There are three ways that F-1 International Students may be employed in the United States: campus employment, Curricular Practical Training, and Optional Practical Training. J-1 exchange students may seek employment as a part of their exchange program, on campus and off campus.
Be aware that it is your responsibility to follow the limits and laws governing your non-immigrant status in the United States. If you seek unauthorized employment your status will be compromised.
Please follow the links to the left for information on the different types of employment.
Social Security is a U.S. government agency which is in charge of caring for retirees. It serves as a basic retirement plan. Everyone who is employed in the United States must have a social security number. International students are exempt from Social Security Tax. If this tax is being out of your paycheck, you are eligible for a refund by filing IRS Form 843. If that is the case, contact your payroll office.
In order to obtain a social security number, you must go to the Bridgeport Social Security Office (35 Courtland St, Bridgeport, CT 06604) and provide the following:
Obtaining a social security number is free. Make sure that you get all of your documents back from the social security office. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of International Students.
If you work in the United States and earn a salary or wage, you will likely have to pay both U.S. Federal and Connecticut State income taxes. Federal and State tax returns are usually due on April 15 of every year, for the earnings of the previous calendar year. In most cases, a percentage of your income will be withheld by your employer each month or each pay period for tax purposes. This "withholding tax" of the Federal government is an estimate of the taxes due on your amount of earnings. Every employer is required to report total earnings for the calendar year and the total amount of taxes that have been withheld. This report (W-2) must be sent to the employee and to the Federal government early in January of each year.
F-1 and J-1 students do not pay social security taxes (FICA). If social security taxes are deducted from your earnings, you are entitled to a refund. This refund may be claimed by your employer by submitting IRS Form 941c, or it may be claimed by you by submitting IRS Form 843. In either case, the claim should be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service office in which the employer's returns were filed, if known. The Payroll Office at Fairfield University may be able to assist you. If that information is not available, submit the claim to the Internal Revenue Service where you filed your tax return.
The amount of taxes you must pay to the U.S. government and the State of Connecticut could be affected by the length of your stay in the United States, a tax treaty between your country and the United States, or your visa and the type of employment you hold, or the source of the payment you are receiving. By law, foreign students are only permitted to claim either 0 or 1 exemption on their W-4 forms, unless they are a married citizen of Canada, Japan, Mexico, or South Korea. Questions regarding exemptions, withholding, or tax treaties should be directed to either the Payroll Office or the Internal Revenue Service. Also see Internal Revenue Publication 519.
As an F-1 international student you are allowed to work on campus. You are employable by any office of Fairfield University, faculty, or staff. Keep in mind that you may also seek employment with Sodexho (campus dining service), as long as you work on the Fairfield University campus. You may only work part-time on campus. Part-time is defined as 20 hours or less. You are not allowed payment for any work exceeding 20 hours.
Some of the places on campus seeking to hire international students are:
Recreation Complex - Ext. 4140
Sodexho - Ext. 2581
Quick Center for the Arts - Ext. 4010
Language Department (Oral Practice Session)
Library - Ext. 2188
Bookstore - Ext. 4262
Once hired, the office where you will be working needs to give you an Employment Offer Letter. You need to make an appointment at the Office of Student Engagement and present this letter. The Office of International Students will provide you with On-Campus Work Permit.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a form of paid or unpaid employment which allows you to put your classroom knowledge to practice. CPT must be an integral part of your curriculum. This will take form of an internship or practicum which is directly related to your program of study. CPT may be either full-time or part-time. Part-time is defined as 20 hours or less, anything above 20 hours is considered full-time. However, you may only work part-time while school is in session (fall and spring semesters).
CPT is a benefit that is offered to visa holding students and not all internships qualify for CPT. Please, contact email@example.com to inquire about the CPT eligibility of any internship, whether it is paid or unpaid.
Once you have gathered and submitted all of the above documents, the OSE-ISL will confirm your eligibility. Your SEVIS Form I-20 will then be endorsed for work authorization. You will need to show this endorsement to your employer. Be sure to properly sign your new Form I-20.
Important Notes and Limitations
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Similarly to CPT, Optional Practical Training is temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student's major area of study. However, OPT is not part of the curriculum, and therefore doesn't redeem any academic credit. OPT can occur while school is in session (pre-completion OPT) or after the completion of all courses and requirements for a degree (post-completion OPT). For each educational level (B.A./B.S., M.A./M.S., PhD.) you are allowed 12 months of OPT.
Important Notes and Limitations