Employment is one of the most closely monitored activities of international students.
Because two government agencies are involved (the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Service and the Internal Revenue Service), there is twice as much scrutiny on student
records when they are employed. It is vially important that students follow these
On Campus Employment:
Employment During Regular Semesters is limited to 20 hours per week. This rule is
strictly interpreted, and students who work even one hour over the 20 hour per week
limit can be subject to severe government penalties.
Employment During Official School Breaks, including Thanksgiving, Winter Break, Spring
Break and Summer Term, can be full time for F-1 students. Students must be aware of
the official starting and ending dates of these breaks, for employment purposes.
University of Memphis International Student Office Website Section One part two
Off Campus Employment:
Off campus employment is normally not allowed. In some cases, students may qualify
for an internship off campus, or they may possibly be granted an extremely rare permit
for economic crisis.
Internships, practicum, co operative education programs, and other academic programs
that have students working off campus for academic credit are collectively considered
to be Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
Students must have completed two full semesters inside the U.S. before they are eligible
to pursue these programs. The only exception is for students who are in majors that
require internships as a mandatory part of the degree program, for all students in
that program, including U.S. citizens. Please the CPT section of this site for further
details on Curricular Practical Training.
Students who have completed two semesters inside the United States and who have experienced
an unforeseen economic crisis are eligible to apply for a special permit to allow
off campus employment. Please check with the International Students Office for further
details on this kind of extremely rare work permission. Transfer students: If you have been issued this kind of work permit from a previous school, please know
that your EAD is canceled when your new program I-20 is produced.
Once a student has completed coursework, they may become eligible for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). This 12 month work card does not require course enrollment, making it significantly
different from CPT. Please plan to apply for OPT early - processing times can range
from 55 up to 100 days. Please see the section on OPT for further details.