Internships, Employment, and Taxes for International Students
As an international student studying at Endicott, be sure you understand the requirements governing any sort of employment in the United States - including internships- as well as filing taxes.
Participating in Internships in the United States
For all students in F-1 or J-1 status, internships completed in the United States that are a required component of your academic program need to be reported and authorized by the Office of International Education through the SEVIS system. For F-1 students, this is called Curricular Practical Training (CPT). For J-1 students, this is called Academic Training (AT).
Internship ProcedureIn order to be granted CPT or AT for your internship in the United States, you must bring the following documents to the international student advisor:
- Your completed and approved internship proposal
- An offer letter from your internship supervisor at your internship site that includes the address of the internship, the dates of the internship, and your supervisor’s name and telephone number.
- For F-1 students: Completed Endicott College CPT Request Form.
- For J-1 students: Completed Endicott College AT Request Form.
Once you submit all your documents, the CPT or AT permission will be entered into SEVIS and printed on your I-20 or DS-2019.
Note: CPT and AT are only valid for those dates printed on the I-20 or DS-2019 and are required for any internship in the United States, short or long, paid or unpaid. Do not begin your internship until the CPT or AT is printed on your documents.
As an F-1 student currently enrolled at Endicott, you are eligible to work for pay in the United States only in limited circumstances, as follows:
- On-campus Employment: Upon arrival at the College, all F-1 students are allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session and full-time during semester breaks and summer vacation. On-campus positions for which F-1 students are eligible (that is, jobs that are not federally funded work study jobs) are very limited. Check for positions at the Copy Center, Bookstore, and in Dining Services.
- Off-campus Work Permission Categories:
1. CPT for Internships
2. OPT- Please refer to Graduating Students
3. Severe Economic Hardship or an Internship with an International Organization: In these special cases, the Immigration and Naturalization Service may grant employment authorization for a student who can prove unexpected economic hardship or who obtains a special internship with an organization that has international status in the United States. If you think you may be eligible under either of these special circumstances, please contact Chris Moca, international student advisor, via email or by calling 978-232-2270.
Under no other circumstances should an F-1 student accept off-campus work for pay outside of the above categories. Doing so would be a violation of federal law, as United States federal immigration laws prohibit nonimmigrant student visa holders (F-1 & J-1 visas) to work off campus. This would constitute a violation of immigration law, and would immediately invalidate your visa and right to study and remain in the United States. Further, students are able to work on campus for up to 20 hours per semester. Off campus employment is possible through approved Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT), in positions directly related to a student's academic major. The Office of International Education advises and authorizes students for on-campus and off-campus employment.
If you work a job on campus for pay, you will need to apply for a Social Security number. In order to do so you will need to secure two letters before going to the Social Security Administration office.
- A letter of offer from your employer on their organization's letterhead stating the job for which you will be hired, the number of hours it entails, and your salary.
- A letter from the Office of International Education stating that you are in legal F-1 or J-1 status.
Once you have these letters you can go to the Social Security Administration office in Salem, Massachusetts to apply. You will need to bring the following documents with you:
- Social Security Application
- Your passport
- I-20/DS-2019 form
- Visa (in your passport)
- I-94 card (small white card stapled in your passport)
- Letter from your employer
- Letter from Office of International Education
It takes approximately two to four weeks to receive your new Social Security card after you apply. Remember to ask for a letter confirming that you have applied from the office. The Salem Social Security Administration office is located at 10 Federal Street, Suite 406, Salem, Massachusetts. Check the SSA website for current hours of operation. The commuter rail Salem stop is within walking distance to the office.
Any international student is eligible to volunteer (that is, work without pay) while in the United States. Yet it is important to note that as a volunteer, you are not able to accept any money or gifts, however small, in exchange for your work. If you do, and you have not been granted authorization to work, you will have been working illegally, which can seriously affect your current immigration status and your ability to change status in the future.
Regardless of whether you worked or earned any income in the United States, tax regulations require you to file a tax return each spring with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is your responsibility to understand the requirements and file the appropriate returns in a timely manner.
The Office of International Education does not serve as a tax consultant and cannot advise you on individual tax questions. However, a limited number of tax forms are available through our office, and we will sponsor periodic workshops to assist you in complying with tax regulations. You can also look for help and download forms from the IRS Homepage.