Your F-1 student status permits you to work on campus at the university that issued your I-20 while you are enrolled in a full course of study. Your Webber I-20 is your proof of work eligibility for on-campus employment at Webber only. You must maintain F-1 status to be eligible for this employment benefit; maintaining status means that you are a full-time registered student (except for approved exceptions) in good academic standing with a valid I-20.
It is your responsibility to research and understand your on-campus work eligibility. It is generally not the job of Webber staff outside of a DSO to thoroughly know the immigration regulations. It is possible you will be offered employment that you are not eligible to accept or for your employment eligibility to expire without the payroll administrator notifying you. Be sure to review all information provided by the DSO and let them know if you have any concerns or questions.
While the USCIS regulations provide a variety of opportunities for F-1 international students to be employed during their time in F-1 student status, working without proper authorization is a serious violation of the F-1 student status. Please consult with a DSO prior to engaging in employment or with any concerns.
Definition of “On-Campus” Employment
On-campus employment includes work done as a teaching or research assistant as well as jobs in the university library, dining facilities, laboratories, fitness facilities, and administrative offices.
You are allowed to work:
- Part-time (20 hours per week or less) during your regular full-time semesters (semester dates are set by the Webber academic calendar and include finals week).
- Part-time (20 hours per week or less) between semesters.
Expiration of On-campus Employment Eligibility
Your on-campus employment eligibility ends:
- When you graduate. It expires the last day of your final semester (per Webber calendar), even if your I-20 expiration date is in the future.
- If you transfer to another university; your work authorization expires on the day of your SEVIS record release date.
- If you violate your F-1 status.
College Work-Study (Federally Funded)
International students are not eligible for this type of work-study position on campus, as these positions are funded only for US citizens and permanent residents by the US government.
Ellison Work-Study (Funded by School)
International students are eligible for this type of work-study position on campus, as these positions are funded by the University.
Finding a Campus Job
On-campus jobs can be obtained in various departments. You may speak to the Department Head of the department you desire to work to see if there are any positions currently available.
Off-Campus Employment which may Qualify as On-Campus Employment
Immigration regulations allow international students to work at an off-campus location provided the employer is educationally affiliated with Webber. Presently, only the tutoring positions through the Career Services Department qualifies for on-campus employment.
For clarification on whether an employment at off-campus location qualifies as on-campus employment, please make an appointment to meet with a DSO.
What is CPT?
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study. Your major field of study is listed on your I-20. “Practical training” can include employment, internship experience (paid or unpaid), cooperative (co-op) education experience, practicum participation, etc. CPT is authorized by the DSO in accordance with the F-1 regulations. You can apply for CPT during the regular academic year (you must remain registered full-time).
CPT may be part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). If you accumulate 12 months of full-time CPT authorization, you lose your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT), another type of employment authorization for F-1 students. Part-time CPT and fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT authorization does not affect your OPT eligibility.
You may be eligible for CPT if you:
- Are currently in valid F-1 status.
- Have been enrolled at a college or university in the U.S. on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year. (“One academic year” at Webber is defined as two full-time semesters per the academic calendar, including final exams week).
- The program requirement must be for all students in the program and should be listed on the program’s website in the curriculum description.
- Are in a major (Pre-major students, who are not yet admitted into a major, are not eligible for CPT. CPT cannot be authorized based on a minor or certificate program).
- Will earn your degree from Webber (visiting exchange students are not eligible for CPT).
You may request authorization for CPT to participate in training that is integral to your established curriculum. Training may be required or optional for your degree. Required training must be clearly identified and described in the course catalog or similar publication.
If the training is not required by your major degree program, the DSO cannot issue a CPT endorsement. You are required to receive academic credit from an internship, cooperative education program, practicum, or similar course through your academic department. Your academic department might not require you to earn credit for an optional training/work experience, but the DSO requires academic credit be earned in order to authorize CPT. The credit must be earned in the same semester for which CPT is authorized, though exceptions may be granted for students pursuing CPT during their vacation period. You must earn at least one CPT-related credit for each semester of authorization granted. Graduate students may not use thesis or dissertation credit to fulfill the credit requirement.
Requesting CPT Authorization
Before an international student can begin an internship, also known as CPT, work authorization must be approved by a DSO.
