Employment as an International Student
U.S. government regulations require F-1 students to be in the U.S. for the primary purpose of attending school. In general, employment in the U.S. is restricted. However, there are employment possibilities for F-1 students.
On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and is available full-time during school vacations and holidays. On-campus employment is defined as work done on the premises of Angelo State University’s campus.
You must make an appointment at the Center for International Studies (CIS) for Social Security Processing.
Forms needed to apply for a social security card:
Letter from your Potential On-Campus Employer
- You must obtain a letter from your potential employer. The letter must be written on ASU letterhead.
Letter from the Center for International Studies
- The Center for International Studies will write a letter for you verifying that you are enrolled as a full-time student at ASU. (We cannot give you this letter until 12 class days after school has started.)
Application for Social Security Card
- Applications can be obtained at the Social Security Administration Office or online.
Passport and Visa
- You must have your passport and visa to take to the Social Security Administration Office for identification purposes. They do not accept any other form of identification.
I-94 Arrival/Departure Card (Paper or Electronic)
- You will need to take a copy of your I-94 Arrival/Departure card.
Current I-20 from ASU
- You will also need to take your current non-expired ASU I-20. This proves that you are a student of ASU and are allowed to apply for a Social Security Card.
When you have the above documents, submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org by PDF file (no pictures) and list the days and times you are available for a virtual meeting (Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST). CIS staff will assist in setting you up in the tax system and set a time for you to print and sign forms. You will then be able to go to the social security office and apply.
The Social Security Administration Office is located at 40 West Twohig Suite 100, San Angelo, Texas. You will need to provide your own transportation to the social security office.
The following guidelines have been set by the Social Security Administration for the letter of employment that F-1 international students are required to obtain from the employer prior to applying for a Social Security Number.
Social Security Administration Guidelines
An original letter or statement from the F-1 student’s employer must be typed or written on the employer’s (school or company) letterhead and show all of the following:
- Name of the F-1 student employee
- Description of the employment
- Anticipated or actual employment start date no more than 30 days in the future at the time of application for an SSN
- Number of hours the student is expected to work (at least 12 hours but no more than 20 hours per week)
- Employer Identity Number (EIN). If you are working at ASU our EIN is: 756002403
- Employer contact information, including the telephone number and the name of the F-1 student’s immediate supervisor
- Verification of the employment status (i.e. student has been hired)
- Original signature with signatory’s title and date
Below is a sample template that you may use to write the letter for the Social Security Administration.
Please make sure you print your letter on university/company letterhead.
- International Students and Social Security Numbers
- Employer Responsibilities When Hiring Foreign Workers
Other Types of Employment
An F-1 student may qualify for optional practical training, OPT, which allows the student to engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in his or her field of study for a maximum of 12 months per educational level.
- The student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a SEVP-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for OPT.
- OPT is available after completion of the academic program or degree.
- Students in English language training programs are not eligible for OPT.
- Work must be directly related to the student’s major area of study.
Steps on How to Apply:
- Before the CIS meets with students to “apply for OPT,” we set up “Pre-OPT Meetings” to meet with you virtually to discuss the OPT Application Process and to answer any questions you may have. After your virtual meeting, you will complete all of the OPT Application paperwork, and then you can set up an in-person meeting with Meghan or Marley to formally apply for OPT.
- After you have reviewed all of the information and have your list of questions prepared, please schedule your virtual Pre-OPT Meeting.
Currently, USCIS has posted processing times for OPT Applications from 1.5 to 12.5 months. However, normal processing times for OPT Applications are around 90 days – so, we can file your application no more than 90 days before your graduation date and no more than 60 days after graduation.
Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, is training that is an integral (i.e., required) part of the student’s curriculum. CPT is defined as employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum, including: “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)].
CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program, and you must have a job offer at the time of application. Students must maintain full-time enrollment during fall and winter CPT. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program. The full-time enrollment requirement means that most students have to limit their CPT during the academic year.
