Working in the US
There are limited work opportunities available in the United States for F-1 students. The first step is always to talk with an International Student Advisor who is a designated school official (DSO).
Authorized Work On-Campus
F-1 students may work on campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session or up to 40 hours per week during breaks. Students take the following steps:
- Apply for jobs through Hire SU
- Obtain a Job Offer Letter from the on-campus employer
- Receive a Letter of Support from an International Student Advisor (DSO)
- Apply for a Social Security Card: Social Security Card Application
- Begin employment
Authorized Work Off-Campus
Off-campus employment is only available to F-1 students who have completed at least one full academic year of their program of study and meet one of the following requirements:
- Have an economic hardship that qualifies for the Department of Homeland Security’s emergent circumstances
- Are authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) from their International Student Advisor (DSO). Students engaged in CPT must be enrolled in at least one credit for an Academic Internship. CPT can be paid or unpaid. Approval on the Form I-20 and a Social Security Card are required to begin training. CPT Handout.
- Are authorized for Optional Practical Training (OPT) from USCIS. OPT can be paid or unpaid. Approval from USCIS, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a Social Security Card are required to begin training. OPT Handout.
Internship, Shadowing or Research Experience
International students who engage in an internship, shadowing or research experience, paid or unpaid, must first seek the appropriate work authorization: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).
International students may be eligible for the Funded Internship Program through SU only if the student has approved Curricular Practical Training (CPT), is enrolled in an Academic Internship and the employment takes place in the U.S.
For an international student participating in a volunteer experience or unpaid internship at a non-profit, it is strongly recommended to seek approval for CPT or have the employer verify in writing on their organization letterhead that the volunteer experience is truly unpaid per the Fair Labor Standard Act. See: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/71-flsa-internships
If an International Student Advisor (DSO) knows that an international student is working without permission, they must report it through SEVIS; the student’s SEVIS record will be terminated. That means that the student will have to leave the United States immediately, and may not be allowed to return.
As an international student, the U.S.-sourced income is subject to taxation. It is a federal obligation to file a tax return for any U.S.-sourced income as a nonresident alien. A tax return is a compilation of various tax forms that compares what an international student paid in taxes against what the U.S. government calculates the student should have paid in taxes during the prior calendar year.
Sprintax - Software to assist you in filing nonresident tax returns
- Request an Access Code from the Office of Study Abroad and International Student Services
- Sprintax offers a series of virtual information sessions where students can learn more about the U.S. tax process
- Sprintax videos on YouTube
- Sprintax blog
- Sprintax FAQs
- Email Sprintax: email@example.com.