On-Campus Employment & Volunteering

International students studying in the U.S. in F-1 visa status may only work on or off campus within the federal rules of their nonimmigrant status and Wesleyan's institutional policies on employment. A key regulation for F-1 international students and Wesleyan employers to know is the "20-hour rule" for on-campus work during required academic terms (fall and spring semesters). Whether an F-1 international student is working one or more campus jobs, the total number of hours for all their employment combined may not exceed 20 hours during the fall and spring semesters.

F-1 international students who exceed 20 hours of on-campus work while classes are in session during the academic year are in violation of the employment rules of their visa status; such a violation may result in the termination of their SEVIS record and a long-lasting negative impact on their immigration record and ability to remain in and/or re-enter the U.S.    

Any off-campus employment, internship, or training requires prior authorization from OISA through Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Working off campus without authorization is also a serious violation of status and may result in termination of your SEVIS record and loss of your eligibility for benefits normally granted to F-1 students, such as Optional Practical Training (OPT), the 24-Month STEM OPT Extension, and other visa types such as H-1B.

On-Campus Employment Guidelines

As an international student in F-1 visa status, you are permitted to work on campus without any special authorization from OISA. However, there are specific rules and guidelines that you must follow when working on campus: 

  • While classes are in session during required academic terms (fall and spring semesters), you may only work up to 20 hours per week. Whether you have one or more campus jobs, the total number of hours for all your positions combined must not exceed 20 hours worked per week while classes are in session.  
  • You may work more than 20 hours per week during official vacation periods (up to 40 hours per week during summer, winter, and spring breaks). However, if you will take classes during an official break period, you will be subject to the 20-hour rule for your on-campus employment. 
  • "On-campus employment" refers to jobs that are paid through Wesleyan payroll. If you are uncertain whether a job is considered to be an “on-campus” position, please check with OISA and the Campus Employment office before starting the position. 
  • If you will work on campus, you are required to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)
  • If you will work on campus, you will be required to file a tax return

Employment with ResLife

As of January 2023, Union-established contracts for Office of Residential Life (ResLife) student employees now list the following hours-per-week breakdown for each role:   

Resident Advisors (RAs): 20 hours per week 
House Managers (HMs): 12 hours per week 
Community Advisors (CAs): 8 hours per week 

With this clear delineation of weekly work hours for each position, F-1 visa status international students employed by ResLife must continue to adhere to the “20-hour rule” while classes are in session during the fall and spring semesters. F-1 international students working as RAs have a position set at the 20-hour weekly limit, which means any additional on-campus employment while classes are in session during fall and spring semesters is a violation of their visa status with the potential for serious consequences to their U.S. immigration record.  

F-1 international students in HM and CA roles who wish to work an additional on-campus job(s) must be very cognizant of how many hours they are working each week while classes are in session. OISA recommends that HMs and CAs limit weekly work hours to 18 in total if they choose to work additional positions on campus; this will help safeguard them from violating their F-1 visa status. 

If you are an F-1 international student employed by or considering future employment with ResLife and have questions about on-campus employment rules of your visa status, please utilize OISA’s advising services.    

On-Campus Employment Process for F-1 Students

On-campus employment as an F-1 international student at Wesleyan requires you to complete processes with the Office of International Student Affairs (OISA), International Compensation & Taxation (ICT), and the Campus Employment office within the Gordon Career Center. Please carefully follow and complete the steps below to secure and begin an on-campus job(s). Corresponding offices are noted for each step if you have questions or encounter challenges and need to reach out for support.       

Step 1 (OISA): Complete your check-in within the ISS Portal at the start of your required academic term (fall and spring semesters). First-semester students must complete the “OISA Check-in for Students with Initial I-20s Request”; continuing students must complete the “Continuing F-1 Student SEVIS Status Confirmation” e-form.       

Step 2 (ICT): Follow the instructions in your WesPortal>Campus Applications>Documents Required by Non-US Citizens to register in Sprintax Calculus, complete your I-9, upload required documents, complete tax forms, apply for your SSN, and meet with ICT for a brief tax orientation.   

Step 3 (Campus Employment Office): Apply for a campus job via Handshake and utilize the Campus Employment office for support during your search. You can contact Campus Employment via email at campusemployment@wesleyan.edu. 

Step 4 (OISA): Once you have accepted a position, submit a complete “F-1 Status Verification Letter” request to OISA in the ISS Portal. An employment letter is required for your F-1 Status Verification Letter request. OISA will process your request, issue you the F-1 Status Verification Letter for your SSN application, and then send you a confirmation email to your Wesleyan email address.   

Step 5 (ICT): Once you have opened a U.S. bank account and have access to Workforce Time (WFT), navigate to Wes Portal>My Information>Benefits, HR & Payroll Forms>Payroll Forms>Self Service Direct Deposit and enter your 9-digit bank Routing Number, Bank Account Number, and Account Type. If you cannot access Self Service Direct Deposit, email Christine Rodrigue at ict@wesleyan.edu.

Step 6 (OISA): Follow the 20-hour rule! While classes are in session during required academic terms (fall and spring semesters), your F-1 visa status permits you to work a maximum of 20 hours per week in your on-campus job(s). If you have questions about the 20-hour rule, on-campus employment, or off-campus employment, contact OISA for advising support.    

Step 7 (Internal Revenue Service): File your state and federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by the annual deadline on April 15th. See ICT’s U.S. tax pages for guidance on the income tax system and filing your return.      

On-Campus Employment & Related Resources

Campus Employment Office - Find a job on campus

International Compensation & Taxation (ICT) Office - Complete required forms and processes to work on campus, get paid, and file your U.S. taxes

Payroll Office - Contact Payroll for questions related to pay or issues using Workforce Time

Social Security Information - How to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)   

Tax Information - Guidance on tax requirements and filing process for F-1 visa holders

Volunteering

While in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa, any internship or training experience requires prior authorization (CPT or OPT) even if unpaid. Please refer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s definition of an unpaid internship for more information.

International students may, however, take part in community service volunteer opportunities without needing any authorization. Per the U.S. Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor, “Individuals who volunteer or donate their services, usually on a part-time basis, for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, not as employees and without contemplation of pay, are not considered employees of the religious, charitable or similar non-profit organizations that receive their service.”

Wesleyan offers numerous volunteer opportunities within the community through the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships. If you are unsure of whether a specific opportunity is appropriate for volunteering or if it requires prior approval, please consult with an OISA advisor before taking part.

Students Not Intending to Work

Even if you do not intend to work or receive any type of payment, you still have required obligations for Wesleyan and the IRS. For Wesleyan, you must determine your U.S. tax residency status and submit required forms and documents. For the IRS, you must apply for a U.S. Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). The instructions for both can be found in your WesPortal>Campus Applications>Documents Required by Non-US Citizens and the deadline is November 15th during your first academic semester.