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Employment

On-campus Employment
Eligibility

Students with an F-1 visa may be approved to work on campus following arrival at UW Oshkosh.

Steps to Working On Campus
  • Register in person with the UW Oshkosh International Student Advisor upon arrival at UW Oshkosh;
  • Search for a job on campus;
  • Apply for a job on campus;
  • Apply to the Office of International Education for approval to work on campus AFTER receiving a job offer;
  • Apply for a social security number AFTER receiving approval to work from the Office of International Education.
Search for a Job On Campus

Students with an F-1 visa may begin searching for a job at UW Oshkosh by

  • Attending the Student Employment Fair on opening day just prior to fall or spring semester;
  • Logging in to Titan Jobs (on-line UW Oshkosh student job search system)
  • Visiting department offices on campus to inquire about job openings.
Apply for a Job On Campus

Students with an F-1 visa will compete for jobs with other UW Oshkosh students.  Be prepared!  To apply for a job, you may be asked:

  • To submit a job application, available from the employer;
  • To submit a resume;
  • To submit a cover letter explaining your skills & experiences;
  • To submit a list of references and/or letters of recommendation;
  • To interview.
Maximum Work Hours per Week

Students with an F-1 visa may work on campus

  • for a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session;
  • any number of hours during breaks (there is no required minimum or maximum number of hours).
Off-campus Employment
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training, or CPT, is off-campus training that occurs prior to graduation.  CPT may be approved only if the following conditions are met:

  • Employment is required by a degree program (even if no credit is awarded) OR credit can be awarded for the employment; AND
    • The student has been “in lawful status” for at least one (1) academic year, unless the student is in a graduate program that requires an internship earlier.

Students with an F-1 student visa may NOT work as waitresses, bar tenders, cashiers, or in other positions that are not required by a degree program or for which they cannot earn university credit. 

CPT may be part-time or full-time.  Completing full-time CPT (21 or more hours per week) before graduation will affect your OPT after graduation.

  • Students with an F-1 student visa may work full time for a maximum of one year. 
  • The number of weeks of full-time employment before graduation (21+hours/week CPT) PLUS the number of weeks of full-time or part-time employment after graduation (OPT) may not exceed one calendar year.
  • CPT that is 20 hours per week or less is not counted toward the one calendar year.

Search for an Internship or Practicum

Students with an F-1 student visa may begin searching for an internship or practicum just prior to meeting the requirement of being “in lawful status” for at least one (1) academic year (or earlier, if the student is in a graduate program that requires an earlier internship).  Students may begin the search by:

  • Logging in to Titan Jobs (on-line UW Oshkosh student job search system)
  • Reviewing resources on the UW Oshkosh Career Services web site.
  • Reviewing resources on the UW Oshkosh web site for the student’s major.
  • Networking with students in student organizations related to the student’s major.
  • Discussing internship options with academic and faculty advisors.

Apply for an Internship or Practicum

Students with an F-1 student visa will compete with other UW Oshkosh students and with other students in the Oshkosh community for internship and practicum opportunities.  Be prepared!  To apply for a job, you will probably be asked, at a minimum,

  • To submit a job application, available from the employer;
  • To submit a resume;
  • To submit a cover letter explaining your skills & experiences;
  • To submit a list of references and/or letters of recommendation;
  • To interview.

To prepare your application properly, make an appointment with a UW Oshkosh Career Advisor or with your faculty advisor.

Apply for CPT AFTER Receiving an Internship or Practicum Offer

Students with an F-1 student visa must have a job offer before applying for CPT.  You may NOT apply for CPT unless you have an Employment Letter with a specific employment start date.  To apply for CPT:

  • Share this "Request for Employment" form letter with your employer.  Your employer must then send an email to containing ALL of the following information:
    • job title;
    • employment start date;
    • employment end date;
    • number of hours of work per week;
    • place of employment;
    • employment address, including street, city, state, zip code; and
    • brief description of work.
  • Complete the Office of International Education CPT Application Form.  After receiving your CPT Application Form, the Office of International Education will update your SEVIS record and your I-20.  You are not legal to work until you have the updated I-20; therefore, you must have the updated I-20 before you begin to work AND before you complete any job-related training..
Severe Economic Hardship

Students on an F-1 visa may apply to work off campus if they can prove "that new, unexpected circumstances beyond their control have created severe economic hardship." Examples provided by the Department of Homeland Security include:

  • "Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment (if the student is not at fault)";
  • "Large increases in tuition or living costs";
  • "Substantial decrease in the relative value of currency the student depends upon to pay expenses";
  • "Unexpected changes in the financial conditions for a student's sources of financial support";
  • "Unexpectedly large medical bills not covered by insurance";
  • "Other substantial, unexpected expenses";

To be eligible to apply, students on an F-1 visa must:

  • be enrolled for at least one academic year; and
  • be in status; and
  • be in good academic standing; and
  • be unable to get on-campus employment, or the pay from available on-campus employment must be insufficient to meet financial needs; and
  • demonstrate that employment will not interfere with the student's ability to successfully study full time.

