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Working with a student visa

Many people who attend school in Florida also work part-time or full-time jobs to help pay for tuition, fees and other living expenses or to gain experience in their field of study. An immigrant who is in the United States with an F-1 student visa may be in a similar position, but without a work visa, it may not be clear what avenues of legal employment may be available. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains that immigration law does address this issue so that foreign students may benefit from job opportunities.

During the first year of college, a foreign national with a student visa is only allowed to work on campus, and even this restriction is limited. However, after completing a full academic year, the student may receive permission from the USCIS and the designated school official to find an off-campus job, as long as the type of work is associated with the field of study.

The USCIS notes that legal employment may be part-time work taking optional practical training that is required for completing the degree or full-time OPT while school is not in session. If the OPT is being completed after earning the degree, the student immigrant must work at least 20 hours each week, and may also choose to work full time. A degree in a field that includes science, technology, engineering or math may qualify a foreign national who has completed the coursework for an additional two years of OPT employment if certain conditions are met.

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