Employment

  • Employment opportunities and information for international students

  • F-1 Visa Students

    International students on an F-1 visa may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. After the first year, F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment. Employment options for F-1 students are listed below.

    On-Campus Employment

    On-Campus Employment

    All F-1 or J-1 students are eligible to begin on-campus work no earlier than thirty days before the start date on their I-20 and must end before or on the end date of their I-20 and can only apply for state work study jobs.

    Check the Student Employment Center website for available positions.

    On-campus employment by F-1 or J-1 students is permitted as long as the student works no more than 20 hours a week while school is in session. Students may be employed full-time during vacations and recess periods as long as they intend to register for the next term.

    On-campus employment means employment performed on the premises of the school or at an affiliated off-campus location. On-campus employment may be of a type normally performed by students, such as work in the school library, cafeterias, computer center, or in a students' store, or employment that is part of a student's scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship.

    Under no circumstances are students permitted to accept off-campus employment without the authorization of the Office of International Education and/or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To do so is to violate USCIS law and would seriously jeopardize your F-1 or J-1 visa status.

    Students working on campus are exempt from having to obtain an employment authorization card (EAD) from USCIS.

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

    Curricular Practical Training (Internship/Co-op)

    Cooperative education and internship programs allow students to obtain practical work experience in their field of study. In order for F-1 students to participate in off-campus work experiences, immigration regulations require students to receive academic credits for the work experience, unless it is a required component of their degree program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services refers to this kind of off-campus work experience as Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

    Eligibility Requirements

    • Undergraduate students must have completed nine months in F-1 visa status
    • Graduate students can begin as soon as their program requires
    • Students must be in legal F-1 visa status, in good academic standing, and making normal, satisfactory progress toward completion of their degree
    • The type of employment must be directly related to a student's major

    General Information

    • CPT can be full-time (40 hours per week) or part-time (20 hours per week)
    • The International Student Advisor approves CPT
    • Students must apply at least two weeks before the start of the practical training

    Helpful Website, Forms, and Documents

    Optional Practical Training (OPT)

    Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a work benefit allowed to international students in F-1 immigration status who are enrolled in, or completing a degree program in the U.S. Work can be done at one or several locations for any amount of hours as any rate of pay. OPT is not a “work visa” and does not require you to remain at one company for the entire OPT period.

    Authorization for OPT is granted by USCIS and can take two to three months to obtain. Therefore it is important that you apply three months before the date you wish to start working. You may apply for post-completion OPT up to 90 days before your completion date, and USCIS must receive your application no later than 60 days beyond your completion date or 60 days beyond the end date of your I-20 (whichever is earlier), or, if you are a graduate student, no later than 60 days byond the last day that you are registered as a student or the end date of your I-20 (whichever is earlier). You cannot apply more than 120 days before the start date you choose. You must send your application which 30 days of getting the new I-20 from the OIE. For more information on OPT, please click on the application link below and watch our short OPT video.

    Pre-Completion Practical Training

    Pre-completion practical training is permitted for F-1 students as long as the work is for no more than 20 hours a week while school is in session.

    Full-time employment under this category is allowed during vacations and recess periods as long as the student intends to register for the next term. Time spent in pre-completion practical training will be deducted from the 12 months of full-time employment available for post-completion practical training. For example, if the student works 20 hours a week for four months, he/she would have two months deducted from the 12 months of post-completion practical training.

    Applications are submitted to the Citizenship and Immigration Services for final decision.

    Post-Completion Practical Training

    F-1 students are entitled to up to one year post-completion practical training for each successive and higher degree. Time spent in pre-completion practical training is deducted from the 12-month period.

    Students must apply 90 days before completion of the degree.

    Applications are submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for final decision.

    Helpful Forms and Documents

    Severe Economic Hardship

    This F-1 employment benefit was created to address situations where a financial need beyond the student's control arises, which was unforeseen at the time of arriving in the U.S. To apply, a student must have been in F-1 status for at least two semesters.

    If approved, off-campus work permission can be used on-campus as well as off-campus and allows students to work 20 hours/week while school is in session and full-time during recesses, and is given in one-year increments. Students can reapply after one year for an additional year of work authorization.

    Eligibility Requirements 

    • Have maintained valid F-1 visa status for at least one academic year (nine months).
    • In good standing as a student and carrying a full course of study (12 credits for undergraduates and nine credits for graduates) during the academic year.
    • Able to demonstrate and document unforeseen, severe economic hardship and lack of available on-campus employment.

    Possible Circumstances that can Cause Severe Economic Hardship 

    • Loss of financial assistance or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student.
    • The value of currency from the student's country dramatically decreased.
    • Inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs.
    • Unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support.
    • Incurring large medical expenses.

