I'm not currently a PhD student but I'm seeking out ways to gain work experience while studying PhD as a Chinese citizen. I read that F-1 visa is just for study, not work. Are there any ways for international students on F-1 visa to work off-campus?
No, the F1 student visa does not permit off campus employment during the first year studying in the US. After a year, US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) may give permission to work off-campus, but only in specified types of employment, all of which has to be directly related to the student’s major area of study.
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) (pre-completion or post-completion)
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)