F-1 regulations on employment are complex and the Center for International Education is here to help! It is important for international students to understand their options for legal employment and to not engage in any illegal employment while in the United States. If a student has any questions regarding employment they can schedule an appointment with their immigration advisor in the Center for International Education Office.
International Students in F-1 Status are eligible for on-campus employment at South Seattle College. F-1 Students cannot work off-campus unless they have prior approval from USCIS or from a Designated School Office (DSO) with the Center for International Education Office.
On-Campus Employment - F-1 Employment Basics and Eligibility
· F-1 students that maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher and are in legal status are eligible for on-campus employment.
· F-1 Students are eligible to work on campus for 20 hours a week during the quarter. An F-1 student may, however, work on campus full-time when school is not in session or during the annual vacation. The Seattle Community College District only allows part time employees to work 17 hours per week.
· F-1 Students are NOT allowed to work off campus without prior approval from a DSO with the IP Office or US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
How to Find a Job On Campus & How to Apply for a Social Security Number
1. Go to the Center for International Education Office to pick up an On-Campus Employment Form. Find an open position on campus and apply for the job
3. Once you have been offered a position ask the supervisor to complete the On-Campus Employment Form
4. Bring the signed form to the IP office and turn it in with a completed Student Request Form. Visit the nearest Social Security Administration office to apply for a social security number.
a. You will need to have the following documents to apply for a social security card:
i. The Employment Letter prepared by the Center for International Education Office (Please do not open)
ii. Original I-20
iii. Passport with visa and I-94 card
6. Once you receive your social security card you will need to present the card to your supervisor and to the Registration Office to have the number put into the Student Management System
Local Social Security Administration Offices
The Social Security Office Locator enables students to locate the nearest Social Security Administration office based on their US Postal Service zip code. Students can also find information and directions to the nearest office on the following web site: www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling: 1-800-772-1213
Closest Office to South:
151 SW 156th Street,
Burien, WA, 98166
International District Office:
675 South Lane, Suite 401
Seattle, WA, 98104
Downtown Seattle Office
915 2nd Ave, Suite 901
Seattle, WA 98174
Downtown Seattle Office
901 Lenora, Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98121
Off Campus Employment
There are two kinds of Practical Training which allow F-1 students to gain job experience in their field of study. Students must have been enrolled for one full academic year and maintained their F-1 status in order to apply.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT allows F-1 students to legally engage in an off-campus internship while receiving credits that count toward completion of their program of study. Students must submit an application for CPT to the CIE Office. Upon approval by a DSO, the student will receive an updated I-20 with a CPT endorsement on page 3. Students may not engage in any CPT employment without first receiving the updated I-20. Please note that students who engage in full-time CPT for twelve months or more prior to graduation will not be eligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). For additional information please make an appointment in the CIE Office to speak with an advisor.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT allows students to engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in their field of study. Students can apply for part-time Pre-Completion OPT or full-time Post-Completion OPT with USCIS. Students approved for Post-Completion OPT will receive an Employment Authorization Document that allows them to work in the United States for up to twelve (12) months. Students can apply for OPT 90 days before their program completion date or up to 60 days after their program end-date. Applications to USCIS can take up to 3 months to receive an approval notice so students should plan ahead and make sure to schedule an appointment with their immigration advisor at least one quarter before graduation.
Severe Economic Hardship
Under special circumstances, USCIS will grant employment authorization to students who experienced severe economic hardship. F-1 students who have been enrolled in a degree or certificate program for 9 months or longer and who have experienced severe and unexpected financial hardship are eligible to apply. Please see an immigration advisor in the CIE Office for more information.