International students may be eligible to work on or off campus depending on their visa type. The visa type will determine certain eligibility requirements and restrictions. Not all international students have employment eligibility and some are required to apply for and obtain specific employment authorization from ISSO or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) BEFORE engaging in any employment. Some international students do not have employment eligibility and must not work. Employment regulations differ for different visa types and potential employers or supervisors must ascertain employment eligibility before initiating actions, before promising employment, and especially before allowing you to begin work. Please contact the ISSO to confirm employment eligibility.
This student employment page contains information for the following:
- F-1 Employment
- J-1 Employment
- Summer Employment
- Other Visa Holders Employment
F-1 On-Campus Employment
F-1 students in lawful status with a current Form I-20 issued by ISSO and enrolled full-time at North Carolina A&T may work up to twenty hours per week on campus while school is in session. Payment received must be through NCA&TSU Payroll. You do not need specific written employment authorization from ISSO or USCIS to accept on campus employment; however you must report employment to ISSO so that your I-20 (financial section) and file can be updated and documented. F-1 students are considered to be working 20 hours a week on campus if they hold a half-time teaching/research assistantship. Students should not accept additional appointments, supplemental pay, or any additional pay for hours worked beyond the 20 hour per week maximum. Students who agree to work beyond the 20 hours per week limit are in violation of their nonimmigrant status. The employment will be terminated immediately (with a loss of tuition remission and health insurance if you are a TA or RA) and you may have to leave the U.S. Full-time enrollment is required during the Fall and Spring semesters. On-campus employment may be full-time during holidays and summer vacations. Employment is limited to NCA&TSU hiring departments/offices/facilities (e.g., your paycheck is through NCA&TSU Payroll).
USCIS defines some type of off-campus employment as “extended on-campus employment.” In such cases, USCIS requires that the location be directly associated and/or affiliated with the University’s established curriculum and related to contractually funded projects at the post graduate level through North Carolina A&T. This type of employment requires specific documentation. The employment must be an integral part of the student’s educational program. For this type of employment, the F-1 student must obtain written authorization from ISSO BEFORE engaging in employment. The academic advisor is required to complete the Extended On-Campus Employment Form, issued by the ISSO.
F-1 Off-Campus Employment
Students in F-1 status must have explicit written work authorization from either ISSO or USCIS before engaging in any off-campus employment. An F-1 student may obtain permission to work in either of the following:
Severe Economic Hardship
If you can demonstrate that a “severe economic hardship” was caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, it may be possible to obtain work authorization. This type of employment must be authorized by USCIS in advance.
Severe Economic Hardship is decided on a case-by-case basis. Examples of unforeseen economic hardship are: loss of research/teaching assistantship due to lack of funding; substantial fluctuations in the value of home currency or exchange rate; unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support; documented illness, etc. Please consult with an ISSO advisor to obtain more information regarding application process and eligibility requirements.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Curricular Practical Training is employment in the student’s field of study prior to completion of the academic program. The employment must be a fundamental or an integral/required part of an existing curriculum or academic program. The training must be a research related internship; cooperative education; or required practicum that is offered by a sponsoring employer through a documented agreement with the school. Unpaid CPT will also be considered if circumstances require use of equipment not readily available at the University.
Students enrolled in a degree program at North Carolina A&T should speak with an ISSO advisor for eligibility requirements and the application process. [The proposed curricular practical training must be listed in the school’s course catalogue with the number of credits awarded on completion, along with information about faculty supervision and a description of the course featuring a clear definition of the course objectives.]
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training is a benefit given to F-1 students in lawful status. This benefit allows for a maximum of 12-months off-campus employment . One year of OPT can be requested after each degree level (Bachelor, Master and Doctorate). You may apply for Pre-Completion OPT and/or Post Completion OPT. OPT is not employer specific, but is limited only to a temporary position in the major field of study identified on the current I-20. Students are required to apply directly to USCIS with the recommendations of the academic advisor and the ISSO. Once approved, USCIS will issue a Form I-688B – Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to the student. If you are authorized for OPT and wish to further the employment beyond the 12 month maximum (check the end date on the EAD), you should contact the ISSO to discuss eligibility for the STEM Extension. Eligibility could add an additional 17 months of work authorization at the current degree level.
J-1 On-Campus Employment
J-1 students must obtain written employment authorization from the J-1 Program Sponsor. J-1 students whose Program Sponsor is North Carolina A&T must obtain written approval in advance and in writing from ISSO before beginning any employment.
On campus employment is limited to ten (10) hours per week while school is in session and may be full-time during holidays and summer vacations (if you are not registered for courses during the summer). J-1 students may engage in part-time on-campus employment in terms of an assistantship, fellowship, scholarship, or other on-campus employment. You are considered to be working 10 hours a week on campus if you hold a half-time teaching or research assistantship. Employment is limited to employers (hiring units) who are located on campus and pay employees through NCA&TSU Payroll Office.
J-1 Off-Campus Employment
Students in J-1 status must have explicit written work authorization from either ISSO or USCIS before engaging in any off-campus employment.
J-1 Academic Training (AT)
Academic training is employment in the student’s field of study. A student is eligible for a maximum of 18 months of academic training either prior to or after completion of studies or a combination of both. The employment must be directly related to student’s academic program and recommended by his/her academic adviser. The J-1 Program Sponsor authorizes J-1 academic training. J-1 students whose Program Sponsor is NCA&TSU must obtain written approval in advance and in writing from ISSO before engaging in any employment.
Eligible J-1 students may apply for Academic Training which will allow a maximum of 18 months authorization. A J-1 student with A.T. is not currently required to apply for and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by USCIS, but may be authorized by his/her J-1 Program Sponsor to engage in post-completion employment directly related to the field of study. If the student wishes to be employed after graduation, he/she will need to provide an offer letter to the J-1 Program Sponsor (ISSO for NCA&TSU) that describes the position (title, duties, salary, beginning and ending, etc.). You will need to present this (along with a valid DS-2019 form and passport) and an A.T. letter from your Program Sponsor before employment can begin. Requests for Academic Training must be approved at least 30 days prior to the expiry of the valid DS-2019.
F-1 and J-1 students are not required by Immigration regulations to register for classes during the summer. It is an option that many international students take advantage of to meet academic requirements more quickly or to complete thesis/dissertation projects.
On-campus employment may be full-time during the summer break if the following applies:
- F-1/J-1 student has valid Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20/DS-2019)
- F-1/J-1 student has pre-registered or intends to enroll for Fall semester (at North Carolina A &T)
- F-1/J-1 student is not enrolled in classes during summer sessions
The full-time (40 hours a week) employment benefit does not apply with class enrollment during any summer session. Those who enroll during the summer are only eligible to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Any international student who is on campus working towards the thesis and dissertation projects (during the summer) are required to register for at least one credit hour (NO EXCEPTIONS). Any work completed on-campus that will count towards and/or if academic credit will be earned for degree completion, requires course enrollment.