Definition of "Employment"
“Employment” is any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. If you receive no pay or other benefit for the work performed and the position is normally an unpaid position, this activity is considered to be volunteer work. (Adapted from UNCIS web site) Learn more about volunteering. (pdf)
You should always consult with the Dean of the College Office’s before beginning any employment. Please note that it is your responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations which apply to students in F-1 status, including employment regulations. Any illegal employment - even for one day, even if you did not know it was illegal - poses a threat to your ability to remain in or return to the U.S. Make sure that you have the necessary employment authorization before you begin work.
Different requirements exist for each type of employment, but there are basic requirements that must be met for any employment of students in F-1 status:
- You must currently be in valid F-1 status – fully enrolled for a full course of study (or have recently completed study, for post-completion optional practical training.)
- You must be authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland and/or the Dean of the College’s office.
Once employment is authorized, you must maintain eligibility or you may lose your right to continue employment.
Categories of F-1 Student EmploymentOn-Campus Employment
- Haverford College - Haverford students in valid F-1 status are permitted to work on campus for a total of 20 hours per week when school is in session or full-time during annual vacations. Any work performed through the College’s campus employment program, whether in the Dining Center/Coop, the library, offices, or labs, is always acceptable. Work required by a fellowship or assistantship is also acceptable.
- Other Employment on Haverford's Premises - This includes work performed on campus for an outside contractor or firm if this work provides direct services to students.
- Work off Campus Which Qualifies as On-Campus Employment - Certain types of employment performed at an off-campus site are defined as "on-campus employment": (1) the location is educationally affiliated with Haverford, (2) the educational affiliation is associated with Haverford's establishment, and (3) the work is an integral or important part of your program of study. Working at Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore Colleges fits the above criteria. However, working at the University of Pennsylvania or Villanova University, for example, do not qualify under this provision as the cooperative arrangements are limited.
To be eligible for off-campus employment, you must have been in F-1 status for one academic year. For a student who has changed to F-1 status, after registering as a fulltime student in another visa status which permits a student to study, the time in other status will count toward the 9-month requirement.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Current students in F-1 status who have been enrolled on a full-time basis for an academic year in an educational institution which has been approved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) are eligible for 12 months of optional practical training. Students may work for a U.S. employer in a job that is directly related to his or her MAJOR program of study.
OPT provides an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge obtained in an academic program to a practical work experience. This employment opportunity must be directly related to your major field of study. It may, in certain circumstances, be full or part time and may take place anywhere in the U.S. You may apply to use OPT during your vacation periods, during the academic year, or when you complete your studies. OPT requires authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services/Vermont Service Center before you can start to work (this authorization typically takes eight to twelve weeks to obtain). You must apply before the termination of your time here at Haverford. All graduating seniors must finish this process before on or before March 15th. PLEASE PLAN EARLY!
Post-completion OPT: If your major is in one of the STEM degree fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics), you may be eligible for an additional 17 months, making this a total of 29 months. U.S. employers hiring students for OPT must be registered in the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services E-Verify employment. For complete information on the procedures for applying for OPT, contact the Mentor for International Students. You can also visit http://www.ice.gov/sevis/students/ for information on this new ruling of post-completion OPT.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
For further information on CPT, please refer to the International Students' Handbook, page 18.
Internship with an International Organizations
If you are offered employment in the form of an internship by a recognized international organization, you may accept such employment upon receipt of authorization from the Citizenship and Immigration Services/Vermont Service Center. Examples of recognized organizations include the United Nations, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc. For more information, consult with the Mentor of International Students.
Severe Economic Hardship
If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, you may request off-campus employment based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Authorization to work must be approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services/Vermont Service Center.
- Social Security - In order to work in the United States you will need a Social Security Number (SSN). To apply, please contact Denise Allison in the Dean’s Office for an application and instructions.
- Taxes - Students in F-1 status who have been in the U.S. for less than five years are exempt from Social Security (also known as FICA) and Medicare taxes. You should be sure to bring this to your employer as they might not know about this provision of the tax laws. If you need further information about the F-1 Social Security and Medicare tax exemption, please see Internal Revenue Service Publication 519 U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. Students in F-1 status are subject to all other taxes that may apply: federal, state and local (but check Publication 901 U.S. Tax Treaties to see if your country is one of the few that has a tax treaty within the U.S. allowing students to exclude a limited amount of earned income from federal taxation.)
For complete step-by-step instructions on On-Campus Employment, Off-Campus Employment, Optional Practical Training, Curricular Practical Training, Internship with an International Organization, and Severe Economic Hardship, please make an appointment to see the Director of International Student Services.