Application Process

  • Complete form I-765 and submit within 30 dates updating form I-20.
  • Complete all requirements as detailed under "Apply for OPT".
  • Submit a letter, addressed to "Department of Homeland Security".  Review the examples listed above before writing the letter.  You must give solid information in relation to specific events that led to the change in your economic status.  Include event dates and details.
  • Submit any documentation you might have that provides evidence of the events that led to the change in your economic status.

If approved, you will receive form I-766 "Employment Authorization Document" (EAD) from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS).  Approval for off-campus employment is good for one year, after which the student must re-apply.

Post-graduation Employment
Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training, or OPT, is off-campus training that occurs after graduation.  OPT may be part-time or full-time and may be approved only if the following conditions are met:

  • Employment is directly related to the student’s major field of study; AND
  • The student has been “in lawful status” for at least one (1) academic year; AND
  • The student has a confirmed graduation date.

Timing your OPT Application

  • Students with an F-1 student visa must be approved for OPT AND must receive the ORIGINAL Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in the mail BEFORE beginning employment.
  • Your application for OPT can be received by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) no more than 90 days prior to your program end date - your application will be declined if received 91 or more days prior to your program end date, so time your mailing carefully!
  • The latest date by which you can apply for OPT is 60 days after your program end date; if the USCIS receives your application 61 days after your program end date or later, your application will be declined.
  • The time between receipt of OPT Application by USCIS and receipt of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by the student can be as long as 3-4 months.
  • You may work for a maximum of one calendar year (12 months), including the number of weeks of employment at 21+hours per week before graduation (CPT) PLUS the number of weeks of employment (full-time or part-time) after graduation (OPT).
  • You may be without work (unemployed) and/or you may be "underemployed" (working 20 or fewer hours per week) for a maximum of 90 days - including weekends during unemployment/underemployment - during the validity of your OPT, regardless of the length of your OPT authorization.  The validity period is from the start date shown on the EAD through the end date shown on the EAD.  Time spent outside the United States during this validity period is counted as unemployment against the 90-day limit, unless the student is traveling during a period of leave authorized by an employer or traveling as part of his/her employment.
Apply for OPT
  • Complete the Optional Practical Training Application Form.
  • Submit the OPT Application plus all supporting materials listed ON THE APPLICATION (the list just below is NOT complete) to the Office of International Education A MINIMUM OF TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOU WANT THE APPLICATION MAILED to the USCIS. After receiving your OPT Application Form, the Office of International Education will update your SEVIS record and your I-20. This update does not guarantee approval to work. Links to supporting material forms:
    • Form I-765 and Form Instructions; your signature on this form will be scanned and printed onto your EAD. NO PART OF YOUR SIGNATURE ON THIS FORM MAY BE CROSS A LINE IN THE FORM'S SIGNATURE AREA.
    • I-94
    • Form G-1145 (optional; this form allows you to request notification when your OPT application has been received by the USCIS)
  • Sign your updated I-20. The updated I-20 must be signed before it is mailed to the USCIS with your OPT application.
  • The Office of International Education will mail your OPT application and supporting documentation to the USCIS. The USCIS is responsible for approving or declining OPT applications. You may not complete any OPT work hours while your application is pending approval.
  • The USCIS will send a "Notice of Action (Form I-797C)" either directly to you or to the UW Oshkosh Office of International Education. The OIE will email you the Receipt Number; you may use this to track your application on the www.uscis.gov.
  • If approved, the USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This may take as long as 30 days to reach you in the mail. Again, you may not work until you are in possession of the original EAD - in other words, until the EAD is in your hand, you may not work.

Search for Employment

The Department of Homeland Security considers full-time employment to be 1) paid work (21+ hours per week); 2) multiple positions held simultaneously (and adding up to 21+ hours per week); or 3) volunteer or unpaid internship or practica, where this does not violate any labor laws.  

