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International Student Resources: Employment

This is a libguide with resources for international students at Eastern Nazarene College

International Student Employment

As a student in the United States you may wish to work, either to gain experience or to make some money. Working will depend on  your immigration status and where you are in your academic program. Pleases see below for types of employment allowed while a student at Eastern Nazarene College. 

Employment Options for F-1 Students at ENC

On Campus Employment

Many international students at ENC make an income by working an on campus job. On campus employment refers to any job on the ENC campus that is paid by the college. As an international student you may hold an hourly or stipend position on campus. You will not be eligible for any work-study positions as they are a part of a federally funded program. 

How do I get authorization to work on campus?

F-1 International Students do not need to get prior authorization to work an on campus job. Despite this, you must abide by the conditions of your F-1 status in order to maintain legal immigration status.

Submit a letter to the DSO that describes the type of work you will be doing, the department's affiliation with ENC, and the number of hours per week you will be working. 

Rules for working legally on campus:

1. Enroll as a full-time student. Full-time is at least 12 credit hours per semester for undergraduate students and 6 credit hours per semester for graduate students. 

2. Work no more than 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. 

- If you have a stipend job that lists 20 hours a week, you may not work another job as your job is listed as 20 hours per week. 

3. Work full time only during official college breaks: Summer Break, Winter Break, Spring Break.

ENC student employees are subject to certain limits. If you have multiple on campus jobs, please make sure that all your other employers are aware of your other jobs and that between all jobs you work no more than 20 hours per week.

What to do if you change jobs? 

Talk to the DSO before you change jobs. This will allow the DSO to ensure the new position qualifies as on-campus employment and ensure the DSO has the correct employment information in your SEVIS record. 

Social Security Number

Any international student working in the United States is required to have a Social Security Number (SSN). The SSN functions as your tax identification number. You will not be able to begin work at ENC without a SSN or a letter or approval for a SSN from the Social Security Administration. For information about how to apply for a SSN see the information to the right. 


Curricular Practical Training

As an F-1 student at ENC, if you have the opportunity for practical training in your field of study before you graduate, such as an internship or practicum, then you may be eligible for a type of authorization called Curricular Practical Training (CPT). 

CPT authorization must be an integral part of your curriculum and must fulfill a requirement for a course you are registered in, such as a practicum or internship credit. To be authorized you must be enrolled in a corresponding course during the semester in which you will be working (Fall, Spring, or Summer). 

Before beginning your internship, you must receive CPT authorization from the DSO before you begin. Working without proper authorization is a violation of your legal status that will require the termination of your Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS) record. 

CPT Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible for CPT you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You are a full-time student and have been here for at least one full academic year. 
  2. You must have F-1 status. 
  3. You must have an offer lettering outlining the training opportunity in your major field of study. 
  4. You have registered for an appropriate course that covers the duration of the training you seek. Which course you are required to register for depends on what CPT option you pursue. 

Work that qualifies for CPT must meet one the following criteria:

  • Fulfills an optional or required internship or practicum in your major that is listed in the ENC catalog. Registration in the qualifying internship or practicum course is required. 
  • Graduate students only: The training benefits your thesis/dissertation/final project in a material and substantial way. Registration for thesis/dissertation/final project credits is required. 

How to Apply for CPT:

To apply for CPT authorization, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Inform the ENC DSO of your intent to apply for CPT
    • It can take time to complete the steps necessary to register for the internship course and receive CPT authorization. It is important to start this process early. 
  2. Contact your Faculty Advisor & Career Services
    • In order to be granted work authorization, your advisor and Career Services must certify that you will register in an appropriate course or internship credit(s). Speak with your advisor to determine your options for a CPT-appropriate course. If your advisor has questions, please have him or her contact the DSO for assistance.
    • Work with your advisor and Career Services to complete any necessary internship application paperwork to register for the internship course in the appropriate semester and to ensure it meets ENC requirements.
  3. Get an Offer Letter
    • You must provide the DSO with an offer letter from your prospective employer. This letter should be on company letterhead. Please share a copy of the offer letter with your academic advisor and Career Services. Please circle the following before submitting:

      • Specific start date with the phrase "or date of authorization"
        • For example: "The candidate will begin the training opportunity on October 1, 2016, or date of authorization, whichever is later."
      • Specific end date
      • The number of hours you will train per week. It will not be sufficient for the letter to state "part time" or "full time." The number of hours per week must be provided.
      • The physical location (street address, city, state, and ZIP code) where the training will be conducted. P.O. boxes are not accepted for this requirement.
      • A description, as detailed as possible, of the duties entailed in your training
  4. Register for the Appropriate Course
    • Students must register for a CPT-appropriate course for each semester or summer session for which they seek authorization. CPT authorization cannot be based upon "incompletes" or other registrations from previous semesters.

      If you seek work authorization for the summer, you must be enrolled in a CPT-appropriate course.

  5. Submit Application to the DSO:

    • ​​Your completed application for CPT must be submitted to the DSO at least two weeks before the employment is expected to begin. Please apply early. Failure to do so can result in delays in processing, during which time you are not eligible to begin work.

CPT authorization is granted on a semester-by-semester basis only. If you wish to continue your training beyond the semester for which you've been authorized, you need to submit a CPT extension and register in the appropriate course for the option that you choose. It's best to do this as soon as you register for the next semester so that we will have the time to process your application.


You need to comply with the following policies while on CPT:

  • You may not use incompletes or deferred grades from a previous semester for CPT authorization.
  • You must enroll in each semester during which you are pursuing CPT.
  • Withdrawing from classes or dropping credits that are tied to CPT authorization immediately cancels the CPT authorization.

Training done without this authorization is illegal and a violation of status that will result in termination of your SEVIS record.


If you are authorized for part-time CPT, you may train no more than 20 hours per week in all training opportunities. You must enroll as a full-time student for the duration of the CPT. For part-time CPT, remember that each training opportunity that is not at ENC will require its own CPT authorization.

If you are authorized for full-time CPT over the summer, you may train 21 or more hours per week. Your enrollment in CPT-qualified credits will be considered full time.

CPT authorization results in the issuance of a new I-20. This page will have a travel signature that will be valid for entry into the United States for one year, provided that you remain enrolled full time at ENC, your I-20 itself has not expired, and your major has not changed.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Your F-1 student status allows up to one full-year (12 months) of off-campus employment authorization to gain practical experience related to your major field of study. This year of U.S. work permission is called Optional Practical Training (OPT).

OPT Authorization:

  • Allows for paid and unpaid experiences
  • Must be used for training related to your major field and appropriate to your level of education
  • Allows multiple employers and self-employment within authorized dates

OPT Eligibility

As an F-1 student you are eligible for up to 12 months of OPT authorization per academic level. You can choose to start using your OPT time after you have been enrolled for one full academic year, but many students choose to save your OPT year for after graduation.

You may earn a new year of OPT eligibility if you move to a higher level of education in the U.S. (for instance, from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s degree).

You may be eligible to apply for OPT if:

  1. You hold valid F-1 status
  2. You have been lawfully enrolled as a full-time college/university student for at least one full academic year (two full semesters)
  3. You are in good academic standing with Eastern Nazarene College

You may NOT qualify to apply for OPT if:

  • You were previously authorized for 12 months of more of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT); part-time CPT does not affect your eligibility for OPT
  • You have previously received OPT authorization for the same or higher educational level
  • If you are on a leave of absence or suspension from ENC
  • You have had violation or break in F-1 status in the past academic year, and have restarted your F-1 status by travel with a new “initial” I-20

Keep in mind that an International Student Advisor will review your academic record and your immigration history to evaluate whether we can recommend you for a period of OPT. The final decision on whether to approve your case is made by USCIS.

Part-Time and Full-Time

When you apply for OPT, you must indicate if you are requesting permission for part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (anything over 20 hours) OPT. Part-time authorization allows you to work up to 20 hours per week, while full-time authorization is required if you will work over 20 hours per week.

