On Campus Employment
As an F-1 student, you are eligible to work on campus up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. You may work full-time during holidays, breaks and the summer.
Off Campus Employment
In order to legally work off campus, you must apply for either Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).
As an F-1 student, you are eligible to work on campus up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. You may work more than 20 hours per week during vacation breaks (spring, summer etc). To work on campus, you must first secure a position on campus, then obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Office and then submit the proper paperwork to the Student Employment and Financial Aid offices.
Many office jobs for international students generally become available 2 months into the semester. If you want a job at the start of the semester, you may apply at the Bookstore (in Collins Hall, near Dunkin Donuts) or at Dining Services (3Rd floor of La Cava Center).The hiring process for these positons is different from other on-campus positions.
Obtaining a Social Security Number
Why do I need a Social Security Number?
A Social Security Number (SSN) is required to receive compensation for work in the US (F-1 on-campus employment, paid internship, Optional Practical Training (OPT) or J-1 Academic Training).
When can I apply for a Social Security Number?
You may apply for a SSN only if you have received a job offer. You must have entered the U.S. at least 10 days prior to submitting your application. You may not apply more than 30 days before the start of your job.
How Can I Apply for a Social Security Number?
• Download the SSN application from the Social Security Administration website; or obtain an application at a local Social Security Office.
• Complete and sign the application;
• Take the application and required documents (listed below) to any US Social Security office during regular business hours; and
• Allow at least two weeks for processing and mailing.
Present the following documents when you apply for a Social Security Number:
• Completed and signed SSN application
• Original Passport with F-1 or J-1 visa
• I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (printed from the cbp.gov website)
• Original Form I-20 (CPT/OPT) or DS-2019
• Original supervisor or job offer letter
• For on-campus jobs only, present the reverse side of this form, “International Student On-Campus Employment – Confirmation of Job Offer” signed by your campus supervisor
• For OPT only, EAD card
• Bentley ID card
When can I begin working?
You will be given a receipt immediately when you submit your SSN application. You may begin working as soon as you have the receipt proving that you filed for a SSN as long as your employer allows you to.
You cannot be paid, however, until you receive your SSN. When you receive your Social Security Card containing the SSN, sign it and take it to the Student Employment Office (for on-campus jobs) or the Human Resources Dept. at your place of employment (for off-campus jobs) to complete the required state and federal tax withholding forms. Once the forms have been completed and submitted, you are eligible to receive compensation for the work performed on the job. Keep your card in a safe place.
For more information: Social Security Administration website: www.ssa.gov
J-1 exchange visitor students may engage in paid off-campus employment in the United States to gain professional training before and after completion of their academic program if the employment is directly related to their coursework. This type of employment is called academic training.
To participate in academic training, you must:
- Be in good academic status before applying
- Obtain advance, written authorization from the Cronin Office of International Education for academic training for wages or other remuneration
- Begin academic training no later than 30 days following the completion of your studies
- Obtain formal authorization for non-paid internships
As a J-1 exchange visitor sponsored by Bentley, you may receive academic training for the amount of time equal to your time enrolled at the university (18-month maximum). One-semester exchange students are eligible for four months of academic training, and one-year exchange students are eligible for nine to 12 months.
Academic Training Application Procedures
To complete your academic training application, you must:
1. Obtain a letter of recommendation from your academic adviser from the Cronin Office of International Education. The letter must include:
- The goals and objectives of the specific employment opportunity
- A description of the employment opportunity, including its location, the name and address of the supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training
- How the training relates to your major field of study
- Why it is an integral or critical part of your academic program
2. Call us to schedule an appointment with a staff member. Be sure to bring to your appointment the recommendation letter and the employment offer letter.
We will provide you with written authorization for the proposed academic training upon review and approval from the Cronin Office of International Education.
Many students inquire about whether they can participate in a volunteer experience during their time at Bentley. Bentley students on F-1 visas may participate in volunteer experiences that meet the following criteria:
1. The volunteer arrangement cannot be directly related to your field of study*
2. The volunteer position must be unpaid
3. The volunteer position must be in either a public sector or non-profit charitable organization
4. The volunteer arrangement should not be similar enough to an internship that it could be interpreted as such by any definition of employment; volunteers cannot perform tasks that would otherwise be defined as “internship” or “employment”
Generally, unpaid volunteer positions at organizations specified above where the student volunteers without expectation of compensation are permissible. However, unpaid internships must be authorized as CPT, and the distinction is important. Any volunteer situation that could be interpreted as employment (if it is able to be listed on a resume as “professional experience”) could jeopardize future US visa petitions and employment permission for students if the student does not officially use CPT for that employment experience.
For more information, please reference the standards outlined by the US Department of Labor. If you have questions about volunteering versus work authorization, please contact CISS for clarification.
*This excludes the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program at Bentley and/or at any certified non-profit organization, as the VITA program is volunteer only. You may also review the following document for more information about how F-1 students can volunteer at non-profit organizations: Volunteering in F-1 status.docx
Employment for Severe Economic Hardship
You may be eligible for general off-campus employment authorization if you are facing severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, such as substantial currency fluctuations, medical bills, and substantial or unexpected expenses. Contact GA_ciss@bentley.edu for more information.