USCIS regulations permit currently enrolled F-1 students to work on campus. On-campus jobs are plentiful at Concordia and most departments hire student workers. Regulations limit F-1 students to working no more than 20 hours total per week while school is in session. During official school breaks*, eligible F-1 students may work up to 40 hours per week on campus. However, different departments may have policies that limit how much you can work. Please check directly with your supervisor. Students may work between semester breaks, provided they plan to attend Concordia the following semester. Students who have graduated, are transferring, or who otherwise will not attend Concordia in the coming semester may NOT work during a break.

Concordia Language Village locations are considered part of on-campus employment. You may work during breaks, but only if you plan to enroll the following term as stated above. If you graduate or will not attend the following term, on-campus employment cannot be automatically authorized.

Any employment authorization a student has automatically ends if the student fails to maintain F-1 status or transfers to another school.

On-Campus Opportunities

All on-campus student positions are posted on Handshake. There are off-campus opportunities posted on Handshake as well, so be sure to filter the posts appropriately.

Very important: Semester breaks include Fall Interim, Winter Recess, Spring Interim, and Summer Recess. Dates and hours for semester breaks are listed below.

F-1 students with a valid I-20 are permitted to work part-time on the Concordia premises, with the school as the employer, while they are attending classes and maintaining their F-1 status. On-campus student employment is "incident to status," and does not require DSO authorization or updates to the SEVIS record. 

Any F-1 students in possession of a Concordia I-20 generated by the college for degree/major change, school transfer, program extension, or replacement are eligible to work on the Concordia College campus and affiliated locations like Concordia Language Villages. 

  • On-campus employment is limited to a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session and up to full-time during semester breaks*.  
  • On-campus employment is work that takes place either at Concordia College or Concordia Language Villages.   
  • If you have been hired as a stipend student employee, the number of hours “worked” is determined by what is in your Learning Agreement, not the actual number of hours you may work. For example, if your position contract states 20 hours but you only worked 15 hours, you are still at your maximum number of hours because of what is listed in your agreement. NOTE: This does not apply to students who’ve been elected to Student Government Association roles as these are not considered employment. 
  • Hours cannot be averaged over a period of time.  
  • If you wish to work more than 20 hours per week, you will need to make an appointment with an advisor in the Global Learning Office to discuss your options before you take on the additional hours.   
  • Students holding employment in more than one Concordia department should inform their employers of the other position(s).    
  • Concordia is required to monitor hours worked per week because of regulations related to employee benefits under the Affordable Care Act. This is a federal requirement for all temporary positions, for all employees — not just international students.   
  • Students are in violation of their F-1 status if they work more than 20 hours a week while school is in session. 
  • Students who exceed 20 hours of work while school is in session will be notified and must meet with an advisor in the Global Learning Office. 

Please refer to the PDF attached below for information on weekly hour allowances. 

2023-24 F-1 hours/week

Get more information about F1 visa and employment policies (look for information under Section 9 Employment).

When can I start working on-campus? 

Active F-1 students may apply for on-campus employment up to 30 days before the start of classes.  

May an F-1 student work at more than one on-campus job?   

Yes. However, the F-1 student's total work hours for all jobs cannot exceed 20 hours during the school term. The F-1 student may work full-time semester breaks.  

How does an F-1 student get permission to work on-campus? 

An F-1 student automatically has permission to work on campus (unless he or she is a border commuter) but still needs to work with a DSO to ensure the job offered qualifies as on-campus employment. 

An F-1 student will need certification letters from the DSO and the college. The student must present these letters to officials at the local Social Security Administration office to get a Social Security Number.

May F-1 students participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) on-campus? 

Yes. An F-1 student may apply and be authorized for on-campus CPT. The position must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Training relates directly to your major area of study. 
  • Training is an integral part of the school’s established curriculum. 
  • Designated school official (DSO) authorized CPT in SEVIS, and the authorization prints on the student’s Form I-20. 
  • CPT occurs before your program end date on Form I-20. 
  • Authorization is for one specific employer and for a specific period of time. 
  • You must secure the training opportunity before CPT can be authorized. 
  • CPT must be authorized before you begin work. 
  • You can have more than one CPT authorization at the same time. 
  • One year of full-time CPT eliminates a student’s eligibility for OPT.  

Can you tell me more about the 998-employment policy? 

To mitigate U.S. federal payroll tax and manage institutional resources, Concordia College allows all students to work a maximum of 998 hours each year (May 1-April 30).

For how long may an F-1 student continue to work on-campus at Concordia? 

An F-1 student who is enrolled in school, maintains status, and follows the guidelines for on-campus employment may continue to work. The F-1 student should keep a DSO informed of any changes in employer and hours, however. An F-1 student may only work on-campus after the program end date IF continuing the education at the next program level at the same school.

Employment Questions  

If you have questions regarding on-campus employment for international students, please contact the Office of International Community.

Students working on campus need several documents for payroll:  

  • Social Security Number  
  • Form I-9  

You must present documentation to complete your Form I-9 on or before your first day of employment. 

Get more information about F1 visa and employment policies (look for information under Section 9 Employment).

Off-Campus Opportunities

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined as “temporary employment for practical training directly related to a student’s major area of study.” The idea is that you can gain practical experience in your field of study to round out your academic experience before returning to your home country. Most students do pursue OPT after they graduate.

