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.


  • You must be enrolled in a full course of study during academic year
  • You may work up to 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)

Before considering employment, make sure you have a resume and cover letter prepared. Here are resources to be prepared for work in the U.S.

Employment Opportunities

  • Employment at UM-Flint
    Browse U-M job openings.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) – Post-graduation/STEM
    Authorization for “temporary employment authorization directly related to the field of study.
    • OPT employment authorization is granted for 12 months typically after completion of degree requirements.
    • A student can apply for OPT up to 90 days prior to the program end date and up to 60 days after the program end date.
    • It is possible to file the I-765 form (OPT) after graduation; however, we do not recommend it as the USCIS processing times vary and you may lose some of your 12-month employment authorization.
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) – While pursuing a degree
    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.
    • Be aware that adding an internship course may have an impact on your tuition and fees.
  • J-1 Lectures and Consultations
    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.

The United States has different sets of tax laws. It is important to comply with all federal, state, and local tax laws that apply to you. Federal tax law applies to taxes paid to the United States in Washington, D.C. State tax laws apply to taxes paid to the state in which you live. In some places, there are also local or city taxes.

Residency & Non-Residency for Tax Purposes
The U.S. Department of Treasury Internal Revenue Service Publication 519 explains the rules used to determine tax residency for those who are not U.S. citizens. Non-residents for tax purposes are taxed on U.S. source income. Residents for tax purposes are taxed on world-wide income.

In general, international students in F or J status for five years or less (since 2013 or later) and their dependents, file tax forms as non-residents. Research scholars or faculty in J-1 status for two years or less (since 2016 or later) also file as non-residents. International students who have been in F or J status for more than five years, research scholars and faculty who have been in J-1 status for more than two years are generally considered residents for tax purposes.

Social Security

  • You must have a social security number in order to work in the U.S. The number on the card is used for employment.
  • The social security number is used for any fellowships and/or scholarships you may receive from the university.
  • ​​​The social security number is used when filling out Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms at the end of the tax period. All F-1 students and all non-resident aliens are required to fill-out an IRS form every year, even if they have no income in the U.S.

NOTE: The number is also used as an identifier when performing tasks, such as requesting utilities and setting up bank accounts. Visit the Center for Global Engagement for application information before visiting the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office to apply for a number.

Visiting the Social Security Administration
You will need to bring the following documents to apply for a social security number:

  • ​​​​​A completed Application for a Social Security Card form (SS-5)
  • ​​​​​​Passport
  • ​​​​​​I-94 card (and two copies with legible entry stamps)
  • ​​​​​​I-20 form (and two copies with legible entry stamps) (for F-1 visa holders only)
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Proof of employment eligibility (for F-1 and J-1 visa holders only)

F-1 students may submit one of the following documents as their “proof of employment eligibility”:

  • ​​​​​​With on-campus employment: Letter from hiring department (also for J-1 students)
  • ​​​​​​Curricular Practical Training (C.P.T.): I-20 with C.P.T. endorsement on the third page
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​Optional Practical Training (O.P.T.): U.S.C.I.S. Employment Authorization Document (E.A.D.) card

The nearest Social Security Administration Office is located at this location.

Severe Economic Hardship
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. Source: [8 C.F.R. 214.2(f)(9)(ii)(C)-(D) and (F)]

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.

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

  • ​​​​A completed a 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 admission advisor, and bring the documents listed in Documentation Needed to Apply to your appointment.
  • ​​​​​​​The UM-Flint International admissions advisor will review your documents.
  • ​​​​​​​The UM-Flint International admission 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 admission will notify you when your new SEVIS I-20 is available.
  • ​Bring your UM-Flint ID to the UM-Flint Center for Global Engagement 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 here.