Can I Drive Uber on F1 Visa?

Posted by in Work & Income | Updated on August 26, 2022

The cost of living in the United States is high and odd jobs are quite a help to deal with economic hardship. This leads students on F1 visas to look for a part-time job and supplemental income. If you are a foreign student studying in the United States, then you must have thought about taking up part-time employment.

Did the thought of driving an Uber cross your mind? Are you aware of the Uber driver requirements? Go through this article to find everything you wanted to know about driving for Uber on F1 student visa.

What is Uber?

Uber is a leading taxi/cab service provider. They operate the largest taxi network in the United States.

What Are the Work Requirements for Uber?

To drive for Uber, you must meet the eligibility requirements. There are age restrictions, work permit requirements, licensing norms, and insurance policy requirements that a potential Uber driver must comply with. Listed below are the detailed requirements to be eligible as an Uber driver in the United States.

  • You must have attained the age of minimum 21 years.
  • You must be a US resident or have an appropriate work permit to be legally employed in the United States.
  • You should have a US driver’s license issued at least a year ago. For drivers under 23 years, the license must be at least 3 years old.
  • You have access to a 4-door car not older than 10 years. If you don’t own a car, Uber can help you secure one from one of its vehicle partners.
  • The vehicle must have an in-state license plate.
  • You must have auto insurance in your name.
  • Your driver license must belong to the state where you are looking for work.
  • You must have a Social Security Number (SSN).
  • You must clear a background verification check including your driving record.

What is an F1 Visa?

The F1 visa is a non-immigrant student visa issued to foreign nationals who wish to enroll for higher studies in the United States. In order to attend a US University/college program, the applicant must secure an F1 visa for entering the United States.

Can an F1 Student Get an SSN?

Social Security Numbers (SSN) are assigned to people who are authorized to be employed in the United States. Foreign Students on F1 visa don’t require SSN to enroll for an education program. The F1 visa is purely intended to serve the purpose of education and it doesn’t have any associated work permit. However, F1 students, who have found an on-campus job or have been authorized to work off-campus on CPT or OPT, are eligible to apply for SSN.

Do keep it in mind that SSN doesn’t automatically mean work authorization. Besides SSN, you need a work permit to gain lawful employment in the United States.

What are the Work Restrictions for F1 Visas?

The F1 visa is not accompanied by a work permit. You are not legally authorized to work in the United States on F1 student visa. There is a procedure to follow if you want to get a lawful job on an international student visa.

Before you go on a job hunt as an international student, you must get a Social Security Number. You can get in touch with your Designated School Official (DSO) to guide you through the process of obtaining your SSN.

International students in the US can get legal employment in four different ways. Here’s a brief summary to explain each of them.

On-Campus Employment

This is the most common form of employment for international students. On-campus refers to the work opportunities within the confines of your educational institute or at an off-campus location affiliated to the institution you are studying in.

It allows the students to get a job in the organization’s cafeteria, book store, library, research lab or dormitory. On-campus jobs are restricted to 20 hours per week during session time. In holidays and vacations, you are allowed to work on full-time basis.

Off-Campus Employment

Jobs outside your institute are clubbed under off-campus employment. You must have completed at least one full academic year to qualify for off-campus jobs. This opportunity is not open to all international students. Only those who qualify under economic hardship or an emergent circumstance can take up off-campus jobs.

Economic hardship can be defined as an unexpected financial collapse beyond the control of an F1 student. Emergent circumstances may include natural disasters, wars and military conflicts, and the international financial crisis. Loss of financial aid, a substantial increase in tuition fees, unexpected changes in the financial conditions, medical emergencies, and other unforeseen events can enable a student to look for off-campus jobs.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training is aimed at giving real-world experience to students in their field of study. It can be visualized as an internship or practicum with a partnering employer. CPT can be full-time employment without any weekly working hour limit.

Students are allowed to have more than one CPT authorization at the same time. Graduate students automatically qualify for CPT, while non-graduates must have completed one full academic year to be eligible for CPT offers.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training is temporary employment related to the field of your studies. Eligible students are allowed to receive up to 12 months of OPT employment. Pre-completion OPT allows you to work for up to 20 hours a week, while you can choose to work full-time on Post-completion OPT. F1 students need approval from the respective DSO for endorsing their OPT application.

So, Can You Drive for Uber on an F1 Visa?

If you have gone through this article, then you would have already realized that it is not possible to have lawful employment on an F1 student visa. You can’t drive for Uber as F1 student visa doesn’t bring you work authorization. Moreover, F1 students don’t automatically qualify for SSN, which is one of the mandatory requirements to drive for Uber.

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International students in the US are always on the lookout for a suitable job while studying – either to relieve the load of tuition fees or to gain work experience. However, it is important to be aware of the legal obstacles and remain on the right side of the law. There are a few legal ways to gain lawful employment while you are studying as an F1 student. Explore the options for on/off campus employment, CPT and OPT jobs. Never try to cut corners or get around the rules – it can land you in legal troubles and jeopardize your career.

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