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On Campus Employment

International students in valid F-1 or J-1 status are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week on campus while enrolled as full-time students. On-campus work is not guaranteed. Graduate students should apply for graduate assistantships directly with the department of their major.


A social security number is issued by the United States government to aid in identification of a person for taxation, employment, etc. The student identification number which was issued to you by the University IS NOT A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER

and should not be used as such.

If you will be employed at UW Oshkosh, you are eligible for and must obtain a U.S. social security number. If you will not be employed on campus, you are not eligible for a social security number. You cannot apply for the social security number until you have proof of employment.

Proof of employment consists of one of the following:

  • For graduate assistants, a signed contract for a graduate assistantship.
  • For students employed on campus (other than graduate assistants), a signed employment letter provided by the office/unit that is hiring you.
  • You must go to the local Social Security Office at 304 Otter St. to apply in person for a social security card. You will be required to show your proof of eligibility for employment at UW Oshkosh, a valid passport, a valid I-20 or DS-2019 form, and your I-94 card. Please do not go to the Social Security Office until you have all of these items with you.

Off Campus Employment:


  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

An F-1 student is eligible to engage in temporary employment, which is an integral or important part of his/her curriculum. Curricular practical training (CPT) may include internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum, which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. The following conditions must be met to be eligible for CPT:

  • Student must have been in lawful status for at least one academic year, unless the student is in a graduate program that requires an internship earlier
  • The work must be related to the major field of study and be an integral part of the program; training required by a degree program always meets the requirement, regardless of whether or not academic credit is awarded

Curricular practical training may be part-time or full-time. Part-time CPT, 20 hours per week or less, is not counted toward the one-year threshold at which a student loses eligibility for optional practical training. Students who have received one year or more of full-time curricular practical training are ineligible for optional practical training. An employer’s name must be specified on the employment authorization; therefore, students should arrange for the internship experience before requesting CPT. Authorization must be obtained before beginning CPT.

To apply for CPT, please come to the Dean of Student’s Office, Dempsey Hall 125


Bring the following documents to International Student Services:

  • Completed CPT Application form.
  • Employment Letter, which includes the following information:
    * Original letter from employer indicating job title, dates of employment
    * number of hours of work per week
    * place of employment, and brief description of work

    IMPORTANT NOTE: You must obtain written authorization from the International Education Office before you begin work.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT):

An F-1 student may be eligible to engage in temporary employment for practical training in her/his field of study after completion of studies. The following conditions must be met to be eligible for OPT:

  • Student must have been in lawful status for one full academic year.
  • Employment must be directly related to your major field of study and degree.
  • Applications must be receipted by USCIS no later than 60 days after your I-20 program end date.
  • Student must have a valid passport

Optional Practical Training is limited to a maximum of 12 months*

(NOTE: A student who completes a degree and engages in 12 months of OPT may become eligible for an additional 12 months only if he/she is outside the U.S. or in another legal BCIS status for at least 5 months and then returns to F-1 status and completes another degree program).

*Students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math fields may be eligible for a 17 month OPT extension.


Submit the following documents:

The International Student Advisor will issue a new I-20 with the OPT recommendation. All documents will be forwarded to USCIS Nebraska Service Center for approval. Processing times average between 2-4 months on average.

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by maresa30 last modified Mar 02, 2010 10:00 AM