All the forms YOU need as an international student attending NCWU. Everything from employment requests, maintaining your status and letters of request can all be found here in the international forms resources. If you cannot find a specific form, please contact us and we will supply the forms you need to be compliant with attending college in the United States.
North Carolina Wesleyan University Employment Options for F-1 Students:
This is an introduction to employment issues and options for international students in F-1 status at North Carolina Wesleyan University (NCWU).
The most important employment issue to consider is legal (or “authorized”) versus illegal (or “unauthorized”) employment. Make sure that any employment you plan to engage in is legal, since illegal employment poses a grave threat to your ability to remain in or return to the United States. Also make sure you have the necessary employment authorization before you begin work. Starting work without prior authorization, even if you receive authorization later, constitutes illegal employment. Again, be aware that illegal, or unauthorized, employment renders you illegally present in the US and can have serious consequences. If you have any questions concerning your eligibility or category of employment, please consult with ISS (International Student Services) before commencing employment.
Definition of Employment
Employment is any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. If you receive no pay or other benefit for the work performed and the position is normally an unpaid position, this activity is considered to be volunteer work.
Different requirements exist for each type of F-1 employment, but there are basic requirements that must be met for any F-1 employment:
- You must currently be in valid F-1 status and in good academic standing at NCWU while engaged in a full course of study, except during summer and school holidays.
- A student who is out of status is not eligible for F-1 benefits, including employment.
- Once employment is authorized, you must maintain your eligibility or you will lose your right to continue employment.
Categories of F-1 Student Employment:
F-1 students are generally permitted to work on the premises of the school that issued their currently valid I-20, while attending that school and maintaining their F-1 status. This work is part-time, limited to 20 hours per week when school is in session or full-time (40 hours a week) during holiday and vacation periods. Work on-campus is a benefit of F-1 visa status and no additional authorization is necessary. Work on the NCWU campus is permissible if it meets certain requirements. Please see the types below as defined by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
Type 1: Employment by North Carolina Wesleyan University
This refers to any on-campus work for which you receive a paycheck (or other compensation, i.e. room and board) from NCWU.
Type 2: Other Employment on the NCWU Premises
This includes work on the NCWU campus for an outside contractor if this work provides direct services to students. Please check with ISS (International Student Services) if you plan to work for an on-campus contractor.
Type 3: Certain off-campus employment where there is an official educational relationship between NCWU and the off-campus employer
USCIS regulations allow work at an off-campus location provided:
- The location is educationally affiliated with NCWU
- The educational affiliation is associated with your school’s established curriculum or is related to a graduate-level research project which your school has contracted to perform (NCWU does not currently offer graduate programs)
- The work is an integral or important part of your program of study
Clear documentation about the relationship between NCWU and the employer is required. Please consult with an ISS (International Student Services) advisor.
If you are uncertain whether any proposed employment would qualify as “on-campus” employment as described above, please consult with an ISS (International Student Services) advisor.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
An F-1 student may be eligible for CPT authorization for work experience that is a requirement or an integral component of the program of study. These experiences may include internships, student teaching, cooperative education programs and practical experiences which are a required part of the student’s academic program, or for which academic credit is granted. Students authorized for CPT will receive a new SEVIS I-20 with the CPT notation. For more information consult with an ISS (International Student Services) advisor.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
F-1 students are eligible for a total of twelve months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) per educational level. OPT provides an opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge obtained in an academic program to a practical work experience in the US. This employment opportunity must be directly related to your major field of study. Eligible students may apply for “pre-completion OPT” (before completion of program) and/or “post-completion OPT” (after completion of program). Students do not need a job offer in order to apply for OPT. OPT requires the student to have authorization from USCIS before you can begin employment. This authorization can take up to 3 months to obtain. Students recommended for OPT will receive a new SEVIS I-20 with an OPT recommendation notation. For more information consult with an ISS (International Student Services) advisor.
Internship with an International Organization
If an F-1 student is offered employment in the form of an internship by a recognized international organization, he or she may accept such employment upon receipt of authorization from USCIS. Examples of recognized international organizations include the United Nations, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc. For more information consult with an ISS (International Student Services) advisor.
F-1 students who experience a serious economic hardship due to an unforeseen change in their financial situation may qualify for off-campus employment authorization. Among the changes that may qualify a student for economic hardship authorization are unexpected loss of a scholarship, significant currency devaluation or large business loss by a financial sponsor. Students must be able to document the change in their financial situation and prove that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond their control. For more information consult with an ISS (International Student Services) advisor.
Social Security Number
In order to work in the US, you will need a valid Social Security Number (SSN). Your Wesleyan ID number is not a valid Social Security number. Students may apply for an SSN only after they have been offered a job or upon receipt of work authorization. The Social Security Administration will process your application and a number will be sent to you. The NCWU Director of International Student Services can assist with Social Security questions and also with transportation to the local Social Security Office.
In general, F-1 students who have been in the US for no more than five calendar years are exempt from Social Security (also known as FICA) and Medicare taxes. You should be sure to bring this to the attention of your employer because many employers are not familiar with this provision of the tax laws. Students in F-1 status are subject to all other taxes that may apply: federal, state and local.
Employment Eligibility Verification
Within the first three days of beginning work, you and your employer must complete a form entitled Employment Eligibility Verification (USCIS Form I-9). This form should be provided by your employer and must be updated each time you receive a renewal of your work permission.
To apply for an official letter for any of the reasons below, download the form, fill out the necessary information and select which letter you are requesting. Please allow 5-7 business days for your letter to be processed. The letter will be emailed to you or you may pick it up in the department of International Student Services (ISS).
- Urgent Travel Letter
- Urgent Visa Interview
- Family/Friend Invitation Letter
- Graduation Invitation
- Full-Time Student Status (proof letter)
- Reference or Recommendation
Upon arrival to the U.S. (or arrival to NCWU for SEVIS transfer students), ALL STUDENTS must complete a mandatory SEVIS Student Check-in online no later than the first day of the academic session listed as the Program Start Date on your I-20 or DS-2019. You cannot complete this step until you have arrived in the U.S.