University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

F – 1 Students

F-1 Work Options: Terms to Know

Part-time and Full-time Employment

The F-1 visa regulations differentiate between full- and part-time employment. Except in specific situations explained here, international students should only be employed to work part-time (20 hours or less) during the fall and spring semesters.

You must continue to maintain a full course of study during every fall and spring semester, regardless of how many hours per week you are working.

Part-time Employment

Part time employment: For all F-1 employment, part-time work is defined as up to and including 20 hours per week. This includes all the hours you work in different jobs. If you work at more than one job (whether on-campus or off-campus or a combination), you may not work more than 20 hours per week in total to be considered part-time.

Fall and Spring Semesters

In general, as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements, you can obtain CPT authorization to work off-campus part-time any time of the year. This includes during the fall and spring semesters. CPT authorization is not required if the part-time employment is located on the Twin Cities campus or paid through University of Minnesota Twin Cities payroll.

During the fall and spring semesters, you are not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week. This 20 hours must be the cumulative total of all of the work you do in a week; it does not matter how many jobs you have. Additionally, averaging is not allowed (for example, working 15 hours this week and 25 hours next week).


The following are typical examples of part-time work that are allowed for international students. If your situation is different, consult with an ISSS adviser BEFORE you start working.

  • One on-campus job at 20 hours per week (for example, 50% Graduate/Research/Teaching Assistantships): No CPT authorization required
  • Two on-campus jobs at 10 hours per week each (for example 2 x 25% GA/RA/TA): NO CPT authorization required
  • One on-campus job at 10 hours per week, plus one off-campus job at 10 hours per week: CPT authorization required for the off-campus work, but no additional authorization is required for the on-campus job
  • One off-campus job at 20 hours per week: CPT Authorization is required

Full-time Employment

Full-time employment is any work that totals more than 20 hours per week. This includes all the hours you work in different jobs. For example, if you work 15 hours per week in an on-campus job and 15 hours per week in an off-campus job, this is considered to be working full time, and it requires full-time CPT authorization.

All F-1 students are required to be full-time students, so full-time work during the fall and spring semesters is rarely allowed. Full-time CPT can only be authorized if one or more of the following conditions is true:

  • The work will be done during the summer vacation period or semester breaks, or
  • You are a graduate student and have completed all of the course requirements for the degree on your I-20 and are conducting full-time research or thesis writing, or
  • You are participating in a co-op or required internship that requires full-time work.

BEFORE you accept a full-time position during the fall or spring semester, you should meet with an ISSS adviser to determine if you are eligible. If you hold on-campus employment (including assistantships) and want to add CPT employment, the hours you work in your on-campus job must be included when determining the total hours you are working.

Graduate/Professional Students Only (except Plan C programs):

  • If you want to work more than 20 hours/week during the fall or spring semesters at the University of Minnesota, you must first have full-time CPT authorization. Once you have a job offer, you will need to make an appointment to complete a new Form I-9 at the University Payroll office. This must be done on or before your first day of employment; consult with your department’s Human Resources representative and/or our information for more about this process.