In order to gain work authorization, a student must:
- Meet all requirements set forth by the internship coordinator
- Register for the internship course (must be a requirement of the student’s major)
- Pay for the internship course
- Gather all required documentation (see below)
- Make an appointment with a DSO
- Receive a new I-20 with CPT endorsement
- Completed Request for CPT (Internship) Authorization Application
- Job Offer Letter on company letterhead from the potential employer containing the following information:
- Specific start and end dates of the internship/CPT (must be within the range of the semester in which you are enrolled)
- Physical address of employment location
- Supervisor’s Name
- Description of the position (must be within the scope of your major)
- State whether the position is part-time or full-time
If you qualify for CPT, the DSO will issue you a new Form I-20 endorsed on page 2 with details of your CPT employment. Do not begin working until you receive your I-20 endorsed for CPT. Be careful to comply with the restrictions on your employment as stipulated in the endorsement. Your endorsed I-20, together with your passport and I-94 card, is evidence of your eligibility to work and may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 that all U.S. employers are required to complete.
Please allow one week for processing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
CPT is employment that is an integral part of your major curriculum and allows you to participate in an internship, practicum or cooperative education program. CPT is employer specific and must be done before you graduate. OPT is optional for any student who meets the eligibility requirements and you do not need to earn credit. OPT is not employer specific and may be done before or after you graduate.
Do I have to be registered while on CPT?
You must maintain F-1 student status, which generally requires full-time registration. Most students are required to register as full-time students while on CPT.
Does CPT usage affect OPT eligibility?
You may use as much CPT as is required for your degree program. However, if you use a total of 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are not eligible for OPT. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT in any way.
Do I need to have a job to apply for CPT?
You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT since the authorization is for a specific employer.
Can I change the number of hours I work?
You can change within the limits of part-time or full-time. For example, you may change from 10 hours per week to 15 hours per week without a new authorization. However, if you change from part-time to full-time (or vice versa) you must request a new authorization.
Can I change employers?
Since CPT is employer specific you must apply for a new CPT authorization before you work for the new employer.
Can I extend my CPT?
You are authorized for specific dates of employment on your I-20. You may not begin before the start date or continue after the end date. You must apply for an extension in sufficient time to allow the DSO to issue a new CPT authorization before you can continue beyond the end date of your current CPT.
Do I need a Social Security number?
Yes, if your CPT is paid employment. You will need a social security number in order to receive payment from your employer. You will apply directly at the Social Security Administration Office for a social security number if you do not already have one.
Will I be required to pay Social Security and other taxes?
In general, as an F-1 student you will be exempt from Social Security (FICA) taxes for your first five years in the U.S. as long as you continue to declare nonresident status for tax purposes.
Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the U.S. and your home government, your earnings as an F-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes, and employers are required to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. For more information on taxes, consult the Internal Revenue Service.
Will I receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)?
No. The CPT authorization on page 2 of your I-20 is your proof of employment eligibility and together with your I-94 card may be used to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 required by your employer.
What is OPT?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides F-1 students with an opportunity for hands-on work experience (work authorization) related to the academic field of study.
You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:
- You are currently in F-1 status.
- You have been enrolled in a full course of study for one academic year (two semesters, including final exams weeks) or will complete one academic year by the date the OPT approval begins.
- You have not exceeded 12 months of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization. (Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility.)
- You do not need a job offer first; you can apply for OPT without a job offer.
You are eligible for 12 months of full-time OPT per academic level. For example, you may apply for 12 months of OPT after completing a bachelor’s degree and then another 12 months after completing a master’s degree. You may apply for OPT authorization during your academic program, after your program completion, or a combination of both. You do not need to have a job offer before applying for the first 12 months of OPT.
OPT authorization that begins after completion of your academic program is called “post-completion” OPT. This is the most common type of OPT. Post-completion OPT is full-time, and it can begin:
- after you complete your degree program
- after you complete all course requirements for your degree
You must apply for OPT based on your last registered semester.
