/campus_life/resources/intl/

Employment

Social Security Numbers

The Social Security Administration (SSA) now requires that F-1 students seeking Social Security numbers for on-campus work are required to provide documentation that they have (or have been offered) an on-campus job. Students must also provide verification of that employment, or a Social Security number will not be assigned.

Please take this into consideration when planning for your arrival to Widener University. Widener does not guarantee on-campus employment. Therefore, you must be prepared financially when you arrive in the United States. In other words, you must have the amount of money needed for tuition, fees, books, medical insurance, and living expenses. As an international student, you are not permitted to work off-campus until you have completed two full-time semesters (Fall and Spring).

On-Campus Employment

International students are permitted to work on-campus, noting the following provisions:

  • Valid F-1 status.
  • "Non-work study" employment only (International students are not eligible for employment classified as "work study.").
  • No more than 20 hours during Fall and Spring semesters.
  • 35 hours allowed during school breaks of one week or longer (including holidays and summer vacation).
  • Apply for letter of employment eligibility with ISS.

Curricular Practical Training

International students may work on Curricular Practical Training (CPT), noting the following rules:

  • Students must be in valid F-1 status for two full-time semesters (not including the summer) before becoming eligible for CPT. (Exception: Graduate students whose program requires an internship in the first year of a student's program may work on CPT before completing two semesters.)
  • Employment (internship, practicum, or cooperative education) must be related to the student's major field of study.
  • Employment is specific to employer, dates approved, and physical location.
  • Two classifications of CPT:
    Part-time (20 hours or less per week)
    Full-time (21 hours or more per week
  • 12 or more months of full-time CPT will eliminate the student's eligibility for OPT.

International students must complete the following steps before obtaining official approval for CPT:

  • Obtain a written job offer from the employer, noting the position description, hours worked per week, etc.
  • Present the job offer letter to your academic advisor. If the advisor approves the CPT, he or she sends a memo to ISS.
  • Obtain a new I-20 from ISS which will note the CPT approval.

Please note: You cannot begin employment until you have obtained all of the appropriate signatures. Do not tell an employer that you can start right away! The procedure listed above takes a minimum of 3-5 business days and, in rare cases, can take longer.

Optional Practical Training

International students may work on Optional Practical Training (OPT), noting the following rules:

  • Students must be in valid F-1 status for two full-time semesters (not including the summer) before obtaining eligibility for OPT.
  • OPT is on-site training in your major field of study before or after completing your course requirements.
  • OPT is an extension of a student's F-1 status.
  • USCIS grants authorization for 12 months (full-time) total.
  • Students may work on one period of OPT per academic level (Bachelors, Masters, etc.).
  • Students must have completed or be very close to completing your coursework.
  • Students are not required to have a job offer in order to apply.
  • Employment must be appropriate for the student's level of education.
  • The application for OPT must be made before the student's graduation date.
  • Students must be employed full-time for 9 out of 12 months during their OPT authorization.

Before you enter your appointment with your Foreign Student Advisor, please make sure you have the following documents with you:

  • Three copies of your current and all former I-20s
  • Three copies of your visa, passport, and I-94 card
  • Check or money order made out to "Department of Homeland Security" for $380.
  • Two-passport style photos.
  • Completed I-765 form. To prove that the form is an original and not a copy, please complete it in blue pen.

Severe Economic Hardship

International students are eligible to work under Severe Economic Hardship, noting the following rules:

  • Students must be in valid F-1 status and good academic standing for two full-time semesters (not including the summer) before obtaining eligibility.
  • Hardship must be caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control.
  • Students must show that on-campus employment opportunities are either unavailable or insufficient.
  • Students do not need a job offer to apply.
  • Work does not have to be in the student's field of study.
  • USCIS generally takes 6 months or more to process the application.

Before you enter your appointment with your Foreign Student Advisor, please make sure you have the following documents with you:

  • Three copies of your visa, passport, and I-94 card
  • Check or money order made out to "Department of Homeland Security" for $380.
  • Two-passport style photos. To view the required photo standards, please download this form: Photo Standards.pdf
  • A letter detailing the reasons that your previous funding is no longer available and/or sufficient.
  • A list of estimated costs and expenses for the next year.
  • Completed I-765 form. To prove that the form is an original and not a copy, please complete it in blue pen. You can download the form here: i-765.pdf