Students encounter opportunities to submit their work for publication (such as thesis, conference papers) or will receive outreach from publishers or organizations interested in having them contribute to a book, magazine, blog, or other publications. While this is common to most academic programs, immigration regulations do not clearly define in which cases a student would require employment authorization (F-1 Curricular Practical Training, F-1 Optional Practical Training, or J-1 Academic Training) to pursue this experience. Therefore, the ISO strongly advises all international students to consult with their ISO Advisor before engaging in any publication activity to confirm if any employment authorization is required.
In general, the following activities would not require off-campus employment authorization:
- Presentation of a student’s personal research (such as a paper or session at an academic conference) where no stipend, pay, or honorarium is received in return. Reimbursement of actual travel expenses to attend the conference would be allowed, though not to exceed the actual cost of participation.
- Publication of a student’s completed independent academic thesis/dissertation.
- Sale of personal intellectual property already completed (such as a painting, book, or other item completed by the student that has not been contracted for the student to produce for another individual or organization).
In situations where a student is contacted by a publisher or other organization to specifically produce, edit, or create a chapter or a whole book, a piece of art, or other item under terms of a contract or other agreement, it may be considered employment that requires authorization. If any remuneration (anything in return) is received for this activity/service, off-campus employment authorization will be required before participating in the activity. If others participating similarly in the activity (e.g. co-authors) receive anything in return for the activity, and the student does not receive anything in return, the activity could still require off-campus employment authorization. Publication opportunities that are done for academic benefit only, where no remuneration is received in return by any participant, likely will not require employment authorization, but students should consult with their ISO Advisor in advance.
As highlighted above, each student’s situation could be different, so individual consultation with your ISO Advisor and providing any details, written agreements, or other documentation confirming the terms of activity, will be very important before engaging in any such activity,