Kenyon provides part-time student employment opportunities during the academic year and during the summer break. Summer work off-campus, related to your field of study, is also an option. There are employment restrictions for F-1 students, so please read the information below carefully. More general employment information is available through the Career Development Office.
- Employment restrictions for F-1 students
- On-campus employment for F-1 students
- Summer employment
- Off-campus employment
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- Employment with an International Organization
- Social Security Number (SSN)
Employment restrictions for F-1 students
A student in valid F-1 status may work for on campus for Kenyon College up to 20 hours a week when school is in session and full-time during official school breaks or vacations. This includes the Kenyon Inn and the Kenyon Bookstore (both owned by Kenyon) as well as the Lowry Center, Library and Information Services (LBIS) and other departments and offices on campus. The Village Inn, Gambier Grill, the Weather Vane and the Deli are not Kenyon-owned and so are not "on campus" for employment purposes.
You may not work for off-campus businesses without authorization from US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Working without authorization off campus is a violation of your immigration status. You also cannot work for professors individually like babysitting, translating or doing research (unless your compensation is paid by Kenyon College).
On-campus employment for F-1 students
Students ready to work on campus should contact the Office of Student Employment located in the Career Development Office (CDO). When searching for a job, limit your applications to on-campus jobs to protect your immigration status.
Students will also need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Please notify the Center for Global Engagement once you have a job offer so that we can help you prepare your Social Security application.
An F-1 student may be able to reduce or eliminate their obligations if the United States has negotiated a tax treaty with their country of citizenship. Please cooperate with the Kenyon Accounting Office when they contact you in order to determine your eligibility by completing the necessary forms.
In order to remain in Kenyon's residence halls during the summer break, you will need to be employed on campus for 25 hours (or more) per week. The process of finding a summer job is similar to finding a regular job, but some applications are not available online. Look out for emails regarding employment and ask your contacts in any department or office if there will be any opportunities. Look for summer jobs early - the job search can be competitive.
It is also possible to apply to use some of your Option Practical Training (OPT), Curricular Practical Training (F-1 status) or Academic Training (J-1 status) to work off-campus at a job directly related to your field of study. You will need to apply early as approval can take three months or more. To use Curricular Practical Training, you will have to enroll in an internship courses for the month of April before beginning summer employment. Contact the Center for Global Engagement for more information.
There are two off-campus employment authorization categories available to non-immigrants in F-1 status at Kenyon College, Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Employment with an International Organization, but only one, OPT, is commonly used.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
An F-1 student who has been in status for one academic year and who is in good academic standing is eligible, with the recommendation of either Marne Ausec or Lisa Swaim and the approval of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to work off campus in a position directly related to their field of study. OPT may take place:
• while school is in session, provided that it does not exceed 20 hours per week,
• during the summer recess, either full- or part-time,
• after completion of program, full-time only.
A student is eligible for a total of 12 months of OPT at each degree level. Part-time OPT (20 hours or fewer per week) is deducted from available practical training at one-half the full-time rate. An application for OPT must be received by USCIS before a student completes the 60-day grace period following his/her program of study and the OPT must be completed within 14 months of a student's program completion.
In order to obtain employment authorization under this category, the student must file an application for employment authorization with USCIS. The application process may take up to 90 days to be processed. Upon approval, the student will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Employment may not begin until the EAD card has been received and the effective date has been reached.
Applying for OPT: Students must apply for OPT before completing the 60-day grace period following program completion. Since processing can take 90 days, we recommend applying 3-4 months in advance of the requested start date. No specific job offer is required at the time of application. However, students should keep in mind that once an application is sent, the length of practical training granted is deducted from the student's 12 month limit, and students must begin reporting any periods of unemployment to OIE beginning with the requested start date of OPT. Students seeking OPT prior to program completion are advised that, while no job offer is required, the time requested with the OPT application cannot be altered or canceled if the student does not secure a position.
STEM extensions: An additional 24-month period of work authorization is available to students on post-completion OPT who have graduated with a specialized degree in qualifying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and have a job offer from an E-Verify employer. To file for the extension, a student must contact Marne Ausec or Lisa Swaim and ensure that the Form I-765, the supporting evidence and the fee payment reach the USCIS Service Center before the expiration of the initial post-completion OPT period. USCIS recommends filing 90-120 days before the OPT expiration date.
Limits on unemployment: Students are limited to an aggregate of 90 days of unemployment during post-completion OPT, including the extension period granted to bridge the gap between the end of the post-completion OPT period and an approved October 1st H-1B employment start date. During the post-completion period open to all F-1 students, positions as volunteers or unpaid interns (for at least 20 hours per week) will count as employment for the purpose of maintaining F-1 status.
