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, Jane Nucup (janenucup@rmc.edu) 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. Contact the Designated School Official (DSO), Jane Nucup (janenucup@rmc.edu) to receive the template of the required employer letter to bring the Social Security Office. The DSO must write the Authorization to Work Letter.

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.

Off-Campus Employment: Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Off-Campus Employment: Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period of paid employment that is directly related to your field of study

  • If you have been a full-time student for at least one academic year, you are eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT per degree level

  • You do not have to have a job offer to apply for OPT

  • You can use this 12-month allotment either before and/or after your completion of studies

  • Contact the Designated School Official (DSO), Jane Nucup (janenucup@rmc.edu) to receive more information about OPT, the OPT application packet and the OPT workshop held in February

  • More information: Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • I-765 Form, Application for Employment Authorization

  • Information on Optional Practical Training

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.

  • For more information, including qualifications for the STEM extension, enhanced reporting requirements and more, please refer to Study in the States
  •  Students and employers can also access more information about the amended STEM extension
  • The final rule, published on 03/11/2016, can be accessed through the Federal Register
  • The amended STEM extension requires that the E-Verify employer and the student complete Form I-983 and submit the form to the DSO.