Page address: https://www.mnsu.edu/international/f1employment.html

Need a Social Security Number?

You must have a job offer before you can get a social security number. If you have a job offer please follow these steps:

  1. Have your employer fill out the [PDF] Employment Verification Form (54 KiB)and bring it to the Kearney International Center for a signature once completed. (no appointment needed)
  2. Fill out the Social Security [PDF] application (59 KiB) (instructions are included)
  3. Take the Employment Verification Form and Social Security Application along with your orginal documents (I-20, Passport, Visa and I-94) to the Social Security Office:
    Mankato Place
    12 Civic Center Plaza, Ste 1550
    9:00am-3:30pm (except holidays)
  4. Bring your receipt (a letter) back to the Kearney International Center.

On-Campus Employment

Undergraduates who are in good standing with the University and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are eligible to work on-campus for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session without USCIS approval so long as the job does not interfere with your ability to continue as a full-time student. During your vacation periods you may work full-time if you are an undergraduate. Graduate students may work up to 14 hours per week as student help and 20 hours per week if on an assistantship.  Reminder - all F-1 students should not work on campus more than 20 hours a week during the academic term even if you have multiple employers (e.g., Sodexho and MSU departments)

Please check the [PDF] On-Campus work permit process (103 KiB)and go to the Forms Page if required. The forms must be turned in along with original documents (e.g., passport, I-20 or DS-2019); please come to CSU 250 for more information.

Off-campus Employment

There are other two types of off campus work authorization for employment in your field of studies, also called "practical training": Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training.  An additional option not limited to working in your major is potentially available for students with unforeseen economic hardship situations. NOTE:  You must contact International Center regarding ANY off-campus employment to see if you are eligible and to file necessary papers before beginning to work.

  • Never work off-campus without written permission.

To be eligible for any off-campus employment, the student must do the following:

  • Be enrolled for one academic year
  • Be in good F-1 student status in SEVIS
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Receive written permission - apply in advance of the date of intended employment

Student employment both on-camus and off-campus generally is limited to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. During school vacations/summer, employment can be full-time.

Looking for a job? Visit mavjobs.com

Types of Off-Campus Work Available to F-1 Students

F-1 student may be authorized to work off-campus while school is in session and during school vacations either through:

  • OPT (Optional Practical Training) - One year of employment authorization in your field of study

There are Four Steps to apply for OPT

STEP 1:  Obtain instructions and forms:

STEP 2 - View the [PDF] OPT Tutorial (3 MiB)

STEP 3 - Turn all forms requested in Step 1:  OPT Supplemental Sheet, I-765

Kearney International Center will process your OPT I-20 within 3-5 days.  If you still have questions, you may make an appointment with an adviser. 

STEP 4 - Send OPT application to USCIS/Immigration:  Copy of I-20 with OPT recommendation signed within 30 days, I-765, recent photos, $380 fee, copies of your immigration documents (past I-20s, I-94, passport). 

Guidance from Immigration states sending OPT to USCIS should be no earlier than 90 days before graduation date and no later than 60 days after graduation according to 8 CFR 214.2(f)(11)(i)(B)(2).  The recommendation and signature on I-20 for OPT must be within 30 days (delays cause denials - see correspondence if you face any difficulty or have your OPT packet returned).  Review additional instructions on the www.uscis.gov website under I-765 form. 

  • Additional important resources after obtaining OPT: 
  • CPT (Curricular Practical Training) for internships

    1. Read the [PDF] CPT instructions and review the CPT Academic Advisor form (168 KiB)
    2. Print the CPT Academic Advisor Verification Form ([PDF] Adobe (150 KiB) or [DOC] Word (99 KiB))
    3. Turn in copy of letter of offer from internship site, register for internship credit, provide signed Advisor Form (on CPT Checklist)
    4. Kearney International Center will process your CPT I-20 within 3-5 days.  The CPT authorization is confirmation of your legal ability to work for those specified dates at that specific internship site in the U.S.
  • EH (Economic Hardship)

    1. Print the Forms
      1. [PDF] EH Brochure (377 KiB)
      2. [PDF] EH Checklist (186 KiB)(for staff use)
      3. [PDF] Supplemental Information for EH (169 KiB)
      4. [PDF] I-765 (53 KiB)
      5. [PDF] Instructions for I-765 (382 KiB)
    2. Turn in all documents requested (in EH Brochure)
    3. Kearney International Center will process your EH I-20 within 3-5 days.
  • Reminder:  Never work off-campus without written permission.