Employment Eligibility

After entering the U.S. in initial student status, you must be enrolled in full-time studies for one academic year (two semesters) before becoming eligible for F-1 employment benefits. Unauthorized employment is one of the most serious violations of F-1/J-1 student status. Any unlawful employment - even for one day - even if you did not know it was illegal - poses a serious threat to your ability to remain in or return to the United States. You should speak with an International Student Advisor before accepting any employment.

Social Security

A Social Security number (SSN) is a unique identification number assigned by the United States federal government to monitor and tax wages earned by employees in the U.S. It does not grant employment authorization. The SSN is required for all individuals who are employed in the United States. It is not required to obtain a driver’s license, nor should it be required to open a bank account, rent a car, purchase a cell phone or rent an apartment.
F-1 STUDENTS are eligible to obtain a SSN if they are in valid F-1 status and have been offered an on-campus job; or they have been authorized for off-campus employment (Curricular or Optional Practical Training). J-1 STUDENTS are eligible to obtain a SSN if they are in valid J-1 status.
Bring to the Social Security Office:

  • Completed and printed SSN application (Form SS-5): www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ss5.htm (for item #3 on the form, select legal alien allowed to work)
  • Passport
  • I-94 (arrival/departure record); printed from: www.cbp.gov/I94
  • Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1)
  • Proof of SSN eligibility from Nick Tatar.


On Campus Employment

Current students in F-1 and J-1 status who are maintaining valid status may be eligible for on-campus employment. On-campus employment encompasses jobs that are paid directly by Olin College payroll.  On-campus employment is limited to part-time (up to 15 hours/week) during the academic year; it may be full time (over 15 hours/week) during official college vacation.


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization granted to students in F-1 status for work that is an "integral part of an established curriculum".  CPT enables students to apply and practice the knowledge and skills gained in their academic program. Internships must be approved by PGP, and you must be registered for a particular academic course that supports the internship.
Immigration Eligibility:

  • You must currently be maintaining valid F-1 status and must have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year before applying for CPT.
  • CPT is authorization is date and employer specific. If you anticipate changes to your internship, (ex: different dates, different employer, etc.) you must first obtain authorization from Nick Tatar.
  • There is no limit on the amount of time you can be authorized for CPT. However, if you use 12 months or more of full-time CPT you will lose your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).


OPT is a benefit of F-1 status that allows students to work off-campus in a field related to their area of study. OPT is most often utilized by Olin students following completion of their academic program.
There is a limit of 12 months of full-time OPT per degree level, and a 17 month OPT extension for certain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) degree holders. OPT may be used before completion of studies (pre-completion), after completion of studies (post-completion) or a combination of both. OPT may be full-time or part-time, but any pre-completion OPT is limited to part-time during the academic year.
Part-time OPT (up to 20 hours/week) is deducted at half of the full-time rate (two months of part-time OPT = one month of full time OPT) before completion of studies. After completion of studies, part-time OPT is counted at the full-time rate.
Full-time OPT (more than 20 hours/week) can only be granted during official college breaks or after completion of studies.
Additional Considerations:

  • You must currently be maintaining valid F-1 status and must have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year before applying for OPT.
  • You are only authorized to work within the dates specified on the EAD.
  • If you do not complete your academic program by the date originally specified, contact Nick Tatar; you may not be eligible to work with the EAD you received.
  • In order to maintain F-1 status while on OPT, students must report address and employment changes to an International Student Advisor and must not exceed 90 days of unemployment during the entire OPT period.