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All in-status F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to engage in part-time work on-campus. It is not necessarily difficult to find student jobs, and the best places to look are the Computer Labs, the Libraries, and Dining Services. It is also possible that various academic departments have non-federal jobs. Student employment is only available to students in good standing with the university. US regulation limits employment to 20 hours per week on-campus while school is in session, 40 hours on-campus otherwise.
U.S. Immigration Regulations (8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(9)(i) state that on-campus employment
must not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session. Violation will result
in immediate termination of student’s legal status in the US.
More information can be found here -
To begin working (including graduate assistants) and getting paid, you will need to do the following in order:
- Enroll full-time - 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 for graduate students.
- Complete SEVIS Check-in. SEVIS Check-in fulfills the requirements under US federal regulations for students to check in with their DSO.
- Obtain an Employment Verification Letter from your supervisor or hiring department. Be sure the letter is printed on the hiring department's letterhead.
- Submit a Request for a Social Security Letter (up to 3 business days). Here, you will upload your Employment Verification Letter from your supervisor/department. Once the letter is ready, our office will email you to pick it up.
- Apply for a Social Security Card (if you do not already have a US Social Security Card) with the US Social Security Administration. You must have a Social Security Number (SSN) to work in the US.
- You will need to bring all of your immigration and employment documents: I-20 or DS-2019, I-94, Employment Verification Letter, graduate assistantship letter (if applicable), passport, and visa. More information can be found here - Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens. The Social Security Administration Office will process your application and provide you with a receipt .
- The Social Security Administration Address in Morgantown is: 3596 Collins Ferry Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
You can contact tax services to make an appointment either by phone at 304-293- 3379, ext. 3 or by email at email@example.com. Tax Services is located at One Waterfront Place. Note: WVU's international tax services specialist is available in Purinton House every Tuesday. Be sure to bring all your immigration documents and the documents collected from the above steps.
Permission to work off campus is possible for reasons of economic hardship if on-campus employment is not sufficient. Economic hardship means extreme financial problems caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as loss of a graduate assistantship, loss of financial sponsorship, or severe inflation or devaluation of currency in the home country. Students considering applying for economic hardship should come and speak to a staff member in ISSS. To make an appointment, please visit our appointments page here - Make an Appointment with Advisor.
To be eligible to apply for off-campus employment authorization due to severe economic hardship, you must:
- Have been a student for one full academic year
- Be in good academic standing and pursuing a full course of study
- Demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with your study
- Demonstrate that the severe economic hardship is due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control and demonstrate that on-campus employment is unavailable or insufficient.
F-1 students who get approved and receive an employment authorization card (EAD) through USCIS, are required to p rovide a copy of the EAD card to ISSS.
Additional Information Concerning Worker's Rights
Know Your Rights (Wilberforce Pamphlet) from the Department of State. An information pamphlet describing your rights while working in the United States.
Q. What are the Immigration guidelines regarding student employment?
A. The Immigration guidelines state “a student may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session; full time during those periods when school is not in session or during the annual break”.
Q. How is full time employment defined?
A. The IRS defines full time on-campus employment as 40 hours per work week.
Q. How is a work week defined?
A. At WVU, a work week begins at 12am on Sunday morning and ends at 11:59pm the following Saturday night.
Q. How is a semester term defined?
Immigration guidelines state "when school is in session." For the purposes of this process, school will be considered in session during the semester term which begins with the first day of classes and ends the last day of final exams.
Q. How many hours are International Student Employees (ISEs) permitted to work during periods of break?
A. Under Immigration guidelines, ISEs are permitted to work full time during a period of break. Forty (40) hours is considered to be full time in a work week, therefore ISEs are permitted to work up to but not exceed 40 hours in a work week during a period of break.
Q. How is a period of break defined?
A. A period of break is defined as any week (Monday through Friday) in which there are no scheduled classes or final exams.
Note: A period of break is considered to be from Monday through Friday by definition based on the normal academic class schedule week. In contract, a work week is considered to be from Sunday through Saturday by definition as the work week includes weekends, therefore an ISE would be permitted to work up to 40 hours over the course of the work week (Sunday through Saturday) during a period of break.
Q. What are the recognized periods of break at WVU?
A. A recognized period of break is generally at least one full week in duration and includes the Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring breaks. Summer is also considered a period of break.
If summer is recognized as a period of break in which an ISE is permitted to work up to 40 hours during the work week, what are the rules if the ISE is enrolled at any point during the summer term?
Summer is a recognized period of break in which the ISE is permitted to work on a full-time basis regardless of credit hours enrolled. The ISE can be enrolled full-time, part-time or not at all during the summer term and still work up to 40 hours per work week.
Q. How will periods of break that are less than one week be treated?
A. If the period of break (which excludes weekends as defined above) is limited to one or two days in a work week, then the week will not be considered a period of break for this process. In this situation, ISEs will be limited to working a 20 hour work week.
If the period of break is three or more days (excluding weekends as defined above), then the week will be considered a period of break for this process and the ISE will be permitted to work up to 40 hours per work week during that week.