Students granted STEM OPT extensions are permitted a maximum of 120 days of unemployment during the entire post-completion training period. Students authorized for a STEM extension must work at least 20 hours per week in an area directly related to their field of study and are not permitted to count any volunteer work or unpaid internships as employment for the purpose of maintaining F-1 status.
Note: If there are less than 10 days between periods of employment, the student does not need to report the unemployment time to the CGE.
Address changes: Please use CGE's address when filing your OPT so that we can receive the EAD for you. (The card should not be forwarded by the post office.) If you move while working on OPT, you must notify Marne or Lisa within ten days of moving. By regulation, we must update your current U.S. address in your SEVIS record immediately.
Reporting requirements: The Department of Homeland Security also requires that you submit employer information each time you accept employment during your OPT period. Please report this information to Marne or Lisa.
This reporting responsibility is an on-going requirement. Failure to submit accurate address and employment information throughout the OPT period may result in the loss of your F-1 status. As indicated above, you are also required to report any periods of unemployment.
Reporting for STEM extensions:
Within 10 days of occurrence:
• Legal name changes
• Change in residential or mailing address
• Changes in employer, including the employer name and address
• Loss of employment or any period of unemployment greater than 10 days
Every six months from the start date of the STEM extension:
• Full legal name
• Current mailing and residential address
• Name and address of the current employer or lack of employment
• Date the student began working for the current employer
Cap-Gap Extensions - bridging the gap between OPT and H-1B status: H-1B is a work category for Temporary Work in a Specialty Occupation. The job must require a bachelor's degree in a particular field and the applicant must hold that degree. Many students move from OPT to an H-1B visa, which much be petitioned by the employer
F-1 students who have a properly filed an H-1B petition and change of status request pending with USCIS may receive an extension permitting them to remain in the United States and/or continue employment until the requested start date indicated in the H-1B petition. Students who find themselves in this situation must consult Lisa or Marne to confirm eligibility and request documentation of the extension.
Travel outside the United States after graduation: If you are graduating and are planning to use the OPT benefit, you must apply for OPT before completing the 60-day grace period following program completion and you must receive the EAD card before traveling outside the United States.
In order to return to the United States, you must have an EAD, form I-20 signed for re-entry within the past 6 months, a valid F-1 visa, a valid passport and a letter from your employer, stating that you are returning to the United States to resume employment or begin a new position. While no job offer is required to apply for OPT, proof of employment is necessary if you wish to travel and re-enter the United States during the OPT period.
Should you leave the United States during OPT and require a new F-1 visa, please note that Consular Officers may reject F-1 visa applications made by students on OPT. Employment in the United States may be viewed as a step towards Permanent Residency. Students on OPT remain in F-1 status and thus must continue to prove non-immigrant intent. Consult with Marne or Lisa before you make your travel.
Employment with an International Organization
A special situation exists for F-1 students who have been offered employment under the sponsorship of an international organization, as defined by the International Organization Immunities Act. Employment with organizations such as the IMF, OAS, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank, etc. may be authorized to students who maintain valid F-1 status. Please come to the Center for Global Engagement for a complete list of these organizations.
Students may use this employment option full-time during any school breaks. There is no waiting period prior to filing.
In order to obtain authorization for employment under this category, an F-1 student must first obtain an offer letter from the international organization and a written certification that the employment is within the scope of the organization's sponsorship. The student must then file an application for employment authorization with USCIS with the help of Marne or Lisa. The application process may take up to 90 days. Upon approval, the student will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Social Security Number
This number is relevant to international students for tax purposes. Once you have a job offer on campus, you are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). An SSN is also required for a bank account and many businesses, particularly cell phone companies, will ask for it to complete a "credit check." Please inform the Center for Global Engagement when you have obtained campus employment; we provide transportation twice a year to the Social Security Office where you can apply for a number.
Important: Do not give your SSN to anyone by email or over the phone and do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet. The United States has a significant problem with identity fraud and your SSN can allow someone to steal your identity and ruin your credit history.
For help in your job search, you can visit the Kenyon Career Development Office and make use of the following resources:
- When in the Hiring Process do I Reveal I'm an International Student? (Boston College, PDF)
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides information about laws pertaining to working in the United States, citizenship and immigration.
- Internationalstudent.com provides information on attending college and graduate school, obtaining scholarships and insurance, and job opportunities in the United States and other countries.
- The Foreign Labor Certification Data Center lists companies that sponsor students for the H1-B visa through the U.S. Department of Labor.
- What Employers Should Know About Hiring International Students is a document that walks employers through the legal requirements - and Frequently Asked Questions - around hiring international students who are in the United States on F-1 and J-1 Visas.