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International Student Employment

Employment is defined as any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. (See below information about off-campus employment.)

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Obtaining a Social Security Number

UVM-affiliated international students, scholars, research personnel, faculty and staff must obtain a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) by submitting an application to the local Burlington Social Security Administration Office, 58 Pearl St., (802) 951-6753.

F-1 students are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) only if they have a job.

All persons who will be paid by the University of Vermont are required to have a social security number. Please note that all scholarship recipients are, in effect, receiving a form of payment from the University. Upon your arrival at the University, a payroll record will be established for you under a temporary, unofficial identification number assigned by the University.

You need to apply for a SSN in person at the address below:

The Social Security Administration
58 Pearl Street
Burlington, Vermont 05401

Bring the following documents with you:

  • your passport (containing I-94 card and visa stamp if you have one)
  • Your I-20
  • a letter from the OIE

You will need to complete a SSN application as well.

After you apply, your official social security card usually arrives at your mailing address within approximately two weeks. Once you receive this card keep it in a safe place (not in your wallet). It is best to memorize it. You must also notify the UVM Payroll Records (227 Waterman), the Registrar’s Office (360 Waterman), and your U.S. bank so that your records can be adjusted accordingly.

On-campus employment options

F-1 students are eligible to work on-campus for 20 hours or less while classes are in session. During major school breaks (in between semesters) students are eligible to work more than 20 hours per week at their on-campus job(s).

As an F-1 student, you may work on campus provided that you:

  • are maintaining legal F-1 status
  • do not work more than a total of 20 hours per week (total of all jobs) while classes are in session.

You may be employed full-time during vacation periods, including summer vacations, provided you are eligible and intend to register for the next school term. The 20-hour-per-week limit on your employment while school is in session applies to all types of on-campus employment.

Attention: working improperly or without authorization is a serious violation of your F-1 visa status. Please make sure your on-campus employment complies with these regulations, and that you check with your international student coordinator before accepting any off-campus employment. If you fail to comply with your responsibilities regarding employment, you will be ineligible for F-1 benefits and may, in some cases, be subject to deportation.

Prior to on-campus employment

1. Employment Eligibility Verification: When you begin on campus work, you must complete an I-9 form (Employment Eligibility Verification) and an International Information Form at the Office of International Education. These forms will be filled out during international student orientation at the beginning of each semester or within a few days of your arrival at UVM. Please bring your valid passport with visa stamp, I-94 card and your current I-20.

2. Social Security Numbers: You will also need a social security number in order to be employed. Please see information to the right on how to obtain a Social Security card.

3. Income Taxes: Your wages may be subject to certain U.S. taxes, and you are required to file federal and state tax forms by April 15th following the end of each tax year. Learn more about taxes (PDF).

Off-campus employment options

Work off-campus is a violation of F-1 immigration status unless authorized by the USCIS and the OIE. Prior to engaging in ANY employment students should visit OIE Illegal work is viewed as one of the most serious violations of status.

To apply for any of the four options below, please make an appointment to see an OIE advisor:
1. Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

To be eligible for CPT you must have held F-1 student status for at least one full academic year.

CPT is defined as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” [8] CFR Section 214.2 (f) (10) (i)

To apply please bring to your International Student Coordinator:

  1. Letter from the employer stating the start date, end date of the employment, the hours per week and a brief description of job duties. Please note: in the eyes of immigration 20 hours per week or more is considered "full-time" employment.
  2. Letter from your academic advisor specifically stating that the employment is an integral or required part of your curriculum.
  3. Proof of an academic component to the CPT. You must be registered for an internship credit or an independent study.
2. Optional Practical Training (OPT)

To be eligible for OPT you must have held F-1 student status for at least one full academic year.

OPT is defined as "temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study." [8] CFR Section 214.2 (f) (10) (ii).

Students can be authorized for a total period of 12 months of full-time employment per educational level. During the academic year students are only eligible for part-time employment. The OIE strongly encourages students to use their 12 months of OPT employment authorization at the completion of their degree.

Notes: This application can take up to 3 months to process, so please plan accordingly! Get more information about OPT.

To apply for OPT please:

  1. Complete Form I-765

Bring this form along with the following information to your OIE advisor to complete the application:

  1. Letter from academic advisor indicating the date that you will have completed all the requirements for your degree and/or the date of graduation.
  2. Two passport size photographs with your name clearly printed on the back
  3. Pay the fee listed on the Department of Homeland Security website.
  4. All previously issued forms I-20
  5. Passport with I-94 and U.S. visa stamp
3. Internship with an International Organization

A student may be eligible for employment in this category as soon as they enter in F-1 status.

The student needs to have an offer letter of employment from a recognized international organization (such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund or the World Bank) in order to be eligible for this benefit.

To apply the student must:

  1. Have an offer letter from a recognized international organization with a start date and end date
  2. Complete Form I-765
  3. Pay the fee

The student must make an appointment with their OIE advisor to complete the application.

4. Employment Due to Severe Unforeseen Economic Hardship

A student may be eligible for this benefit after they have been in F-1 status for one full academic year.

The student must prove to the Immigration Service that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances that are beyond her/his control and that arose after obtaining F-1 status. They must also prove that the employment options listed above are not available or otherwise insufficient.

If you think that this category may apply to you, make an appointment with your OIE advisor as soon as possible.

Employment eligibility verification

Within the first three days of the start of employment you must complete Form I-9 with OIE staff. Bring your international identification documents with you to an appointment with an OIE staff member complete this form.

At The University of Vermont all international students complete their Form I-9s with the Office of International Education.

Last modified March 26 2011 05:53 PM

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