WORK ON CAMPUS
International students in the U.S. in F-1 status may not accept off-campus employment unless they receive authorization from USCIS. Working without authorization is one of the most serious violations of visa status and can result in you having to return home to obtain a new visa. It can also result in immediate deportation. Please talk to Aaron, Luyen, or Kara if you have any questions about employment authorization.
If you accept an on-campus job, then consult the W-4 Form instructions under the Taxes section of this website for more information on filling out this document. You will need your W-4 to give to your employer for tax purposes. Be sure to update you information in Glacier.
You will also need to complete and sign a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Further information about completing this form and establishing identity and employment eligibility as an international student can be found on the USCIS website.
Student Employment as Financial Aid
On-campus employment is considered a form of financial aid. Students authorized to work on campus by the Financial Aid Office may do so without any special work authorization, but are governed by the following immigration rules:
- Employment is performed on the school's premises, or considered student employment by the Financial Aid Office.
- Employment must not exceed 20 hours per week when school is in session.
- Employment may be full-time when school is not in session if the student is both eligible and intends to register for the next term.
- Students may not be employed on campus after completion of their studies (unless doing this under the terms for Optional Practical Training) or graduation.
Finding a Job
For their first year of student employment, students are placed by the Student Employment Office in available positions. These placements are the result of matching a department's job requirements to the student's skills, abilities, and experience indicated on the financial aid "Application for Student Employment" form.
After the first year of employment, students are responsible for their own placement. Every spring, students are able to participate in a job search. This self-placement process informally continues up to late summer, at which time first-year and transfer students may be placed in these other departments. Jobs can be found online at the Student Employment Job Post or through direct communication with the department for which the student wishes to work.
Macalester College uses a job classification process to ensure that all student employees are being paid equally while working in similar positions. Student Employment determines the tier level and pay rates in accordance with comparable positions in other departments and tier guidelines. First year students generally work 10-12 hours to reach their maximum student employment award.
Non-Aid Student Employment
Students who do not have a student employment award as a part of their financial aid package may request a Student Employment Authorization Form. The only time a student can be employed who does not demonstrate financial need is if the position is a Tier II or Tier III job and requires a higher or specific skill. Jobs that any student can be easily trained to perform are graded Tier I, or do not require higher or specific skills. These types of jobs are only available to financial need students.
Social Security Number (SSN)
In order to be employed at Macalester or anywhere in the U.S., students must have a valid U.S. government-issued Social Security number. A Social Security card is necessary in order to be employed in the U.S., but it is only valid for employment if you (as an F-1 student) have employment authorization granted by USCIS or ISP. When filling out your W-4 form to present to your employer, you will have to write down your Social Security number; however, students who have been granted permission to work are not required to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes during the first 5 years they are in the U.S.
The summer employment program is administered by the Student Employment Office for the months of June, July, and August. Employment may be full-time or part-time.
CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)
CPT is the employment authorization used for a paid or unpaid internship, for which you must receive academic credit.
You are limited to 12 months of full-time CPT; however, you may accumulate the 12 months throughout your Macalester experience. Additionally, there is no limit to the amount of times you may work part-time.
- Find an internship.
- Complete the Internship Learning Contract from the Internship Office.
- Bring completed Learning Contract to Aaron, Kara, or Luyen to have it entered into SEVIS and to obtain new I-20 with CPT notation.
- Bring a completed Learning Contract to the Registrar's Office to register your internship for credit.
Time to complete authorization process: approximately 1 day (plus internship search)
SEVERE ECONOMIC HARDSHIP (SEH)
You may apply for SEH if something unforeseen has happened to your financial situation (e.g., significant devaluation of your currency, loss of a sponsor, or an unexpected change in your family's income).
Authorization is for one year and it is renewable. Authorization allows you to work 20 hours or fewer while school is in session and full-time during the breaks (i.e., between semesters, during summers, and over Spring Break).
- Write a cover letter to USCIS explaining the unforseen financial hardships beyond your control which necessitate applying for Severe Economic Hardship.
- Complete the Form I-765 (pdf form).
- Get two passport Photos (at Kinkos or Walgreens).
- Decide the dates you wish to be employed.
- Visit Aaron, Kara, or Luyen at ISP to have information entered into SEVIS.
- Bring check for $410 made payable to "Department of Homeland Security."
- Mail Form I-765, photos, and check to:
P.O. Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Time to complete authorization process: approximately 80-120 days
CHECK SEH PETITION STATUS
OBTAIN A TEMPORARY SEH CARD
If your employment authorization card (called an EAD) has not been approved after 90 days, you are eligible to get a temporary (usually 3 month) card at the district USCIS Office. (Note: If the card has been approved but has not yet arrived, you are not eligible for a temporary EAD.)
To get a temporary card, take the following to the USCIS District Office:
- Your receipt (I-797c) from USCIS that your petition (I-765) is being processed
- Your passport, valid for at least 6 months into the future
- Your I-94 printout
- Your I-20, which shows a notation for SEH
Hours: The St. Paul District Office (in Bloomington, by the Mall of America) is open to the public Monday-Thursday from 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM.
Employment Info for Student and Employer
See the below resource for information on how to talk to your potential employer about hiring international students.