student work permit in california

Can I get a work permit for California? Before you ask yourself this question, you need to know that there are plenty of minors who want to work in the state of California. In order to do so, they must first receive student work permits that allow minors to complete part-time jobs while enrolled in school.

Student work permit in California is a great opportunity for international students to be integrated in their studies. As soon as they arrive, they have the possibility to start working legally, a way to enrich their command of the language and to earn money.

It is not easy for an international student to work in California, as non-US citizens are not required to have a work permit. But you can still secure a part-time job in California and work legally.

Student Work Permit in California

California is a great place to be if you’re a student. It’s one of the most populous states in the country, and has beautiful beaches, mountains, deserts, and more. But there’s one thing that many students don’t realize: California doesn’t allow international students to work while they are studying. However, there are ways around this rule! Here’s how you can get a student work permit in California.

The first thing you’ll need to do is apply for your social security number (SSN). You can do this by visiting any local Social Security Office with some ID (a passport or driver’s license). You’ll need to fill out an application with your name and date of birth. You will also need to show proof of enrollment in an educational program at an accredited institution in California or another state/province within the United States (if applicable). Once you’ve gotten your SSN, it’s time for step two: applying for a work permit!

To apply for your student work permit, you must first have been accepted into an educational program at an accredited institution located within California or another state/province within the United States (if applicable).

California State University and the University of California systems are both public institutions, so they are subject to certain federal rules and regulations regarding student work permits.

There are two types of student work permits: F-1 and M-1. The F-1 is for international students who have been accepted as full-time students at a university or college in the United States, while the M-1 is for those who plan to attend an accredited vocational or technical school. Both types of student work permit require students to have an I-20 form from their university or college.

Students must apply for a student work permit before they arrive in California because the state does not allow students to apply for one after arrival. In order to get a student work permit in California, you must be enrolled in an eligible program at an accredited institution of higher education (high school does not count). If you want to study on campus or online with no campus visits required, then you must be enrolled in an eligible program at an accredited institution; these include postgraduate programs, master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and professional certificates/licenses related to your field of study. You can also get a student work permit if you plan on taking courses at

Work Permits for Students

Information to assist local education agencies in the issuance of work permits for California students.

Minors employed in the state of California must have a Permit to Employ and Work (commonly referred to as a “work permit”). Work permits are typically issued by the school where the student is enrolled. Work permits indicate the duties and location where the work will be done as well as the number of hours a minor may work. In most cases it is a two-step process, the minor along with the parent/guardian and employer fill out the B1-1 form and submit to the school local to the minor’s address. The school district reviews the B1-1 form and issues the B1-4 (Work Permit).

California Work Permit

Note: Translated forms are available on the California Department of Education Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents web page.

If you are a minor living in California, you must have a work permit before you can start a job. You get your permit from your school. Minors are restricted to certain types of work, for example, non-hazardous jobs. Work permits are not required for newspaper carriers, babysitting, or yardwork in private homes. To learn more about work permits, consult with your school counselor, school district office, or work experience coordinator.

16- and 17-Year-Old Students

Sixteen and 17-year-olds may work four hours on school days and eight hours on non-school days or days preceding a non-school day.

14- and 15-Year-Old Students

When school is in session, 14- and 15- year-olds may work 3 hours per day, not to exceed 18 hours per week. You may also work 8 hours per day when school is not in session, not to exceed 40 hours per week.

General information about work permits:

  • You must have a work permit from your high school.
  • For assistance with completing the paperwork, talk with your counselor, career technician, work experience coordinator, or administrator.
  • Work permits are renewed annually at the start of school or when a student obtains a new job.
  • Work permits serve as an age certificate and state the maximum hours a minor may work.
  • You must attend school full time (except for summer vacation) and cannot be truant.
  • All minors must be covered by Workers’ Compensation, including minors employed by businesses operating from a private residence. 
  • It is illegal for your employer to fire or punish you for reporting a workplace problem.

For additional information visit the California Department of Education’s Work Permits for StudentsExternal Link page.


California is a state that has welcomed its international students with open arms, but still has strict requirements for those who wish to stay after their degree. That’s why our new tool for students and educators alike will be so valuable-we’ll show you exactly what documents you need, and make sure that you have everything prepared when you apply.

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