Can you work to support yourself as a student with an F-1 visa?

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2022 | immigration law

Pursuing higher education in the United States is not cheap. It costs thousands of dollars a semester to pay for tuition. Then there are book costs, housing, food and health insurance to consider. Unless you come from a wealthy family, it can be difficult to cover all of those costs, especially while living in a different country. 

Many college students rely on a combination of parent funding, scholarships, student loans and personal income. If you were born in another country but secured an F-1 visa to attend school in the United States, you may not have family members nearby to support you. Your foreign national status may also affect your eligibility for loans and scholarships. 

Can you work a job in the United States legally while attending school here with an F-1 visa? 

There are major limitations to your work opportunities

Every visa has limitations to the rights it extends. Educational visas and work visas are entirely different categories and are available in very different situations. Your F-1 visa does not allow you to accept just any job you wish while living in the United States. 

Proper documentation is necessary for someone to legally work in the United States. If you only have a student visa, you likely don’t have the right to work an off-campus job. You can’t just go apply at the local coffee shop or a pizza place. However, you may be able to work an on-campus job. 

While these may not offer competitive pay, they will be convenient to where you live and will offer you an opportunity to directly pay some of your tuition costs. Learning more about the rules that apply to student visas can help you as you pursue higher education in the United States.