Employment for International Students
Employment in F-1 Status
As an F-1 student you have limited employment opportunities. This does not mean that you cannot work, you just need to know these simple guidelines.
All F-1 students are permitted to work on-campus at Lasell College. Here are the key aspects of on-campus employment:
- Employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Students may work full-time during the summer and official school breaks when school is not in session.
- New incoming students cannot begin working on-campus more than 30 days before classes begin.
- Transfer students can work on campus but only after their SEVIS record has been transferred to Lasell.
- Students can only work on-campus until the end date on their form I-20.
- Approval from USCIS is not required.
- Students must obtain a Social Security Number in order to work on campus. See section below.
Note: Some organizations, such as America Reads, that are associated with Lasell can be considered on-campus employment. If you have been offered a job and you are unsure if it is considered an on-campus job or not, then it is best to check with the Director of International Services.
Employment oppoprtunities are restricted for F-1 international students so students should never accept or engage in off-campus employment without prior authorization from the Office of International Services.
The following types of off-campus employment categories are available to F-1 students:
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT is an employment opportunity available to F-1 undergraduate students who have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one academic year. F-1 graduate students are eligible for CPT when they are registered to complete their capstone experience in the final semester of their program. Here are the key aspects of CPT:
- CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum.
- CPT must be a requirement of the program of study or the student must be receiving credit for the work.
- The training may be full-time or part-time. If full-time (more than 20 hours per week) for 12 months or more, then the student becomes ineligible for OPT.
- CPT requires a written job offer indicting the job title, dates of employment, number of hours, and location of employment.
- The Director of International Services must authorize CPT in SEVIS. Students then receive a new form I-20 with CPT authorization indicated on the second page.
- No USCIS approval is necessary, but if the student decides to change their employer, they must obtain a new job offer and a new authorization in SEVIS. CPT is not transferable from one job to the next.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT is an employment opportunity available to F-1 students who have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one academic year. Watch the Optional Practical Training video tutorial and read below to learn the key aspects of OPT:
Optional Practical Training Tutorial: OPT Basics (6 minutes)
- OPT requires USCIS approval.
- OPT may occur during or after a student's course of study. If occurring during one's course of study, the OPT is referred to a pre-completion OPT. If occurring after one's course of study is completed, the OPT is known as post-completion OPT.
- Pre-completion OPT must be part-time during the student's studies and may be full-time during vacations and official school breaks.
- Post-completion OPT must be full time.
- No job offer is required in order to apply for OPT, but students cannot accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment while on standard post-completion OPT.
- F-1 students must begin their OPT experience within 60 days of the end date on their Form I-20.
- The application requires a recommendation in SEVIS by the Director of International Services.
- F-1 students must file a Form 1-765 with USCIS and pay an application fee of $380. Applications for OPT must be submitted three months prior to when the student would like their employment to begin.
- If the Form I-765 is approved, USCIS will issue the F-1 student an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Employment cannot begin until the start date on the EAD.
- OPT is automatically terminated when a student transfer to another school or begins to study at another educational level. OPT is also terminated if a student fails to comply with F-1 regulations or accrues more than 90 days of unemployment.
- F-1 students must inform the Office of International Services if they change or interrupt their employment for any reason. This information must be recorded in SEVIS.
To apply for OPT, first review the OPT Application Checklist and complete the OPT Recommendation Form. Contact of the Office of International Services if you have questions about eligibility or applying for OPT.
How to Obtain a Social Security Number
All U.S. employers require employees to have a Social Security Number (SSN). This unique nine digit identification number is issued by the U.S. government and is necessary for getting paid and paying taxes. The Social Security Number is a permanent ID number. The process of obtaining a Social Security card involves collecting and completing very specific paperwork.
An offer of employment is needed for F-1 students to apply for a Social Security Number. For instructions on how to obtain a Social Security Number, please read the Social Security Information Sheet for F-1 students.
Once you obtain your SSN, you must guard it carefully. Only share your SSN with individuals or organizations whom you believe are trustworthy and have a valid reason for needing your social security number.
All international students in F-1 status as well as dependents in F-2 status must complete and submit some type of federal tax form. International students in other immigration classifications may also be required to complete and submit tax forms. The number and type of form you must complete depend on whether you earned income, the type of income you received, the length of time you have been physically present in the US, and other factors.
Taxes are often complicated, even for those native to the United States. There are many different kinds of taxes in the US and different agencies are responsible for collecting these taxes. Please be advised that the Office of International Services does not specialize in international tax law and cannot answer specific questions regarding your individual tax filing requirement; however, the Office has prepared the following information sheet to help get you started.
Tax Information Sheet