Career Resources For International Students
International students who have either F-1 or J-1 immigration status are eligible for off-campus employment related to their field of study. This type of employment is called "practical training" or "academic training."
Eligibility and Application Requirements: Different requirements exist for each type of F-1 employment but those requirements are not discussed in this handout. For example, a fundamental eligibility requirement for all types of employment is that you must be in and must continuously maintain lawful F-1 status. Maintaining eligibility for most types of F-1 employment means that you must limit your work to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. Do not assume that you are eligible to work without first contacting your international student advisor.
Definition of "Employment": "Employment" is any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. If you receive no pay or other benefit for work performed, this activity is not defined as "employment" but is considered to be "volunteer work".
On-Campus Employment "Incident to Status": Work on your campus is usually permissible if it meets certain requirements. INS regulations state that this employment is automatically authorized for any student in lawful F-1 status. Check with UNF's International Center for school requirements and procedures governing the authorization of on-campus employment.
Curricular Practical Training: Some work experiences which are an important part of your study program may be considered "curricular practical training". These experiences may include alternate work/study programs, internships, cooperative education programs and practicum experiences. Any student who works for one year or more in full-time curricular practical training is not eligible for practical training after completion of studies.
Practical Training Before and After Completion of Studies: You may be eligible to be employed in a job which is directly related to your major field of study for one year before and/or after you complete a study program. Such employment may take place at any location in the U. S.
Employment Eligibility Verification : When you begin work, you and your employer must complete a form entitled "Employment Eligibility Verification" (INS Form I-9), which the employer retains. The I-9 must be updated each time you receive a renewal of your work permission.
A Social Security Number. To put you on the payroll, your employer will need your Social Security number, which you can obtain by applying for a Social Security card. Take your passport (if you are Canadian you may use another form of photo-bearing identification), I-94 Departure Record card, the student copy of your form I-20, and written work authorization to an office of the Social Security Administration. Please note: A Social Security Card may not be used to verify your employment eligibility.
Social Security and other taxes: Social Security taxes. In general, as an F-1 student, you will be exempt from Social Security (F.I.C.A.) taxes for your first five years in the United States, as long as you continue to declare non-resident status for tax purposes (see Internal Revenue Service Publication 519, "U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens"). While INS regulations provide a variety of opportunities for you to be employed during your time in F-1 status, working improperly or without authorization is a serious violation of your status. Always consult with ISS before taking up any employment.
Failure to Comply with Employment Regulations: It is your responsibility to comply with all Immigration regulations which apply to F-1 students. If you fail to comply with your responsibilities, you may not be eligible for benefits normally granted to F-1 students. Employment for F-2 Dependents: Immigration regulations prohibit all employment for F-2 dependents (spouses and children of F-1 students).
Your J-1 Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO): Whatever type of employment you are considering, you must first obtain approval in writing from your J-1 RO/ARO who represents your J-1 sponsor and issues your Forms IAP-66. Before approval, the J-1 RO/ARO is obligated by regulation to evaluate the proposed employment in the context of your program and your personal circumstances, and then decide whether it would be appropriate or not.
If the University of North Florida is your sponsor, then your J-1 RO/ARO is the Director of ISS. If your J-1 sponsor is an agency, and if you are uncertain how to reach your J-1 RO/ARO your international student advisor will help you find out, but has no authority to grant employment permission.
Definition of "employment ": "Employment" is any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, or for any other benefit. If you receive no pay or other compensation for work performed, the activity is not defined as "employment" but is considered to be "volunteer work." The two categories of employment available to J-1 students:
"Student Employment ": J-1 "Student Employment" is limited to 20 hours per week except during school breaks and your annual vacation. Your J-1 RO/ARO can approve "Student Employment" for up to one year at a time.
Type 1: Employment required by a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship. This kind of work usually occurs on campus, with the school as the employer. In certain circumstances, however, the work can be done elsewhere, for a different employer. You might work in a government or private research laboratory, for example, if your major professor had a joint appointment there, and were to supervise you in work that would count toward your degree.
Type 2: On-campus jobs unrelated to study. The regulations allow for jobs on campus that are unrelated to study, and they stipulate only that the work be done "on the premises" of the school. That means that the school does not have to be the employer, and that you could work for a commercial company, such as a food service, in its operations on your campus.
Type 3: Off-campus jobs. The regulations permit jobs off campus that are "necessary because of serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances" that have arisen since your arrival in theUnited States as an Exchange Visitor, or since your change, inside the country, to J-1 status.
"Academic Training": "Academic Training" is employment in the field of your academic program in the United States. To determine the number of months of "Academic Training" for which you are eligible, see the "Before completion" and "After completion" paragraphs immediately below. In counting months of authorization, part-time "Academic Training" counts the same as full-time.
Before completion of your program of study. With permission for "Academic Training" you may work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods. Under certain circumstances, you may work full-time, for example while you are writing a thesis. The limit is 18 months or the time that you have been a full-time student, whichever is shorter, unless the employment is a degree requirement.
After completion of your program of study. If you can show your J-1 RO/ARO a written offer of appropriate employment no later than 30 days after the end of your program, you will be eligible for "Academic Training" after completion. The limit is 18 months or the time that you were a full-time student, whichever is shorter, minus any previous "Academic Training." Note, however, that if you receive a doctorate at the conclusion of your J-1 student program, you may be eligible for three years of "postdoctoral training," such as research, minus any "Academic Training" used before the doctorate was awarded.
Summer employment for students transferring from one J-1 sponsor to another: If you intend to transfer programs between academic years and you want to work at the old school during the summer, you must delay the transfer procedure until after the period of employment, and must obtain employment authorization from the old school's J-1 RO/ARO. This will be possible only if the old school's Form IAP-66 remains valid (see the dates in item #3) throughout the employment. To work at the new school, you must first carry out the transfer procedure and then apply to the J-1 RO/ARO at the new school for authorization to work. The new school's Form IAP-66 must take effect (see item #3) by the beginning date of your employment authorization.
A Social Security Number. To put you on the payroll, your employer will need your Social Security number, which you can obtain by applying for a Social Security card. Take your passport (if you are Canadian you may use another form of photo-bearing identification), I-94 Departure Record card, the pink copy of your Form IAP-66, and your J-1 RO/ARO's written work authorization toan office of the Social Security Administration. Please note: a Social Security card may not be used to verify your employment eligibility.
Social Security and other taxes: Social Security taxes. In general, as a J-1 student, you will be exempt from Social Security (F.I.C.A.) taxes for your first five years in the United States, as long as you continue to declare non-resident status for tax purposes (see Internal Revenue Service Publication 519, "U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens").
Federal, state and local taxes. Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the United States and your home government, your earnings as a J-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes, and employers are required by law to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. By April 15 of each year you must file a federal income tax return and a "Required Statement" covering the prior calendar year to determine whether you owe more taxes or have a refund coming.
Employment for J-2 dependents: Your J-2 dependents may apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for authorization to work. They may not legally work to support you, the J-1 student, or to pay any of the expenses of your program of study.
As a J-1 student you are eligible for a variety of work opportunities in the United States, but employment without proper authorization is a serious violation of your status. Remember to consult UNF's International Center prior to accepting any employment.
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