On-Campus Employment Authorization for International Students
Federal immigration regulations permit F-1 and J-1 students in lawful immigration status to work on campus at the school or program that holds their SEVIS record. On-campus employment may include graduate teaching assistantships, graduate research assistantships and student worker positions; international students are not eligible for work-study positions due to U.S. citizenship or permanent residency requirements. F-1 students may work on campus without special authorization as a benefit of their immigration status. J-1 students must receive written authorization from an international student advisor or their non-DU program sponsor prior to beginning on-campus employment. J-1 employment authorizations may be approved for on-campus employment for up to 12 months. Unauthorized on-campus employment, or employment in excess of the maximum numbers of hours permitted per week, constitutes a violation of the student’s immigration status. International students in other immigration statuses may generally not work on campus without an Employment Authorization Document issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Questions regarding the interpretation and application of immigration regulations governing the on-campus employment benefit of F-1 and J-1 students should be directed to an international student advisor in International Student and Scholar Services.
Maximum Number of Hours per Week
F-1 and J-1 students may work up to 20 hours per week (part-time) during quarters of required enrollment and more than 20 hours per week (full-time) during their annual vacation quarter and during University breaks and interterm periods. These limits apply to the total number of hours worked in a single calendar week among all on-campus positions.
Definition of Employment
For immigration purposes, employment—whether on or off campus—is defined as the exchange of services for compensation, monetary or otherwise. International students must have the appropriate authorization from an international student advisor, the program sponsor, or USCIS prior to beginning any form of employment in the United States.
Definition of On-Campus Employment
Federal immigration regulations define on-campus employment for F-1 and J-1 students as follows:
• Employment for the host school or program on the institution’s premises; or
• Employment for a commercial firm that operates on the premises of the host school or program and that provides direct services to the student population, such as a campus bookstore or cafeteria; or
• Employment at an off-site location that has an established educationally affiliated relationship with the host school or program, generally evidenced by a Memorandum of Understanding.
Start of Employment Authorization
F-1 and J-1 students may begin on-campus employment immediately upon acquiring F-1 or J-1 immigration status. Students beginning a new period of F-1 or J-1 status may begin on-campus employment upon entering the United States, up to 30 days before their program start date. Students transferring from another school or program may begin on-campus employment after the release of their SEVIS record to the University and reporting to International Student & Scholar Services. Students beginning a new program at DU after completing another program may continue working on campus in the interim provided a change of level or program has been authorized by an international student advisor and there is no break in the student’s F-1 or J-1 status.
Curricular Practical Training
F-1 students may request a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization from an international student advisor to participate in a paid internship, practicum experience, or other form of practical training that is an integral or required part of the student’s program of study. More information regarding CPT can be found on the ISSS website.
J-1 students may request an academic training authorization from an international student advisor or their program sponsor to participate in a paid internship, practicum experience, or other form of practical training that is an integral or required part of the student’s J-1 program. J-1 students should consult with ISSS regarding academic training requirements.
Required Documentation to Hire International Students
Departments should refer to the University’s I-9 process for verifying employment eligibility when hiring international students. Please refer to New Hire Checklist: F-1/J-1 Students on the ISSS website.
English Proficiency Requirements
F-1 and J-1 immigration regulations do not require students to have a defined level of English proficiency prior to beginning on-campus employment. However, University policy requires a specific level of achievement in English proficiency for graduate teaching assistantships.