It is essential that you understand and follow the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) restrictive employment regulations. Ignorance of the regulations does not excuse a student from the serious consequences of unauthorized employment, which may result in deportation. You must obtain appropriate employment authorization before you engage in any type of employment.
Individuals who are authorized to be employed in the U.S. must have a social security number (SSN) in order to be paid. Prior to applying for a SSN, you must have the following documents:
- A letter verifying an offer of employment
- The Social Security Verification Form completed by a DSO
- Valid passport
- Visa, and
- I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
Application should be submitted at the Social Security Office:
Social Security Office
1390 Waverly Drive SE, Suite 110
Albany, OR 97322
If your I-20 was issued by LBCC, you may work part-time (20 hours per week or less) on the LBCC campus during fall, winter and spring terms. On-campus employment is “incident to status.” If you are not in lawful F-1 status, you are not eligible for on-campus employment.
During annual vacation periods (i.e. summer break), students are allowed to work full-time on campus.
Practical Training authorization permits an F-1 student to be employed temporarily at a job related to the student’s major field of study on-campus or off-campus. There are two types of practical training: curricular and optional. To be eligible for curricular and/or optional practical training, you must have been in lawful F-1 status for one academic year.
Access the CPT Form in order to request authorization. Contact an International DSO for more information.
DHS may grant off-campus employment authorization to an F-1 student as a result of a “severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control." It is difficult to obtain this type of work authorization unless you can document that the unforeseen circumstances occurred after you arrived in the U.S. and were beyond your control. In order to apply for this type of employment authorization, you must first meet with the LBCC international advisor to discuss your situation and get the necessary recommendation. It is our observation that this application is expensive and the work authorization often is not approved.
LBCC does not permit individuals in F-2 status to be employed under any conditions. Employment is defined as the rendering of services, part-time or full-time, for financial or other compensation, including self-employment. Since F-2 dependents are not authorized to engage in employment in the United States, they are not eligible to apply for a social security number.
If you plan to apply for off-campus work permission following your degree (OPT), you should do so at the beginning of your final term. International Admissions can only recommend you for OPT. Actual approval must come from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, (USCIS). The application process takes approximately three to four months.
- Employment during OPT must be in an area related to the student’s program of study.
- Students with F-1 visa status are eligible to receive OPT for one year following completion of program.
- OPT may be authorized once per program level, (associate degree, bachelor's, master's, doctorate).
Applying for OPT
- Go to USCIS and select Forms, (immigration forms). Print the I-765 Packet.
- Schedule an OPT appointment with International Admissions; bring your I-765 Packet.
- If you meet requirements you will be issued an OPT I-20.
- File I-765 online or mail to USCIS, and make copies of everything.
- If you send your documents by mail, use registered mail and request a “return receipt.”
- Please note, if you do not plan on remaining at your current address for the next three to four months, be sure to list LBCC as the address on your I-765 form. The Post Office will not forward government documents.
- You can check the status of your application online.
Students currently participating in OPT - Reporting requirements
Contact the LBCC International Office if:
- Your personal information changes (name, address, email)
- Your employment information changes (name/address of employer, dates of employment)
- You change your immigration status
- You plan to take classes while on OPT. Non-degree classes are okay. However if you wish to start a degree-seeking program, you should transfer completely and obtain a new I-20. Transfer of a SEVIS record to a new school/program will terminate your OPT.
- Students are advised to maintain evidence for each position held (paid or unpaid), proof of the duration of that position, the job title, contact information for the student's supervisor or manager, and a description of the work. Although you are only required to report the employer’s name/address and your dates of employment to USCIS, this documentation could be used in the future to establish that the limit on unemployment has not been exceeded.
Unemployment during OPT
- You may not accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment during your one-year period of OPT authorization.
- Volunteering for 20 hours/week or more may count as employment for unemployment reporting purposes during regular post-completion OPT. Volunteer work must be related to your program of study.
Travel on OPT
- To re-enter the U.S. while on OPT, you must have an I-20 recently signed for travel (within six months), a valid F-1 visa, and an EAD card. It is also strongly recommended that you carry proof of U.S. employment (a job-offer letter or your most recent pay stub). Travel must be temporary.
- Traveling on an expired visa is okay ONLY if you are returning to the U.S. from Canada or Mexico within 30 days. Otherwise, travel is not recommended on an expired visa.
Completion of OPT
- Students receive a 60-day grace period following completion of OPT. Employment is not permitted during this period. If you plan to stay in the United States, all arrangements must be finalized by the end of your 60-day grace period (e.g. transfer out, change of status, new initial I-20 issued, or leave the country).
- If you are beginning a new program of study, you must begin coursework within five months of the end date of your OPT.