Q. How does WVU handle non-compliance with Immigration employment guidelines?
A. WVU has implemented a bi-weekly compliance program maintained by ISSS and the Tax Services unit.
Q. How does the monthly compliance program work?
A. Tax Services reviews the time cards on a bi-weekly basis and tracks non-compliance.
Tax Services provides ISSS with a file of ISEs that are in non-compliance with the 20 hour work rule (40 hours during a period of break).
ISSS contacts and counsels each ISE who is in non-compliance. The student's SEVIS record is terminated for unauthorized work. The student must obtain a new I-20, depart the US, and return on the new I-20.
Tax Services sends non-compliance notices to the ISE’s immediate supervisor and EBO. Each notice provides the ISE’s name, supervisor, work week of non-compliance and hours worked during that week. Each notice also documents if it is the first, second, or third non-compliance period for the ISE.
Upon receipt of the non-compliance notice, supervisors should counsel the ISE regarding the 20 hour work week guidelines including time cards, the definition of a work week and the definition of a period of break to ensure the ISE understands the rules.
All ISEs are now being advised of the Immigration guidelines as part of the on-boarding process for payroll when they process with Tax Services. They are required to sign a statement that they are aware of the Immigration guidelines and the 20 hour rule.
Q. What are the “Three Strikes” and how do they impact the ISE?
A. Upon the First Notice of non-compliance the ISE will be contacted and counseled by ISSS. The ISE’s supervisor and EBO will be notified of non-compliance via a letter from the Tax Services unit. The student's SEVIS record is terminated for unauthorized work. The student must obtain a new I-20, depart the US, and return on the new I-20.
Upon the Second Notice of non-compliance, the ISE’s employment will be immediately suspended from payroll for a period of not less than four pay cycles. During this suspension, the ISE will not be permitted to work. The ISE will be contacted and counseled by ISSS. The student's SEVIS record is terminated for unauthorized work. The student must obtain a new I-20, depart the US, and return on the new I-20. The ISE’s supervisor and EBO will be notified of the non-compliance and suspension from employment by the Tax Services unit and should enforce the suspension.
Upon the Third Notice the ISE’s employment will be immediately terminated. The ISE’s supervisor and EBO will be notified of the non-compliance and termination from employment at WVU. The ISE will not be eligible for rehire. The student's SEVIS record is terminated for unauthorized work. The student must obtain a new I-20, depart the US, and return on the new I-20.
Q. Should all ISEs limit their work hours to 20 hours per work week when school is in session or only ISEs that are hourly employees?
A. All ISEs on a student VISA should limit their hours to 20 hours per week when school is in session whether they are an hourly (clocked) employee or a salaried employee such as a GRA, GTA, or GA.
Q. What are the student VISAs that are impacted?
A. All ISEs on an “F” VISA or a “J” student VISA are impacted and required to follow the 20 hour work week Immigration guidelines.Q. What is the process when the ISE has more than one assignment and/or supervisor?
A. Regardless of the number of work assignments that an ISE has the total number of hours that they can work is limited to 20 hours per work week when school is in session. EBOs and supervisors should work together with ISEs who have multiple assignments to ensure that the ISE does not exceed the total hours permitted.
Q. What is the impact to ISEs as per Immigration guidelines for employment violations?
A. Immigration guidelines provide that any ISE who works as little as 15 minutes over the 20 hours permitted during a work week when school is in session is in non-compliance of the Immigration guidelines and subject to disciplinary action including termination of their SEVIS record for unauthorized employment. The three strikes warning process implemented by ISSS and Tax Services is focused on compliance of the University with the Immigration guidelines.
Q. What is the impact to the student if their SEVIS record is terminated?
A. When a student’s SEVIS record is terminated for any reason including unauthorized employment, they are considered to be “out of status” and must depart the US. A proven incident of unauthorized employment can lead to the individual being found to be unlawfully present in the United States which can lead to a ban of up to 10 years from returning to the US.
Q. What is the impact to the University for failure to comply with the Immigration guidelines?
A. Failure by the University to comply with the Immigration guidelines can jeopardize our international programs for all Foreign National students in that we can lose our Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certification. If WVU would lose this certification we would not be allowed to offer programs of study to any Foreign National student.
Q. What is the process if the ISE, Supervisor or EBO disagrees with non-compliance notice?
A. If the ISE disagrees with the non-compliance notice they should be directed to contact ISSS.
If the supervisor disagrees with the non-compliance notice they should contact their (1) EBO first and then (2) ISSS.
If the EBO disagrees with the non-compliance notice they should contact ISSS.
Q. If there is an error on the ISE’s time card what should I do?
A. All time card errors should first be processed through the EBO by following the chain of command. (1) ISE reports error to their immediate supervisor; (2) Supervisor reports error to their EBO.
If the EBO is unable to correct the error, the EBO should contact Tax Services at (304) 293-3379 extension 3 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Tax Services should be contacted only if there is an error or issue with the timecard. Please direct all other concerns by the ISE to ISSS office. Supervisors should direct concerns to their EBO office and then ISSS.