Employment Options

F-1 students are eligible to work in the U.S. with certain restrictions. 

J-1 Scholars may participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations as long as such activities are approved in advance and in writing by the UM-Flint International Center.

On-Campus

Overview

F-1 students are eligible to work on-campus while attending classes. The work does not need to be related to your field of study. You must maintain legal F-1 status while engaging in on-campus employment.

Benefits

  • Earn extra money
  • Work experience looks good on resume
  • Meet new people and make friends
  • Develop communication skills and various other skills
  • Learn to manage your time and juggle many projects at once
  • Recommendation letters and personal references for future employment or education

Requirements

  • You must be enrolled in a full course of study during academic year
  • You may not work more than 20-hours per week on-campus during academic year
  • You may work full-time on-campus during vacation periods (on-campus means work performed on the school's premises, examples: university libraries, laboratories, stores and restaurants in a university owned building)
  • You are not eligible for the U-M work-study program. The work-study program provides jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay for education expenses. Under the work-study program, a percentage of a student's earnings is paid through federal or state funds, and the remainder is paid by the student's employer.

What to Consider

  • The pay should be commensurate with the amount of effort involved (some jobs like those at the desks in the libraries pay less but involve little real work, i.e. you could probably catch up on reading while there).
  • Preferably, the job should be one which looks good on resume and provides learning experiences and valuable skills (communication skills, computer skills, etc.)
  • Try to choose a job which might eventually lead to a better job. For example, work as a grader, then go on to become a teaching assistant (TA).
  • It is quite possible for an international student to be hired as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) or as a Research Assistant (RA). Both GSIs and RAs generally receive tuition, a stipend and university benefits. You may receive a GSI or RA award either from your department or another department on campus. For most departments, an international student applying for a GSI position must take a test called the International Teaching Assistant English Evaluation, or the ITA Test. If you would like to become a GSI, be sure to ask the department when you should take the ITA test in order to be considered for a teaching assistantship.

Applying for On-Campus Jobs

  • There is no central hiring office for student jobs. You must visit each individual office and ask for information there.
  • Be sure to ask about application deadlines or any required meetings.

Tips for Getting a job

  • Don't be afraid to ask for what you want
  • Have confidence
  • Approach prospective employers
  • Practice answering questions employers might ask
  • Hygiene and attire

U.S Taxes

When you get an on-campus job, you will be required to pay and report taxes on your earnings. You may qualify for some exemptions if you are a citizen of a country which has a tax treaty with the United States. Ask your employer when you are filling out your hiring paperwork and contact the U-M Payroll Office for the forms that you will need to fill out.

Documentation Needed After Getting a Job

When you get an on-campus job, you will need to complete the following forms:

  • U-M Student Temporary Employment Form
  • I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification)
  • State and federal withholding allowance certificate (W-4) forms
  • Direct Deposit Authorization Form if you would like to have your paychecks directly deposited into your bank account

CPT

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including: “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)]. CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of application. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program.

Types of CPT

There are two types of CPT: i) required for the academic program and ii) non-required for the academic program. For CPT that is required, the academic program mandates practical work experience in the field of study to graduate. For CPT that is a non-required part of the program, the practical work experience is for credit and directly related to your field of study.

Requirements for Non-Required CPT

You must be enrolled in an internship course.
If you wish to engage in CPT during Winter or Fall term, you must be registered for the internship course during that term.
If you wish to engage in CPT during the Spring/Summer term, you may register either in the preceding Winter term or during the Spring/Summer term.
If you register for the internship course for Winter term and are authorized for CPT work during Winter term, you cannot then use the same registration again for Spring/Summer term. You must register for the course again.
Non-required CPT will not be allowed in the student's final term unless you need to register for other courses which are required for the completion of your academic program.
Failure to complete the internship course will result in your falling out of legal F-1 status.
Be aware that adding an internship course may have an impact on your tuition and fees.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time CPT

Part-Time

Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. Though there is no limitation upon the length of time you may participate in part-time CPT, you must be simultaneously enrolled in classes full-time in order to maintain lawful F-1 status.

Full-Time

Employment for more than 20 hours per week is considered full-time. Please be aware that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will invalidate your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (i.e. two full consecutive terms). If you are a graduate student and the program requires immediate participation, this requirement is waived.
  • Be in lawful F-1 status
  • Have UM-Flint approved health insurance
  • Have a job offer
  • Not be enrolled in an intensive English language training program

NOTE: CPT is processed and authorized term by term. Contact your academic department regarding your department's specific guidelines and follow those guidelines for CPT applications. Please note that your department has discretion in recommending CPT.

Documentation Needed to Apply

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (i.e. two full consecutive terms). If you are a graduate student and the program requires immediate participation, this requirement is waived.
  • Be in lawful F-1 status
  • Have UM-Flint approved health insurance
  • Have a job offer
  • Not be enrolled in an intensive English language training program

NOTE: CPT is processed and authorized term by term. Contact your academic department regarding your department's specific guidelines and follow those guidelines for CPT applications. Please note that your department has discretion in recommending CPT.

