There are strict rules governing the approval of off-campus work for students on visas.  This site discusses employment for F-1 visa holders; J-1 visa holders see the ISSS website at J-1 Interns/Trainees Overview 

F-1 visa holders may be eligible to apply for a type of work authorization called Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which allows you to participate in an internship that is directly related to your current program of study.  ISSS' webpage on F-1 Employment provides detailed requirements for CPT. To be eligible for CPT, you must have maintained F-1 status for at least two semesters and be in good academic standing.

Looking for an Internship or Entry Level Position

  1. Your first step is to activate your Handshake account in Engineering Career Services. But before we activate your account we strongly recommend that you attend both the Job Search Tips for International Students and Resume Writing workshops.
  2. Start your internship search about 6-9 months before you plan to start your internship.
  3. Review our policies on Handshake accuracy, job posting scams, campus interviews, and accepting a job offer. 
  4. To prepare for your job search and applications, attend career workshops on Career Fair Preparation, Cover Letters and Professional Correspondence, Interviewing, and Evaluating Job Offers and Salary Negotiation. 
  5. Ask questions before you say yes to a position! Once you accept a position, you are obligated to that employer and you should stop seeking other positions for that term. Know that reneging on an offer (changing your mind after you've accepted) can have serious consequences for your own professional reputation as well as for other Maryland students.

As an International Student with an F-1 Visa, you may work up to 20 hours per week during the semester at an on-campus part time job or graduate assistantship, starting the first day of your first enrolled semester at the University of Maryland. You do not need to meet with an engineering career advisor nor do you need access to Handshake to apply to most on-campus jobs. 

  • For graduate assistant listings, see These may be 9 or 12 month positions.
  • Our Campus Jobs page provides tips and links for finding part-time hourly work on campus. Please refrain from simply visiting offices to ask for a job.
TOP CAREER TIPS FOR NEW INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS Employers Who Have Hired Students on an F-1 Visa

CPT Process: 

Before you accept an internship offer, see ISSS’s website on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for information on eligibility, limitations, procedures and deadlines.  Important notes:

  • ISSS is only able to process CPT work authorization once per student per term (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer).
  • It is not possible to enroll in ENCO or request CPT work authorization for an internship that starts after mid-term grades have been posted.
  • PhD students: If you have already completed your required coursework, you may not be eligible to enroll in ENCO099/098 for the academic component of your CPT.

Once you accept an internship offer, if ENCO099/098: Co-op/Intern Work Experience is the appropriate course for your academic component of CPT, there are a few steps you must follow before you can go to ISSS to request work authorization. Starting 7/1/2023, there is a new process for enrolling in ENCO.

  1. Request an employment offer letter on company letterhead from your internship supervisor. This letter must have all the required information as outlined on this sample offer letter for a student requesting CPT.
  2. Submit an Experience request on Handshake ("ENGR ENCO Approval for CPT"). Follow the directions outlined in this step-by-step document.  Note: please allow 24 hours for review of paperwork before emailing our office.
  3.  Once the Career Services advisor has given you the electronic permission stamp, you will be able to register for the 0 credit co-op class (ENCO099/ ENCO098). There is a $30 charge for ENCO 098 and $78 charge for ENCO 099. Further directions for applying for your updated I-20 with employment dates from ISSS will be provided within Handshake/email notifications.

If you have any questions, you may walk in during our regular hours or make an appointment with an advisor.

You may be eligible to work in your major field after you graduate under Optional Practical Training (OPT). See ISSS's website on OPT for eligibility and application requirements. You should plan to attend an OPT workshop sponsored by ISSS before your last semester of study at Maryland. While our office is not involved in the authorization of OPT, you are encouraged to use our services and attend relevant workshops as you prepare for your transition to full time work.

Work Visas, OPT & Green Cards: What You Should Know to Find a Job [WORKSHOP VIDEO] - Confused about options for staying and working in the United States after graduation? Worried about the H1B quota? The School of Engineering sponsored a seminar, presented by an experienced immigration attorney, discussing US work visa options and permanent resident green card options. The video link includes a detailed discussion of the H1B visa, pursuing permanent residence through employment, practical strategies for talking to employers about work visa issues during interviews, and much more.

International students seeking resources on H1B employment should pay special attention to H1B Plus, GoinGlobal’s job board specifically for H1B employers. H1B Plus (Job Board for GoinGlobal's custom-designed H-1B Plus database) provides U.S. Department of Labor records for more than two million companies that have applied for H-1B visas from 2009 to-date. You can search for records by industry, occupation, job title, company name, job location, fiscal year, or wage. Information is updated quarterly as new Department of Labor visa application records are released.

Additional Resources