Working in the U.S.  

U.S. Social Security Number

On Campus Jobs

Off Campus Employment

Federal and State Tax Filing Requirements and Forms 


Patriotism... is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. Working in the U.S.

The United States has very strict rules for international students who want to work  in the United States. International students enrolled full time and in valid F-1 or J-1 status may work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and up to 40 hours per week during vacation and holiday breaks. Students in valid F-1 or J-1 status cannot be employed off-campus without meeting eligibility requirements and obtaining prior written 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 visa 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 Social Security number 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 SS number.  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 school's  International Student Advisor confirming your eligibility to work.
  • Your passport and visa and I-94 Card
  • Your SEVIS I-20
  • Your Fred Card
  • The SSN application, which can be picked up from the International Office, or downloaded online from

If your application is approved, you will receive your Social Security Card within a few weeks. Keep your SS Card in a safe place - it is difficult and costly to replace.

We have many positions on campus for international students.

On Campus Jobs

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). The average wage is $7.25 an hour and you to work about 8-10 hours a week. To apply please visit the FSA office located in Gregory Hall. For any FSA employment questions please call Michelle at 673-3417 ext. 225 or Michelle at ext. 226.
  • 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. You will be paid $7.25 per hour. 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. To start, you will get paid $7.25 an hour and receive a paycheck every two weeks from Student Payroll. For more information on the tutoring service, please contact the Learning Center at (716) 673-3550.

Other Campus Employers

Off Campus Employment

Immigration regulations severely 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 to see an advisor in the International Education Center before beginning CPT to find out if they are eligible and to pick up the CPT application forms.

Optional Practical Training:  Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work in your major area of study as authorized by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). A student must be enrolled for a full academic year to be eligible to apply for the OPT benefit. Students interested in doing OPT must discuss their plans with an advisor in the International Education Center to find out if they are eligible  and to pick up the OPT application forms and instructions.

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. This type of employment is extremely rare. Students must make an appointment to see an advisor in the International Education Center to find out if they are eligible and to pick up the Economic Hardship application forms.

Employment with International Organization Students may be eligible for employment at an international organization if they have been in F-1 status for at least 9 months and are in good academic standing. This type of employment must be offered in the form of an internship within your field of study, by a USCIS recognized international organization. Students interested in doing a this must make an appointment to see an advisor in the International Education Center before beginning to find out if they are eligible and to pick up an application form.


 Federal and State Tax Filing Requirements and Forms 

International students must submit certain tax forms each year, regardless of whether or not any income was earned.  Below are the federal and state filing forms for the 2010 tax year.  All students must complete US Form 8843.  If you earned income in the US then you may need to complete additional forms.  Please read the instructions for each form to determine applicability.

Federal:   Form 8843 and Instructions
Federal:   Form 1040NR-EZ         Instructions for Form 1040NR-EZ
Federal:   Form 843                    Instructions for Form 843
NY State: Form IT-203                Instructions for Form IT-203
NY State: Form IT-2

Page modified 6/13/11