Can international students drive for Uber in the US?
This is a common question, with a complicated answer. The best answer is no -- most students cannot drive for Uber under the terms of their international student arrangement.
It's easy to understand why you'd want make some extra cash as an Uber driver. Motivated drivers can make a ton of money in cities like New York and San Francisco. You may have even been an Uber passenger yourself. It doesn't take long to do the math and realize that there is money to be made.
However, most international students in the United States can't drive for Uber.
As a foreign student, it is your responsibility to do careful research before applying for any job in the USA.
If you are unsure about whether or not you can work for Uber, check with the Designated School Official at your campus. This is the person who is authorized to maintain the Students and Exchange Visitor Information System. You should not apply for a job until you've talked with this key contact who can help you understand your work situation.
Let's dive into some finer details or variations that we've encountered to this question.
Can I Drive for Uber with an F1 Visa?
In order to drive for Uber in the USA, you need a social security number (SSN). F 1 students do not have a work authorization and don't automatically qualify for a SSN, which means that they can't drive for Uber.
What is an F1 Student Visa?
Non US citizens who wish to study in the United States must apply for a student visa. If you plan to attend a...
- University or college
- High school or private elementary school
...then you're going to need an F1 Visa.
If you're looking to attend a vocational school, you'll need a M visa.
More detailed information can be found at travel.state.gov.
If you receive an F1 Visa or an M visa, you still need a work permit to be legally authorized to work in the United States. There are four ways to apply for legal employment. They include:
- On-campus employment (the most common avenue)
- Off-campus employment (not usually an option unless there is documented economic hardship)
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT - related to your field of study)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT - related to your field of study)
Can international students drive for Uber in Canada?
In some instances, yes. Becoming an Uber or Uber Eats driver may be a good option for earning some extra income as an international student in Canada.
However, Canada does have some limitations in place. For example:
- You'll need a valid drivers license (seems fair)
- You'll need a study permit (work permit)
- You'll be limited to 20 hours per week
Uber has some requirements as well. You must:
- Have a vehicle with 4 doors and 4 seats
- Have a vehicle less than 10 years old
- Pass a vehicle inspection
It's worth noting that some Canadian cities have banned or limited Uber Technologies Inc for various reasons. This is good for local taxi drivers, but bad for a ride share drivers who are looking to make some extra money Uber driving.
Can international students drive for Uber in the UK?
There doesn't seem to be a clear answer to this question and regulations are changing often. Here's what we can tell you:
1. A UK student visa will only allow you to work for a certain number of hours each week.
2. Students on a Tier 4 visa aren't allowed to be self-employed or an independent contractor. In other words, you must be an employee for an employer.
Additionally, Uber has its own set of requirements for their UK drivers. You'll need to be at least 21 years of age and have:
- A private hire licence
- A valid UK drivers license
- Private hire insurance
- Motor vehicles that meet their requirements
All this to say, becoming an Uber driver in the United Kingdom is complicated enough, but it may not be worth your time, or even legal, as an international student.
Student visa holders should consult a university employee with any questions before signing up with Uber. Your student visa is worth way more than a side job!
Uber launched in 2009 and is currently the world's largest ride sharing company. It was once the highest-valued private startup in the world.
The company has weathered several shake-ups over the years, but it continues to be a powerful force in the ride sharing space and an great alternative to public transportation options.
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Photo credit: Photo by Paul Hanaoka