One of the most serious violations of F-1 status, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is unauthorized employment. You must obtain work authorization before beginning an internship or employment off-campus. Failure to do so will result in termination of your status. Reinstatement is not an option.
There are several employment options available to students in F-1 Status. The first of these options is part time on-campus employment. With rare exceptions, off-campus employment options are limited to Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
Be aware that all employment will require a social security number and will also require you to file an annual tax return. In addition, employers are required to verify and keep on file documentation for all their employees, citizens, permanent residents and non-citizens that the employee is eligible to work in the United States.
On-campus employment must be performed on the school's premises. This can be student employment in one of the school's offices, work in the library or bookstore etc. The work must be for an office, department or college affiliated employer which provides services to students. In other words, working construction for a contractor on campus would not qualify, even if the jobsite is on-campus.
On-campus employment for F-1 students is limited to 20 hours a week or fewer during semesters when class is in session. Students may work on-campus full time during semester breaks and summer vacation.
On campus employment may commence as soon as the student is in F-1 status, but only within 30 days before the start of classes.
Off campus employment requires special authorization from the International Student Advisor and in the case of OPT from the (USCIS). There are three options for off campus authorized employment. The two most common options are CPT and OPT. A third option is an internship with an international organization recognized under the International Organization Immunities Act.
The United States Government requires that all international students file federal income tax form(s) every year, even if they have not received any income. Taxes can be filed as early as January 1st and as late as April 15th without penalty. If you were employed during the previous fiscal year, you will receive a W-2 from your (previous) employer. This document will be required when filling out your tax forms. If you have not received your W-2 by March 1st, you should contact your employer directly.
Simmons College, in collaboration with Colleges of the Fenway, subscribes to CINTAX (Complete International Tax) preparation software. Every spring an e-mail is sent to our F-1 and J-1 international students and scholars to provide CINTAX log-in information. It is recommended that you consult a tax preparer that specializes in international matters if you have additional tax questions. Your International Student Adviser is not a certified public accountant and is prohibited from advising you on most tax related questions.