Working in the U.S.
The United States has very strict rules for international students who want to work
during their studies. International students enrolled full time and in valid F-1
status may work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during when classes are in session,
and up to 40 hours per week when classes are not. Students in valid F-1 cannot be
employed off campus without meeting eligibility requirements and obtaining official
authorization. Immigration regulations severely limit the international student's
eligibility to accept employment off campus. Students found working illegally are
failing to maintain their F-1 student and risk having their F-1 status revoked.
U.S. Social Security Number
In the United States, a Social Security number (SSN) is a 9-digit number issued to citizens and eligible non-citizens. Its primary
purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes. A SSN is important because
you need it to get a job on campus and off campus. Many other businesses, such as
cell phone companies, banks and credit companies, also ask for your SSN. You cannot
apply for a SSN until you have a job offer and an employer cannot pay you until you
provide them with your SSN.
To apply for a SSN, bring the following documents to the Social Security Office, located
at 437 Main Street in Dunkirk, NY:
- A letter from your employer, on company letterhead, stating the job title, work hours, start
date and rate of pay.
- A letter from your the International Student Services Office confirming your eligibility
- Your passport, F-1 visa and I-94 number.
- Your Form I-20.
- The SSN application, which can be picked up from the International Office, or downloaded
online from http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf
If your application is approved, you will receive your Social Security Card within
10-14 business days. Keep your SS Card in a safe place - it is difficult and costly
Job openings can be found on the Student Payroll Bulletin Board in Maytum Hall and
on the Student Payroll Office website
- FSA Food Service and Bookstore: Faculty Student Association employs students in the Erie and Cranston Dining Halls,
Connections Food Court, Signature Cafes, and Connections Bookstore. Positions include
kitchen prep, catering servers, pre-pack services, etc. (The Stir-Fry station at Erie
seems to be a popular choice J). To apply please visit the FSA office located in
- Night Desk Attendant: Most residence halls on campus, except for Gregory, have a Guest Sign-In policy
from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day. Night Desk Attendants are responsible for sitting
desk at the main entrance and signing residents' guests in and out. Talk to your Residence
Advisor or Residence Director about applying for NDA job.
- Learning Center Tutor: Tutors at the Learning Center help students with various subjects ranging from math
to foreign languages. To be a tutor at the Learning Center, you have to apply in
the spring semester, usually by March, to be a tutor the following year. You will
need to get a recommendation from advisor to prove you have the academic knowledge
for the course(s) you will be tutoring. For more information on the tutoring service,
please contact the Learning Center at (716) 673-3550.
Other Campus Employers
Immigration regulations limit an international student's eligibility to accept employment
off-campus. Students found working illegally are failing to maintain their F-1 student
status and risk having their F-1 visa revoked. Off-campus employment is only allowed
in the following circumstances:
Curricular Practical Training: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment that trains you in your field of
study and for which you fulfill academic credit or part of your degree requirement. CPT
may be a paid or unpaid internship, cooperative education job, a practicum, or other
experience that is related in your field of study. Students interested in doing a
CPT must make an appointment with International Student Services to see if they are
Optional Practical Training: Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization that will allow you to work
in areas that are related to you major. A student must be enrolled for a full academic
year to be eligible to apply for OPT. Students interested in doing OPT must make
an appointment with International Student Services to see if they are eligible.
Severe Economic Hardship Employment: This benefit is available to students who have completed at least one semester and
have proven a severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his or her control that
arose after obtaining F-1 status, and that on-campus employment opportunities are
not available or are otherwise insufficient. Students must make an appointment with
International Student Services to see if they are eligible.