International students are permitted to work on campus up to 20 hours per week. Students must receive a Social Security Number (SSN) through the Social Security Administration to do so. Speak with your PDSO as soon as you consider on-campus employment.
International students are not permitted under any circumstance to work off-campus without prior authorization. Working off-campus without authorization is a major violation of your immigration status.
There are three options for off-campus employment authorization: Economic Hardship Employment, Curricular Practical Training, and Optional Practical Training.
1) Economic Hardship Employment
This type of employment authorization is difficult to obtain. You must be able to prove to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond your control that arose after obtaining F-1 status, and you must have been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year. If granted, you would be permitted to work off-campus part-time while school is in session and full-time during breaks.
2) Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
CPT is employment authorization for a specific employer that is directly related to your field of study and forms an integral part of the established curriculum of your program. CPT requires the recommendation of your academic adviser and must be tied to your enrollment in a related course. You become eligible for CPT after your first year of enrollment at Morrisville. While the amount of CPT you can apply for is unlimited, using more than 365 days of full-time CPT will cause you to be ineligible for OPT.
3) Optional Practical Training (OPT)
OPT is employment authorization for any employer in your field of study granted by USCIS. There are three types of OPT: Pre-Completion, Post-Completion, and STEM Extension. You become eligible to apply for OPT after your first year of enrollment at Morrisville. You have the opportunity to have a total of one year of OPT unless you qualify for a STEM Extension. You must file an application (Form I-765) with USCIS for which the processing time is approximately three (3) months. Upon approval, you will be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which will indicate the period of approved employment.
- Pre-Completion OPT can be taken only before you graduate and may be part-time or full-time. If you choose to apply for Pre-Completion OPT in order to work during the fall or spring semesters, your employment must be approved by Morrisville and you must continue to maintain full-time enrollment. In most cases, Curricular Practical Training can be used instead of Pre-Completion OPT.
- Post-Completion OPT can be taken upon your graduation. As long as you are otherwise eligible, you may apply for Post-Completion OPT as early as 90 days before you graduate and until the end of your grace period. Post-Completion OPT must be full-time (20 hours or more per week).
- STEM Extension is a 24-month extension of Post-Completion OPT available for students with a DHS-approved STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) major. The STEM Extension application must be filed within the 90 days before your Post-Completion OPT period, as indicated on your EAD, ends.
International Students are NOT permitted to take part in any public assistance programs, such as, but not limited to, welfare, government health programs (Medicaid, etc.), food stamps, and subsidized housing/heating/phone. Receiving government assistance could negatively impact your application for a visa renewal, an H-1B visa, or Permanent Residency.
You are required to complete the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 8843 every year, regardless of if you have worked in the U.S. If you have worked or have a taxable financial aid award, you will also need to file the 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. If you are employed on-campus, you will receive a tax packet from Accounting with instructions on how to complete your taxes. If you worked off campus (CPT or OPT), you should receive a wage statement (W-2) from your employer and will need to use that to file your own taxes. The deadline to file all tax forms each year is April 15.
Students who have been in the U.S. for five years or less may opt to use Sprintax to prepare their federal and state tax returns. Please note that Sprintax does not e-file income tax returns, it assists students with the completion of the tax forms. More information on Sprintax can be found here.