Social Security Information: F-1 Students

The most important thing to remember about F1 students is that they are automatically authorized to perform at least on-campus employment, as long as they remain in status. However, staying in status depends on their remaining in attendance at the school. This is something that the school is in a better position to keep track of than USCIS. USCIS permits designated official of the school to certify current status on the I-20. Thus, in addition to the USCIS documents verifying admission as an F1, we need to see an I-20 verifying current enrollment. In some cases (see below) we will also need a letter of other evidence from the school or on-campus employer from which maintenance of status can be inferred.

  • We always need both an I-94 showing the visa category, and an I-20 Student copy.
  • For on-campus employment, work authorization will not be annotated on the I-20. We need an additional document verifying either actual work or current work authorization (and hence continuance of status), such as:
    • A letter from the designated school official (DSO) stating the student is authorized to work on-campus AND a letter from the on-campus employer stating the student is currently working or a pay stub from the employer.
    • Specific work authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the form of an employment authorization document (EAD).
    • Authorization for curricular practical training (CPT) as evidenced on the employment page (page 3) of the student’s Form I-20 A-B, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status.
    • Off-campus work authorization is not automatic for F1s; but may be granted by the designated school official. It will be reflected by the annotation, “Part-time employment with (name of employer) at (location) authorized from (date) to (date) on the I-20.

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