On-campus employment is defined as employment that takes place on the physical campus of NC State University and is paid through the NC State Payroll office. This excludes private companies located on campus, private tutoring, or other services provided to students or faculty even if the activity takes place on campus. On-campus employment may not exceed 20 hours per week when school is in session. Off-campus employment – and services provided to companies where payment comes from an off-campus source - must be authorized in advance in the form of OPT, CPT, Academic Training (J-1), Off-Campus Research Assistantship, or some other allowable mechanism.
F-1 students do not need any written authorization from OIS to engage in on-campus employment. Employment may not interfere with program completion, good academic standing, academic progress or performance or loss of full-time enrollment. This is true for both on-campus employment and authorized off-campus employment.
The department should provide an F-1 student with an offer letter prior to their employment start date. The student needs this letter to be eligible to apply for a SSn.
J-1 students DO need specific written employment authorization from their J-1 program sponsor. For students sponsored by OIS, employment authorization can be easily requested in one year increments by submitting the J-1 Student On-Campus Employment Authorization Request Form prior to the student engaging in any employment. In addition, it is recommended the hiring department provide an offer letter to a J-1 student to facilitate the SSn application process.
F-1 and J-1 students are considered to be working 20 hours per week on campus if they hold a halftime Teaching/Research Assistantship. Additional appointments, supplemental pay, or hours worked beyond the 20 hours per week maximum (from any on-campus job(s)) will violate a student's immigration status. Hiring departments should be mindful that the total number of hours for any and all on-campus employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week.
Once hired, international students must make an appointment with the Foreign National Tax Specialist in the Payroll Office to complete one or two additional tax withholding forms. This is necessary so that the University withholds the appropriate amount of taxes for the student, as international students may be exempt from certain withholdings. In order to accept salary or wage payment from U.S.-based source, it is necessary to obtain a Social Security Number.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of employment authorization for students in F-1 status who wish or need to engage in off-campus employment in their field of study when it is a required component of their curriculum, is integral to their thesis or dissertation research (e.g., collecting data or testing hypotheses in a real world industry environment) or part of a co-operative education program in their field of study. CPT may either be full-time or part-time (part-time Co-ops are limited to 20 hours of Co-op employment maximum per week AND full-time course registration). CPT is authorized for employment with a specific employer for a specific period of time and work location.
The student must obtain authorization from their DGP or Academic Advisor to engage in a Co-op. OIS has to defer to the academic department to assess and certify whether or not the proposed activity is a required component of the curriculum, is integral to the thesis or dissertation research or part of a co-operative education program in the student’s field of study.
OIS is only able to authorize CPT on academic grounds, therefore the recommendation from the DGP/Academic Advisor and confirmation that the practical training will not delay the student’s degree completion is required. For more information regarding a student’s eligibility, please refer to the student section on CPT.
Full-time and Part-time CPT:
- Part-time (<20 hours per week) CPT is possible for eligible students (concurrent full-time enrollment is required in the Fall and Spring semesters).
- Full-time CPT during the Fall or Spring semester will only be authorized if the CPT is a required or integral part of the student's degree program or thesis or dissertation.
- International students at NC State are limited to a combined total of 20 hours of employment during the academic year (inclusive of on-campus and any CPT). Students may be eligible for employment beyond 20 hours per week during the academic year if the CPT is justified because it is a standard requirement of the academic program or integral to the student’s thesis or dissertation. On campus employment cannot exceed 20 hours per week during the academic year.
- If a non-thesis student holds a .5 TA/RA position in a given semester, no CPT may be authorized for that semester
- If a non-thesis student holds a .25 TA/RA position in a given semester, 10 hours of CPT may be authorized for that semester
- If a thesis student holds a .5 TA/RA for a given semester but CPT is integral to the student's thesis research and is recommended by the student's thesis advisor and DGP, then CPT may be authorized and total employment may exceed 20 hours per week, but total employment should not exceed 40 hours per week.
J-1 Academic Training
Academic Training is training directly related to the J-1 student’s field of study. Academic Training may be paid or unpaid, part time or full time, with one or several employers provided the application and approval procedures are followed and the time limits are not exceeded. A J-1 student accrues 1 month of Academic Training for every month of full time enrollment at NC State University.
J-1 students can engage in Academic Training during or soon after completion of their degree program. In all cases, authorization from OIS is needed before engaging in any form of employment. The authorization is restricted to a particular position, company, location, and time.
In order for OIS to authorize Academic Training the student must obtain the recommendation from their academic advisor (DGP and Committee Chair for thesis/dissertation students) on the Advisor Recommendation Form for Academic Training: The DGP/Academic Advisor will complete item 3 and 4 (evaluation of how the proposed employment relates to the student’s degree program) and sign at the bottom of the form. J-1 students must submit the Advisor Recommendation Form for Academic Training and an offer letter of employment from the potential employer to OIS to begin the authorization process. For specific eligibility requirements, please refer to our J-1 Academic Training section.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 Students
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a type of employment authorization for students in F-1 status who wish to engage in off-campus employment in their field of study during and/or after their course of study. No job offer is necessary to apply, but students must meet the eligibility requirements and obtain a new Form I-20 from OIS with an OPT recommendation before they are able to apply. Students submit their applications to a USCIS service center and USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to the student. This EAD authorizes the student to engage in temporary employment related to their major field of study for up to 12 months anywhere in the U.S. The USCIS service center processing can take up to 90 days, therefore we recommend that students apply well in advance for OPT.
In order for OIS to recommend OPT to USCIS, it is necessary to ascertain the student’s academic standing and progress towards degree completion. Therefore, the student must obtain the recommendation for OPT from their DGP/Academic Advisor. The DGP/Academic Advisor will have to certify on the Advisor’s Recommendation Form for OPT that the student is in good academic standing and that they are scheduled to graduate on the date specified by the student in the top half of the form. Please note: Undergraduate and non-thesis graduate students can only use the graduation date as their program completion date. Thesis Master’s and PhD students have the option to use the graduation date or their scheduled defense date as their program completion date. We recommend to all students engaged in an RA/TA to use their graduation date as their completion date, so they can continue working on campus and honor their contract. As part of the OPT recommendation process, OIS will adjust the program end date on the I-20 (based on the program completion date provided by the student and Academic Advisor). The student may not engage in on-campus employment after that date.
For additional information and specific eligibility requirements, please refer to the student OPT section of our website.
On a different note: Departments who have or will employ an F-1 student on an approved OPT should complete the I-9 and required tax paperwork as usual and contact Human Resources and the foreign national tax specialist with any questions.
For more information on F-1 and J-1 student employment options used in exceptional circumstances, please visit this link.