International students, in good standing, are eligible for some types of employment.
Types of Employment
While classes are in session, you may work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week in any campus job. During breaks and holidays, you may work up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.
In some cases, you may be authorized to work off-campus. You must have written authorization from USCIS prior to obtaining employment. For more information, see below.
CPT (Curricular Practical Training)
Often referred to as an internship and a benefit offered to WC international students with 57 credits or more and who have been in status for a minimum of one academic year. Interested students should contact the Internship Coordinator in the Career Office and then consult with the Director of International Student Services.
- Credit is required, either during the academic year or during the summer. (See Internship Coordinator as noted above for more information on how to receive internship credit at Westminster.)
- Employment must be related to academic area of study.
- Requires authorization by DSO (Designated School Official), which is employer and date-specific.
- NO fee required except tuition costs for internship credit.
- Must complete and submit Form 110 to the International Student Services Office.
OPT (Optional Practical Training)
Optional Practical Training, or OPT, is an employment benefit of F-1 student status that is generally used after graduation. For more details on OPT, contact Courtney Richter, Director of International Student Services.
- Employment must be related to academic area of study, and must be full-time (at least 21 hours per week).
- Requires prior authorization from USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services), and you must have received your Employment Authorization Document before beginning work.
- Must complete Form I-765 for USCIS, and receive a new I-20 from OISS.
- Fee is required (Approximately $380).
Severe Economic Hardship
Benefit available to international students in F-1 status after 1 year. Employment need not be related to academic area of studies.
- Must be able to demonstrate financial need and a change of financial situation since initial I-20
- Requires notification & clearance by DSO and authorization from USCIS
- Must complete form I-765 for USCIS. Application requirement includes written statement by student indicating reasons for request and documents supporting those reasons (i.e. bank statements, affidavits, sponsorship letters, etc.)
- Fee is required ($380)
You must have a valid passport at all times. We recommend your passport always be valid for at least six months into the future. If you need to renew or replace your passport, contact your home country's embassy or consulate right away.
It is important that you clearly understand what your I-20 says. It must reflect your situation exactly and MUST NOT BE EXPIRED. Please contact the campus DSO immediately if any changes need to be made (this includes an extension of program, change of major or financial resources, transfer to another school and others). You must keep all of your I-20's, whether or not they are currently valid.
The I-94 is the small white card that was stapled into your passport when you first entered the U.S. This card is small but mighty. Your I-94 should remain stapled in your passport at all times. If you lose your I-94, contact the DSO immediately.
Social Security Numbers
International students may apply for a free social security number by checking with the Director of International Student Services. You must have a job offer before you can apply for a social security number. Students will need an application, letter of good standing from Director of International Student Services, I-20, passport, visa, and I-94.
Filing Taxes & Form 8843
If you were physically present in the United States during the year prior to our current year, you must file a tax return. You should file a US tax return (usually Form 1040 NR-EZ) by April 15 of the current year if:
- You earned taxable income in the previous year, either from on or off campus employment and / or from a scholarship which is greater than tuition, or...
- Your income was subject to withholding, even if no tax was withheld.
NOTE: Even if you did not earn income in the previous year and are exempt from filing a tax return, you must file Form 8843. ALL non-resident aliens who were physically present in the United States at any time during the previous year must file this form to explain exemption. Form 8843 must be postmarked no later than June 15 of the current year.
Maintenance of Status
IMPORTANT NEWS YOU CAN USE!
F-1 students are required to have a valid unexpired Form I-20. F-1's must follow the regulations governing their non-immigrant (F-1 student) status. For example, an F-1 student should not engage in unauthorized employment or drop below full-time enrollment without prior authorization. For more detailed information and for updates regarding new regulations in immigration, please speak with the Director of the Office of International Student Services. Then watch for and READ updates sent to your Westminster e-mail account.
(Please note that Courtney Richter serves as your Primary Designated School Official (PDSO). An additional campus DSO, Kelle Silvey, is available in Enrollment Services.)
*The Department of Homeland Security & those bureaus affiliated with immigration (in particular, the US Citizenship & Immigration Services or USCIS) require the periodic reporting of certain records and events relating to immigration status to remain in compliance with immigration regulations and SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitor Information System).
RESOURCES to check out...
Immigration > www.uscis.gov & www.ice.gov
IRS / Internal Revenue Service > www.irs.gov
Social Security Administration > www.ssa.gov
U.S. Department of State > www.state.gov
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS, please do not hesitate to contact the Director of the Office of International Student Services, Courtney Richter, at 573-592-5182, via e-mail, or drop by the office in Room 146 Westminster Hall. We're here to serve you!