International Student Employment

Because of strict federal immigration laws it is vital that all international students and guests understand the regulations around maintaining their immigration status. There are a few limited options, but be sure to read the information on this page carefully and contact the OISVS office if you have any questions or need further explanation.

Because of strict federal immigration laws it is vital that all international students and guests understand the regulations around maintaining their immigration status. There are a few limited options, but be sure to read the information on this page carefully and contact the OISVS office if you have any questions or need further explanation.

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Note to J-1 Students

The information on the is page is applicable to Students with an F-1 Immigration status. Current immigration regulations allow most F-1 international students to work 20 hours or less on-campus. Work permission is authorized by the Responsible Officer and must be renewed annually. The information below MAY NOT apply to those with J-1 Immigration status. Please visit the J-1 Immigration Status page or contact OISVS to learn more about working on or off campus.

J-1 Exchange Students

 

Getting Started

You must be 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.

You must check-in with the OISVS and provided all 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.

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

Federal laws require on-campus jobs to be:
  1. On ACU’s Abilene campus*
  2. 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.
  3. For the benefit of students (not construction or similar jobs)

*Joint research at off-campus locations may qualify under limited circumstances. Check with OISVS prior to accepting this type of position.

  • Check the listings on the ACU Human Resources employment website and submit your application online
  • Ask in your department if there are any openings. Mention your interest to faculty, staff and your advisor.
  • Look around for signs wherever you go that say “we’re hiring!” The ACU Post Office, Team 55 (in the library), and Wildcat Central are some departments which hire many student workers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
     

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.

  1. 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.

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 have violated their immigration status 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 and breaks. 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 can jeopardize your immigration status in the years to come.

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.

F-1 Students Working Off Campus

International students many NOT work off campus without special authorization from USCIS. There are four types of off-campus employment authorization, and each one requires an F-1 student to have been in the U.S. with F-1 status for at least nine months and be currently enrolled full time. Click each option below to read more about Off Campus Employment Authorizations for F-1 students.

This is temporary employment authorization directly related to an F-1 student’s academic program for which the work counts as course credit in the student’s major field of study.

Learn More about CPT

CPT Form

CPT Employer Verification Form

Applications may be filed through the OISVS to the U.S. government by F-1 students who meet the requirements. The application must be recommended by the DSO and the process can take up to 3 months and requires a fee. 

OPT is temporary employment authorization that is related to an F-1 student’s academic program. The application must be recommended by the DSO in the OISVS and sent to the U.S. government with a fee.

Click HERE for additional information.

International students in F-1 status are eligible to apply for work authorization for internships with qualifying international organizations. Please refer to this document for further information.

With special permission, students may be eligible to work off campus when the work is directly related to their course of study. In order to learn the application process for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT), OISVS offers workshops during each semester.

Reminder: Any off-campus work without USCIS permission puts you out of F-1 status and immediately places you at risk for deportation.

Social Security Administration

Many businesses require a U.S. document that proves your identity. While some will accept a passport, most will require a Social Security Number. We are here to help you through this process. Start by clicking the button below.

Nonimmigrant Tax Information

U.S. tax laws are very complex. These resources should help you better understand your tax obligation to successfully submit your tax forms. This information is meant to be a general introduction and should not be considered legal tax advice. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. government agency that collects taxes, and their website provides official regulations under “IRS Student and Scholar Tax Information.”

Disclaimer

The OISVS makes every attempt to provide accurate immigration advice for J-1 students. The information on our website is general and should not be taken as legal advice. Please contact an immigration attorney if legal advice is needed. It is your responsibility to understand and follow the rules given by DHS and the University.