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Work Authorization Options

Employment, Internships, and Career Services

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 MC's CCN Job Boardnew window employment site with on and off-campus job listings. 

On Campus Employment 

Most on-campus jobs are listed on the MC's CCN Job Boardnew 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 MC's CCN Job Boardnew window 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.

Off Campus Employment 
  • 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 Programnew window or a list of these organizationsnew window.
  • 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. 
MC's CCN Job Board

Employer Resources

 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.

Authorization types available to F-1 students
Authorization Type: Curricular Practical Training [CPT] for internships, co-op programs, and work experience for credit

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
  • 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.

Authorization Type: Optional Practical Training [OPT] for employment in field of study

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