F-1 Employment

Employment in the U.S. is highly regulated by immigration and employment law, and it can often be confusing for students in F-1 status to navigate these limitations. If you are considering paid or unpaid employment or volunteer positions, it is essential for you to be familiar with the rules and contact our office with any questions.

F-1 students must ensure that they have the appropriate work authorization prior to pursuing any employment activity, paid or unpaid.

Employment Authorizations

Type of Employment ActivityRequired Authorization
Working on campus or paid by Salve Regina prior to completion of degree.On-campus employment authorization
Off-campus internships (paid and sometimes unpaid).Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Off-campus employment during academic program or after completion of degree requirements.Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Extension of post-completion employment for students in approved STEM fields of study.STEM Optional Practical Training

Types of Employment

On-Campus Employment

Students in valid F-1 status are allowed to work on campus up to 10 hours per week during the academic semester and more than 10 hours per week during recognized University breaks. No specific employment authorization is needed. You will need to bring the "F-1 Verification of Hire" form to our office before you can obtain a Social Security number.

Learn more about on-campus employment.

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular practical training is employment that is an integral part of an established curriculum and is directly related to your major area of study. In other words, you must be enrolled for a course that requires a work experience (such as co-op, internship or practicum) or be enrolled in a degree program that requires an internship/practicum.

Learn more about curricular practical training.

Optional Practical Training

Optional practical training is off-campus employment authorization that allows F-1 students to obtain work experience in their major field of study. You are permitted a maximum of 12 months of full-time employment for each level of higher education you pursue in the U.S. You can use it during or after your studies and work for any employer anywhere in the country.

Learn more about optional practical training.

Social Security Numbers

Anyone who works in the U.S. must have a Social Security number and card. Numbers are only issued to those who are eligible for employment in the United States. Numbers are not issued for purposes of general identification (driver licenses, tax returns, bank accounts, phone service, etc.).

If you are engaging in on-campus employment, assistantship or a graduate fellowship, follow the steps below. The Social Security Administration needs to check your visa and U.S. entry records before a card can be issued.

If you just arrived in the U.S. for the first time, please wait at least two weeks from the time of your entry to the U.S. before applying for a Social Security card. Typically it takes the Social Security Administration up to two weeks to access your U.S entry records. Applying earlier will not speed up the process, but may result in a notification from Social Security that your records could not be verified.

Before You Apply

  • Obtain an employment letter from your on-campus employer.
  • Bring the letter to our office, as we need to keep a copy on file.
  • We will issue a second letter for your Social Security application.

How to Apply

To obtain a Social Security card, present the following documents, along with a completed application, in person to a Social Security representative. The spelling of all names, date of birth, etc. must match exactly with the Department of Homeland Security's records.

F-1 Students

  • Valid passport
  • I-94 card or printout of I-94 admission record
  • Valid Form I-20
  • Proof of employment
  • If your employment is on-campus, you will need to submit a letter from our office authorizing on-campus employment.
  • If your employment is off-campus or at Salve Regina following the completion of your degree, you will need to submit other valid employment authorization.

J-1 Students

  • Valid passport
  • I-94 card or printout of I-94 admission record
  • Valid Form DS-2019
  • Proof of employment
  • If employment is on-campus, you will need to submit a letter from our office or your J-1 sponsor authorizing on-campus employment.
  • If employment is off-campus or at Salve Regina following the completion of your degree, you will need to present documentation of authorized academic training employment authorization.

Where to Apply

Social Security Administration
130 Bellevue Ave # 210
Newport, RI 02840
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
9 a.m. to noon Wednesday