International students can search for on-campus employment opportunities by following the application procedures below. Students must confirm work authorization with the International Center. Please review information below before meeting with International Center staff. With proper work authorization, international students may be eligible to work off campus as well. Contact International Center staff for more clarification about visa status and work eligibility.
Obtaining On-Campus Employment
- Confirm eligibility
- Apply to jobs
- Interview and accept a position
- Receive Illinois Tech Job Offer Letter for Social Security Administration
- Obtain a Social Security Number (SSN)
- Complete and submit hiring documents
- Present SSN within four weeks of employment
1. Confirm Eligibility
Review employment requirements listed on the International Center website to make sure you are eligible to work in the United States. You should also consult the Illinois Tech student employment handbook.
The F-1 student status permits you to work on campus at the university that issued your I-20 while you are enrolled in a full course of study. Your I-20 is your proof of work eligibility for on-campus employment. You must maintain F-1 status to be eligible for this employment benefit; maintaining status means that you are a full-time registered student (except for approved exceptions) in good academic standing with a valid I-20. Full-time enrollment at Illinois Tech is nine (9) credit hours for graduate students and twelve (12) credit hours for undergraduate students.
Students completing their last semester at Illinois Tech may be enrolled in courses that do not meet the full-time requirement. If this is the case, students need to talk to their supervisors and to the International Center to receive special permission to work on campus while enrolled under the minimum credit hour amount. Any student who is enrolled less than full-time has to be first cleared by the International Center. Once that permission is granted, a paper payroll authorization (PA) will need to be submitted since the Electronic Payroll Authorization Form (EPAF) system will reject the submission based on the minimum credit hour requirements not being met.
2. Apply to Jobs
Follow instructions under “Apply to On-Campus Jobs” on the Student Employment website. Do not visit departments in person. The only applications that will be accepted for on-campus employment are those that are submitted through the Handshake portal. For help with application materials, such as a résumé or cover letter, make an appointment with a career coach through Career Services.
3. Accept a Position, Supervisor Enters “PA”
If you are offered a job and accept, your supervisor will enter a payroll authorization (PA) to begin the hiring process. This is done electronically for most students, using the Electronic Payroll Authorization (EPAF) form. However, for graduate assistants, teaching assistants, or research assistants—and in a few other cases—some supervisors need to submit a paper PA.
After the PA is entered, you will receive an email from the Student Employment Office with links to standard employment paperwork and hiring instructions, including instructions about your job offer letter and Social Security Number (SSN) application.
4. Receive Job Offer Letter for Social Security Administration
When a payroll authorization (PA) is approved, a job offer letter is generated in the Student Employment Office (SEO), signed by SEO staff. The student will receive an email telling them to pick up the letter, and then the student will upload their job offer letter within the "Letter Request" submissions through the ISSS Portal for the International Center to sign and validate.
More About the Job Offer Letter
Students need a job offer letter prior to applying for a Social Security Number (SSN) at the Social Security Administration office. It will be signed by Student Employment Office and the International Center. A job offer letter can be generated in two ways: automatically or manually by the supervisor. An Electronic Payroll Authorization Form (EPAF) generates a job offer letter automatically from the Student Employment Office, and the student and supervisor are notified when the letter is ready to be picked up by the student in the Student Employment Office. A paper payroll authorization requires a manual job offer letter, linked below. The manually entered job offer letter form also generates the official job offer letter in the Student Employment Office.
- Electronic—A job offer letter is automatically generated after the employer submits an Electronic Payroll Authorization Form (EPAF). This letter will be printed by the Student Employment Office on official Illinois Institute of Technology letterhead that will need to be signed by the Student Employment Office and the International Center.
- Paper—If the supervisor is not able to submit an EPAF, they will need to submit a paper payroll authorization and complete the job offer letter form. Once submitted, the Student Employment Office will print and sign the letter and notify the student that it is ready to be picked up.
5. Obtain a Social Security Number (SSN)
Obtaining a Social Security Number (SSN) is a requirement for international students to work in the United States. If you do not already have a SSN, this is the first thing you need to do before submitting other required hiring paperwork.
How to Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)
- Student receives job offer letter signed by the Student Employment Office and the International Center.
- Student completes Social Security Number (SSN) application and prepares documents to take to the Social Security Administration. View the list of documents on the International Center website.
- Student goes to the Social Security Administration to apply for a SSN. They receive a SSN application receipt, and their actual Social Security card arrives two to four weeks after that date. The physical Social Security card must be presented to the Student Employment Office within four weeks of the receipt, or the student’s employment will be terminated.
Submit Your Social Security Number (SSN) Application Receipt
As the International lCenter website explains, the United States government requires that international students obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) in order to work in the country. However, international students are allowed to work for four weeks if an “applied for Social Security card” receipt from the Social Security Administration has been submitted with their other I-9 paperwork. If the Social Security card has not been presented to the Student Employment Office within that four-week time period, departments will receive an email from the Student Employment Office instructing them to suspend the student’s work until the Social Security card is presented to the Student Employment Office. The Student Employment Office does not issue temporary Social Security cards.
6. Complete and Submit Hiring Documents
When you receive your receipt from the Social Security Administration, submit it to the Student Employment Office with your other hiring paperwork. Make sure to follow steps three to six on the Apply to On-Campus Jobs page, including training, timesheet information, evaluation, and more.
7. Present Your Social Security Number (SSN) Within Four Weeks of Employment
When you receive your Social Security card from the Social Security Administration, you can present it at the Student Employment Office to complete the hiring process—or you can update the information online on the Personal Information Change Request page. This will submit your Social Security Number (SSN) to the Registrar’s Office.
If you do not present your SSN within four weeks of application, your on-campus job may be terminated. Departments will receive an email from the Student Employment Office instructing them to suspend the student’s work until the Social Security card is presented to the Student Employment Office. Make sure to communicate any issues or delays with your supervisor and the Student Employment Office as soon as possible.
Types of Employment
F-1/J-1 students may work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and full-time during school vacation periods. If summer is your first or last term of enrollment, you may work only up to 20 hours per week. On-campus employment includes any job for which you will be paid by Illinois Institute of Technology. It might also include work with commercial firms that is performed on school premises if such work provides a direct service to students, such as The Commons or the bookstore. Please contact the International Center with any questions regarding what qualifies as on-campus employment.
J-1 students may be employed when the employment is related to academic funding, on-campus work, or economic necessity. J-1 student employment must be authorized by the International Center in advance for the following types of employment:
- Employment pursuant to the terms of a scholarship or assistantship (teaching/research)
- Employment occurring on campus at Illinois Tech
- Employment that occurs off campus due to serious, urgent, and/or unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status
Only J1 students must obtain additional work authorization through the International Center. This does not replace procedures outlined by the Student Employment Office or applying for a Social Security Number (SSN). You will not be eligible to work prior to receiving International Center approval. A new form must be submitted to report the following changes in employment status: change in current employment, i.e., the number of hours working/week; change in type of employment or employer; change in location of employment; or early completion of employment.
Sponsored Students (I.E., Fulbright)
Any J-1 student that is not currently sponsored by Illinois Tech must contact their sponsoring agency for the required employment authorization.