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As an international student seeking employment or internships, you should become familiar with the following terms:

  • On-Campus Employment (Student Worker)

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 students who are maintaining status may engage in on-campus employment at Biola (some restrictions apply). When it comes to off-campus employment, it is important that you pay attention to getting the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also referred to as the work permit, from the Department of Homeland Security before starting off-campus work.

It is very crucial to understand authorized (legal) and unauthorized (illegal) employment, since engaging in unauthorized (illegal) employment constitutes a failure to maintain your F-1 immigration status, which has severe consequences. Please consult the Student Immigration Advisor at the Registrar’s office before starting any off-campus employment. 

To learn more about the basic guidelines on employment, visit or login to Biola Canvas and select the “F1 Visa Student Workshop” course.

On-Campus Employment

Student Worker at Biola

You can search for on-campus employment opportunities through Handshake — you do not need to apply for the EAD (work permit) to work on Biola’s campus.


  1. Find an on-campus job through Handshake.

    Learn about Biola Big Interview

    A great resource to help you as you apply for jobs is Biola Big Interview, where you can register for a free account with your Biola email and gain video advice and assistance in resume-building, interview tips and overall job-search skills.

  2. Go to the Student Employment Office

    Learn what to bring with you to the Student Employment Office

    Once you receive a job offer, your supervisor will issue you a Biola University payroll approval form and a W-4 tax deduction form. Bring these forms along with your valid passport, visa, Form I-20 and Social Security Card (see steps 3–5) to the Student Employment Office. The office will issue both you and Biola Immigration service a confirmation letter.

    Please note the following:

    • In the fall, spring and summer semesters, Biola students are limited to 20 hours per week of on-campus work.

    F-1 on-campus employment authorization ends at the expiration of the I-20 OR at the end of the student’s final semester of enrollment, whichever occurs first.

  3. Receive Instructions to Apply for a Social Security Number

    What is a Social Security Card

    A social security card is required for everyone who works in the United States, even U.S. nationals. On the card is a unique Social Security Number (SSN) that you will keep for life. This number is used for many purposes in the United States, including employment and paying taxes. A social security card is not a work permit. Visit the Social Security Administration’s website for more information at

  4. Apply for the Social Security Number (SSN)

    Learn how to apply for the Social Security Number (SSN) at a local social security administration office.

    Because the SSN is a unique ID, it is often the target of identity theft. Because of this, you should be very careful about where and to whom you give your SSN.

    • Never carry your social security card or number with you. Keep it at home in a secure location.

    • Only give our SSN to someone who has a specific and legitimate need for it.

    • Be very careful with any forms, applications or other materials that may have your SSN on them.

    • Never give your SSN to someone on the phone. You should initiate the call or meet in person.

    • Never reply to an email or click on website links that request an SSN.

    Most businesses do not need an SSN from you unless it is for credit purposes (loans, credit cards, cell phone companies, etc.). You do not need an SSN to open a bank account. If a bank clerk insists on an SSN, ask to speak to a manager. For more information, please see FTC Resources on Identity Theft.

  5. Bring your Social security number and Tax forms to the Student Employment Office.

Off-Campus Employment

We encourage you to login to Biola’s Canvas and take the “F1 Visa Student Workshop” course to learn about off campus employment in detail.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a CPT program that is an ‘integral part of an established curriculum.’ CPT is a type of off-campus work permission for F-1 students currently pursuing study programs in the United States and wanting to gain experience in their fields of study. CPT is designed to facilitate employment that is deemed an integral part of the program of study. The completion of the degree cannot be extended or delayed to accommodate curricular practical training.

For more information, visit F-1 Curricular Practical Training from the Department of Homeland Security.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. In other words, the students engage in this temporary employment to gain practical experience in their major field of study. OPT can be granted before or after the completion of the program. It is an extension of F-1 status until the student finishes OPT. No offer of employment is required to apply for the work permit but the student is expected to be actively seeking employment after applying. 

For more information, visit F-1 Optional Practical Training from the Department of Homeland Security.

Severe Economic Hardship

If you have unforeseen economic hardship, you may qualify for F-1 severe economic hardship employment authorization. This type of employment authorization allows you to work off-campus, up to a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session, for any type of job that will help you to alleviate the financial hardship. This type of employment authorization requires an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) with the recommendation of Biola Immigration Services.

For more information, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Contact Us

Contact the student immigration advisor at if you have any questions.