International Student Employment

There are several types of employment options available to international students. Please read the guidelines outlined below to see which employment option may be appropriate.

If you have a social security number and a current F-1 visa status, you can potentially work on-campus as early as your first quarter at OC. B-2, F-2, H-4, J-2, M-1, or M-2 visas and some other statuses, cannot work on-campus or off-campus.

The Career Services Center at OC is a great place to start your job search. The friendly and knowledgable staff can help you with job search methods, resumes and cover letters, interview techniques, and portfolio development.

Once you have registered with the Career Services Center you will be able to search for a job using the student employment website. Career Services staff will work with you to find a job that is suitable to your academic interest, schedule, and language ability. You can also look for an on campus job by visiting different departments to ask if they have a Regular Student Employee (RSE) position available.

If you are hired, the department hiring sends an email to Akiko Bates ( in the Office of International Education, with the following information: position, potential start date, and department of employment. The Office will issue a letter on your behalf to the Social Security Administration, so you can apply for a social security number. Please see the section marked “Applying for a social security number.”

You may work up to 18 hours per week (part-time) or no more than 79 hours per month on campus.

NOTE: You must be “in status” to work on-campus. If you are in the process of a reinstatement, you must wait until it has been approved before you can start working.

Off campus employment is very limited for students in F-1 visa status. However, students may qualify for practical training or severe economic hardship work authorization to work up to 19.5 hours per week (part-time) while school is in session. During the summer and when school is not in session, students can work up to 40 hours per week  Please visit the Office of International Education for information.

Students in F-1 visa status who have an unforeseen change in their economic situation such as fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, a financial sponsor has suffered financial difficulties, medical bills, or other substantial, unexpected expenses, and have maintained status for a full academic year, may potentially be eligible for severe economic hardship work authorization.  Students will also have to show that they made genuine attempts 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.

If approved by USCIS, this authorization allows students to work off-campus for a maximum of 19.5 hours per week (part-time work) while school is in session, and a maximum of 40 hours per week (full-time work) while school is on vacation or break.

Please contact the Office of International Education for more information.

A social security number is required to work. To apply for a social security number you must have either:

  • work authorization from the Office of International Education for on campus employment or
  • received your EAD card from USCIS

The Social Security Administration will not issue a number for any other purposes.

If you have received an on-campus work authorization from our office, take your I-20, passport, OC student ID card, and the letter written on your behalf to the Social Security Administration

If you have received your EAD card from USCIS, take your card, I-20, and passport to the Social Security Administration to apply for a social security number. In this case, you do not need a letter from our office to apply.

The Social Security Administration is located at:

9594 Mickelberry Road, Silverdale
(Across from Albertsons on Bucklin Hill)
It usually takes approximately two or three weeks to receive your number.

Please check your social security card to make sure your number is valid for employment with USCIS authorization. You do not need to apply for a new social security card in this case. If your social security number is not valid for employment, you need to contact the Office of International Education to apply for a new card valid for employment.