    Applications are submitted to the Citizenship and Immigration Services for final decision. If you would like to apply for Severe Economic Hardship work permission, please make an appointment to meet with an international student advisor. S/He will review your application materials and the OIE will mail your application to the local service center.

    OPT 24-Month STEM Extension

    OPT 24-Month STEM Extension

    On March 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a new STEM Final Rule, with effective date May 10, 2016. NAFSA: Association of International Educators  provides a summary of the rule and current updates and background. Detailed information for students and employers can also be found on the DHS Study in the States OPT STEM Hub. See below for a summary of changes in the new STEM rule.

    Transition Plans for STEM-eligible Students Currently on 12-Month OPT or 17-Month STEM OPT

    STEM-eligible students currently on 12-Month post-completion OPT or with an active or pending 17-Month STEM OPT request should review the transition steps on the IUP OIE OPT 24-Month STEM Extension Tutorial or make an appointment to speak to an international student advisor.

    IUP Office of International Education 24-Month STEM Application Procedures and Tutorial

    Eligible students may apply for a 24-Month STEM Extension up to 90 days prior to the expiration of their OPT EAD (or prior to their STEM Transition deadline). IUP OIE will begin accepting applications Tuesday, May 10, 2016. However, SEVIS functionality will not allow processing of new 24-Month Extension I-20s until after May 13, 2016.

    1. Visit IUP OIE's Reporting OPT Employment for SEVIS Record webpage to update your current OPT employment and your current address.
    2. Fully review the IUP Office of International Education 24-Month STEM Extension Tutorial for detailed instructions on both the IUP OIE application process and submission to USCIS.
    3. Complete the OIE OPT 24-Month Extension Request Form and submit to OIE with supporting documents. OIE will issue you a new OPT I-20 with a 24-Month Extension recommendation.
    4. Submit a 24-Month Extension request to USCIS. (Detailed instructions available in the STEM tutorial.)

    The 2016 STEM Extension rule institutes significant changes for the F-1 OPT STEM Extension, including:

    Duration

    Effective May 10, 2016 the STEM Extension will be for 24 months.

    STEM Application Period

    STEM applications may only be submitted up to 90 days prior to the initial 12-month OPT EAD card expiration.

    Eligibility for second STEM Extension

    The new rule allows a total of two lifetime STEM Extensions, the second after earning a new STEM-eligible degree at a higher level and obtaining a new, higher-level 12-month OPT authorization.

    Eligible Based on Previously Earned Degree

    The STEM Extension may be on a previously earned STEM degree.

    Updated STEM Definition and CIP Categories

    STEM Definition and CIP Categories

    Required Training Plan and Form I-983

    Requires significant responsibility of the employer to provide a training plan related to the field of study, and attestations to wages and compensation being commensurate with "similarly situated U.S. workers."

    New Obligations for Students, Schools, and Employers

    Six-month validation reports, annual evaluations, and submission of a new I-983 are now required. Employers must agree to Department of Homeland Security site visits, as well as provide attestations to wages and working conditions.

    Types of Employment Allowed

    Volunteer/unpaid, employment through employment agencies and self-employment are NOT allowed. STEM-eligible employers must have e-Verify and EIN numbers and the student must have a "bona fide employer-employee relationship." Other types of employment are also problematic, including—multiple employer arrangements, sole proprietorships, employment through "temp" agencies, employment through consulting firm arrangements that provide labor for hire, and other relationships that do not constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship. DHS confirms that students cannot qualify for STEM OPT Extensions unless they will be bona fide employees of the employer signing the Training Plan, and the employer that signs the Training Plan must be the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience.

    Increased Unemployment

    Students with 24-month STEM Extensions may have up to 150 days of unemployment during the total OPT period including the initial 12-month OPT period and the 24-month STEM OPT period.

    Students completing 17-Month STEM Extensions

    USCIS will not accept 17-Month STEM applications after May 9, 2016.

    Starting May 10, 2016, all new STEM applications will fall under the 2016 24-Month Rule. Students who were previously approved for 17-month STEM Extensions and who are not eligible or do not apply for the transition 24-month STEM Extension will continue to follow the 17-month STEM regulations until the completion of their 17-month STEM EAD. 

  • J-1 Visa Students

    The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.

    Some J-1 non-immigrants enter the United States specifically to work while others do not. Employment is authorized for J-1 non-immigrants only under the terms of the exchange program. Please check with your sponsoring agency for more information on any restrictions that may apply to you working in the United States

    On-Campus Employment

    All J-1 students are eligible to begin on-campus work no earlier than 30 days before their start date on their DS-2019 and must end before or on the end date of their DS-2019 and can only apply for state work study jobs.

    Check the Student Employment Center for available positions.

