Most international students in the United States hold an F-1 visa, which is the U.S. non-immigrant student visa. F-1 students are allowed to work in the United States, but only under certain conditions and in accordance with complex guidelines and restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Generally, all employment is contingent on remaining within the terms and restrictions of your F-1 visa. There are several categories of employment during the term of your stay as an F-1 student in the United States. On-campus employment is the most freely available, and then there are four categories of off-campus employment: curricular practical training (CPT), optional practical training (OPT).
A full-time degree student can work up to 20 hours during term-time and full-time during vacations on-campus;
You can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after being enrolled for at least 9 months, but you cannot begin employment until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS and you have been enrolled for at least a year.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option which is an alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. To qualify, the work experience must be required for your degree, or academic credit must be awarded.
A student can earn from $8 – $12 per hour i.e. $640 – $960 per month.
If you want to stay in the US for a longer period of time, you will have to get a company to sponsor you for an H-1B non-immigrant visa. This will allow you to remain employed at that company for three years.