Work Authorization Options
Employment, Internships, and Career Services
- On Campus Employment
- Off Campus Employment
- Cooperative Education for F-1 Students
- Employer Resources
Students with an F-1 Student Visa generally do not work while they are going to school. Legal work permission is very limited. However, at MC we want to prepare you for your career and work and give you good chances for useful experience. Service learning and some on-campus jobs helping other students may be available.
Through MC, you can intern at the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex; the National Institute of Standards and Technology; Marriott International, a multinational diversified hospitality company; Holy Cross Hospital on our Germantown Campus; or at a company along the biotechnology corridor, where the human genome is being sequenced. Some major programs require an internship class and most allow you to take an internship class as part of your degree.
The Career Services offices at MC provide a range of services to students and alumni to support the career planning process. This includes access to career exploration information, opportunities for hands-on experience, and support for the job search process. Our staff will work with you to update your resume, prepare for interviews, and help you find the internship or job opportunity you are seeking.
F-1 Students MUST have specific approval to be employed.
Instructional Video to complete an I-9 form,
Students in legal F-1 status have opportunities to work on campus and off campus. The Student Employment Services Office on each campus provides assistance in preparing for and searching for jobs. They also provide the eJobs employment site with on and off-campus job listings.
Most on-campus jobs are listed on the MC eJobsnew window webpage. You (the student) must speak directly with the supervisor at the job site to be hired. Look for positions called Student Assistant. These are the ones F-1 students can apply for (not "work study"). Some jobs open up during the semester as student schedules change. You may find out about a job before it is posted on eJobs directly from the supervisor. Many on-campus jobs require you to have been a full time, credit-level student for at least one semester before applying.
You will need to bring an On-Campus Work Authorization form, signed by an International Coordinator, for your supervisor. If you do not have a Social Security Number or card, you will need a Social Security On-Campus Authorization for F-1 Students form from the International Coordinator's Office for your supervisor to sign so you can apply for a card. You may also want to bring an On-Campus Letter for Potential Employers. See the Office of the International Coordinators for forms and further instructions.
- MOST off-campus employment authorization requires that the student be enrolled full time for at least two consecutive regular academic semesters (fall and spring) BEFORE authorization can be granted. (An exception is for internships directly with a recognized International Organization, read more about the Student and Exchange Visitor Program or download a list of these organizations (PDF, ) .
- ALL Off-Campus work requires the specific authorization of USCIS and may take up to 4 months to process. PLAN AHEAD! There are Instruction Sheets for the two most utilized types of Off-Campus work authorization CPT and OPT.
- If there has been an extreme and unexpected change in a student's financial support they may be able to apply for employment authorization for Severe Economic Hardship. See the International Coordinator IMMEDIATELY if you feel you may qualify to apply for this.
- Attend a First Friday Workshop to understand all the options and procedures for authorization. Some instruction sheets for Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training are on the main Current Students page.
- To complete the paperwork to apply for any off-campus employment an APPOINTMENT will be required with one of the Coordinators.
Before You Begin Working: Cooperative Education and Internship (Co-op) Process
YOU MUST QUALIFY FOR CPT (Curricular Practical Training) TO GET APPROVAL FROM THE INTERNATIONAL OFFICE TO BE PAID FOR YOUR WORK
- Complete a Cooperative Education and Internship Application Form and submit it to the Cooperative Education and Internship Office by fax, mail, or email. Applications are available on-line or by calling the Co-op Office at (240) 567-1360.
- Register for the COED260 course after the Cooperative Education and Internship Office has completed a registration override for you.
- Submit the following information to Cooperative Education staff:
- Your name
- Social Security Number (if you have one already)
- Your email address
- Name of your International Student Coordinator at Montgomery College
- Your main campus
- Your major
- Include the following when you know this information. (If you need help to find a position, talk with the Cooperative Education office several months before you wish to begin. Your campus Student Employment Services office may also be able to help you find a good position.)
- Name of company
- Full address of company (including suite number and zip code)
- Supervisor's name
- Supervisor's phone
- Your proposed job title
- Your duties (brief description)
The information above (in section C) will be included in a letter email attached to your International Student Coordinator by the Co-op Office. It is best to ask the Office to copy you in this email.
- Visit your International Student Coordinator’s office at least two days after the
letter has been sent from the Co-op Office. Have your I-20 Form processed by your International
Student Coordinator AND before you begin working.
International students in the Co-op and Internship Program are not working legally until:
1. A letter is sent from the Co-op Office to the International Student Coordinator
2. Your I-20 Form is processed by your International Student Coordinator and SIGNED BY YOU.
If you begin working before you have obtained a properly processed I-20 Form from your International Student Coordinator, you will be in violation of Homeland Security regulations. It is your responsibility to make sure these procedures have been followed before you begin working.
Authorization Types: Curricular Practical Training [CPT] and Optional Practical Training [OPT]
International students require authorization before they are eligible to work off-campus.
The procedure required to hire an international student depends on the student's visa status and typically involves little or no extra work for the employer.
The International Coordinator's at Montgomery College can assist students with employer questions regarding hiring students with F-1 or M-1 visa status sponsored by the College.
Students work with the Office of International Students to obtain work authorization.
For students with F-1 visa status, work is limited to 20 hours per week during the academic year (fall and spring semesters), but is unrestricted during school breaks (summer and winter terms), or if the student completed all coursework.
Available to: Students with F-1 visa status who have not completed their degree programs
Maximum Duration of Authorization: No maximum, however 11+ months of full-time CPT will make a student ineligible for OPT
Hourly Limit: During semester 20 hrs/week, during breaks 20+ hrs/week
Documentation from Employer: To receive this authorization the employer must provide an offer letter on letterhead stating the following:
- Specific start and end dates of the internship/co-op
- Number of hours per week
- Address of the workplace
- Amount of compensation
- Job description
- The name of the supervisor during the internship/co-op
- Documentation from the Academic Department or Cooperative Education program
- Statement that the work noted by the employer is appropriate for the awarding of academic credit for the course in which the student has enrolled
- Specific dates the student will be allowed to work to receive credit
- The name of the supervising faculty member
Authorizing Agent: Montgomery College Office of International Students
Processing Time: 2 business days maximum
Documentation Showing Work Authorization: The student will receive a new I-20 which will indicate they are approved for CPT on page 3 to document their employment eligibility.
Available To: Students with F-1 visa status
Maximum Duration of Authorization: 12 months
Hourly Limit: No more than 20 hours during the academic terms; may be up to 40 hours per week for summer or after graduation
Documentation from Employer: No paperwork is required on the part of the employer to request OPT
Authorizing Agent: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS]
Processing Time: On Average, 2-3 months
Documentation Showing Work Authorization: Students receive an Employment Authorization Document [EAD] card to document their work eligibility once their applications are approved
Contact the International Student Office