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
- Your passport and visa and I-94 Card
- Your SEVIS 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
a few weeks. Keep your SS Card in a safe place - it is difficult and costly to replace.
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
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
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
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