Cameron Students posing for a picture on Campus

Employment and Taxes

Employment is not guaranteed for all students, please do not rely on a job to be a steady flow of income to pay tuition and fees. For more information please refer to Human Resources.

On-Campus

On-Campus employment for F-1 students is work that takes place at your school.  The work can be for an on-campus business (such as a bookstore or cafeteria) as long as the work directly provides services for students. 

All F-1 students must:

  1. be in status with SEVIS,
  2. maintain a full course of study,
  3. and have valid documentation in order to work on-campus.

Employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session.

F-1 students may work full-time during breaks and vacations as long as they are planning to enroll full-time the next semester.  Full time is defined as 40 hours per week. 

Initial F-1 students do not have to wait for their program start date to begin work.  Students can begin work up to 30 days before their program start date. 

STEPS FOR ON-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT

  1. Log-in to Aggie Access, visit the “My Info” tab to review available state-funded student worker positions.
  2. Upon receiving a job offer, the employer completes the CU Employer SSN Letter, and print on letterhead.
  3. Student brings the Work Offer Letter to the International Office.
  4. Student will be given instructions and documents to take to the Social Security Administration Office, (17th & Lee Blvd) to apply for Social Security card.
  5. The original Work Offer Letter, original Authorization Letter, Social Security Application, Form I-20, passport (with visa), and I-94 are required to apply for a SSN.
  6. The Social Security Administration Office hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 9 am to 3 pm and Wednesday from 9 am to 12 pm.
  7. Request a Receipt Notice from the SSA and bring it to the International Student Services Office.
  8. The SSN will be delivered to the International Admissions Office.

Off-campus employment is work that that takes place outside of a school campus.  An F-1 student must show an ability to afford the costs of school and living expenses before entering the United States and should not plan to work off-campus. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will authorize off-campus employment only in cases of severe economic hardship occurring after a student's enrollment in an academic program and after the student has been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year, or in emergent circumstances as defined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Any off-campus employment not authorized by the International Student Services Office and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is prohibited and will result in immediate termination of F-1 status.

Economic Hardship

Any off-campus employment not authorized by the International Student Services Office and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is prohibited and will result in immediate termination of F-1 status.

Off-campus employment is a benefit available for some F-1 students who are:

  1. Experiencing severe economic hardship as a result of the following:
  2. Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment through no fault of the student.
  3. Substantial changes in the exchange rate or value of the currency upon which the student depends.
  4. Inordinate increase in tuition or living costs.
  5. Unexpected changes in the financial state of the student’s source of support.
  6. Medical bill.
  7. Other substantial and unexpected expenses.

Special Student Relief Due to Emergent Circumstances or Internship with an International Organization may allow for off-campus employment.

F-1 students who have been enrolled in a full course of study, in good academic standing and hold an active F-1 status for at least one academic school year are eligible to apply for this employment authorization. Please make an appointment with the DSO to file.

Important Information:

  1. Student cannot begin off-campus employment until the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) has arrived.
  2. Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; can be full-time during official school breaks.
  3. Employment must not interfere with full-time course of study.
  4. Authorization is granted in one-year intervals, or until the Program End Date, whichever is shorter.
  5. Authorization ends if a student transfers schools.
  6. Student is able to reapply 120 days before the expiration date. The reapplication procedure is the same as the initial application, including the fee.
  7. Eligibility does not guarantee approval.

STEPS TO APPLY FOR ECONOMIC HARDSHIP

Candidates must attend an economic hardship workshop. 

Bring the following items to your appointment with the DSO:

  1. Completed Form G-1145
  2. Money Order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for $410.00 or Request for a Fee Waiver
  3. Passport Photos (write in pencil your name and SEVIS ID number)
  4. Completed Form I-765 (Eligibility Category: (c) (3) (iii))
  5. Any I-20’s with CPT, OPT, or Economic Hardship (if applicable)
  6. Previous Employment Authorization Documents (if applicable)
  7. I-94
  8. Passport (must be valid for 6 months)
  9. Visa with Entry Stamps
  10. Current Cameron University Transcript
  11. Letter from you explaining the circumstances of the hardship
  12. Supporting materials documenting the unforeseen nature and extent of the economic hardship and the unavailability of on-campus employment.

Mail the Economic Hardship application by certified mail to the correct Filing Location

If authorized, USCIS will issue you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If denied, the decision is unable to be appealed.

This represents an explanation of the steps required to gain approval for Off-Campus Employment Based on Unforeseen Economic Hardship. Changes, exceptions, and/or additions to required documents do occur. After reading this form, direct your questions by phone, e-mail, or appointment to the DSO. Remember, as with all U.S. laws and regulations relating to F-1 student visa holders, the student is responsible for compliance.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is defined to be alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with a school.

CPT is only available to F-1 students when it is an integral part of an established curriculum. In practical terms, "integral part of established curriculum" means an opportunity must be required by the curriculum or, if not required, the student must receive credit for the training.

F-1 students must be enrolled for one academic year before they are eligible for CPT. If the student had a gap in study or a status violation, the one academic year waiting period may need to be recalculated once the student has again obtained valid F-1 status. CPT is available only while the student is in valid F-1 status and before the completion of his/her program. There is an exception to this requirement - graduate students whose programs require immediate participation in CPT.

Once a student has completed 12 months of full-time CPT, they are ineligible for optional practical training (OPT). For example, if a student completes 12 months of full-time (40 hours or more per week) CPT as an undergraduate, the student is not eligible for OPT at the undergraduate level. F-1 students are required to maintain status (status includes enrolling in a full course of study) while completing CPT.

