F-1 students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Full time (40 hours per week) employment is possible during holidays and vacation periods (including summer) if the student is eligible and intends to register for the next school term.

F-1 Economic Hardship: In order to qualify for economic hardship work permission employment, you must meet the following:

  • be a full-time student at UW-Stout for at least one full academic year
  • be able to document the unforeseen circumstances which led you to your economic situation
  • be capable of continuing full-time status while engaging in economic hardship work permission

It is difficult to get the approval for the economic hardship work permit and the fee is non-refundable. If you would like to apply, please make an appointment with the international student advisor to discuss the procedure for application.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students

CPT is available to F-1 students who have been enrolled on a full-time basis for at least nine months and is employment which is an part of an established course of study. The work must be related to the major field of study and an integral or important part of studies. CPT may be part-time, twenty hours or less, or full-time; part-time CPT has no limit and does not affect eligibility for OPT. If the student accumulates twelve months of full-time CPT, post-completion PT will not be possible. It will be necessary to show that the employment is required for studies. Also necessary is a written job offer, the international student advisor's approval and the necessary INS forms.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 Students

OPT is available to F-1 students who have been enrolled on a full-time basis for at least nine months and is intended to provide temporary employment in the field of study for the purpose of gaining practical experience. There is a limit of 12 months for OPT. If you are interested in applying for OPT, you need to apply during the last semester of enrollment. A job offer is not necessary to be able to apply. Meet with the international student advisor three months before your last semester is completed.

The documents you need to apply for OPT are:

  • copies of all your I-20s for your current degree level
  • copy of your passport and visa
  • copy of your I-94 card (front and back)
  • two recent passport pictures
  • form I-765
  • $380 filing fee

OPT STEM Extension: If you have received a U.S. degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering or mathematics), you may be eligible for a one time OPT extension of 17 months. The extension is to be used after you have used your first 12 months of standard post-completion OPT. In order to qualify, you must be working for an employer who is enrolled in the E-Verify program. For more details, contact your international student advisor to apply.