F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to work inside the United States, subject to certain regulations and restrictions. Employment is any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. Even if you receive no pay or other benefit for the work performed, this activity still may be considered as employment.
Whether you are considering employment during your time at Eastern Michigan University or afterwards, it is important to work with the OISS to understand your options and authorization requirements. Illegal or unauthorized employment can seriously impact your student status; if you have questions or concerns, please consult with the OISS before beginning employment.
Employment Regulations and Authorization Procedures
Review the following information depending on visa type and employment location (on or off-campus):
- F-1 on-campus employment
- F-1 off-campus employment (CPT and OPT)
Things to Do After You Have a Job Offer
Taxes and Work Eligibility Forms
For on-campus jobs, please consult the on-campus employment packet [PDF] for details on tax forms and the I-9 form. For off-campus jobs, please work with your employer to complete the income tax forms, including W-4 and MI W-4 (or your state tax form if you are outside Michigan) and the I-9 form.
Generally, if you have been in the U.S. for less than five years, you should be exempt from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. However, you will still be subject to federal, state and local taxes unless your country has a tax treaty with the United States. It is best to closely work with your employer's payroll department to ensure the correct taxes are deducted and you are not being underpaid or overpaid. Remember - tax returns must be filed by April 15 of each year for the previous calendar year.
OISS Employment Resources
The OISS offers many seminars to teach you about immigration regulations and workshops to help you prepare for an employment search.
Examples of Immigration Regulation Seminars
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Mandatory for students interested in working off campus. If you have been enrolled full-time for at least 8 months you may be eligible to work off campus. In this seminar, you will learn how to get off-campus employment authorization through Curricular Practical Training.
- Optional Practical Training (OPT): Mandatory for all international students filing for Optional Practical Training. You must attend this seminar before scheduling an appointment with an advisor to file for OPT.
University Advising and Career Development Center Resources
The University Advising and Career Development Center (UACDC) offers many tools and services to assist students in developing academic and career goals and/or deciding on a major or minor. The core areas of the UACDC include general education academic advising, career coaching/strategizing and student employment. UACDC offers great online resources and in-person career advising to help you learn all about how to find a job and how to prepare yourself for a job search.
Examples of UACDC resources that will help you:
- Find a Job
- Student Employment
- Career Fairs: Each year the UACDC hosts a variety of job fairs, workshops and special events to assist in career planning and job searches.
- GoingGlobal: Country-specific career employment database of over 600,000 internships and job postings. Also contains lots of information on resume-writing guidelines and examples, employment trends, salary ranges, networking groups and cross-cultural interviewing advice.