F-1 International Student Hiring Guidelines

Please instruct all F-1 students to contact their International Student Advisor to review this information if they have questions.  

Working While Awaiting a Social Security Number

An F-1 student may work while the Social Security number application is being processed.  Employers may wish to reference SSA’s fact sheet, Employer Responsibilities When Hiring Foreign Workers. This fact sheet contains information on how to report wages for an employee who has not yet received a SSN.

Social Security Administration regulations have changed with regard to F-1 international students as of October 13, 2004. F-1 students are able to obtain a Social Security Number only when they can show proof of a job offer. When requesting the SSN, the student must present two letters to the Social Security Administration Office confirming the job offer; one from the (supervisor) employer, and one from the Designated School Official or International Student Advisor.

The EIN must appear on BOTH forms from Oakland Community College: please verify that the EIN is preprinted on the supervisor's letter.

It is important to note that while it can take up to two weeks to receive the SSN card by mail, the student can be given a receipt from the Social Security Administration office showing the Social Security Number within 24 hours of requesting the number.  Please note that the student must request at the time of application that they may return the next business day to pick up the receipt.  The receipt, with the SSN number printed on it, is sufficient for the student to begin their student assistant employment, according to the OCC Payroll Department.

United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) Regulations for F-1 Visa Status Students On-Campus Employment

  • Students must be maintaining F-1 status at OCC in order to work at OCC.  This includes registering for the required number of credits and maintaining a valid passport.
  • Students may not work more than 20 hours a week when school is in session.  Hours worked cannot be averaged over weeks. 
  • Students must be registered for at least 12 credits during fall semester and 12 credits during the winter semester in order to work those semesters.
  • During school breaks, including an F-1 student’s annual leave (from end of winter semester to beginning of fall), students may work full-time*.
  • Employer may be the college or an “on campus contractor.”
  • Employer must understand that students may not have their status restored for work regulation violations.

*OCC traditionally allows student employees to work 20 hours per week year-round when funding is available. Exceptions for student employees to work up to 30 hours during the F-1 student's annual leave for short term projects are granted by mutual agreement with the hiring supervisor, International Student Advisor, Classified Union, Campus President and Human Resources. 

OCC Policies for F-1 Students Engaging in On-Campus Employment

  • You need to be enrolled for at least 3 credits during Summer in order to work during Summer.
  • If you are a F-1 students you are eligible for Student Assistant jobs, not Work Study.
  • You need to obtain authorization for employment from their International Student Advisor through the OCC website after completing the JP-11 form online and prior to seeking a job, each semesterNote: If an F-1 student drops classes or otherwise fails to maintain status during the course of the semester, they are not allowed to continue working.
  • You need to complete state and federal tax forms and the I-9 form with the assistance of the direct supervisor.  The direct supervisor copies the required documents for the I-9 and fills out the verification portion of the form.
  • If you do not have a social security number they must follow guidelines at the top of this page regarding how to obtain a receipt from  the Social Security Administration.

Internal Revenue Service Regulations Regarding F-1 Students

  • F-1 students are subject to withholding for federal and state income taxes and must pay taxes on their income.
  • On the W-4 form, it is recommended that F-1 students claim one exemption and add an additional $7.60 per week (or $15.30 per OCC pay period) for additional withholding.  On the state form, it is recommended that one exemption be claimed.
  • F-1 students are not subject to Social Security or Medicare taxes and should have none withheld.
  • F-1 students who work on campus generally complete 1040NR-EZ forms and Form 8843 when they file tax returns and the returns are due April 15.