Immigration Information

Immigration Links

Employment Information

On-Campus Employment

Students in F-1 status are allowed to work on campus as long as they are maintaining a full course of study and are in good academic standing. Some campus departments require students to obtain a letter of authorization to seek campus employment from the Office of International Programs before they will be able to seek on campus employment. Students are required to have a Social Security Number in order to work on campus.

Employment is limited to not more that 20 hours per week while classes are in session. This means Fall and Spring semesters. This is a total of all authorized employment, including off-campus, curricular practical training, and on campus employment. Working more than the allowed number of hours is considered illegal and subjects a student to potential deportation.

INS defines on campus employment as working either a) for the university the student is authorized to attend; b) for a private business which provides student services on campus; or c) for a project at an off campus location which is educationally or contractually affiliated with the university.

Government sponsored students must obtain permission from their sponsor before on-campus employment will be authorized.

Off-Campus Employment

The Immigration and Naturalization Service may grant F-1 students who have a severe, unforeseen change in their financial circumstances general off-campus work permission. To qualify for this permission, all of the following requirements must be met:

  • You must have been enrolled full time in F-1 immigration status for a full academic year.
  • You must be in good academic standing with Virginia Wesleyan College.
  • Your sponsor as listed on your I-20 must be unable to provide you the guaranteed support due to circumstances which neither you nor your sponsor should have been able to predict and over which neither of you had any control.
  • You must be unable to find sufficient employment through on campus employment options.

INS requires a high level of documentation of off-campus work permission. Students who think that they meet all these options should make an appointment at the Office of International Programs.

Practical Training

There are two types of practical training available for students: Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training.

Curricular Practical Training

Paid internships for students who are attending full time school may be allowed on a full time basis during summer and other periods during which a full course of study is not required. Although this is relatively simple and quick to obtain, students must meet certain requirements for the training and must receive written permission for the training from the Office of International Programs.

To qualify for curricular training, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have been enrolled full time in F-1 immigration status for a full academic year.
  • You must be in good academic standing.
  • You must be receiving academic credit for the internship or it must be a required part of your program.

When approved for curricular training, your I-20 ID will be noted with internship authorization. Should you change internship employers or need to extend to another term, you will be required to file another application.

There is no limit on the amount of curricular practical training you can receive, as long as it meets the above requirements. If you have a year of full time curricular training you will be ineligible for optional training.

Optional Practical Training

Students in F-1 status may receive up to 1 year of "Optional Practical Training." The Immigration and Naturalization Service to be employment which is directly related to your degree, but which is not part of your academic curriculum define this. This training may be taken during summer vacation periods, in the time period between completing all coursework for a graduate degree and finishing a thesis or dissertation or after receiving a degree. Only one-year total of optional training is allowed, regardless of how many degrees are earned.

To qualify:

  • You must have been enrolled full time in F-1 status.
  • You must be in good academic standing.
  • You must be applying for training during a vacation period, after finishing a degree, or if you are a gradate student, in the time period between completing all your coursework and finishing your thesis or dissertation.

If applying for training after finishing the degree, you must apply during the time period, which begins 90 days before graduation and ends 60 days after graduation.

This application requires approval by INS and a fee for processing. If all requirements for the training are met, your I-20 will be endorsed with the training recommendation and forwarded to INS for approval.

Be aware that 6-8 weeks processing time is required by the INS Processing Center. Also, note carefully the date for which optional practical training after receiving a degree may be completed. If you miss the 30-day deadline after graduation, you will be ineligible to apply for permission.

Other Immigration Information


This is required when you have been out of status for one or more semesters through such actions as not attending full time or if you have been out of school entirely when not authorized. If you need to apply for reinstatement, please contact Dr. Timothy O'Rourke – 757-455-3202.

Travel and Return to the U.S.

You must have your I-20 signed for reentry. This is crucial in order for you to return to the United States. You must have a valid passport and F-1 visa. If your visa is going to expire before you return, request a new I-20 for the new visa.

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