As an F-1 visa student, you are allowed to work on the Seattle University campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and 40 hours per week during the summer (or annual vacation quarter). You will need to make sure that you complete a full-time course load each quarter, in addition to your employment. To find information about on-campus jobs, contact offices directly that you would like to work at, or check on the web via SU Online or the Redhawk Network (http://webapps.seattleu.edu/redhawknetwork). The priority for many on-campus jobs goes to "work-study"" students. Work-study students are American students who are receiving a financial aid package from the government that requires them to work on campus. International students are not eligible for work-study. If you see a work-study job advertised for at least two weeks, you can call to ask if they would consider hiring someone who is not on work-study. Some offices may only be able to hire work-study students, while others may have a budget for hiring non-work-study students. Working on campus does not require getting any written permission from the International Student Center (ISC) or immigration, and you can start working as soon as you begin your studies at Seattle University. Remember, you cannot get paid until you apply/receive a social security number.
Optional practical training (OPT) allows F-1 students to gain paid working experience off-campus in their field of study. While most students choose to use their practical training after they complete their studies, you can actually start practical training while you are still in school. You must be in the United States and in status under an F-1 visa for one academic year before you can submit a start date. During the school year, you can work up to 20 hours per week while maintaining your full-time student status. During the summer (or annual vacation quarter) you can choose to apply for part-time or full-time practical training. You do not need to have a job offer before you apply, but you must be sure that the job you end up doing is closely related to your major (or perhaps minor), and is giving you experience appropriate for your level of education. Applications for optional practical training are done through the mail. The process for obtaining authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS - DHS) takes about 2-3 months, so you must plan ahead. The International Student Center will assist you in completing the application and must endorse your application before it is sent BCIS.
The maximum time for doing practical training is 12 months full-time. If you want to do part-time practical training, it counts as half-time (example: 4 months part-time=2 months full-time). You can do part of your practical training before you graduate, and part of it after, although each separate period of practical training requires a $380 fee payable to immigration. The best way to find out more about Optional Practical Training is to attend one of the free workshops offered by the International Student Center. Generally these are held about once per quarter.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is another type of training, available to students who must work as part of their degree requirements. In order to apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), you must be registered for a course at Seattle University that requires off-campus employment, such as an internship course, and you must get a letter from your professor or department that the credits received for your internship will count towards your degree requirements. Very few students are eligible to apply for this kind of practical training, because not many classes or programs of study specifically require students to work off-campus.
If you would like to do a paid internship related to your major, but not as part of a class requirement, you must apply for Optional Practical Training.
If you would like to do an unpaid internship, you do not need to get permission from DHS or the International Student Center. As long as you are not receiving compensation of any kind, and you are not replacing a paid employee with your internship, you are allowed to do an internship at any off-campus location.
If you suffer from unforeseen financial difficulties, due to circumstances beyond your control, you may be able to apply for work authorization based on economic hardship. In order to apply, you must provide proof that your financial sponsor has unexpectedly suffered financial difficulties. This may be due to sudden fluctuations in your country's currency, a sponsor losing their job, death of financial sponsor, or similar circumstances. You will also have to show that you made a genuine attempt to obtain on-campus employment before seeking the economic hardship work permit, and that the on-campus jobs were either not available or were insufficient.
Questions regarding employment should be directed to your International Student Advisor in the International Student Center at 206.296.6260 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to reach the Social Security Administration (SSA)
A toll-free number operates from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday at 1-800-772-1213. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. You can also visit their website at www.ssa.gov for more information.
You must apply for your Social Security Number (SSN) in person. There are several local offices throughout the Seattle area, which are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (except Federal Holidays). Below are some of the offices close to Seattle University: