Eligibility and Hour Limitation
Students in F-1 status are permitted to work on-campus up to twenty hours per week, including graduate assistantships, while school is in session and forty hours per week when school is not in session or during the annual vacation. J-1 students may also work on-campus, but need special authorization from the International Education Center (or their program sponsor) before beginning employment. Both F-1 and J-1 students must be full time students and must not violate their immigration status in any way to maintain their eligibility for on-campus employment.
Finding Employment on Campus
Georgia College offers an online listing of current campus job openings at www.gcsujobs.com. Search for student openings and follow the application procedures. Please note that positions listed as "Student Employment Financial Aid" are only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who qualify for financial assistance. International students, as non-U.S. citizens, are not eligible for federal work-study positions. The following are some departments/locations where international students have been able to secure jobs that are not federal work-study: the library, the computer labs, the bookstore, the Learning Center, the Foundation, Sodexho catering services, and the Sodexho cafeteria, along with other eating establishments such as Chik-Fil-A and Books & Brew.
If you are interested in finding a job on-campus, you can apply on-line for available positions at www.gcsujobs.com and visit the various places on campus that hire students (many are listed above) to inquire about openings. If there are not jobs currently available, it's a good idea to keep checking frequently to see if any positions have opened up.
Graduate students should contact the graduate coordinators of their programs to inquire about application procedures and available positions. If awarded, students generally work on campus between 8 and 20 hours per week.
Social Security Numbers
If you are hired to work, you will need a U.S. social security number. To obtain a social security number, you must apply at the local Social Security Office by presenting a completed application form, a letter from the International Education Center (or for J-1 students, your program sponsor), a letter from your employer verifying your employment, your passport (or other official identification document issued at least for one year) and other immigration documents. It can sometimes take several weeks or months before receiving a SS card, so it is important to apply as soon as you have a job offer, but you need to wait at least 10 days after arriving to the U.S.
Neither F-1 nor J-1 students are permitted to work off campus without special authorization. If you are interested in working off-campus, it is important that you come in to the International Education Center to discuss your options and find out more about the application procedures. To be eligible, students must have maintained their immigration status. Some of the possibilities for obtaining permission to work off-campus are listed below:
To be eligible for any of the options below, F-1 students must have been enrolled in F-1 status for at least one academic year (9 months).
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
F-1 students can be authorized to work off campus through an internship program that is an integral part of the established curriculum (full time during the summer breaks or part time during the academic year). To qualify, students must receive academic credit for this experience, obtain a recommendation from their academic adviser and obtain authorization from the International Education Center. Students who have received one year or more of full-time CPT are ineligible for Optional Practical Training.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
F-1 students have the opportunity to obtain up to 12 months of practical experience in their field of study either during or after their degree program. Most students apply for the full 12 months of OPT after they graduate, but students can use some or all of the 12 months of OPT while they are enrolled in school (full time during the summer breaks or part time during the academic year). Students must apply to US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to obtain a work permit for OPT, and the application process can take 2 to 3 months. Students in certain fields of study (sciences, engineering, computer science and mathematics) can apply for a 24-month extension of OPT.
Severe Economic Hardship
F-1 students who have experienced severe economic hardship after their arrival into the U.S. may apply to USCIS to obtain a work permit. There is no guarantee that students will be granted work permission. They must document that the economic hardship arose from circumstances beyond their control after they came to the U.S. Examples of such circumstances are substantial fluctuations in the exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, loss of sponsorship and medical bills. The application process can take 2 to 3 months.
Employment with International Organizations
F-1 students can apply to USCIS for employment authorization to work with recognized international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization. Students need a specific job offer in order to apply. The application process can take 2 to 3 months.
J-1 students have the opportunity to gain up to 18 months of work experience related to their field of study either during or after their academic program, but the time spent in training cannot exceed the time spent in their program of study. To qualify, students must obtain a written recommendation from their academic dean or adviser and written authorization from the International Education Center.