In order for the Center for International Studies (CIS) to consider your CPT Internship request, please complete the steps below. Once we have all your required documentation, the CIS will review the documentation. If approved for CPT, the CIS will provide you with an updated SEVIS Form I-20 indicating the approval for CPT. You should provide your internship employer with a copy of this endorsed I-20 proving you are authorized to participate in the internship opportunity.
- Register and pay for the internship course during the semester of participation. If you drop or withdraw from the internship course – your CPT will be terminated.
- Submit to the CIS Office - An email from either the professor of the course, the academic advisor, or the department chair/dean stating that this internship is required in order to complete the program, as well as the benefit of this internship. (A sample email can be provided to your department – upon request – to facilitate the process.)
Submit to the CIS Office - A scanned and emailed letter on business letterhead from the business where the student will perform the internship, stating the following:
- Basic job duties
- Supervisor name and contact information
- Start date and end date of employment (which must coincide with the semester dates – the student may not work before or after the semester dates)
- Whether the student will work part time or full time during the semester
IMPORTANT NOTES REGARDING CPT
CPT approval from the CIS is not guaranteed just because the student submits paperwork for consideration. CPT authorization is reviewed on an individual basis according to student degree plans - and in accordance with academic department, university, and immigration regulations.
It is the student’s responsibility to complete and submit all necessary CPT paperwork to the CIS for authorization before the internship is scheduled to begin. It is not your academic advisor’s or department’s responsibility to submit paperwork to the CIS on your behalf for your CPT authorization.
Students must submit all of their required documents to the CIS for CPT consideration no later than two weeks in advance of the start date of employment (CPT – internship employment).
A student may not begin work (internship) at the business until the CIS has provided the student with the CPT-endorsed SEVIS Form I-20 - and the start date of the internship has been reached. Additionally, the student may NOT continue to work (intern) at the business after the internship has ended. This is considered unauthorized employment by the Department of Homeland Security and could be grounds for termination.
If the internship course can be repeated for credit – the student must repeat this process in its entirety to continue to participate in the internship (each semester). If the course may not be repeated for credit – the student may not continue to participate in CPT.
Virtual appointments can be requested if you have questions about CPT or this process. We will be happy to answer your questions!
These documents are required to be completed when you attend your in-person OPT Appointment in the CIS Office:
- I-765 OPT Application
- G-1145 Electronic Notification Form
- All previously issued SEVIS I-20s (We will make copies of these to send along with the application. Even though the checklist does not mention to bring them, we still like to do this.)
- Passport and F-1 Visa – again we will make copies for you.
- Check or Money Order for the $410 Filing Fee (The Filing Fee is subject to change.)
- Two Passport-Size Photos issued within the last 6 months, etc.
We recommend you type your OPT Application (I-765) and Electronic Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (G-1145) Form. Note: When you get to the physical address, you will not be able to type your address. You can print your address, in black ink only, on the form. It does not need to be typed.
Special Note #1: Please do not forget to bring all your SEVIS I-20s with you to your in-person OPT Appointment. We will need to send copies of them with your OPT Application.
Special Note #2: Unfortunately, the CIS is not able to assist with taking your passport-style photos at this time. You can have photos taken at either Walgreens or CVS for approximately $15. Please make sure to bring your photos with you to your in-person OPT Appointment.
If you have any questions, please be sure to write them down so we can answer them at your appointment!
An F-1 student engaged in pre-completion OPT follows the same procedure for visits abroad and re-entry as all F-1 students.
An F-1 student who is engaged in post-completion OPT and who travels outside the U.S. temporarily (i.e., less than five months) can be readmitted to resume employment for the remainder of the period authorized on his or her EAD card, provided the student:
- Presents a Form I-20 endorsed by the DSO within the preceding six months
- Presents an unexpired EAD and is returning to resume employment
- Presents a valid F-1 visa (unless exempt)
Students approved for post-completion OPT continue to be in F-1 status. Therefore, they are subject to the requirements that they have an I-20 endorsed for travel and an EAD - and also to the requirement that they have a valid F-1 visa to re-enter the U.S., unless they are exempt from the visa requirement.