OPT used while you are still pursuing a course of study is called “pre-completion” OPT. Pre-completion OPT is rather uncommon. Usually current students are eligible for alternate employment authorization, such as Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Because pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12 months of OPT eligibility, most students prefer to save OPT for after program completion. You may start the OPT application process up to 120 days before your requested employment start date. Pre-completion OPT can be approved for different rates:
- Full-time (more than 20 hours per week) or part-time (20 hours per week or less) during your annual vacation period and between semester breaks
- Part-time (20 hours per week or less) while enrolled in a full course of study
While approved for OPT, you are still in F-1 status and must report address changes and employment information to your DSO.
OPT Application Process
In order to apply for OPT, you must make an appointment with a DSO. This appointment will take approximately 30-45 minutes. You may apply for OPT no earlier than 90 days prior to graduation and no later than 60 days post-graduation.
Items Required to Apply for OPT:
- Optional Checklist for Form I-765 (c)(3)(B) Filings ( https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 )
- Degree Completion Form (obtained in the Registrar/Financial Aid Office)
- Two (2) New Passport Photos (can be obtained at Walgreens or CVS)
- USD Cashier’s Check/Money Order for I-765 Filing Fee (check I-765 instructions for appropriate filing fee amount)
- I-765 ( https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 )
- I-20 (most recent)
- I-94 ( https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html )
Once you have the required items and documents, you will need to schedule an appointment with a DSO.
It is your responsibility to complete the OPT packet and mail the completed OPT packet to USCIS. The DSO is here to provide the I-20 endorsement and help assemble the completed packet. We strongly suggest you take your completed packet directly to the US Post Office directly after the appointment because the OPT packet must be received by the USCIS Office within 10 days of your I-20 update. If the USCIS does not receive your packet within 10 days of the I-20 update, it will result in being denied OPT.
After You Apply
You have now applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT). You may now begin looking for employment while your application is processing through the USCIS. The processing generally takes 90 days. Please understand that you CANNOT begin working until your OPT request has been approved and you have your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card in your possession.
Reporting OPT Employment
Once you find an employer, you are required under F-1 visa regulations to provide a DSO at Webber employment details within 10 days.
Required Employment Information:
- Employer Name
- Employer EIN (tax identification number)
- Employer Address
- Your Job Title
- Start Date (not to begin prior to the date shown on your EAD card)
- End Date (not to exceed the date shown on your EAD card)
- Full-time or Part-time
- Supervisor’s Name
- Supervisor’s Phone Number
- Supervisor’s Email
- Brief statement on how this employment directly relates to your major
Once we receive this information, you will receive a new I-20 with updated employment information. Failure to report employment in a timely manner will result in your OPT being cancelled by SEVIS.
Unemployment While on OPT
You are only allowed to be unemployed for 90 total days while on OPT. If you do not report employment for 90+ days, your OPT will be cancelled and your I-20 terminated by SEVIS. It is imperative that you report employment as soon as you secure a job.
Maintaining Status While on OPT
You are required to remain in good F-1status while on OPT. You must maintain an up-to-date physical address in SEVIS. Any physical address changes you make must be reported to a DSO at Webber within 10 days. Failure to report your physical address in a timely manner will result in you being in violation of your F-1 status and could result in the termination of your I-20.
Communications While on OPT
It is vital that you keep in contact and ensure that your information is up-to-date at all times in SEVIS. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Webber International Student Services.
Any email sent to ISS@webber.edu will reach all school DSOs or you may email a DSO directly to their work address.
Information for students needing to change their address while waiting on OPT approval:
Address Changes while OPT Pending
If you move while OPT is pending, please provide USCIS with an updated address. You will also need to provide this address to a DSO to update your SEVIS record. For more information about address changes, please visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/ar-11, and click on “Change Your Address Online.”
F-1 students who have maintained F-1 status for an academic year and who are in good academic standing can apply for “off-campus employment based on economic hardship” if part-time employment through on-campus employment is not available or is otherwise insufficient. Economic hardship refers to the financial problems caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control. If the financial problems are great, it may not be possible to solve the problem through part-time employment. Adjudication of the application by USCIS may be within two weeks up to 90 days or more.
If you wish to apply for work permission based on economic hardship, you are required to make a good faith effort in locating employment on-campus before applying for employment based on economic hardship. If you are granted authorization for off-campus employment based on economic hardship, you are limited to work 20 hours per week while school is in session and full time during vacation periods and summers. The work permission may be granted for one year and is renewable.
