Working in The U.S.
Employment for F-1 and J-1 students is limited, and working without permission is a violation of status and a deportable offense. F-1 and J-1 students may not work off-campus without permission from the Directorate of International Student Advising (DISA). On-Campus Employment is permitted with certain restrictions. Students must complete employment paperwork with DISA in order to work on-campus. A Social Security number is required for anyone receiving payment for working in the U.S.
On-campus employment is very limited at the Scranton campus. It is very probable that you will not be able to secure on-campus employment.
F-1 Student Employment
F-1 students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week, on campus, while school is in session. If you are registered in spring and will be registered in summer or the following fall, you may work full time on campus (more than 20 hours per week) during the summer.
All University employees must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification known as the I-9. If you are a student that is not a U.S. citizen and not a U.S. permanent resident, the Directorate of International Student Advising (DISA) will complete this form for you. In addition, DISA must stamp the W-4 form.
J-1 Student Employment
J-1 students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week, on campus, while school is in session. If you are registered in spring and will be registered in summer or the following fall, you may work full time on campus (more than 20 hours per week). However, all J-1 student employment requires written authorization by the Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer (RO or ARO) of the student's program. If your DS-2019 form was issued by Penn State, the RO and AROs are the director, associate director and foreign student advisers in DISA. If your DS-2019 was issued by a programming agency such as IIE, AMIDEAST, LASPAU, then the RO or ARO of that agency must give you work authorization.
All employees must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification known as the I-9. If you are not a U.S. citizen and not a U.S. permanent resident and you are a student, DISA completes this form for you. In addition, DISA must stamp the W-4.
Social Security Information
The social security number (SSN) is used for employment purposes in the United States in order to report wages to the government. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will issue a social security number for employment purposes only.
The Social Security Administration will require that you prove your identity, age, immigration status, and eligibility to work. In addition, F-1 students must provide evidence of on-campus employment from the campus department and verification of enrollment status from the Directorate of International Student Advising (DISA). J-1 students must provide evidence of employment eligibility from the sponsor: if Penn State issued the DS-2019, the Directorate of International Student Advising will issue the letter; if a programming agency such as IIE or AMIDEAST issued the DS-2019, that agency must issue the letter.
SSA regulations require two letters in addition to the other required documents: one from the hiring department, and the other from the Directorate of International Student Advising (DISA).
Along with the social security application, you must submit the following documents:
1. Letter (see department letter template below) from the on-campus employer on unit letterhead paper including:
- identity of student employee
- job description
- anticipated or actual employment start date
- employer identification number (EIN)—the Penn State EIN is 24-6000376
- employer contact information, including the telephone number and the name of the F-1 student's
- immediate supervisor
- original signature, signatory's title, date
2. Letter from the Directorate of International Student Advising verifying student status, full-time enrollment, eligibility of employment, and employment. NOTE: With new rules and procedures, DISA cannot issue this letter until the student is in registered status because the SSA checks the Department of Homeland Security database for registration information.
3. I-20 or DS-2019
Social Security Administration
OPPENHEIM BLDG 1ST FLR
409 LACKAWANNA AVENUE
SCRANTON, PA 18503
Phone (Local) : 1-866-635-0767
Phone (Nat'l) : 1-800-772-1213
TTY : 1-800-325-0778
Office Hours : MONDAY - FRIDAY:09:00 AM - 03:30 PM
Driver's License or State I.D. Application
Information on a driver's license or state identification, car registration and insurance requirements are available from PennDOT.
Eligibility Requirements for Non-US Citizens
Students and spouses must have at least one year left before the completion date in section 5 of the I-20 or the end date in section 3 of the DS-2019 in order to qualify for an initial driver's license.
Students applying for Optional Practical Training qualify for a license if the end date of the OPT on page 3 of the I-20 is more than one year from the date they apply for a license. For renewal of Pennsylvania Driver's Licenses, you do not need to have 12 months left on the visa document; licenses can be renewed until the end date on the I-20 or DS-2019.
F-1 and J-1 students and spouses obtaining a driver's license or state I.D. in Pennsylvania must provide the following documentation:
- A letter from the Directorate of International Student Advising confirming the student's enrollment in classes at Penn State. Request for Driver's License or State I.D. Letter.
- Passport, visa, and I-94 card. (It does not matter if the visa in your passport has expired.)
- The student's I-20 for those in F status; or The student's DS-2019 for those in J status.
- Two documents showing where you live. Preferred documents include leases, housing contracts or mortgage papers; utility bills; and W-2 tax forms. However, when students don't have two of these, the Driver's License Office has been willing to accept other documents, such as a letter from the University Housing Office mailed to their on-campus residence.
- Social Security Card if you are eligible for a Social Security Number. If you cannot obtain a Social Security Number, you must obtain a letter from the Social Security Office stating that you are ineligible for one. The Driver's License Office will then use the Admission number on your I-94.