenses while attending school full time. You cannot assume that financial aid (such as scholarships and job opportunities) will cover all of your costs; therefore, your parents’ earnings should not either.

Income documents include: proof of yearly gross wages, proof of payment with frequency (monthly, weekly, etc.), and verification of employer eligibility to work in America.

What does the F-1 visa allow you to do?

f-1 visa employment authorization

The F-1 student visa allows your to study at an institution that is accredited by a recognized agency. You must also meet some other requirements, such as having enough money to pursue your studies, but no more than $6,000 per year (depending on how long you stay).

The students are allowed to work while they are in the U.S. under this visa, however, it cannot be for more than 20 hours per week or 400 total hours within a six month period. They have to register their employment with USCIS and proof of adequate funding should be provided.

How can I get an F-1 visa?

f-1 visa employment authorization

Becoming eligible to work while in college requires having adequate proof that you have enough money to support yourself, as well as a job or position dependent upon your student status (student employment).

It is very common for students to put aside their jobs during school breaks, which is why it may be difficult to prove steady income when looking at academic records. Luckily, there are some easy ways to verify this income!

Many colleges offer student financial aid services that monitor credit cards, bank accounts, and paychecks to determine if one has sufficient funding. Some even require direct deposit of checks into a savings account to ensure no spending takes place outside of budgeted amounts.

Can I get an F-1 visa through my employer?

f-1 visa employment authorization

An important thing to know is that you cannot use your employment as a way to obtain an F-1 visa unless you are fully paid by the company! This could be in the form of being hired, or given credit towards pay for current employees.

If you are not fully paid by the company when applying for the F-1 visa, then this could affect your chances of getting accepted into the country. The immigration attorney we mentioned before may be able to help you with other ways to prove income, but it can’t hurt to look into it more thoroughly.

We recommend doing your research online and talking to different people to see what they have to say about international jobs and visas.

How can you extend your F-1 visa status?

For students who wish to stay longer in the U.S. for academic reasons, extending their F-1 visa status is a viable option. Here's how you can proceed:

  1. Speak with your Designated School Official (DSO): Before your I-20 expires, discuss your situation with the DSO. They can guide you through the process and make sure you meet the requirements.
  2. Gather Necessary Documents: These might include academic transcripts, proof of financial support, and a new I-20 form.
  3. File a Timely Application: You must apply for an extension before your current visa expires. A late application can lead to the rejection of your extension request and can cause you to be out of status.
  4. Stay Updated: While awaiting a decision, regularly check the status of your application and promptly respond to any requests for additional information.

Remember, staying beyond your visa expiration without appropriate authorization can have serious consequences for future U.S. visa applications.

What are the different job opportunities with an F-1 visa?

Having access to sufficient employment authorization is one of the most important things for international students to know about when they first begin studying in the United States.

International students can work while attending school here, but they must have appropriate documentation proving their status as an employee or student. Without this proof, employers could discriminate against you by not giving you jobs or paying lower wages because of your visa status.

Student visas do include some work restrictions, so make sure that you follow all of the rules before getting involved in any business activities. Unfortunately, criminal activity related to immigration is very common and unfortunately too frequent to ignore.

F-1 Visa and Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 visa holders have the opportunity to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows them to work in their field of study for up to 12 months after completing their academic program. Here's a brief rundown:

  1. Eligibility: To be eligible, you must have completed one full academic year and the job must be related to your major area of study.
  2. Application Process: The application involves your DSO updating your SEVIS record and endorsing your I-20. You must then file Form I-765 with USCIS.
  3. Work Limitations: While school is in session, students can work up to 20 hours per week. During breaks, they can work full-time.
  4. STEM Extension: Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields may be eligible for a 24-month extension, thus potentially allowing for 36 months of OPT in total.

OPT is a valuable opportunity for students to gain experience in their field in the U.S. and can also serve as a stepping stone to other visa categories or even permanent residency.

What are the disadvantages of an F-1 visa?

f-1 visa employment authorization

Being able to work while you are on this country’s soil is one of the most important things for international students. If you want to stay in America longer, however, then it is necessary to know what restrictions apply to working while on tour.

One major restriction is that if you are hired as an employee by another company or individual, your employer must be able to legally hire you in the United States. In other words, your employment needs to have a work permit!

This can get tricky because employers may not always check whether employees they bring into the US have the appropriate visas before giving them a job. It is up to the individual companies to make sure this is done properly.

If this happens, the student worker can still remain active with their studies but will need to look for part time employment outside of the workplace. This could include doing freelance work or taking lower paying jobs to compensate for the lack of income.

What should I do if I am denied an F-1 visa?

If you have been denied entry into the United States as an F-1 student, there are several things that you can do next. First, make sure to confirm your departure date from the USA!

Second, determine whether or not you still want to go back home after learning of the denial. Many students decide to stay in America after being denied entry at the airport, but this may be difficult if you already spent money on traveling here.

Third, see what options exist for studying abroad while also staying in the country. Some colleges offer direct study programs where you will receive academic credit for attending classes via online platforms like Udemy or YouTube.

Fourth, find out how easy it is to come back to the US as a visitor. Depending on why you were originally denied entry, you might be able to return without too much trouble.

What are the steps to renounce my F-1 visa?

To formally end your employment in the United States, you must first be no longer employed by the employer that sponsored you for an F-1 visa. Then you can proceed with one of these two options:

Option #1: Leave the country and return within six months

Most countries allow citizens to reenter the U.S. after a brief vacation or work trip (no more than 6 months). If this is something that sounds familiar to you, then you can use this option to terminate your employment here in the US!

You do not need to tell anyone at your current job what you are doing, but it is good practice to update your resume and look into possible new opportunities.

Once you have fulfilled the requirements above, then you can file back into the USA using the B2/B1 visitor visas depending on if you are going for a short or long stay.

If you want to remain in the US beyond the initial six month window, then you will need to apply for another type of visa, such as an H-1B. You can also consult our article about How to Become An Immigration Attorney to learn more about legal ways to stay in the US.

In conclusion, while the F-1 visa does come with its set of challenges, it offers numerous opportunities for international students. By understanding the rules and maintaining legal status, students can make the most of their time in the U.S.