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Employment for F-1 students

Students on F-1 visas have the opportunity to be employed in on-campus work or off-campus practical training opportunities. However, the appropriate work authorization must be obtained before starting your job. Working even one day without proper authorization constitutes illegal employment. Learn what you need to do to start employment and avoid violating your visa status.

On-Campus Employment

On-campus work is limited to part-time (20 hours or less per week) when school is in session. It may be full-time (up to 30 hours per week) during the official school breaks. Working over 20 hours of work per week while classes are in session will jeopardize your status. Search for open positions here by selecting the campus you wish to work. Please note any job openings marked ‘FWS’ are not available to international students. Once hired, you can apply for a Social Security number by following the instructions here

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) (Also known as "internship")

F-1 students are eligible for CPT if it is required as part of the degree program for which academic credit is granted. CPT includes internships, student teaching, cooperative education programs and practical experiences that are directly related to their major field of study. CPT can be both paid and unpaid positions. CPT must be authorized by the ISSS office. Students authorized for CPT will receive a new I-20 with the CPT notation before starting the position.

Complete the CPT checklist.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) 

F-1 students are eligible for OPT if they have completed at least one academic year in the U.S. OPT provides students with 12 months of paid or unpaid practical training that is directly related to their major area of study which can be done either during (“pre-completion OPT”) or after your academic program (“post-completion OPT”). A student may be eligible for another 12-month period after completing a new degree program at a higher education level. Students do not need a job offer in order to apply for OPT. OPT requires the student to get authorization from USCIS before they can begin employment. This authorization can take up to three to five months to obtain. Students recommended for OPT will receive a new SEVIS I-20 with an OPT recommendation notation. To learn more, read the following document, What is OPT?  

If traveling, please be advised of important travel guidelines on OPT

Attend our OPT Information Sessions to learn how to apply! RSVP here. All sessions will take place in the Goose Island Conference Room 229




Thursday, January 23

4:00 - 5:00 pm

Gage Building, 18 S. Michigan Ave.

What documents are needed to apply for OPT?

Review the Checklist of required documents for the OPT application and prepare the following items:

1) G-1145 E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, which can be downloaded here:

2) $410.00 check or money order made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security or if using a credit card, complete the G-1450 form, which can be downloaded here:  

3) Two NEW passport photos with your full name and I-94 number written on the back of both photos. 

4) Form I-765, which can be downloaded here:  *Please use Adobe Acrobat to complete the form.

5) DSO Recommendation Form

6) ‌Student Responsibilities Form

7) Information for Graduating International Students

8) Color copy of I-94, which can printed from

9) Color copy of main passport page

10) Color copy of U.S. F-1 Visa

11) Photocopies of ALL prior I-20 forms, in order of most recent to oldest

12) NEW I-20 with your requested OPT start date to be created at your appointment with ISSS.

Once your application materials are completed and organized, please request an appointment at and bring your documents from the checklist to the ISSS Office to prepare your application for mailing.

If you are currently employed on OPT, please access the SEVP portal on or after the start date of your employment or complete the OPT Employment Information Form and provide it to the DSO by email. 


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of Tampa's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to its classrooms, the National Louis University Tampa Regional Center features a computer lab, student lounges, and conference room.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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