F-1 Student Employment
The main purpose of the F-1 visa is to allow nonimmigrants to study in the United States. It is not a work visa. The types of employment allowed under the F-1 visa are limited by specific requirements. Before engaging in any type of work, F-1 students should verify they are eligible to work and have the proper authorization. Working without authorization is a serious violation of F-1 status.
The following information refers to immigration permissions and restrictions. Additional campus policies may apply. Please check with the UT Dallas Human Resources and the University Career Center for more information.
Special Rules Regarding Unpaid or "Volunteer" Work
- F-1 students may not engage in unpaid or 'volunteer' internships or training opportunities, or engage in unpaid work without impacting their immigration status unless specific work authorization is granted by the ISSO via CPT, or other options.
- The only true volunteer activities which may be permitted are civic or humanitarian in nature, generally in service of a non-profit organization.
- Speak with an international student advisor if you need information to help you determine if you can lawfully engage in unpaid work.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) may be available to F-1 students after one year of full-time enrollment, in the academic year immediately preceding CPT, at a U.S. university. CPT must take place before student completes the minimum graduation requirements.
Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) may be available to F-1 students after one year of full-time enrollment, in the academic year immediately preceding OPT, at a U.S. university. There are different types of OPT.
|Type of OPT||What is it?|
|Post-Completion OPT||Begins after graduation from a program of study. The most commonly used form of OPT at UT Dallas.|
|STEM OPT Extension||An extension available to students in certain STEM majors.|
|Coursework-completion OPT||Doctoral candidates who have finished all of their required coursework have the option to apply for OPT while they finish their thesis or dissertation.|
|Pre-Completion OPT||Takes place while student is completing their degree and ends no later than the program completion date. Most students use CPT to do practical training while completing their degree.|
|H1B Cap Gap Extension of OPT||If a student on OPT has a pending H1B petition, they may be eligible for an extension of their practical training to cover the “gap” between when their OPT ends and when the H1B would begin.|