DSO may or may not authorize a student to participate in CPT.

STEPS TO APPLY FOR CPT

Make an appointment with DSO in the International Student Services Office and bring all of the following documentation:

  1. CPT Instructions
  2. Class schedule showing enrollment in the internship class.
  3. Letter from employer on letterhead with employer’s name, location, phone number contact person, beginning/end dates, number of hours per week, description of duties and indicate that the position is an internships paid or unpaid.
  4. Letter from Academic Advisor, on letterhead with the advisor’s signature.

If approved a new I-20 detailing the employment is issued. A student may only engage in CPT for the prescribed amount of time. To begin work or work past the time-frame authorized would be a violation of student F-1 status.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

F-1 students can participate in OPT that is directly related to their major area of study upon completion of their program of study (post completion). DSO may or may not recommend student for OPT. The work done does not count towards course credit; therefore it is the student’s option to apply for OPT. OPT may be used during a degree program (Pre-OPT) as well as after completion (Post-OPT) of course requirements. The application process takes approximately 90 days before the approval and issuance of the EAD.

STEPS TO APPLY FOR OPT

Student may apply 90 days prior to program completion and up to 60 days after the date of program completion.

OPT Instructions

  1. Follow I-765 instructions and complete G-1145.
  2. Student must apply to the DSO for recommendation and to USCIS for an Employment Authorization Card.
  3. Make an appointment with DSO in the International Office and bring all of the completed documentation on the checklist with you.
  4. If the student is eligible for OPT, the DSO will provide a new I-20 with OPT recommendation. 
  5. Mail the OPT application by certified mail to the correct Filing Location

Approval and issuance of the EAD card usually takes 90 days, or more. If it is past the 90 days it is the student’s responsibility to contact USCIS using the SRC number on the Receipt Notice. The card will be mailed to the International Admissions Office and the students will be contacted to either pick up the card in person or request the document be mailed by certified mail.

This represents an explanation of the steps required to gain approval for Optional Practical Training. Changes, exceptions, and/or additions to required documents do occur. After reading this form, direct your questions by phone, e-mail, or appointment to the DSO. Remember, as with all U.S. laws and regulations relating to F-1 student visa holders, the student is responsible for compliance.

STEM OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (STEM OPT)

F-1 students who are currently authorized for OPT employment based on completion of a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. Degree in Science Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) field, as defined by DHS, may be eligible for a 24-month extension of OPT.

ELIGIBILITY

Have a degree for your current post-completion OPT in science, technology, engineering or math.  See STEM Designated Degrees

Employer must utilize the E-Verify program.

Employer completes a I-983 training plan.

Notify your school’s DSO about your intention to apply.

Properly fill out the I-765 for renewal and gather all documents on the OPT STEM Extension Checklist (see below).

Submit application prior to the date of expiration on your current EAD for OPT

STEPS TO APPLY FOR STEM OPT

Make an appointment with the DSO in the International Admissions Office (580) 581-2838. Bring the following items to your appointment

OPT STEM Checklist

  1. Completed Form G-1145
  2. Money Order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for $410.00
  3. 2 Passport Photos (write in pencil your name and SEVIS ID number)
  4. Completed Form I-765 (Eligibility Category: (c) (3) (c))
  5. Completed Form I-983 Training Plan (Completed by student and employer)
  6. Copy of degree
  7. Official transcript showing your major field of study
  8. I-20 with OPT authorization
  9. Previous Employment Authorization Document
  10. I-94
  11. Passport (must be valid for 6 months) and visa with entry stamps

If you are eligible, the DSO will provide a new Form I-20 with the 24-Month STEM Extension recommendation

Mail the STEM Extension application by certified mail to the correct Filing Location

Note: If a student's regular post-completion OPT expires after a STEM OPT I-765 is properly and timely filed, the student's employment authorization is considered automatically extended for up to 180 days while the STEM EAD application is pending.

Whether you work on-campus, off-campus or currently performing CPT or OPT, students must report to International Student Services if they change of employers.  Students can download Change of Employers form and complete the document.  Upon completion, students may email the form to our office for processing the information into their file.   

Each year—usually by April 15—anyone who earns an income in the United States is required to file and pay taxes to the federal government. However, F-1 international students must follow special regulations when paying taxes on their income.

For information on how to file and pay your taxes while studying in the United States, visit these resources:

  1. International Students: Learn About Filing Taxes
  2. Obtaining a Social Security Number
  3. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. government agency responsible for collecting taxes and has additional resources to help you learn more about filing taxes. If you have any further questions about taxes, visit the IRS’ website for free resources or talk to your designated school official.

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues to an individual who needs to report income but is ineligible to obtain a Social Security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration. To apply for an ITIN, an F-1 student must submit a Form W-7, “Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number,” with a U.S. tax return.

An F-1 student who is ineligible for an SSN must apply for an ITIN if any of the following occur:

  1. Reception of a grant, fellowship or scholarship
  2. Interest from stock options, lottery or gambling winnings
  3. Other types of non-wage income

International students must maintain a full course of study and have valid documentation to work on-campus. This list of open positions can be found at https://www.cameron.edu/hr/student-employment

Cameron University Career Services assists students and alumni in achieving their career goals, by providing excellent career-related resources, programs, services, and opportunities that equip and empower them for the workforce.

All of our services are free to CU students & Alumni. Check out our online services below or make a one-on-one appointment today!