F-1 students are generally permitted to work on the premises of the school that issued their currently valid I-20, while attending that school and maintaining their F-1 status.

  • When school is in session, on-campus employment is limited to part-time, which is 20 hours per week (not the same as an average of 20 hours a week)
  • During school breaks (such as Spring Break, Thanksgiving Break, etc.), F-1 students may work full time (i.e. over 20 hours per week)
  • During vacation periods (i.e. usually summer unless it is the first or last semester at Penn), F-1 students may work full time (i.e. over 20 hours per week)
  • Work on-campus is a benefit of F-1 visa status and no additional authorization is necessary.
  • Work on Penn's campus is permissible if it meets certain requirements. Please see the types below as defined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

Type 1: Employment by the University of Pennsylvania

This refers to any on-campus work for which you receive a paycheck (or other compensation, i.e. room and board) from the University of Pennsylvania (i.e. working for Penn, on Penn Payroll, AND on Penn premises).

  • Not all Penn affiliates or entities are considered on-campus employment sites for immigration purposes
    • Examples of non-Penn sites:  The Wistar Institute, CHOP, Unique Advantage, International House, Monell,  Chemical Heritage Foundation, etc.
    • Special permission from ISSS/DHS required to work at these non-Penn sites.

Type 2: Other Employment on Penn's Premises

This includes work on Penn's campus for an outside contractor if this work provides direct services to students. Please check with ISSS first if you plan to work for an on-campus contractor.

Type 3: Certain off-campus employment where there is an official educational relationship between Penn and the off-campus employer

DHS regulations allow work at an off-campus location provided:

  • the location is educationally affiliated with Penn, provided that work is associated with Penn's established curriculum; or
  • Work is related to a graduate level research project which your school has contracted to perform (i.e. related to contractually funded research projects at the post-graduate level)

  • The work must also be an integral or important part of your program of study.

  • Clear documentation about the relationship between Penn and the employer is required. Please consult with an ISSS advisor for clearance in advance.

If you are uncertain whether any proposed employment would qualify as "on-campus" employment as described above, please consult with an ISSS advisor prior to accepting the employment.