    On-campus employment for J-1 students is permitted as long as the student works no more than 20 hours a week while school is in session. Students may be employed full-time during vacations and recess periods as long as they intend to register for the next term.

    On-campus employment means employment performed on the premises of the school or at an affiliated off-campus location. On-campus employment may be of a type normally performed by students, such as work in the school library, cafeterias, computer center, or in a students' store, or employment that is part of a student's scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship.

    Under no circumstances are students permitted to accept off-campus employment without the authorization of the Office of International Education and/or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To do so is to violate USCIS law and would seriously jeopardize your F-1 or J-1 visa status.

    Students working on campus are exempt from having to obtain an employment authorization card (EAD) from USCIS.

    Academic Training

    Academic Training

    Academic training is work, training, or experience related to a student's field of study. You must have permission and documentation before starting a paid position.

    Exchange Students

    Exchange students qualify for academic training that equals the number of months they have studied: one semester exchange equals four months of academic training; one year exchange equals eight months of academic training.

    Degree-Seeking Students

    For degree-seeking students, training is permitted at any stage of study—during or after—and cannot exceed an overall period of 18 months or a period equivalent to the duration of their program. Doctoral students may qualify for up to 36 months of training. If you begin academic training after completion of a degree, it must begin within 30 days of the end of the program.

    Helpful Forms and Documents

    Eligibility

    To be eligible, students must be in the U.S. primarily to study rather than engage in academic training.

    • Academic training must be done with a specific employer or training site and directly related to the field of study. Description of training is required.
    • Student must be in good academic standing.
    • Student must receive written approval in advance from their international advisor for the duration of academic training. 

    Students may change employers and have paid or unpaid training-as long as documentation is provided from the Office of International Education to student for employer.

    Full-time employment under this category is allowed during vacations and recess periods as long as the student intends to register for the next term. Time spent in pre-completion practical training will be deducted from the period of full-time employment available for post-completion practical training. For example, if the student works 20 hours a week for four months, he/she would have two months deducted from the 12 months of post-completion practical training.

    Applications are submitted to the Citizenship and Immigration Services for final decision.

    Severe Economic Hardship

    The Office of International Education international advisor may authorize a student for this work permission because of serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances. 

    Examples of severe economic hardship include the following:

    • Incurring large medical expenses
    • The value of currency from the student's country decreased.
    • The student's sponsor has died or suffered an economic loss.
    • Other natural disaster in country

    Please submit to the Office of International Education:

    1. Letter from employer stating job offer, salary, and starting and ending dates
    2. Letter from applicant to Office of International Education explaining how economic situation has changed since first receiving J-1 status.

    If approved, the Office of International Education will issue a letter permitting you to legally work off campus. This can be given in one-year intervals and has to be renewed each year.

  • Resources

    Social Security Numbers for F-1 and J-1 Visa Holders

    The Social Security Administration now requires all F-1 and J-1 students to supply evidence of employment before being issued a Social Security number. A Social Security number (SSN) cannot be issued for identification purposes or for a driver's license. It can take two to six weeks to be issued a SSN. You can be paid after you apply for an SSN.

    Important Note: Students in their first semester at IUP must have been in the U.S. for 10 days AND wait until one week after the drop/add period before applying. (Computer systems must be in sync.)

    How to Apply for a Social Security Number

    1. Get an On-Campus Job: You must be employed or be starting employment in the near future. If a potential employer does not understand why you don't have a SSN, he or she can contact the Office of International Education (OIE). Students with graduate or teaching assistantships, please take a copy of your contract to the Social Security Office with the form listed below. To find an on-campus job, please go to the Job Board.
    2. Employer fills out Employer Section (PDF No Handwriting): E-mail your employer-ask to complete page 3 of this form on the computer and print it: Social Security Work Authorization. All sections must be completed. Please have your employer contact the payroll or HR office.
    3. Office of International Education signs form: Please drop off your signed form at the Office of International Education and allow two days for signature.
    4. Go to Social Security Office: You will need to bring your Work Authorization Form, DS-2019 or I-20, passport, visa, and I-94. You will be required to complete an application at the Social Security Office and meet briefly with an officer. If you have OPT/J2 work card, bring your work card as well. For paperless I-94, you can print it from the Customs and Border Protection website. You will be required to complete an application at the Social Security Office and meet briefly with an officer. You should be issued a card within two to three weeks.

    What Immigrants and New Citizens Should Know About Social Security Numbers

    By Jennifer Flanigan
    Social Security Operations Supervisor/Indiana, Pa.

    Whether you are a new U.S. citizen or a noncitizen with authorization to work in this country, you need to apply for a Social Security card and number in order to work in the United States.

