Employment Guidelines for F-1 Students

Students on F-1 visas who are in good standing at Mount Holyoke and with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) are eligible for employment according to the following guidelines:

On-Campus Employment
Students on the F-1 visa are permitted to work on campus while they are enrolled at Mount Holyoke. There is a 20-hour per week limit while school is in session, but during J-Term and the summer, F-1 students may work on-campus full-time. Graduating seniors and other students who are completing a course of study at Mount Holyoke (for example, Foreign Fellows completing a Certificate for International Students) are not permitted to work on-campus after graduation day.

Please note: Only MHC offices and departments (Dining Services, International Affairs, LITS, Buildings and Grounds, etc.) are considered to be "on-campus" employers. Working in the Village Commons, as a babysitter for a faculty/staff family, at another college or university, etc. is NOT considered to be on-campus, and is work that violates USCIS rules. In particular, you may hear the Village Commons referred to as being "owned" by Mount Holyoke, but be aware that work there is NOT considered to be on-campus employment. If you have any question about what constitutes "on-campus" employment, please check with the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives before taking any position!

Off-Campus Employment
It is necessary to apply for authorization for any sort of off-campus employment. Engaging in off-campus employment without USCIS authorization renders you "out-of-status" and endangers your ability to complete your education in the US. It is critically important, then, to follow USCIS rules and regulations.

In some cases, employment within the Five College Consortium, the Twelve College Exchange, or at other institutions affiliated with Mount Holyoke, may be permissible without USCIS approval; speak with Jenny Medina in the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives for details. Note that in all such cases, the Center for Global Initiatives must provide written documentation authorizing the employment BEFORE you begin work, so please plan ahead.

Off-campus employment refers to any sort of situation in which you will be compensated with a salary, fellowship, scholarship, stipend, free housing, transportation costs, etc. To work in any off-campus position that compensates you in any of these ways, you must apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT). For more information on OPT and CPT, including how to apply, click on OPT or CPT on the menu above.