You can apply for periods of OPT authorization as follows:

  • Part-time during a regular semester of study
  • Part-time or full-time during summer vacation
  • Part-time or full-time if you are a graduate student done with all course work and completing the thesis or dissertation stage of your degree
  • Full-time to begin after graduation

Part-time authorization allows you to work up to 20 hours per week, while full-time authorization is required if you will work over 20 hours per week.

If you apply for part-time authorization, it will be deducted from your 12 month total at half the rate. For instance, if you apply for 4 months of part-time OPT, you have used the equivalent of 2 months of full-time OPT and are still eligible to apply for your remaining 10 months.

Types of OPT

You can apply to begin using your OPT time once you have been enrolled for one full academic year (two full semesters), and while you are still completing your program of study.

Pre-completion OPT is available part-time only during semesters of required study, but you can choose either part-time or full-time during summer vacation periods or if you are in the thesis or dissertation stage of a graduate degree.


You may wish to save all or most of your 12 months of OPT eligibility to use after your completion of your program of study.

You must be registered for graduation or have a letter from your academic department verifying the date of expected completion of the program of study when applying for OPT.

When should I Apply for OPT?

We recommend that students apply 90 days before their requested OPT start date as it can take this long for the USCIS to reach a decision on the application. The timing of submitting your OPT application differs depending on whether they are applying for the OPT to begin prior to completion of studies, or after.

Social Security Cards

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique identification number that allows the United States government to monitor your taxable wages earned as an employee in the U.S. As an international student or scholar, you only qualify for a Social Security Card if you have authorization to work in the U.S.

The SSN does not give you U.S. employment authorization. It simply provides an identifying number for you to be paid for a U.S. job and for your employer to deduct the appropriate taxes on behalf of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

A Social Security Number, which appears on the Social Security Card, is not required for you to open a U.S. bank account, buy a cell phone, or rent an apartment. The SSN is requested for these and many other financial transactions because it is commonly used to check U.S. financial credit history, but you will only be eligible for a SSN if you have authorization to work in the U.S.


You are eligible to apply for a SSN if you have any of the following types of U.S. work authorizations:

  • An on-campus job or have already begun working at an on-campus job
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization, and received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD); and the validity period of your EAD has begun

Where to Apply

1250 Hancock St Suite 210n
Quincy, Massachusetts 02169

Social Security Office Phone Number

800-772-1213 or TTY: 800-325-0778

Social Security Office Hours

Monday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed
Except On Federal Holidays

Receiving Your Social Security Card and Number

The Social Security Administration may need some time to verify your current immigration status before they can issue a Social Security Card. In most cases, a Social Security Card should be mailed to the address you listed on your application form within 14 business days. If you do not receive a Social Security Card within 30–60 days, you should contact the Social Security Administration via telephone at 800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security Administration website to ask about the status of your pending application.

The notation on the Social Security Card should read “Valid for Employment Only with DHS Authorization”. This clarifies to your employer that the Social Security Card itself does not give you work permission in the U.S. and that you will need to obtain separate work permission in order to start working. To find out more about employment authorization, please contact an ENC DSO  or visit the Employment page on our website.

Applying for a Social Security Number

In order to work in the United States you will be required to get a Social Security number. 

You will need to apply for a SSN at the Social Security Administration Office.

  • 10 days after date of entry into the U.S.
  • provide all original immigration documents ( I-94, Visa, I-20, passport)
  • Letter confirming job on campus from Employer ( Campus Employer)
  • Letter confirming job on campus from Designated School Official

Social Security Office Location

As of March 17, this office will be closed until further notice due to COVID-19. They are still accepting mail and online applications.

1250 Hancock St Suite 210n
Quincy, Massachusetts 02169

Social Security Office Phone Number

800-772-1213 or TTY: 800-325-0778

Social Security Office Hours

Monday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed
Except On Federal Holidays