How many hours can international students work in the U.S.?
Working in the U.S.
International students enrolled full time and in valid F-1 status can generally 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. The United States has strict rules for international students who want to work during their studies. 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 losing their F-1 student status.
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 to work.
- 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 to replace.
Job openings can be found on the Student Payroll Bulletin Board in Maytum Hall and/or on the following page. Below is a list of the types of jobs that students typically find.
- 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 Gregory Hall.
- 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
- Residence Life Office
- ITS Service Center
- Campus Life Office
- Mail Room
- Admission's Office
- Athletics Services
- University Advancement
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 eligible.
Optional Practical Training: Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization that will allow you to work in areas that are related to your major for up to one year either before or after you graduate (pre-completion OPT or post-completion OPT). In order to be eligible to apply, you have to have been enrolled for at least one academic year and have active F-1 student status. For post-completion OPT, you can apply up to 90 days before your graduation, but it is recommended that you apply at least 45 days before graduation to ensure timely processing. Once on post-completion OPT, students are allowed to accumulate a maximum of 90 days of unemployment while they are seeking employment. 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 academic year 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.