In order to qualify for economic hardship employment, immigration regulations require that you meet the following conditions:
- You are a full-time student in good standing and have been in valid F-1 status for at least one full academic year.
- You must document that the circumstances which led to your economic situation were unexpected and beyond your control.
- You must be capable of continuing full-time studies and maintaining F-1 status while engaged in economic hardship work permission.
Immigration regulations state that unforeseen circumstances:
“…may include loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial conditions of the student’s source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.”
Only unforeseen problems can be the basis for hardship employment since students must first demonstrate that all of the financial resources needed for their program of study are available before they are able to obtain an I-20 and enter the US in F-1 status.
How to Apply
You must apply by first meeting with a DSO by submitting the following:
- Completed Webber International University Severe Economic Hardship Request Form
- Supporting materials documenting the unforeseen nature of the economic hardship
- Supporting materials documenting a good faith effort in locating employment on-campus
If it is determined that Webber will make the recommendation for economic hardship based on the certifications submitted above, your I-20 will be updated with a special endorsement. You will need to make an appointment with a DSO to complete your packet and submit the following:
- Form I-765 (write I(3)(iii) in item 16)
- Filing Fee (amount is found in the instructions to the Form I-765, make your money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
- Photocopy of Form I-20, with your DSO’s recommendation for economic hardship employment
- Two passport style photos
- Photocopy of I-94
- A letter describing your financial difficulties and why on-campus employment opportunities are unavailable or insufficient; include supporting evidence
- Photocopy of passport identification page
- Photocopy of visa page
- Photocopies of any previously-issued EAD cards
USCIS can easily take up to 90 days or more to process this type of application. Approval is not guaranteed, and you may not begin employment unless you have received written approval from USCIS.
Application Mailing Instructions
The USCIS “Dallas Lockbox” filing location is applicable to the following states and territories:
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, or West Virginia.
Express Mail & Courier Services: US Postal Service Address:
ATTN: AOS P.O. Box 660867
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business Dallas, TX 75266
Lewisville, TX 75067
If the state you put on form I-765 in item 3 is not in this list, refer to the mailing instructions in the I-765 Instructions.
Finally, we recommend that you mail your application by express mail such as Federal Express or UPS, or by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, so you will have a record of its delivery.
If approved, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from the USCIS granting you permission to work off-campus. Typically, permission is granted for up to one year. Note also the following:
- You may work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the school year, full-time (over 20 hours per week) during vacation periods.
- Economic Hardship work permission is not limited to employment in your field of study – you may accept any type of lawful employment once you have received your EAD.
- You may not start employment until you have received an EAD or before the start date indicated on the EAD. You must stop employment by the EAD expiration date or by the date you finish your studies, whichever is earlier. You may, however, apply for a renewal of Economic Hardship work permission if you are still a full-time student and if the conditions underlying the original application remain in place.
- You must remain a full-time student and make full-time progress toward degree completion while on Economic Hardship work permission.
- If you transfer to another institution, your EAD becomes invalid as of the date the transfer.
F-1 students are allowed to do volunteer service for humanitarian purposes. Some examples of acceptable volunteer work would be at a local homeless shelter, charitable food pantry, or American Red Cross. A volunteer arrangement with an F-1 visa student and the employer in a job that would normally be paid, both the F-1 visa student and the employer are taking a big risk. DHS sees “volunteer” activity as work that is “holding” a position for the future and is therefore compensating or “paying” you with the reward of a future job.
The lack of remuneration or any other type of compensation is not the only factor in determining if the work would qualify as volunteering. If the work relates to your studies, it is likely considered training, and requires authorization. Please check with a DSO prior to engaging in any type of volunteer work.
Federal law limits severely the kinds of employment an alien in temporary visa status may undertake in the U.S. People who are unable to accept paid employment often ask whether they are permitted to engage in “volunteer” work and what activities are acceptable. The first assumption people make is that the only issue is money – a volunteer provides a service for free, but an employee gets paid. The answer is more complicated than it seems. Various U.S. government agencies have authority to control the activities of aliens in the U.S. in a number of ways, including the activity of “volunteering.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the authority to make determinations regarding the activities of aliens in the U.S. The Department of Labor (DOL) has the authority to make determinations regarding services, compensation, and the nature of work, both for U.S. workers and for alien workers.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guides and directs how the DOL and employers must view and treat those who provide labor or services.
