Skip to main content Skip to footer

International Student Employment

On-Campus Employment

International students (non-immigrant students, F1 or J1 visa holders) may work part-time (20 hours per week) on campus during the fall and winter terms and full-time (40 hours per week) during the spring and summer vacation terms. In order to be eligible for on campus work you must be enrolled full time for the regular academic year.  Spring and summer jobs require that you have registered for the next fall term or at least 6 credits total during the spring and summer terms. 

On-campus employment includes working directly for Saginaw Valley State University or for on-campus commercial firms, which provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or dining services. Please note that International students are only eligible for Regular Student Employment (RSE) jobs, not Michigan Work Study (MWS) or Federal Work Study (CWS) jobs.

For more information on how to apply for an on-campus student employment positions, please click here. You will be directed to complete a general online employment application. After applying online you may get help at the Career Services Office in Wickes Hall 270 to write and attach your resumé to the application. Then you should monitor the site to see what jobs are posted and indicate your interest in being interviewed or considered for a position. There are usually more people applying than there are open positions, but many international students do get on campus employment. 


Off-Campus Employment

International students (non-immigrant students, F1 or J1 visa holders) interested in seeking off-campus employment must first obtain off-campus employment authorization. Students should discuss how to obtain off-campus employment authorization with an advisor in the Office of International & Advanced Studies. While you are an enrolled student, employment authorizations include Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Economic Hardship. Once a student graduates, employment authorization includes Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is a program that may allow an international student holding an F1 student visa to work off campus. CPT employment must be related to the student's major and a course requirement within that major.  See an international advisor to discuss what types of options are available within the university’s curriculum. 

Student must have been enrolled for a full academic year prior to getting CPT approval. Since CPT employment is during the time you are studying, it can only be part-time work, up to 20 hours per week, during the regular academic year. Although you may work up to 40 hours a week in a CPT position during the spring or summer vacation period, if it is full-time for a full year, you will not be eligible for OPT (see below).

To begin the process, see an international advisor and obtain the CPT application form. Once you have a job offer, you will need both a written job offer statement from the company and approval from your academic department to verify how the work is part of a course that will be taken for credit or is part of a cooperative agreement with the university.  When all of the above requirements are in place, return the completed CPT application form to an international advisor for final approval and entry into your SEVIS record for the semester. CPT does not require an additional fee or application to the U.S. Government, but it must be renewed if it extends into additional semesters. 

F1 CPT Info Sheet (90KB)

CPT Request Form (57KB)


Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is a practical work experience in your field of study after completion of a degree. You should apply early in your final semester (90 days before you complete your program).

OPT is limited to 12 months (within a 14 month window after graduation). Some majors in science, technology, engineering, and math allow a student to apply for an additional 17 month employment authorization prior to the expiration of the original OPT dates. 

A prior job offer is not required, but the student must find employment within 90 days of the start date. Application for OPT requires an application using the I-765 Form and a non-refundable application fee of $380 to the USCIS. This form and a listing of additional documentation, which is required with your application, can be obtained from the Office of International and Advanced Studies in Wickes 230. You should make an appointment with an international student advisor to verify that you have all of the required documentation and an updated I-20 requesting OPT before sending in your application. 

F1 OPT Info Sheet (113KB)


Economic Hardship

Employment authorization allowed because of economic hardship requires substantial proof that there is a true financial need that was not anticipated when you first applied and were accepted to attend the university. An application and fee payment and approval from the USCIS are required before beginning work. Employment with economic hardship authorization does not have to be related to your major.

You are only permitted to work part-time, up to 20 hours a week during the regular academic semesters, and you must be and remain a full-time student at the same university where you were attending when you applied.  Full-time work, up to 40 hours a week, may be permitted during the spring and summer vacation terms. 

In all of the above cases, make an appointment and consult with an international student advisor for assistance with obtaining employment eligibility. Any other options for employment apart from being a full-time student, such as a green card, H1B or J1 visa for work, are not within our area and must be worked out with the employer and other government requirements.


Social Security Number
A Social Security number (SS#) is needed and obtainable only for students who work. The SS# is issued by a U.S. government office, not by the university, so trips to the Social Security Office are periodically planned. You will need to bring your I-20 or DS-2019, passport with visa, I-94 document, and two letters or bills, which verify your address, with you when you sign up for a SS#. To find out when a trip will be scheduled, contact the OIAS or check on Canvas (V-Space).



Contact Us
(989) 964-4473(989) 964-4473


Like us on Facebook


Wickes 230


8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.