Work While You Study

Current immigration regulations permit international students to work only part-time - up to 20 hours per week - and only on campus during their first year of study. By working 10 to 15 hours a week, you could earn enough to pay for incidentals such as books, clothing, and personal expenses, but your campus job cannot pay your major expenses, such as tuition or room and board.
This income also cannot be used as a source of income for any official financial statements. Campus jobs may include working at the university's cafeteria, bookstore, library, or health club, or within the university's administrative offices. After the first year, you can also apply for employment as a resident assistant (RA) in a university dormitory.
RAs serve as the first point of contact for students needing assistance or who have queries regarding dorm life. In return, RAs receive free accommodation and sometimes a small salary and/or meal plan. Under current regulations, after your first year of study, you may apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for permission to work off campus for up to 20 hours a week.
You should note, however, that there is no guarantee that this request will be granted. If you are married and are in the United States on an F-1 student visa (see chapter 11), your spouse does not have permission to work. However, if you are in the United States on a J-1 student visa, your spouse is allowed to request a temporary work permit. You should always check with your international student adviser before considering any form of employment.