International Students


Whether you’re hoping to secure a part time job on campus, an internship or volunteer opportunity off campus, or a full time job after graduation, it is essential that you fully understand your eligibility to work under your student visa. Check with the Columbia International Students & Scholars Office to learn about your unique status before starting any search, and review the Working in Student Status PowerPoint under the Orientation Material. 

Full time F-1 and J-1 students are eligible for “casual” employment on campus, which means you are paid by Columbia University or working at a University location with an employer that is providing services to students. This does NOT include work study positions (employment for US citizens who qualify for help in financing their education). On-campus work is limited by immigration regulations to part-time (maximum of 20 hours /week), except during official school vacation periods. See our Tip Sheet for help with your search, and visit ISSO for authorization.

LionSHARE is a full service on-line recruiting system encompassing job and internship postings, on-campus recruiting opportunities, and events such as employer information sessions and career fairs. The system is for the exclusive use of Columbia students and alumni. Please familiarize yourself with the policies and expectations for using LionSHARE and the On Campus Recruiting Program. 

Students who have been in F-1 status for one academic year and who are experiencing extreme financial difficulties due to unforeseen changes that severely affect their financial resources may apply for work permission. Authorization is given by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the recommendation of the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) or International Affairs Office (IAO).

Before working in any position off campus, you must get work authorization. Please check information about Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) on ISSO's web site (see links on left side of page). Additional information for Canadian and Mexican citizens can be found here. Other useful links:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Visa Jobs: information on top sponsors by year and visa options
  • Employers who have sponsored students for H1B visas in the past, from the US Department of Labor
  • GoingGlobal also offers lists of employers who have sponsored Visas in the past. Use your UNI and password to log in
  • Information on when and how to talk to an employer about your Visa. Always be prepared to explain exactly what steps are involved.

Interning and volunteering offer opportunities to gain experience, build your skills, and strengthen your resume, though visa restrictions apply. Generally, F1 students are eligible only after two semesters of being registered full time in student immigration status, and J1 students are eligible after one semester. Students in F-1 status are also eligible to apply for permission to work for international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Authorization is granted by the DHS with the recommendation of the ISSO or IAO. 

Looking for an off campus internship or volunteer opportunity? Start by using these tools:

Find information about volunteer, full-time, part-time, and internship opportunities on the Center for Career Education’s International Opportunities Resources page.

There are many resources at Columbia for fellowships and scholarship information. Start your search with these links.

Networking – or building professional relationships with people in your field of interest - is essential to jumpstarting your job search and gathering information from industry experts. Joining student groups, pre-professional and professional organizations, speaking to people at events, and reaching out to connect with alumni are just a few ways you get started. CCE holds networking events throughout the year too, as well as workshops on etiquette.

There are resources at and outside of Columbia to help you further refine your English language skills.

CCE holds a number of events and workshops throughout the year, designed to help students and alumni identify and pursue their career goals. Please regularly check the CCE Calendar of Events for specific international student programs.

International students are also encouraged to attend specialized workshops and information sessions offered through the Columbia International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). Please visit ISSO's web page under Activities, Programs and Calendars. ISSO also provides the Peer Adviser Program, where peer advisers will answer questions you may have about the Columbia experience—about your program, about Columbia, or about life in New York City. Columbia also has an affiliation with One-to-World, which hosts events and programs, some focused on careers, throughout the year.

We have compiled a list of resources as a starting point for your core career skills. These skills can create a foundation for a successful job search. Please call Center for Career Education at 212-854-5609 for more information about our services, including:

  • Quick Questions are 10 minute appointments available Monday thru Friday from 1pm-4pm during the academic year.
  • Career Counseling Sessions are 30 minute appointments.
  • Mock Interviews are appointments to practice job interview skills.
  • Dossier Service is useful for Ph.D. students to file letters of recommendation for academic positions.
  • Clothing Closet provides suits for interviews, career fairs, or professional networking events.

On the CCE website you will find a variety of online resources providing everything from career exploration and industry research to international job listings. For access, use your Columbia UNI and network password.

  • Vault provides comprehensive industry guides, job postings, and career management services.
  • Wetfeet posts trends, markets, major players, and jobs in leading industries.
  • Going Global lists international jobs and internships.
  • Versatile PhD discusses careers outside academia.
  • Uniworld provides a directory of US firms in foreign countries and foreign firms in the US.

CCE serves students and alumni of: The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Columbia College, School of General Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of the Arts.


    Emergency: 911
    Columbia International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO): (212) 854-3587
    Off Campus Housing Office (OCHA): (212) 854-2773
    Columbia Emergency Service: (212) 854-5555
    Columbia Health Services: (212) 854-2284
    St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Room: (212)-523-4000
    Columbia Psychological Services:(212) 854-2878
    Columbia Public Safety: (212) 854-2797
    Ombuds Office: (212) 854-1234