HomeLaw SchoolAre International Students Legally Authorized to Work in the US?

Are International Students Legally Authorized to Work in the US?

Yes, international students can legally work in the United States under certain conditions. Many students come from all over the world to study in the US, typically under an F-1 or M-1 visa. These two visas allow international students to have a paying job. In addition, students may work under a J visa as well. In this article, we explain the three visas, the type of work international students may participate in, and some of the best schools for international students to attend.

Three Visas allow Work in the US. 

When an international student obtains an F-1, M-1, or J visa, they are allowed to participate in gainful employment. Student should select the visa that best fits their needs. It is important to understand the difference between these visas.

F-1 Visa

The F-1 Visa is one of the more popular student visa programs. In order to qualify for the F-1 visa, the student must be accepted into a university or college that qualifies as a SEVP, be capable of financially supporting themselves and paying the tuition, and have the intent to return to their home country after completion of the program.

M-1 Visa

The M-1 visa is for students seeking vocational education and training (e.g., electricians, pilots, and carpentry). This visa has similar qualifications as the F-1 visa where students must be accepted to a Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), be capable of financially supporting themselves and paying the tuition, and have intent to return to their home country after completion of the program.

J-1 Visa

The J-1 visa allows individuals to study, train, or teach in the US. This visa is often called the Exchange visitor Visa because it allows individuals to participate in programs that are not offered in their own country (e.g., academic program, camp counselor, teacher, and trainee).

F-1, M-1, and J-1 visas allow international students to legally work in the US if they meet proper conditions?
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Type of Work

Students under these visas are typically allowed to work on-campus the first year, and must wait until at least their second year to participate in off-campus employment. Students also may work up to 20 hours per week on campus, and may work full time during semester breaks. 

After the student graduates, F-1 visa holders may work up to 12 months (two years for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math degrees) in the US. Students with a J-1 visa may participate in qualifying training up to 18 months after graduation.

What are the Best Schools for F-1, M-1, and J-1 Visa Holders to Attend?

The US has many great colleges and universities for international students to choose from. Every year, the US News lists the top universities in the US, and the list is a great place to start. In addition, US News also publishes the best US law schools for law students to attend as well.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a US School to Attend.

International students must take into account the cost of the university they want to attend because some schools offer considerably cheaper tuition than others. Prospective students should also consider if the university has a large international student population as well. Lastly, the international student should consider the climate of the location that the university is situated in.

Geremy Johnson
Geremy Johnsonhttps://www.geremyjohnson.com/
Geremy is a lawyer based in the United States focused on global development pertaining to privacy and compliance, capacity-building through partnerships and trainings, and supporting cultural development projects for increased tourism. He began his career as an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) for the City of Philadelphia, later moving on to help global startups and small and medium sized businesses with holistic legal strategies to launch and run operations.

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