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Student Employment

F-1 and J-1 Student On-Campus Employment

All students in F-1 and J-1 status are eligible to engage in part-time work on-campus. The best place to search for on-campus student employment is through the WVU Career Services employment website Handshake

Please note that 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. It is a serious violation of F-1 or J-1 status to work more than the approved hours. More information can be found here -

Know Your Rights (Wilberforce Pamphlet) from the Department of State. An information pamphlet describing your rights while working in the United States.

After obtaining an offer of employment, please follow the applicable steps below (in order) before beginning any on-campus work.

Steps to Process for Payroll

  1. Enroll full-time

    12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 for graduate students. You will not be able to proceed until you are enrolled full-time.

  2. Complete SEVIS Check-in

    After arriving in the US, you must complete SEVIS Check-in online by visiting the International Student Services Request Portal. Please go to the "Requests and Documents" section once you login and select the request "SEVIS Check-In." Do not complete the request again if you already submitted them prior as it may take several days to process. 

    While waiting for SEVIS check-in to be completed by ISSS, you cannot proceed to Step 3. Once our office has verified your SEVIS Check-in request, you will receive an automated notification sent to your MIX email. Only after you receive this notification, can you proceed to step 3.  Be sure to allow 2-5 business days for SEVIS Check-in to be completed by our staff.

    •  If you are a student in F-1 status who already has a valid Social Security Card, please then proceed to Step 5.
    •  If you are a student in J-1 status who already has a valid Social Security Card, you will need to request work authorization or an extension of work authorization. Both are done through the "On Campus Work Authorization request. Please login to the  International Student Services Portal  and under "Requests and Documents, you will need to click on the icon for "On Campus Work Authorization Extension," complete the steps in the request, and submit. Once our office has verified your request, you will receive an automated notification sent to your MIX email. Only after you receive this notification can you proceed to Step 5.
  3. Submit a Social Security Letter Request

    We will not issue a Social Security Letter until you are within the 30 days prior to your start date. The SSA will not issue a Social Security Number if your employment begins more than 30 days in the future.

    To submit this request, you must first obtain an Employment Verification Letter (EVL). After obtaining your EVL, you may submit a Social Security Letter Request under the "Requests and Documents" section. You must upload a copy of your EVL from your supervisor/department to the request in the appropriate section. Note that  the Social Security Administration office must have the original, ink signed copy for both the EVL and the Social Security Letter at your appointment.

    Be sure to allow 3-7 business days to process your request. We cannot expedite requests and do strive to complete the request as soon as possible. The length of time to process depends on how many requests are received in queue and if the above steps have been followed by the student making the request. Once the Social Security Letter is ready, our ISSS advisors will notify you via your MIX email when your letter is ready for pickup with an original signature.

    Since the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the SSA, and WVU payroll has moved to acceptance of electronic I-20s and DS-2019s, an original copy with DSO or ARO ink signature of the I-20/DS-2019 is typically not needed. 

    Do not proceed unless steps 1-3 are complete and you also receive the document from step 3 above. 

    We recommend e-mailing us at if you have questions about any of the steps above.

  4. Apply for a Social Security Card

    Once steps 1-3 are completed and you have all of the required documents, apply for a Social Security Card (if you do not already have a US Social Security Card) with the US Social Security Administration (SSA). You must have a Social Security Number (SSN) to work in the US.  

    Students should use their local SSA office.

    The SSA office requires original copies of all your immigration and employment documentation. You may begin the SSA process for a social security card in one of two ways:
    1. Online. 
    Visit Afterwards, you must visit the SSA office with all of your required documents within 45 days of finishing an online application. Please be sure to follow all of the online directions and bring any printout required to the SSA office once the online process is complete - this includes any receipt number of the online filing.  
    2. In person. 
    You will also need to have your SS-5 form completed with your current, accurate address included prior to arriving to the SSA office. 

    Please remember: When filling out your address on any official form while residing in the US, please be sure to use a properly formatted mail address. See the US Post Office (USPS) website for more information. Failing to use the properly formatted address will likely cause delays.         

    More information can be found on the SSA Office's website. The SSA will process your application and provide you with an application letter/receipt. Any questions concerning your social security card and/or application should be directed to the SSA office. 

  5. Open a US Bank Account

    Once you have completed Social Security Processing, you will need to open a bank account. To be able to be paid by WVU, you must have a US bank account.
  6. Process for WVU Payroll

    You can contact Tax Services for additional information on processing for payroll. Tax Services can be contacted at

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Q. What are the US federal regulations concerning student employment?

    A. US federal regulations 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”. If an international student works more than the 20 hours permitted while school is in session, it is a violation of F-1/J-1 status.

    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 "in session" defined?

    US federal regulations state that schools will be considered "in session" during the required fall/spring semesters which begin on the first day of classes and end on the last day of final exams.

    Q. How many hours are F-1/J-1 international students permitted to work on-campus during periods of break?

    A. Under US federal regulations, international students in F-1/J-1 status are permitted to work full-time during a period of break. 

    Q. How is a period of break defined and what are the recognized periods of break at WVU?

    A. A period of break is defined as any week (Monday through Friday) in which there are no scheduled classes or final exams. At WVU, a recognized period of break is generally at least one full week in duration and includes the Thanksgiving, Winter, Spring, and Summer breaks. 

    Note: A period of break is considered to be from Monday through Friday by definition based on the normal academic class schedule week. At WVU, a work week is considered to be from Sunday through Saturday by definition as the work week includes weekends, therefore an international student would be permitted to work full-time over the course of the work week (Sunday through Saturday) during a period of break.

    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, international students 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 international student will be permitted to work full-time during that week.

    If you have questions about whether you may work full-time for a specific week, please feel free to reach out to

Q. Should all international students limit their work hours to 20 hours per work week when school is in session or only international students that are "hourly" employees?

A. All international students in F-1/J-1 status should limit their hours to 20 hours per week when school is in session whether they are an hourly (clocked) employee or a GRA, GTA, or GA.

Q. Can an international student have more than one work assignment and/or supervisor?

A. Regardless of the number of work assignments that an international student has, the total number of hours that they can work is limited to 20 hours per work week when school is in session. 

If you wish to add a new work assignment, you must contact for approval. Supervisors should work together with international students who have multiple assignments to ensure that they do not exceed the total hours permitted per work week.

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 have lost their F-1/J-1 status and must depart the US. 

Q. What is the impact to the University for failure to comply with US federal regulations?

A. Failure by the University to comply with US federal regulations 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.