Work Restrictions

Both F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to work on campus only. J-1 students must obtain permission from the Responsible Officer in the International Student Office (ISO) before they start working. When classes are in session, you may work up to twenty (20) hours a week.  If you have more than one job, be sure that your total working hours do not exceed this twenty (20) hour limit.  During official school breaks and summer session only, students may work full-time only when they are not taking classes.

Unauthorized employment can result in immediate termination and deportation without the opportunity for reinstatement. There are no second chances granted.  

F-2 spouses cannot work and cannot receive income for help given.

J-2 spouses may be eligible to work if they receive approval first from the US government. J-2 spouses who are working are not permitted to use any of their income to pay for the J-1 student’s school or living expenses for the student of the family. Their income may be used for things such as: paying school fees for their children, travel back to their home country, etc. 

On-Campus Work in Dallas

F-1 and J-1 students may begin employment up to thirty (30) days prior to the start of classes. All on-campus employment inquiries should be directed to the DTS Human Resources office.

J-1 students must receive permission to work on campus from the International Student Office each July.

Employment is limited to twenty (20) hours a week during the fall and spring semester.

You cannot begin applying for on-campus jobs at Dallas Theological Seminary until you have relocated to DallasIn accordance with SEVIS, incoming transfer students may only begin on-campus employment after their new I-20 Form has being issued by Dallas Theological Seminary.

A general rule to go by is that it does not count as an on-campus job if you are not required to fill out paper work with the Human Resources at DTS. Some jobs occurring on Dallas campus are independent contracting jobs.  These normally do not count as on campus employment (Hope Coffee is one of those exceptions). Please check with the International Student Office if you have questions regarding on campus employment. Please contact the ISO if you wish to apply for a job that you believe may be closely affiliated with DTS. 

Off-Campus Work

Students may not work off campus. Under rare and exceptional circumstances, off campus employment may be granted with approval from the US Government through the DTS International Student Office (CPT, OPT). All forms of service for which payment is received (including reduced rent, babysitting, gift cards, honorariums, etc.) are considered employment. Except for on-campus employment or authorized off-campus employment, it is illegal for you or your spouse to provide any kind of service (work) with the expectation of reduced rent or some other gain.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a structured educational program which combines classroom learning with productive work experience in a field related to a student’s academic program. CPT is available to F-1 students who are in programs that require an internship, apprenticeship, or practicum.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a form of temporary employment authorization for eligible F-1 students. 

Post-completion OPT allows you to work anywhere in the United States, as long as the employment is directly related to your program of study.  For DTS students, that means your OPT must be ministry related.

While a Designated School Official (DSO) recommends post-completion OPT in SEVIS, you as the student must apply for the work permit with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). 

If the post-completion OPT is approved by the US government, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The student must not begin working before the start date on the EAD.

Social Security Number

You are only eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) if you are employed (either on campus or authorized off campus employment). If you have one of these positions and need an SSN, contact the international office and they will provide you with a letter to give to the Social Security Administration when applying for your SSN.

Reimbursement for Christian Ministry

Often, churches and similar non-profit ministries in Dallas or Houston like to give financial compensation in exchange for ministry help. Under your non-immigrant status, this is illegal to accept unless this is contracted under CPT or OPT. For additional additional information regarding CPT or OPT see Study in the States.

Unless you make arrangements with the International Student Office, it is not permissible to take a regular salaried position in a church or ministry. If a church or any other tax-exempt ministry offers you employment, you should ask the church or ministry to change your visa to ‘Religious Worker’ (R-1). The ministry would do this through the services of an immigration lawyer. Your employer would make the required application, not DTS. You would then be able to work full time in that position, but could only study at DTS part-time, pending approval by your employer. You would then have a different set of restrictions and freedoms.  See the International Office for details after your arrival.

Video Overview of Employment in US