Work-study US Guide for British Students
Studying in the US can be expensive when you add up the course fees, accommodation and all of the other costs like flights, food, daily transport etc. Therefore, many British students who study in the US help to pay for these costs by working whilst they are studying. This is no different to how UK students take on part-time jobs around their study hours but it is important to understand the differences in terms of visa requirements for foreign students working in the US.
Here are some points to consider if you are thinking of working whilst studying in the US:
An ESTA visa only covers you for tourism and travel in the US and not for studying or working there, so you will require a student visa instead. There are 3 different types of student visa – F1 for academic studies, J1 for practical training and the M1 for non-academic/vocational studies. M1 holders are not permitted to work whilst they are studying, whilst F1 visa holders can work for less than 20 hours as long as it is on-campus. On-campus work may include working for a café, bookstore etc that is based on campus, so not necessarily employed by the college itself.
Off-campus employment can be authorised in extreme financial hardship and cannot be considered until students have been studying for a year. The Designated School Official with determine whether the student fits the eligibility criteria in this situation.
Before applying to study in the US, you should ensure that you have adequate funds to complete your study in the eventuality that you cannot obtain work. The on-campus jobs are likely to have numerous applicants, given the restrictions for foreign students and the convenience of on-campus work for all students. When you are calculating how much you need to save up, fully research your course fees, accommodation costs, and transport you will need as well as food and any social activities. It will help to plan out your monthly budget, so that you know exactly how much you can spend on each type of outgoing expense each month.
In case you are unable to get work in the US, you might want to consider working in the UK for a set amount of time to save up the money that you will require for your studying in the US. As well as helping you to save up some money, having a part-time or full-time job before going to the US to study will give you lots of experience and help to strengthen your CV.
If you are looking at trying to get an on-campus job then you should research the different types of employment that is available on campus and you should contact the employers as early as possible. If there is a global coffee chain there, for example, it would help to work for the same franchise in the UK if that is a possibility. Building any relevant experience that will make you a suitable employee for any on-campus companies is recommended to give you an advantage over other applicants.