Begin your search by:

  • Logging in to Titan Jobs (on-line UW Oshkosh student job search system)
  • Reviewing resources on the UW Oshkosh Career Services website.
  • Reviewing resources on the UW Oshkosh website for the student’s major.
  • Networking with students in student organizations related to the student’s major.
  • Discussing employment options with academic and faculty advisors.

Apply for Employment

You will compete for employment with other UW Oshkosh students and with other students in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and beyond. Be prepared! To apply for a job, you will probably be asked, at a minimum,

  • To submit a job application, available from the employer;
  • To submit a resume;
  • To submit a cover letter explaining your skills & experiences;
  • To submit a list of references and/or letters of recommendation;
  • To interview.

To prepare your application properly, make an appointment with a UW Oshkosh Career Advisor or with your faculty advisor.

Report Your Employment, Change of Address, and U.S. Departure to the UW Oshkosh Office of International Education

UW Oshkosh students with an F-1 student visa and a valid EAD are required by federal law to report ALL employment and FINAL departure from the U.S. (or change of status to a new visa type) to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh during OPT. Each time you are offered a position, you must report this within 10 days. Each time employment ends, you must report this within 10 days.  You will report:

  • New Employment
    • Name and mailing address of the new employer;
    • Start date of new employment;
    • Average number of hours of work per week; and
    • Job title.
  • Former Employment/Final Exit from the U.S./Change in Visa Status
    • Previous employment end date (or an upcoming end date, if known);
    • Final date on which you will exit, or have exited, the U.S.; and
    • Final date of OPT employment prior to a change of status to a new visa category.

Use this form to report employment offers.

Use this form to report the end of employment.

17-month STEM Extension

Students with an F-1 student visa AND a valid EAD may apply for a 17-month OPT extension ONLY under the following conditions:

  • You have been approved by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) for OPT;
  • You have a degree in an approved Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) field which appears on the STEM Designated Degree Program List. You must complete your application for an extension before your current OPT work authorization expires. You may file NO SOONER THAN 120 days before expiration.  It is best to file approximately 90 days before your OPT expires.

Maintain Documentation - Recommended

  • USCIS and other U.S. government agencies may request documentation in the future showing evidence that all Optional Practical Training - that means every job! - you complete is directly related to your program of study. For example, you may be asked to submit this documentation if applying for a new visa for graduate school or if applying for a work visa in the U.S. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep in your files:
    • Documentation from the employer stating the job title and position duties. If it is not clear from the job description that the work is related to the student's degree, obtain a signed letter from your supervisor or hiring official stating how your degree is related to the work you performed;
    • Documentation from the employer giving the dates over which the position was held (for example, save both monthly and annual documents that show how much money you earned, employment letters and a copy of your resignation letter);
    • Documentation showing how many hours you worked per week;
    • Your direct supervisor's name, title and contact information.
Social Security Number
Eligibility & Purpose

The social security number is used to report wages to the government.

Students with an F-1 visa who have been in the U.S. for at least 10 calendar days AND have been registered in SEVIS may request a social security number under the following conditions:

  • You have been offered a job on campus.
    OR
  • You have been authorized to work off campus by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS).
Application

Timing your Application

  • On campus employment or Curricular Practical Training (CPT): You may apply 30 or fewer days prior to your employment start date.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT): You may apply ON or AFTER the "work authorization date" listed on your Form I-766, Application for Employment Authorization.
  • You must APPLY for this number before beginning employment.
  • You may begin working before you RECEIVE your social security number.
  • NOTE: You are legally allowed to begin working before you receive your Social Security Number; however, your employer may require that you start work after receiving the number.  

 Application Documents

  • All Applicants need:
    • Application for a Social Security Card (form SS-5)
    • Unexpired, original Passport
    • I-94
  • F-1 STUDENTS also need:
    • Original current I-20 (all three pages; for CPT, the third page MUST show that you are authorized for employment)
  • Students working ON CAMPUS also need:
  • Students on OPT also need
    • original Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the Department of Homeland Security 

Apply in Person

You must apply IN PERSON at the Social Security Office in Oshkosh.  This office is located at 400 City Center.

More Information

View the Social Security Administration's Information for International Students.


Contact Us

Office of International Education
Dempsey Hall, Room 202
General: 
Phone: +1 (920) 424-0775
Fax: +1 (920) 424-0185

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Contact Us

Office of Internation Education
Dempsey Hall, Room 202
Email: oie@uwosh.edu
Phone: (920) 424-0775
Fax: (920) 424-0185

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh — Where Excellence and Opportunity Meet.