A Division of the International Studies Office

F-1 Employment Rules

F-1 Employment Rules

On Grounds Employment

Students in valid F-1 status with an unexpired I-20 may seek employment on-grounds working for UVA for up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters, and may work full-time only while UVA is on official school break

A Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) or Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) is considered equivalent to 20 hours per week, thus no further employment in addition to the assistantship is permitted during the semester.

Off-Grounds Employment

F-1 students may not engage in employment or provide goods or services not considered or authorized as on-grounds employment without the prior authorization by the ISO, and, in most instances, U.S. immigration (USCIS). If there is any question about whether or not a particular endeavour qualifies as employment, students should inform the ISO before undertaking it.

Note that employment outside of UVA may also include self-employment, working within the U.S. for a foreign-based entity, and can even include work for which no compensation is gained. [The Department of Labor Fact Sheet on Unpaid Internships].

Students wishing to engage in off-Grounds employment must be eligible for "practical training." In most cases, no student is eligible for any type of practical training until completion of one full academic year.  Prior approved Practical Training is required for any employment outside of UVa.

As outlined in the below links, there are two types of practical training employment authorization: optional and curricular.

Additionally, you may be eligible for employment authorization based on severe economic hardship or if working for a specific type of international organization.

Unauthorized Employment

Working in excess of the on grounds employment maximum, or off grounds without prior authorization, constitute one of the most severe violations of F-1 status.   We are required to report these violations to the U.S. government, and this will result in the termination of one's legal status.  Make sure to discuss employment plans with the ISO before engaging in the employment.

Please also refer to the SEVP page on Employment.