International Student Employment

Guidelines for international student employment.

International students can work on-campus only if they meet certain requirements. Also, International students must obtain specific employment authorization before working off-campus. 

Please note: International students cannot hold a federal work-study position. This is because the Federal Work-Study is a need-based, federal financial aid program, which is available to only U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and permanent residents/ eligible non-citizens.

Detailed information regarding Employment for International Students is available in the that all deposited International students are automatically enrolled into.

F-1 On Campus Employment

An F-1 student may work at the University without authorization from the USCIS as long as the job does not interfere with the student's ability to maintain a full-time course load for the quarter. Also, it is important that the Form I-20 is valid and current to seek or maintain on-campus employment. International students can work up to 20 hours / week when school is in session and up to 40 hours/ week during break week(s).  

F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

An F-1 student may be authorized to a total of 12 months of full-time practical training, which is a privilege provided by the U.S. government so students can gain practical experience in their field of study. The Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a temporary employment authorization, and to apply for this kind of employment authorization, you must receive a recommendation from the International Office and file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS. Once the USCIS approves your employment, they will send your EAD card (Employment Authorization Document).

Optional Practical Training STEM extension

Students who majored in an eligible Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) field may qualify for a one-time, 24-Month Extension of post-completion optional practical training (OPT). Interested students should talk to their DSO and visit the Department of Homeland Security website, , for additional information.

Social Security

A Social Security Number is a unique, nine-digit number assigned by the government, which authorizes individuals to work in the United States and determines eligibility for social security benefits. A Social Security number (SSN) is issued to track earnings over a worker鈥檚 lifetime. The Social Security number itself is not a work permit. Important: Employment is required in order to obtain a Social Security card.

Detailed information regarding How to Obtain a Social Security Number is available in the International Student Hub Canvas Course that all deposited International students are automatically enrolled into.  

Tax Information

It is important to be aware that, as a nonresident in the US, you鈥檙e legally required to file a tax return if you received US income by the annual tax deadline in April of each year. Even if you didn鈥檛 work or receive income in the US, you鈥檙e still obliged to file a Form 8843 with the IRS.

Detailed information regarding taxes is available in the International Student Hub Canvas Course that all deposited International students are automatically enrolled into.  

Driver's License

F-1 students, and their dependents, may be eligible to drive a motor vehicle while residing in the United States. However, those who wish to operate a vehicle must successfully apply for and receive a driver鈥檚 license. Driving a car without a driver鈥檚 license is illegal. 

To acquire a driver鈥檚 license, you must apply for one at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which can have a different name in some states:

Driver鈥檚 License Application Process 

While the application process for receiving a driver鈥檚 license may be different in each state, the basic steps are very similar. These steps include:

  • Reviewing the driving rules and regulations in your state or territory.
  • Confirming with your DSO that your student record is Active in the .
  • Waiting 10 days after arriving in the United States to apply for a driver's license so that your information can update in all the government systems.
  • Obtaining a , if required by your state or territory.
  • Visiting and submitting the proper documentation to the DMV.

The DMV may need to verify your nonimmigrant student status to determine if you are eligible for a driver鈥檚 license. To verify your status, the DMV may use the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program. To find out more about this program, please visit the page.

Required Documentation 

When you apply for a driver's license at your local DMV, make sure to bring original copies of the following documents:

  • All signed versions of your
  • A valid passport and your most recent student visa. (Please note that you do not need a visa if you are from a visa-exempt country, such as Canada or Bermuda).
  • Proof of residence. This varies from state to state and you should check your local DMV鈥檚 website to ensure you understand what is needed to fulfill this requirement.
  • If you are on optional practical training, bring your The DMV will use the A number on this card to verify your status. 

If you are an F-2 dependent, go to the DMV with your primary F-1 and make sure you both have all your required documents.

After a successful application process, a DMV official will explain the next steps for attaining your driver鈥檚 license. It is normal for some nonimmigrants to only get temporary licenses. In addition, you may receive the license immediately or you may have to wait several weeks, depending on the state.

Additional Requirements 

A driver鈥檚 license applicant may also need to pass both a driving and written test. Depending on your state, if you have a license from your home country or another state, the DMV may not require you to take the tests. However, not all states accept driver's licenses from other countries.

Are you a prospective student?

Contact your preferred campus for help.