International Student Employment

Main page content

F-1 students are eligible for a few types of U.S. work authorization, which include:

On-campus employment

  • On-Campus employment must be 19.5 hours per week or less while school is in session, unlimited hours on breaks as long as students are current students.
  • On-Campus employment must be on the premise of the school that issued students' currently valid I-20.
  • Look for on-campus jobs by going to "Student Employment Opportunities" on the UW Tacoma employment page. Note that international students are not eligible for work-study positions (work-study is a U.S. government financial aid program only open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents). 
  • A few on-campus entities such as retail shops or restaurants *may* be considered on-campus. Please contact your International Student Advisor if you have questions about whether or not your job is considered on-campus jobs or not.
  • On-campus employment is considered, “incident to status”, and students do not need to receive permission from International Student Advisor to engage in on-campus employment. International Student Advisors can provide guidance/ opinions but the final hiring decision is made by the employer.

Off-campus employment

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is allowed if you do an internship off-campus and sign up for an internship class. You can be authorized for part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time CPT.  Contact International Student Services for details.


For an internship, take a look at these websites to help you in your search!

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

There are three different types of Optional Practical Training (OPT). Pre-Completion OPT (before students graduate), Post-Completion OPT (after students graduate) and STEM Extension OPT. Most students engage in Post-Completion OPT upon graduation for 12 months. Students who obtained a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields are eligible for STEM Extension OPT for additional 24 months (beginning May 10, 2016). Post-Completion OPT application can be filed to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 90 days prior to graduation date. Workshops are offered each quarter for all OPT types. Please attend an OPT workshop and complete the Post Completion OPT I-20 Request form below to initiate your Post Completion OPT application process.

More Information about OPT


  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • G-1145 e-Notification of Application/ Petition Acceptance
  • I-983 Training Plan for STEM OPT Students

Online Request Forms

Highlights of  24 Month STEM from Department of Homeland Security

  • Duration: 24 months 
  • Frequency: Second extension allowed at a higher educational level.
  • Mentoring: Students and employers to submit/certify a mentoring and training plan. This needs to be documented in Form I-983 ISS advisors need a copy of I-983 before issuing I-20.
  • Pay: Employment must be paid and would be subject to wage protection.
  • Unemployment: 150 day total unemployment (90 days during Post Completion and additional 60 days during STEM OPT) limit instead of 120 days total.
  • Prior Degree: Previously obtained STEM degree from an accredited institution will be accepted. The degree must be within 10 years.


  • F-1 students must currently be working in a period of post-completion OPT and must hold a bachelor's degree or higher degree in an eligible STEM field.
  • A student must pursue their practical training through E-Verify employer.
  • OPT work authorization must be valid at the time of application to STEM Extension OPT
  • STEM OPT students may participate in entrepreneurial ventures. However, they may not fill out their own Form I-983, sections 3 to 6, not act as their own employer for the purpose of the form.

Career Services

All UW Tacoma students have access to career related resources, including use of the Husky Jobs database and free appointments or walk-in hours with staff in the Career Development & Education office. See the Office's website for more information. Below are links to presentations specially prepared for International Students by Career Development & Education Office staff.  

H-1B Visa Information

Immigration Attorney Sok-Khieng (So-Can) Lim from Davies Pearson, PC, presented to our students on H-1B work visas in February 2017. The link to his presentation is below.