Students with a valid F-1 visa may be employed on campus. On-campus employment is available through our Student Employment office and does not require an application to the USCIS for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
When it comes to off-campus employment, it is extremely important that students pay serious attention to the issue of authorized (legal) versus unauthorized (illegal) employment. Engaging in unauthorized employment constitutes a failure to maintain the immigration status of the student, which has very severe consequences. Hence, students must consult the Immigration Specialist before starting any off-campus employment.
An F-1 student who has maintained F-1 status for an academic year and is in good academic standing may apply for off-campus employment based on severe economic hardship. In order to be eligible to work under this program, students must be able to show to the USCIS that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond his or her control that arose after obtaining F-1 status. The student must obtain the work permit from the USCIS before working off campus. For application process and details, meet with the Immigration Specialist.
The student’s choice of program does not affect eligibility for on-campus or off-campus employment. Both types of employment limit the students to work 20 hours per week while the school is in session and 40 hours per week during the annual vacation or when the school is not in session, provided the students are eligible and intend to register for the subsequent academic term. A student may not engage in on- or off-campus employment during the 60-day grace period following the completion of a course of study.
In order to work in the United States, F-1 students must obtain a Social Security number. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires an F-1 student to prove that he or she has secured a job on campus before the agency will issue a number. The Biola University Student Employment office must provide a letter to the Social Security Administration stating that the student has secured a job and it will be held for the student until he or she receives the Social Security number. Also, the Immigration Advisor has to send a letter to the SSA about the student’s valid F-1 status at the university. The student may then take the letters along with his/her immigration documents to the SSA to apply for the Social Security number. The number is assigned and mailed out to the student’s address (usually within 10 working days if the immigration documents can be verified with the Department of Homeland Security; if the documents cannot be verified online, it may take the Department of Homeland Security several weeks).