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On-Campus Employment

F-1 student are allowed to work on-campus as long as they are maintaining F-1 Status.

An "On campus" employer is defined as an employer located on campus that is providing direct services to students.

On-campus work may generally be divided into three types:

  1. Work on the school premises, employed by the I-20 issuing institution
  2. Work on the school premises, employed by on-campus commercial firms
  3. Work done at off-campus locations, but treated as on-campus

Summarized regulations for F-1 students on campus work:

  • You cannot work more than 20 hours while school is in session (fall and spring semesters).
  • You must be a full-time student (Undergraduate students 12 hours/Graduate students 9 hours) and in legal F-1 status.
  • You can work full-time (over 20 hours) when school is not in session (i.e., spring break) and during annual vacation (summer).
  • University Policy (not immigration) limits Graduate Assistants to working only 75% if taking classes during the summer and also working.
  • You may work on campus only at the school listed on your I-20.
  • You may not work after your graduation date or completion of studies.
  • F-1 students are only permitted to work in student employee or graduate student employee positions.

Although no specific immigration related authorization for on-campus employment is required, you must remember that on-campus employment is contingent on maintaining your full-time student status. For example, if you drop below full-time hours without authorization from our office, your permission to work on-campus is immediately canceled. If you continue to work you are violating U.S. law and will become "unlawfully present" in the U.S. If you have any questions about this program, please make an appointment to see an International Student Advisor.

Quick-reference: Characteristics of F-1 On-Campus Employment

Characteristic Note
Preconditions Eligible immediately upon obtaining F-1 status; no waiting period. In transfer scenarios, can begin at the transfer-in school after the transfer release date, but no sooner than 30 days before the program start date on the transfer-in school's I-20.
Location Must be considered "on-campus"
Duration Can be used throughout period student is pursuing a full course of study. Cannot be used after a student completes the course of study.
Hours per week Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; can be full-time during official school breaks.
Field/level of work Can be in any on-campus position that does not displace a U.S. worker; does not have to be related to course of study.
Offer of employment Not required as a condition of eligibility.
Effect on other work on campus All 214.2(f)(9)(i) on-campus work is treated the same for the 20 hour per week limit; e.g., a teaching assistant working 15 hours per week can only work 5 additional hours per week in another on-campus job
Approval process Employment is "incident to status," and does not require DSO or DHS approval. But see 11.F.2 Social Security Numbers, for a discussion of SSA requirements for obtaining a Social Security Number
Miscellaneous Employment must not displace a U.S. resident [8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i)].

Steps for On-Campus Employment

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  • Visit the Career Services website, use the Job4Cats (Handshake) portal to search for on-campus employment.

    Once you have created a profile, make sure to upload a current resume, an application (that you can download from the resources page on the Jobs4Cats website) and if possible your academic schedule. Then search for job-postings that are on-campus.

    International students are not eligible for Work-Study positions, you may apply for Regular Wage jobs.

    You can call Career Services at 512-245-2645 or stop by the Career Services office located on the 5th floor of the LBJ Student Center for assistance using Jobs4Cats or creating a resume.

  • Work eligibility for International Students and what you need to apply for a Social Security Card

    F-1 students maintaining their F-1 status are eligible to work on campus, please see the instructions below on how to get a SSN card.

    If you have been offered a job on campus you will need to take the following forms to the Social Security Administration Office:  

    1. Your department/employer must write a letter requesting the International Office to write a letter on your behalf to the Social Security Administration.  The letter should be in the correct format, on your department's letterhead, and follow the job offer letter template.

    2. You will bring the department's job offer letter to the international office to request a status verification letter and confirm that your SEVIS record is registered and active in the immigration database. We will then create you the status of verification letter (if needed also a new I-20).

    3. With the hiring letter and status verification letter you will proceed to the Social Security Administration's office and you must take your immigration documents: I-20, passport, visa, and I-94.

    Getting to the Social Security Administration office:

    The Social Security Administration Office in San Marcos is located near the intersection of I-35 and Hwy 80
    Click here for a handout with instructions on how to use the city bus (CARTS) to the San Marcos SSA Office

  • After obtaining a Social Security Receipt or Card, you must meet with the Payroll and Tax Compliance Office to:

    - Determine your correct tax status for federal Income tax purposes- Resident Alien or Nonresident Alien
    - Complete your W-4 form- which is different than the form completed by U.S. citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents
    - Determine eligibility for possible Tax Treaty Benefits – possible reduction in the amount of federal income tax withheld from your paychecks.
  • International students that begin employment with the university will receive an email from HireRight to complete section 1 of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form.

    See International Student Information for Completing I-9

    For more information please contact LynnAnn Brewer, Office of Human Resources, JCK 340, Phone (512) 245-6583, Email:

    • On-campus employment must either be performed on the school's premises, (including on-location commercial firms which provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or cafeteria), or at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the school.
    • Employment with on-site commercial firms, such as a construction company building a school building, which do not provide direct student services is not deemed on-campus employment for the purposes of this paragraph.
    • In the case of off-campus locations, the educational affiliation must be associated with the school's established curriculum or related to contractually funded research projects at the post-graduate level. In any event, the employment must be an integral part of the student's educational program.
    • Employment authorized under this paragraph must not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session, unless the Commissioner suspends the applicability of this limitation due to emergent circumstances, as determined by the Commissioner, by means of notice in the Federal Register, the student demonstrates to the DSO that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship resulting from the emergent circumstances, and the DSO notates the Form I-20 in accordance with the Federal Register document.
    • An F-1 student may, however, work on campus full-time when school is not in session or during the annual vacation.
    • A student who has been issued a Form I-20 A-B to begin a new program in accordance with the provision of 8 CFR 214.3(k) and who intends to enroll for the next regular academic year, term, or session at the institution which issued the Form I-20 A-B may continue on-campus employment incident to status.
    • Otherwise, an F-1 student may not engage in on-campus employment after completing a course of study, except employment for practical training as authorized under paragraph (f)(10) of this section.
    • An F-I student may engage in any on-campus employment authorized under this paragraph which will not displace United States residents. In the case of a transfer in SEVIS, the student may only engage in on-campus employment at the school having jurisdiction over the student's SEVIS record.
    • Upon initial entry to begin a new course of study, an F-1 student may not begin on-campus employment more than 30 days prior to the actual start of classes.