From the DOL perspective, both to protect U.S. and foreign workers from abuse and to protect U.S. jobs, the FLSA says that if a person provides a normal service for which a person would normally be employed, the activity is work/employment, and the employer must pay the person.
From the DHS perspective, if the alien is providing a service normally provided by a paid employee, then the activity is work and the alien is receiving the “compensation” of valuable training or experience and/or the compensation of possible future paid employment. It does not matter that no money changed hands at the time the work was being done. Being paid or compensated in the future does not change the fact that one is performing real work in the present.
Social Security numbers generally are assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. Social Security numbers are used to report your wages to the government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. Social Security will not assign a number to you just to enroll in a college or school.
If you want to get a job on campus, you should contact your DSO for international students. This official can tell you if you’re eligible to work on campus and can give you information about available jobs. Also, your school may approve certain limited off-campus employment, as permitted under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations. If your school has authorized you to work and you meet Social Security’s eligibility requirements described in the next section, you can get a Social Security number.
Social Security Administration (SSA) Website: https://www.ssa.gov/
International Students and Social Security Numbers: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10181.pdf
How to Apply
To apply for a Social Security number at your local Social Security office:
- Complete an application for a Social Security card
- Show us documents proving your work-authorized immigration status
To prove your immigration status, you must show us a current admission stamp in your unexpired foreign passport and Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94), if available. If you’re an F-1 student, you must also show us your Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (Form I-20).
Work Eligibility – On Campus
If you’re an F-1 student and eligible to work on campus, you must provide a letter from your DSO that identifies you; confirms your current school status; and identifies your employer and the type of work you are, or will be, doing.
Work Eligibility – CPT
If you’re an F-1 student authorized to work in curricular practical training (CPT), you must provide us your Form I-20 with the employment page completed and signed by your school’s designated official. A letter from Webber is not required for students on OPT.
Work Eligibility – OPT
F-1 students on OPT are able to apply for a social security number (SSN) once they have been approved for OPT. You can apply by taking the following original documents to the nearest Social
Security Administration (SSA) Office:
- A printout of the I-94 Arrival/Departure record
- OPT I-20
- EAD card
Please note, you must wait until your EAD card start date to apply for the social security number. A letter from Webber is not required for students on OPT.
Each year, F-1 students seek to switch nonimmigrant classification from F-1 student status to H-1B temporary employment status after completing a program of study or post-completion optional practical training (OPT). The Cap-Gap allows for some F-1 students to be eligible for an F-1 status extension and authorized period of post-completion OPT.
What is the Cap-Gap?
The cap refers to the limit on the number of individuals who can receive H-1B status every fiscal year. For example, for the period between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, U.S. law limits, or caps, the number of individuals who may receive H-1B status to 65,000. The gap is the period between the end of an individual’s F-1 status and the beginning of the individual’s H-1B status.
An individual’s potential employer files the H-1B petition. Regulations prohibit employers from filing H-1B petitions until six months before the date of actual need for the employee. This means that once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reaches the cap of 65,000 individuals in one fiscal year, employers must wait until April 1, which is six months before the start of the next fiscal year, before filing H-1B petitions again.
For purposes of the cap, each fiscal year begins on October 1 of the prior calendar year, so fiscal year 2015 begins on October 1, 2014. The October 1 date is the date of actual need for the next fiscal year. Therefore, employers may begin filing H-1B petitions six months prior to October 1, which is April 1.
Many F-1 students complete a program of study or post-completion OPT in mid-spring or early summer. F-1 students have 60 days after this to take steps to maintain legal status or depart the United States. Because the change to H-1B status does not occur until October 1, an F-1 student may have two or more months following the 60-day period with no legal status. Before the Cap-Gap extension, an F-1 student would have to leave the United States or apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy, and then seek readmission to the United States.
The Solution: The Cap Gap Extension
In 2008, DHS published a rule that automatically extends F-1 status and, if applicable, post-completion OPT employment authorization, from April 1 to September 30 for eligible F-1 students.
