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On-Campus Work

Current immigration regulations allow most F-1 and J-1 international students to work 20 hours or less on-campus. Read below to see if you are eligible and the steps for working on-campus.

Take time to know the laws!! Remember that any illegal work may have severe consequences for your immigration status which may come to bear circumstances in the future.

How do I know if I am eligible to work on-campus?

1. Are you enrolled full time? Students must be currently enrolled as a full time student and maintaining F-1 or J-1 immigration status. Students may be employed over the summer months without being enrolled as long as they are continuing students for the following Fall semester and have not graduated. New students may begin work on-campus up to 30 days prior to the start of the semester, provided they meet the following qualifications.

2. Have you checked-in at the OISVS with your documents? Students must have checked in with the Office of International Students and Visiting Scholars (OISVS) upon arrival and shown all required immigration documents. The I-94 must accurately specify your F-1 or J-1 immigration status and you must be in good immigration status

3, If J-1, have you requested and received written on-campus work permission from the RO? J-1 students must be in good academic standing and obtain necessary written permission from the RO/ARO prior to employment. Each authorization continues for 12 months as long as the student remains in good academic standing.

Which Jobs are Considered “On-Campus”

The Federal laws require on-campus jobs to be:

  • On ACU’s Abilene campus grounds
  • Paid by the university or a contractually affiliated business. Currently, ACU just as two such employers: Chartwells (food service) or Barnes and Nobles (the bookstore), also located on campus.
  • For the benefit of students (not construction or similar jobs)
  • Joint research located at off-campus locations may qualify under limited circumstances (discuss with Lucy first)


How do I find a job?

  • Check the listings on the ACU Human Resources employment website and submit your application online
  • Check the website of Chartwells or stop by their office at the Bean;
  • Stop by the ACU Bookstore and any other location where you’d like to work and ask if there are openings.
  • Tell your friends, your advisor and your faculty members you are interested in working and ask them to let you know if they hear of any openings.
  • Be persistent!  It may take time to find a job on-campus as the demand is great.  We recommend students get to know people, get involved on campus, and do not plan on any on-campus income for at least 1 semester.  All of that can help in finding a job later!
  • Consult the ACU Career Center online or in the Center for Experiential Learning and Careers for help preparing resumes and cover letters. Remember you have valuable experience even if it is not directly in outside employment.  The staff at the Career Center can assist you to represent your background and skills to your best advantage.

After I get a job offer, what are my next steps?

For students who will be paid by ACU:

1. First, bring your passport, I-20, and ACU ID to ACU’s Human Resources (Admin 213) office to complete the I-9.

2. Complete the On-campus Employment Form here. This form will also serve as your request for the letters from the OISVS that the social security office requires for your SSN application.

3. Upon notification, pick up the social security letters from the OISVS to take to the Social Security office to apply for your Social Security Number (SSN)

Note:  Allow at least 10 days after your entry into the U.S. before applying for your SSN card. Your hiring supervisor will need to sign one of the letters.

4. Report your social security number to the Human Resources office when you receive it.

For students who will be paid by Chartwells or the ACU Bookstore:

  1. First, bring your passport and I-20 to their employment office and request an official offer letter or email from them to use for the social security application.
  2. Email Lucy to initiate the on-campus employment verification form, which will also serve as your request for the OISVS SSN letter.
  3. Upon notification, pick up the social security letters from the OISVS to take to the Social Security office to apply for your Social Security Number (SSN)
    Note:  Allow at least 10 days after your entry into the U.S. before applying for your SSN card. Your hiring supervisor will need to sign one of the letters.
  4. Report your social security number to the employment office of your employer.


How much can I work?

During the Fall/Spring semesters: F-1 and J-1 students may work up to a total of 20 hours per week between Sunday to Saturday. Students may have multiple positions, but the total hours worked may not exceed 20 hours per week. Students can use the online weekly hours calculator here. 

This is a federal law.  Students who work more than 20 hours per week during the long semesters are subject to SEVIS termination. ACU monitors on-campus student work.

When school is not in session (Winter/Spring/Summer breaks), students may work full-time. ACU limits student on-campus work to a maximum of 25 hours during holiday periods. Students who graduate must stop working on-campus on or before the date of their graduation.

Check out the information on the government website related to on-campus employment. Check with the OISVS to make sure your proposed employment is considered “on-campus” work if there are any questions before you begin your job.

Even one day of unauthorized work jeopardizes your immigration status.

Do you have questions?

For immigration questions, contact Lucy Dawson, Associate Director, by emailing lucy.dawson@acu.edu or calling 325-674-2237.

For questions about social security numbers, contact Veronica Summers, International Student Services Specialist, by emailing vdw09a@acu.edu or calling 325-674-2821.