Generally, F-1 international students are only permitted to work on-campus. However in special circumstances, F-1 students may apply for CPT, OPT or economic hardship work authorization. Contact the Designated School Official (DSO) for more information.

J-1 exchange students are not permitted to work on campus.

Whether working on-campus or off-campus, international students who have been offered a job in the U.S. must have a Social Security Number in order to be paid. F-1 students must present both an Offer of Employment Letter and an Authorization to Work Letter to the Social Security Office to apply for a SSN. Social Security Application Instructions (PDF).

More information on Social Security Numbers and International Students.

The local Social Security Administration Office is located at 1834 West Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23220. Phone: 1-800-772-1213. Be sure to check the Social Security Administration site to confirm open hours.

On-Campus Employment

  • International students are not eligible for Federal Work Study positions.

  • Limited to a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session (including any assistantships, stipends for leadership positions and any authorized off-campus employment). Full-time work is permitted during vacation periods such as winter break, spring break and summer vacation.

  • For information about available on-campus work, please visit the Office of Financial Aid Employment Page or e-mail at financial-aid@rmc.edu.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Off-Campus Employment: Optional Practical Training (OPT)

24 Month Extension of OPT for F-1 Students

The STEM OPT extension is a 24-month period of temporary training that directly relates to an F-1 student's program of study in an approved STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field, and effectively replaces the 17-month STEM OPT extension previously available to certain STEM students.

Eligible F-1 students with STEM degrees who finish their program of study and participate in an initial period of regular, post-completion OPT (often for 12 months) have the option to apply for a STEM OPT extension. DHS's STEM designated degree program list includes all STEM fields qualifying an F-1 student for a STEM OPT extension.