F-1 Work Options: 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.

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Part-Time Employment

For all F-1 employment, part-time work is defined as working up to and including 20 hours per week. If you work at more than one job (whether on-campus, off-campus, or a combination), you may not work more than a total of 20 hours per week 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 at 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 advisor 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 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, winter break, or spring break.
  • 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.
  • You are participating in a co-op or required internship that requires full-time work

You must have full-time CPT authorization on your I-20 before you can begin working full time.

BEFORE you accept a full-time position during the fall or spring semester, you should meet with an ISSS advisor 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.

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

  • If you want to work at the University of Minnesota during the fall or spring semesters for more than 20 hours a week, you must first have full-time CPT authorization

Last updated: January 18, 2023