International Student – On Campus Employment Process

On Campus Employment is perfect for international students who need extra money and experience.  However, employment in the US is not enough to defray the cost international tuition and schools expenses.

The Process of on-campus employment for an international student is similar to ordinary US citizens.

Step 1 – Job application through the school employment website. Visit the school career services to help you navigate the website, explore internship opportunity and write resumes.

Step 2 -Landing an interview. There is no magic bullet for this step and purely based on luck especially if there are 200 applicants. If you get an interview schedule, prepare and do your best.

Step 3 – Hired for the job.  If the manager decides to hire you, inform him or her that you are an international student.  Certain jobs (such as work-study) are not meant for overseas students. You can be hired if there are no restrictions.  Ask for a job offer letter which should contain your name, hiring department information, job description, hours of work per week, and requested starting date.

Step 4 – Get the recommendation letter from the DSO/International Advisor. Bring the job offer letter to the DSO to request for this recommendation. It should include verification of good academic/legal status and DSO recommendation that the job on campus is in fact appropriate for international students.

Step 5 – Obtain a social security number. Bring your I-20 (or DS-2019), passport, visa page, I-94, driver’s license, student ID, and birth certificate in English.  The birth certificate is not required.  However, the social security office asks for it. It will take between 2-4 weeks for this process. Inform your hiring manager right away.

Step 6 – Finish the Hiring process. You can now finish the HR process just like anyone else after receiving your social security card.



* International students can only work up to 20 hours per week during semesters. You may work full time during summer or holidays.

* Working foreign students must file tax returns.  This will not affect your status as student.  However, it can affect the adjudication result for change of status in the future like changing to H1b or Green Card.

* What is considered an On-Campus Job? All school-supported employment opportunities are on-campus jobs.  A vendor or third party entity serving school students is considered on-campus employment.  For example, international students can work in Starbucks in the school cafeteria.

* International Student Social Security Number is for on-campus employment only.  You can only work off campus if you have an Employment Authorization Document (for OPT or CPT). Never use the EAD to find work outside the campus or you will be caught.  Such violation can lead to immediate deportation. International student’s SSN usually starts with “7” or “8”. It means you cannot apply for financial aid.  Some financial aid counselors are confused with this.  Please do not try to exploit the system. If the USCIS finds out, you will be in very deep trouble.

Marian Moore – Social Media Manager

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