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Can you work if you come to the U.S. as a student?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2021 | Immigration Law

If you are a student coming to the United States to study, then you may wonder if you’ll be able to work while you’re in the USA. For some people, working is a great way to support themselves while also attending classes. This might also give them an opportunity to find an employer before they finish school and to make it possible to send money back to their families.

With an F-1 visa, you can enter the United States as a full-time student. M-1 visas may also be used to grant you the opportunity to enroll in a vocational or nonacademic program.

There are rules that apply to those who are immigrant students. Violating any of these could hurt your chances of keeping your visa.

Can students work while on an immigrant visa?

For the first academic year of school, you will not be able to work unless the job is given to you by the school and is on-campus. Once that year passes, you can seek out off-campus employment.

There is another catch, which is that you are only allowed to work 20 hours per week while enrolled. On holidays or breaks, up to 40 is acceptable on-campus. In cases of extreme economic distress or hardship, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may approve up to 40 hours of work off-campus during holidays.

Remember, your academic record matters. F-1 visa holders are also restricted from working in some roles, such as in liquor stores or gas stations.

If you would like to work in the United States while you’re a student, it’s important that you are sure you’re not in violation of any of the laws or regulations. If you do violate a law related to working in the U.S., there is a potential that you could be deported or not have your visa renewed.

Before you take a job, it could be helpful to speak with your university or vocational program’s director or admissions support to discuss what kinds of career options you have while in school. Sticking with a school-based job may be the best option for most students.