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Employment Information for International Students

Attend an Employment Information Session to learn the steps required to work off-campus as an F-1 visa holder. To register or request more information, email the CISS.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a work benefit that allows F-1 students to complete off-campus employment for class credit.

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Optional Practical Training (commonly referred to as "OPT") is a benefit of your F-1 status that allows 12 months of off-campus employment in the US for the purpose of practical experience in your major field of study. 

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On-Campus Employment for F-1 Students

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 too start a job sooner than this, we recommend applying at the Bookstore (in Collins Hall, near Dunkin Donuts) or at Sodexo Dining Services (3rd floor of La Cava Center).The hiring process for these positions is different from other on-campus positions and may allow international students to apply earlier than for other positions at Bentley.

How to Apply for an On-Campus Job

Accessing Available On-Campus Positions

The Student Employment web page lists all available on-campus jobs.  To be able to access and apply for any of these posted positions, you must receive permission from the Student Employment Office.  To receive this permission, you need to email the Student Employment Office and ask to be put on their Waitlist.  The email that Student Employment sends to you will give you the requisite access to the “Self-Service” portal of the MyBentley webpage.

The Hiring Process

After you apply for a position on-line, the hiring manager will email you if s/he wants you to interview. You will receive an email if you are offered the position. Log on to the Self-Service portal to accept or decline the position. Ask the employer for the offer letter so you may apply for an SSN. Complete the form on the CISS website to request the SSN from CISS.

Paperwork to be Completed in Financial Aid Office
  1. Obtain your Social Security Number*
  2. Go to the Financial Aid Office in the Rauch Administration building, Room 104 to complete the Form I-9.

Please Note: International students are not allowed to apply for “Federal Work Study” jobs. 

Please note that if you are applying for an SSN when you first arrive in the US, you must remember to wait at least 10 days after entering the country to go to the SSA to apply for your SSN.

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Career Services for International Students

The job search process for international students can be challenging and complicated. You have an International Student Career Community standing by to help. We provide resources, programs and information to help international students find meaningful employment.

Undergraduate students: visit the Career Edge site for international job seekers.

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 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 for CPT and on-campus employment. If you are applying for a SSN for an OPT job, you must wait until the authorization date of your EAD card to apply. USCIS now also allows students to apply for a SSN at the time of OPT application. The request to be issued an SSN is located on the I-765 form for requesting OPT (See "Optional Practical Training"). If you apply for your SSN in this way, you will be sent your SSN card within two weeks of receiving your EAD card to the address listed on the I-765 form.

How do 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 On-Campus Employment – Confirmation of Job Offer Form signed by your campus supervisor
  • For OPT only, EAD card 
  • Bentley ID card
When can I begin work?

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, visit the Social Security Administration website. 

Academic Training

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.

Academic Training Requirements

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 Process

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.

Volunteering

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”

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.

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. 

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.