You may be eligible for an extension of your F-1 status through September 30 if you meet the following requirements:
- Your potential employer files an H-1B petition in a timely manner with USCIS with an employment start date of October 1
- You are maintaining your F-1 status on the date your potential employer files your H-1B petition
- USCIS receives the H-1B petition in a timely manner
You may be eligible for an extension of your F-1 status and authorized period of post-completion OPT in the following circumstances:
- Your employer files an H-1B petition in a timely manner with USCIS with an employment start date of October 1
- You are maintaining your F-1 status on the date your potential employer files your H-1B petition
- You are in an authorized period of post-completion OPT on the date your potential employer files your H-1B petition
- USCIS receives the H-1B petition in a timely manner
While you are generally eligible for a Cap-Gap extension if you meet the above qualifications, your individual case may be different. You should always talk with your DSO about whether you would qualify for a Cap-Gap extension of your F-1 status and, if applicable, your work authorization. Additionally, you should maintain regular contact with your potential employer to receive updates on the status of your H-1B petition should they file one for you.
Traveling on the Cap-Gap Extension
An F-1 student may generally travel abroad and seek readmission to the United States in F-1 status during a Cap-Gap period if:
- The student’s H-1B petition and request for change of status has been approved by USCIS*.
- The student seeks readmission before his or her H-1B employment begins (normally such employment begins at the start of the fiscal year, i.e., October 1).
- The student is otherwise admissible (e.g., has all proper documentation including a valid, signed Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status” and an F-1 visa).
The student does not need to provide an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This requirement does not apply because during the Cap-Gap period the student’s EAD card will have already expired, and USCIS will not renew the EAD card during the interim period.
Visit the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Manual on this topic.
As with all other international arrivals at a U.S. port-of-entry, the final decision whether to grant admission into the United States lies with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. Visit our Getting to the United States page and CBP’s website for more information regarding the appropriate travel documents and supporting evidence required for entry into in the United States.
* Please note that if an F-1 student travels abroad before USCIS approves their H-1B change-of-status petition, USCIS will deem the petition abandoned. The student’s F-1 status will expire per the program end date listed on their Form I-20. Meaning, if a student leaves the United States before USCIS approves their H-1B change-of-status petition, that student will not be able to re-enter the United States as an F-1 student pursuant to the Cap-Gap extension provisions.
Who Must File Tax Forms?
Every international student has an obligation to complete a tax form once per year for the first five calendar years that you are in the U.S. as a non-resident for tax purposes. After the first five calendar years that you are in the U.S., you will be considered a resident for tax purposes.
If you received U.S. source income in 2018 and you are a non-resident alien for tax purposes, you must file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ. You must also submit Form 8843 attached to your income tax return.
If you received no U.S. source income in 2018 and you are a non-resident alien for tax purposes, you must file Form 8843 by June 17, 2019. If you are only submitting Form 8843, you do not need to apply for a Social Security number or ITIN (individual tax identification number).
Who Must File Form 8843?
All non-resident aliens present in the U.S. under F-1 and F-2 nonimmigrant status must file Form 8843 “Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition”—even if they received NO income during 2018. Form 8843 must be filed if an individual is:
- present in the U.S. during 2018
- a nonresident alien
- present in the U.S. under F-1 or F-2 status
If an individual meets all three qualifications above, the individual must file Form 8843, regardless of the individual’s age and even if the individual is not required to file a U.S. income tax return Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ.
What is Form 8843?
Form 8843 is not an income tax return. Form 8843 is merely an informational statement required by the U.S. government for certain nonresident aliens (including the spouses or dependents of nonresident aliens).
Do I Need a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to File Form 8843?
If you already have an SSN or ITIN, the number must be included on Form 8843, regardless of your age and even if you are not required to file a U.S. income tax return Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ.
How Do I Submit Form 8843?
Form 8843 is typically attached to an income tax return.
If, however, you have NO income and are ONLY filing Form 8843, you must print, sign, and mail it by June 17, 2019, to the address as shown below:
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215
Each individual who has NO income and files ONLY a Form 8843 MUST send the form in a separate envelope. Do not include more than one Form 8843 per envelope.
Links to IRS Tax Form: