Frequently Asked Questions

What type of paperwork do I need to submit in order to hire an F-1 student?

Employers do not have to process any additional paperwork when hiring an international student, only what is required when hiring a U.S. Citizen. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for the work authorization. All paperwork is handled by the student and the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS).

What does the student’s work authorization look like?

Pre-Completion OPT, Post-Completion OPT and the 24-Month STEM Extension approvals are granted upon the student receipt of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card). Students on CPT will receive confirmation through authorization located on the third page of their I-20.

When can a student work?

In general, a student may be authorized to work off-campus after a full academic year (two semesters) in good standing. Work may be authorized during or after the student’s course of study. The student may not begin work until they have received their authorization documentation and the start date given has been reached.

How many hours per week can a student work?

During fall and spring semesters, students may only work part-time, (20 hours or less per week). During the summer, students may work full-time, (up to 40 hours per week). Graduate students who have only their thesis or project remaining may be authorized to work full-time during the semester on Post-Completion OPT or Pre-Completion OPT.

What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is an online system which allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. Students on the 24-Month (STEM) Extension may only work with companies enrolled in E-Verify. To learn more about E-verify, please visit the USCIS E-Verify page.

Are F-1 students subject to taxes?

While employers typically withhold Medicare/Social Security taxes from employee’s wages; this is NOT the case for non-resident, F-1 students. They are exempt from these taxes, though they are still subject to income tax withholding. An F-1 student is considered a non-resident for his or her first five calendar years in the United States. Please consult with a tax professional for more information on F-1 student taxes.

Can an F-1 Student Work without an EAD Card?

F-1 students MUST receive the EAD card in order to begin work via OPT. They may not start work based on the I-797 paper approval notice or anything else apart from the EAD card with the indicated start date. 

Can a Student be Authorized for Unpaid Employment?

F-1 students may also report an unpaid employment experience. This will effectively stop the unemployment-day accumulation and could permit the student to continue searching for a paid opportunity while he or she is engaged in unpaid employment. However, the student must ensure that proper records and timecards are maintained for their unpaid employment experience in the event that they have to show proof of their work experience/duties. 

Does the student have to use the SEVP Portal to report employment? 

As of December 10, 2018, ISSS require students on post-completion OPT to report their employment through the SEVP portal. Our previous guidance instructed students to report their employment through our employment update report form on the ISSS website. Please click on the following link to obtain more information on how to access the SEVP Portal: SEVP Portal Guidelines. STEM-OPT recipients must report their employment through the employment update report form.           

Additionally, the following form is used for students who want to reset the password of a locked SEVP Portal account, resend the SEVP Portal invitation email due to an expired previous invitation, inform ISSS of a change in preferred emails, or request correction of your OPT/STEM status in SEVIS: SEVP Portal Access Form

Select the following link for the SEVP Portal Tutorial Video

Additional Resources

Contact Us

San José State University

One Washington Square
Student Union - CPGE
San Jose, CA 95192-0135

Office Hours

Monday-Friday 9am – 4:30pm

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