If you would like to study as a full-time student in the US, you will generally need a student visa. The F-1 Student Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, or other academic institution or in a language training program.
F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. After the first academic year, F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)
F-1 students may also be eligible to work off-campus on a case-by-case basis as a result of special situations such as severe economic hardship or special student relief. Any off-campus training employment must be related to their area of study and must be authorized prior to start any work by the Designated School Official and USCIS.
In case of unexpected severe economic hardship (bankruptcy of a sponsor, parents financial difficulties, or war in the home country), the student must prove the existence of such a complex, unforeseen financial situation and apply for a temporary work permit.