    While most American citizens now have Social Security cards issued at birth, a noncitizen applying for his or her first Social Security card or number must prove identity, age, and citizenship.

    Getting a Social Security card if you are a naturalized citizen

    If you are a naturalized citizen, you will need to prove your citizenship with documentation from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly Immigration and Naturalization Service). You also must complete an application for a Social Security card, which you can find online at the Social Security Administration (pdf). You can bring your completed application into your local Social Security Office or Social Security Card Center along with official documents that show:

    • U.S. citizenship,
    • Age, and
    • Identity

    All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

    Even if you already have a Social Security number when you become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you should still contact Social Security to update your status.

    Getting a Social Security card if you are a noncitizen

    All noncitizens needing a Social Security number must prove their immigration status and also show proof of age, identity, and work authorization from the Department of Homeland Security. To prove your age, you must show your birth certificate if you have it or can easily get it. If not, we can ask for other documents, such as your passport.

    As proof of immigration status and identity, Social Security will ask for your unexpired passport and current immigration documents from the Department of Homeland Security, including a:

    • Permanent Residence Card or Form I-551,
    • Arrival-Departure Record or Form I-94 with an unexpired passport, or
    • Work permit card - Form I-766 or I-688b

    These documents must be current, meaning they cannot be expired. And, again, all documents must be either originals or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

    If you would like more information about Social Security cards and the requirements needed to get one, just visit the Social Security Number and Card website. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the publication Your Social Security Number and Card, or Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens.

    SSN for Identification

    • Social Security numbers will not be issued for proof of identity, cell phones, utilities, or reservation of housing.
    • It is not lawful for businesses to require a Social Security number for identification. Explain that you are not eligible for a SSN or are waiting to receive a SSN. Ask if you can provide an alternative form of identification (passport, international driver's license, notarized statement).
    • There is a notary public at the HUB I-Card Office. This service is free for IUP students. Call 724-357-1314 for more information.

    SSN for a Driver's License or Pennsylvania Identification Card

    If you do not have a job currently, you cannot be issued a Social Security number.

    To obtain a driver's license or Pennsylvania ID card:

    1. Request a driver's license letter from the Office of International Education.
    2. Go directly to the Social Security Office and request a “Social Security Denial Letter.” You will be given a denial letter the day you request it.
    3. Take this letter to the Driver's License Center with the Office of International Education Driver's License Letter and other required documents. 

    Taxes

    Information below is for tax year 2015. Income tax returns need to be filed by April 15, 2016.

    A tax packet will be available on March 3, 2016, in the Office of International Education, or by e-mailing intl-education@iup.edu.

    Workshops will be held at the IUP Writing Center, 218 Eicher Hall, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on these days:

    • March 3, 4
    • April 7, 8 

    Please bring all tax documents, plus passport number and all dates you entered/exited the U.S.

    If you did earn any U.S. income (received a paycheck, including teaching assistants, graduate assistants, on-campus work, or authorized off-campus work) during the 2015 calendar year, there are three types of income tax returns international students must file: federal, state, and local taxes. F-1 students who have been present in the U.S. for five years or more need to file taxes as a resident for tax purposes. Residents for tax purposes need to file IRS 1040, PA-40, and local taxes. Free online filing is available at the sites listed below. Do not use GLACIER-this is only for all F and J students and scholars who are non-residents for tax purposes.

    The Office of International Education will not be able to answer specific tax questions other than to review basic filing instructions. Please read the following information carefully and contact the numbers provided. Students can also contact an accountant or tax agency, like H&R Block, to complete tax forms.

    Our workshops give an overview of how to file all three types of taxes and resources available for international students. GLACIER is an online program to assist international students with filing their federal income tax returns. A password is available in the Office of International Education or at each workshop. Please attend workshops if at all possible. If not, please refer to the phone numbers and websites given.

    If you did not earn U.S. income during the 2015 calendar year:

    • You must file Form 8843only by April 15, 2016.
    • Instructions and mailing address are included on this form.

    If you did earn U.S. income during the 2015 calendar year (see forms and instructions below):

    • File IRS Form 8843 and IRS Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR by April 15, 2016. Use GLACIER software: See Office of International Education for password information.
    • File IRS Form PA-40 online or paper application by April 15, 2016.
    • File local taxes with Pennsylvania Municipal Service (PAMS). Bring W-2 to local office by April 15, 2016. See address below.

    Federal Tax Forms and Instructions

    Pennsylvania Tax Forms and Instructions

    The Office of International Education recommends all students use GLACIER, a software program that assists F-1 and J-1 students with filing their tax returns. International Education has purchased access for 199 students. Password information is available at the office. Individuals can purchase access for $39.99 at Arctic International.

    Local Tax Information