In most cases, OPT can be authorized for a maximum period of 12 months for each level of study. Granting of OPT is not automatic, although most applications are approved.

More information about OPT

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a benefit available after you have been in legal student status for one academic year. CPT is available only while a student is in F-1 status, before completion of educational objectives. The employment must be a part of your educational program or an internship. CPT is usually scheduled as part of your degree program. If you use 12 months or more of full time CPT, you will completely lose the Occupation Practical Training (OPT) benefit. Most students, therefore, should plan to use no more than 360 days of full time CPT so they remain eligible for OPT.

At Concordia, curricular practical training is administered through the Career Center in conjunction with International Community. If you are interested in participating in an internship, you may qualify by completing the steps listed below.

  1. Complete at least your first year of college.
  2. Be a student in good standing. This means you must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher and maintain this average throughout your internship experience.
  3. Discuss an internship with your academic advisor. You must register for a minimum of 1.0 credit. Prevailing tuition fees are charged.
  4. Choose a Faculty Coordinator from the corresponding department to supervise your work. The faculty member you choose must agree to oversee your internship and approve the terms of your Learning Agreement.
  5. Register for an internship experience through Handshake/Career Center.
  6. Work with International Community who will record the CPT on your Form I-20. Your employer will typically need to see this notation before you may begin work. You may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location, and period approved and recorded on your I-20 form.

More info about CPT

Under certain circumstances of severe economic necessity, an F-1 student may be eligible to apply for authorization to work off-campus. Economic necessity refers to financial problems caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control that arose after obtaining F-1 status. The application requires a fee, a recommendation from the International Student Adviser, supporting materials documenting the unforeseen nature of the economic hardship and the unavailability of sufficient employment on campus, a transcript, an I-765 form, and the student's immigration documents. The processing of the application takes two to six months on average. If approved, the off-campus work authorization expires within one year, whereupon the student (if still eligible) may reapply. If approved, the employment is limited to 20 hours/week while school is in session but may be full-time during breaks.

Many students believe severe economic hardship applies to them, but actually its use is rather rare. Many students prefer to get employment authorization using CPT as it can be faster, less expensive, and more flexible to arrange.

Specifically, cases where this benefit is NOT available include:

  • You did not have enough money to begin with and your plan has been to make it through one year and then apply for off-campus employment.
  • One or both of your parents retire.
  • Other family members wish to attend school in the U.S. so your family wishes to decrease the support to you.
  • Annual tuition increases have increased cost.
  • Adequate on-campus employment is available.
  • If the financial situation is too severe, part-time employment may not solve the problem. You and an International Community assistant director will need to look at all options available within the F-1 regulations. It is important for the Office of International Community to understand the full scope of the financial necessity and the conditions that created the hardship.

To be eligible to apply, the student must:

  • have completed at least one full academic year and be in good academic and legal standing,
  • demonstrate that there is an unforeseen severe economic necessity beyond the student's control that arose after obtaining F-1 status,
  • demonstrate that other employment opportunities are unavailable or are otherwise insufficient,
  • establish that employment will not interfere with full-time study.

Please see the Office of International Community if you have questions or believe you qualify for this benefit.

This F-1 employment benefit allows F-1 students to work for recognized international organizations within the meaning of the International Organization Immunities Act. Qualifying organizations include the United Nations, World Bank, and World Health Organization. A complete list of qualifying organizations is published at 19 CFR 148.87. None of the qualifying organizations have offices in Moorhead or Fargo.

Special Student Relief (SSR) is the suspension of certain regulatory requirements by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an F‑1 student from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances. Regulatory requirements that may be suspended or altered for an F-1 student include: duration of status, full course of study, and off-campus employment eligibility.

Special Student Relief

Benefits of SSR

  • Ability to reduce course load.
  • Ability to work on-campus more than 20 hours per week upon approval OR apply for off-campus work permission.

How to Apply for SSR

Please contact the Office of Global Learning at for further instructions and information.

Other Important Topics

Location: Federal Building/Post Office, 657 2nd Ave. N., #320, Fargo, N.D.

Please bring the following items with you:

  • Passport including US visa
  • I-20
  • I-94 entry form
  • Completed social security application - File the SS-5 online.
  • Evidence of being employed and in F-1 status; this document is a job offer on letterhead signed by your supervisor and a DSO - visit our Forms page to access this letter

Important: Only F-1 students who work are eligible to apply for and receive a social security card.


F-1 students may be eligible for employment in the U.S. after graduation in certain circumstances, including Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Other possibilities aside from OPT exist (such as H1B), although Concordia staff are not qualified to assist students with these. We recommend discussing these with potential employers and researching what is required, and obtaining proper legal advice from immigration attorneys.


This is a nonimmigrant classification used by an alien who will be employed temporarily (up to three years and can be extended once) in a specialty occupation. It is an employment-based visa, and the employer and employee apply together. While it is a nonimmigrant visa, employees with this visa type may be able to apply for permanent residence. Generally, an immigration attorney is consulted to apply or at-large organizations the human resources department may handle this.

Concordia is not qualified to provide assistance with this.

NAFTA and Other Free-Trade Agreements

Employment-based visas may be available for professionals from countries (e.g., Canada, Mexico) who have free-trade agreements with the U.S.