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Student Visa On-Campus Employement - Basic Guidelines

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1.1. What qualifies as on-campus employment for F 1 students?
1.1.1. Type and Location of Employment
1.2. What are the basic guidelines for on-campus employment? 

1.3. When is on-campus employment allowed? 
1.4. When do F 1 students become eligible for on-campus employment? 
1.5. Where can on-campus jobs be located? 
1.6. What qualifies as providing services for students? 
1.7. What does educationally affiliated mean? 
1.8. Can F 1 students work on-campus if they enroll in a new program of study? 
1.9. If otherwise eligible, can F 1 students continue to work on-campus with a pending application for reinstatement or change of status? 
1.10. How long can F 1 students continue to work on-campus? 
1.11. Do students have to wait one academic year before they can start working on-campus? 
1.12. Can F 1 students work at more than one on-campus job? 
1.13. Can F 1 students work on-campus if they are participating in practical training (OPT or CPT)? 
1.14. Can F 1 students work on-campus during the grace period after their program end date? 
1.15. What are the requirements for students who transfer? 
1.16. Are border-commuter students eligible for on-campus employment?
1.17. How many hours can F 1 students work?

1.18 Are there exceptions to the limit of 20 hours a week for on-campus employment?
1.19  8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(H) states that “on-campus employment pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship is deemed to be part of the academic program of a full-time student,” so can a student work more than 20 hours per week if required and/or allowed by the assistantship?

 

This SEVIS Operating Instruction (SOI) contains guidelines for Designated School Officials (DSO) on the subject of on-campus employment for F 1 students. 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i) is the section of the regulation that covers on-campus employment.

1.1. What qualifies as on-campus employment for F 1 students?

On-campus employment is defined at 8 CFR 214.2(9)(i). There are two components for qualified on-campus employment:

  • Limits on the type and location of the employment, and
  • Limited to jobs that do not displace a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident

1.1.1. Type and Location of Employment

On-campus employment for F 1 students is work that takes place either at your school or at an off-campus location that is educationally affiliated with your school. This work could be for an on-campus commercial business, like a bookstore or cafeteria, as long as the work directly provides services for students.

Employment located on-campus that does not directly involve services to students (such as construction work) does not qualify as on-campus employment. However, work with an employer that is contractually affiliated with the school is considered on-campus employment even if the work site is not located on the campus (such as a research lab affiliated with your school).

Educational affiliation means the job is associated with the school’s established curriculum or is part of contractually funded research projects at the postgraduate level.

1.2. What are the basic guidelines for on-campus employment?

F 1 students may work at any qualifying on-campus job that does not displace a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR).

They can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. They may work full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during the student’s annual break.

F 1 students should report their work to you and receive a certification letter to present to the Social Security Administration in order to be able to receive a social security number.

Not complying with these guidelines for on-campus employment may be a violation of status that could result in the student having to leave the United States.

1.3. When is on-campus employment allowed?

The questions above on What qualifies as on-campus employment? and What are the basic guidelines for on-campus employment?define the parameters for on-campus employment.

As the DSO, you need to:

  • Counsel the student concerning;
    • Number of hours they can work
    • Type of employment
    • Need to maintain F 1 status
    • Tax and social security implications
    • Reporting changes in employment and hours worked
  • Have a letter from each employer concerning the nature of the job and the work hours;
  • Give the student a letter for social security purposes certifying that the job qualifies as on-campus employment and that the student is in F 1 status;
  • Keep records on the student’s employment in the school files; and
  • Terminate the student’s SEVIS record if the student engages in any unauthorized employment or works hours in excess of those allowed.

1.4. When do F 1 students become eligible for on-campus employment?

F 1 students can begin working as much as 30 days before the start of classes. They should have permission from you before they begin work.

If an F 1 student finishes one program (such as a Bachelor’s Degree) and starts another program at the same campus, he or she may continue on-campus employment as long as he or she plans to enroll for the next term.

1.5. Where can on-campus jobs be located?

The job has to be physically located on the school’s campus or off-campus at the site of an educationally affiliated organization.

1.6. What qualifies as providing services for students?

Employment on-campus has to be for the school or for a company that contracts with the school to serve students directly.

  •  Contracting with the school for something other than student services

    OR
  • That does not contract with the school, even if they are physically located on school property.

For example, if your school contracts with a food service company, F 1 students can work for the company at school facilities. However, they cannot work for the same company at any off-campus locations.

F 1 students cannot work for a company:

For example, they cannot work for a construction company even if the job site is on the campus.

F 1 students can work for an educationally affiliated company, such as a school bookstore, even if it is not located on campus.

1.7. What does educationally affiliated mean?

In the case of off-campus locations, educational affiliation means the location is associated with the school's established curriculum or related to contractually funded research projects at the post-graduate level.

1.8. Can F 1 students work on-campus if they enroll in a new program of study?

Yes. If an F 1 student finishes one program (such as a Bachelor’s Degree) and starts another program at the same campus, he or she may continue on-campus employment as long as he or she plans to enroll for the next term.

1.9. If otherwise eligible, can F 1 students continue to work on-campus with a pending application for reinstatement or change of status?

Yes.

1.10. How long can F 1 students continue to work on-campus?

As long as they are enrolled in school, maintaining their status, and following the guidelines for on-campus employment, F 1 students can continue to work. They should keep you informed of any changes in employer and hours.

F 1 students cannot work on-campus after graduation unless they are continuing their education at the next program level at your school.

1.11. Do students have to wait one academic year before they can start working on-campus?

No.

1.12. Can F 1 students work at more than one on-campus job?

Yes, however, their total work hours for all jobs cannot exceed 20 hours while school is in session. They may work full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during the student’s annual break.

1.13. Can F 1 students work on-campus if they are participating in practical training (OPT or CPT)?

Yes, but only if it is pre-completion OPT or CPT and their total work hours for all work do not exceed 20 hours while school is in session. They may work full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during the student’s annual break.

F 1 students cannot work on-campus after graduation unless they are continuing their education at the next program level at your school.

1.14. Can F 1 students work on-campus during the grace period after their program end date?

No. The 60 day grace period after graduation or post-completion OPT is for the student to prepare to leave the United States.

1.15. What are the requirements for students who transfer?

When a student transfers to your school, you have the jurisdiction over on-campus employment after the records release date. The student cannot work at the prior school after that date.

You can authorize work starting within 30 days of the program start date.

1.16. Are border-commuter students eligible for on-campus employment?

No. [8 CFR 214.2(f)(18)] Border commuter students are limited to practical training – CPT and post-completion OPT.

1.17 How many hours can F 1 students work?

On-campus employment for F 1 students must not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session, with one rare exception.

F 1 students may work full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during the student’s annual break, as long as they are enrolling full-time the next semester. Students who are transferring may work at the school that has control of their record – at the transfer-out school before the release date and the transfer-in school after the release date.

The IRS defines full-time on-campus employment as 40 hours per week for foreign students who are claiming an exemption from Social Security and Medicare taxes.

1.18 Are there exceptions to the limit of 20 hours a week for on-campus employment?


The only exception is if the Secretary of DHS suspends this requirement, by means of a Federal Register notice, due to emergent circumstances. The student must demonstrate to you that the extra work is necessary because the emergent circumstance has affected his or her source of support.

Endorse the student’s Form I-20 with a reference to the Federal Register notice that announced the emergency exception before allowing the student to work more than 20 hours a week.

1.19 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(H) states that "on-campus employment pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship is deemed to be part of the academic program of a full-time student," so can a student work more than 20 hours per week if required and/or allowed by the assistantship?


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