How Can F1 Students Make Money


How Can F1 Students Make Money

Studying abroad as an international student is an exciting and enriching experience, but it can also be financially challenging. F1 students, who are enrolled in a full-time academic program in the United States, have certain restrictions when it comes to working. However, there are still several ways for F1 students to make money and support themselves during their time in the US. In this article, we will explore various options and provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding this matter.

1. On-Campus Employment:
One of the most common ways for F1 students to make money is through on-campus employment. As an F1 student, you are allowed to work part-time on your school’s campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year. These jobs can include working in the library, administrative offices, dining halls, or even as a research assistant. On-campus jobs not only provide financial support but also offer valuable work experience.

2. Curricular Practical Training (CPT):
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary work authorization that allows F1 students to gain practical experience directly related to their field of study. This can be done through internships or cooperative education programs. CPT is typically approved by the designated school official (DSO) and can be full-time during the summer or part-time during the academic year.

3. Optional Practical Training (OPT):
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is another employment option available to F1 students. OPT allows students to work in their field of study for up to 12 months after completing their degree program. During this time, you can work either part-time or full-time. OPT is a great opportunity to gain professional experience and potentially find sponsorship for a work visa in the future.

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4. Entrepreneurship:
F1 students are also allowed to start their own businesses in the US. This can be an excellent way to utilize your skills and generate income. However, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney or your school’s international student office to ensure compliance with the regulations and to understand the necessary steps and requirements to establish a business as an F1 student.

5. Online Freelancing:
With the rise of the gig economy, online freelancing has become a popular option for F1 students to make money. Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr offer a wide range of freelance opportunities in various fields such as writing, graphic design, programming, and more. Online freelancing allows F1 students to work remotely and manage their own schedule, providing flexibility while earning income.


Q: Can F1 students work off-campus?
A: F1 students are generally not allowed to work off-campus during their first academic year. However, CPT and OPT are exceptions that allow off-campus employment with proper authorization.

Q: How many hours can F1 students work during breaks?
A: During official school breaks, such as summer or winter vacations, F1 students can work full-time (more than 20 hours per week) if they have been enrolled in a full course of study for at least one academic year.

Q: Can F1 students work while studying online?
A: F1 students studying online outside of the US are not eligible for employment. However, if you are in the US and studying online due to COVID-19, you may still be eligible for on-campus employment.

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Q: Can F1 students invest in the stock market?
A: F1 students are allowed to invest in the stock market as long as it does not involve active management or employment. Passive investments, such as buying and holding stocks, are generally permitted.

Q: How can F1 students manage their finances effectively?
A: It is crucial for F1 students to create a budget, track their expenses, and prioritize their spending. Take advantage of resources such as financial literacy workshops offered by your school to learn more about financial management.

In conclusion, while F1 students have certain restrictions when it comes to working in the US, there are still various ways to make money and support oneself financially. On-campus employment, CPT, OPT, entrepreneurship, and online freelancing are some of the options available to F1 students. It is important to be aware of the regulations and seek guidance from your school’s international student office to ensure compliance and make the most of these opportunities.