OPT

Definition

OPT is defined in the Federal Regulations as temporary employment directly related to a student's field of study. During OPT, a student remains in F-1 status. The end result of the OPT request process is an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS).

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for OPT, the student must:

  • Be in legal F-1 immigration status
  • Be a full-time student for at least one academic year
  • Have UM-Flint approved health insurance

Maximum Length

  • The standard OPT period is a cumulative maximum of 12 months.
  • Part-time OPT is deducted from the 12-month limit at 50%.
  • An F-1 may become eligible for another 12 months of OPT if he/she advances to a higher educational level.

 

Severe Economic Hardship

Overview

If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request employment authorization based on severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. These circumstances may include a loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and /or living costs, or unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses. Source: [8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(C)-(D) and (F)]

Eligibility Criteria

You are eligible to apply for employment based on severe economic hardship if:

  • You have been in F-1 status for one full academic year
  • You are in good academic standing and are taking a full course load
  • Employment will not interfere with your studies
  • You can demonstrate that the employment is necessary to avoid severe economic hardship due to unforeseen economic circumstances beyond your control

NOTE: You are required to have U-M approved health insurance while in F-1 status.

Documentation Needed to Apply

To apply for employment based on severe economic hardship, you must schedule an appointment with a UM-Flint International Center advisor, and bring the following documents to your appointment:

  • A completed and signed Severe Economic Hardship Request Form.
  • A personal statement describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, attach backup documentation; for example, news articles, a letter from home telling of a change in family circumstances or proof of a currency devaluation in your country, etc.
  • Completed Form I-765, using the code (C)(3)(iii) at item 16. Do not date the form until you are ready to send the application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Copies of your current and previous I-20s
  • Copy of your latest I-94 card (both sides)
  • Copy of your F-1 visa page (except Canadians) or I-797 (approval of change of status to F-1), if applicable
  • Copy of your unofficial transcript available from SIS

How to Apply for Severe Economic Hardship Employment

  • Schedule an appointment with a UM-Flint International Center advisor, and bring the documents listed in Documentation Needed to Apply to your appointment.
  • The UM-Flint International Center advisor will review your documents.
  • The UM-Flint International Center advisor will send your request to SEVIS electronically, and generate a new SEVIS I-20. The recommendation will be written on page 3 of the new I-20.
  • The UM-Flint International Center will notify you when your new SEVIS I-20 is available.
  • Bring your UM-Flint ID to the UM-Flint International Center front desk to pick up your new SEVIS I-20.
  • Sign your name on the I-20 immediately.
  • Send your request to USCIS. Refer to Submitting Your Severe Economic Hardship Request Application to USCIS below.

J-1 Lectures and Consultations

Overview

Professors, research scholars, and short-term scholars may participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations as long as such activities are approved in advance and in writing by the UM-Flint International Center.

The term occasional embodies the concept of single events rather than an ongoing activity. This also includes authorization to be reimbursed for travel expenses or honorarium.

Eligibility Criteria

Such lectures and consultations must meet the following criteria: Source: 22 CFR § 62.20(g)(1)

  • Be directly related to the objectives of your J-1 program at UM-Flint
  • Be incidental to your primary program activities
  • Not delay the completion date of your J-1 program at UM-Flint

If you fail to obtain a letter authorizing the activity in advance, the UM-Flint International Center may correct SEVIS record for a technical or minor infraction if no more than 120 days have passed since the infraction occurred. Source: 22 CFR § 62.45(c)

Documentation Needed

  • A letter from the inviting institution describing the terms and conditions of the offer to lecture or consult, including the duration, number of hours, field or subject, amount of compensation (if any), and description of the activity.
  • A letter from your department supervisor at UM-Flint:
    • Confirming that the proposed activity is directly related to your principal activity, is indeed incidental, and will not delay completion of your program at UM-Flint
    • Explaining how the proposed activity would enhance your exchange visitor program at UM-Flint
    • Recommending approval of the activity
  • A legible copy of your latest DS-2019. Item #2 on your DS-2019 must list the program sponsor as the University of Michigan-Flint and item #4 must list the exchange visitor category as professor, research scholar, or short-term scholar.
  • A legible copy of your latest I-94 card (front side only)

How to Apply for Incidental Employment Authorization

  1. Schedule an appointment with an advisor at the UM-Flint International Center.
  2. Bring the documents listed above to your appointment.
  3. The UM-Flint International Center will review your documentation and determine if you are eligible for incidental employment. If authorized, the UM-Flint International Center will issue a letter authorizing the activity.
  4. You will present the letter as proof that you are allowed to receive pay for your activity. Keep a copy of the UM-Flint International Center authorization letter for your records. The letter will serve as authorization of this activity.