International students can be great student employees for the University of Colorado. However, international student employment is restricted by the U.S. federal government depending on their visa status. Many international students face additional hurdles in the hiring process and face limitations of which the prospective employer should be aware.

It is important to first determine that the student has authorization to work in the United States.  An F-1 or J-1 international student can lose their F-1 or J-1 visa status if they work without authorization. If you have any questions regarding hiring an international student for on-campus employment, please do not hesitate to contact International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at 303-492-8057 or at  An ISSS advisor will be happy to discuss the process with you.

On-campus employment refers to employment where a student is hired by a unit or department of the University of Colorado Boulder campus and paid by CU Boulder. If the employer is a private company that is physically located on the Boulder campus but provides direct services for students (e.g., Subway in the UMC), such employment would qualify as on-campus employment as well.

If there is any question as to whether or not the hiring entity is an on-campus employer, then please do not hesitate to contact ISSS at 303-492-8057 or at

F-1 and J-1 international students maintaining status at CU Boulder can work on campus a maximum of 20 hours per week during school and full time during the breaks (e.g., summer) if they are returning to classes the following term.

  • Please keep in mind that the work week starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday.
  • An F-1 or J-1 student who works more than 20 hours a week on campus when school is in session will lose their F-1 or J-1 status.

If you have any questions about the hourly limits for F-1 and J-1 students, then please do not hesitate to contact ISSS at 303-492-8057 or at

  • A new F-1 or J-1 student can start working as early as 30 days prior to the start date on their F-1/J-1 immigration document, the form I-20/DS-2019.
  • Students who are transferring their F-1 or J-1 records to the University of Colorado can start working once their F-1 or J-1 transfer has been accepted by the University of Colorado.
  • An F-1 or J-1 student can begin working and accruing hours prior to receiving their Social Security Number (SSN). For information regarding this issue, please see the section on the SSN process.

F-1/J-1 on-campus employment is based on enrollment:

  1. If an F-1/J-1 international student withdraws from the University of Colorado, their on-campus work authorization ends and they must be taken off of payroll, unless they have obtained some other sort of work authorization.
  2. If an F-1/J-1 international student completes their course of study, then F-1/J-1 on-campus employment must end on the last day of enrollment.
  3. Graduate Students: Graduate students who do not plan to register in the next term no longer have on-campus work authorization as of the last day of the term for which they are formally enrolled or on the day of their defense, whichever is later. For a research assistant this means their RA must end on the last day of the term or on the day of their defense. They can receive their paycheck at the end of the month but must not continue to work after the last day of formal enrollment, or day of defense, if they do not intend to enroll in future terms. F-1/J-1 students can continue working using OPT/AT, if authorized.

Presently there is no GPA requirement for on-campus employment.

  • F-1/J-1 students are not eligible for work-study positions.
  • F-1/J-1 students may have multiple jobs but must be very careful not to accrue more than 20 hours a week between all of their jobs combined while school is in session.

  1. Contact ISSS
    If you have any questions about what it means to hire an F-1/J-1 international student or the processes involved, then please do not hesitate to contact ISSS at 303-492-8057 or at You can also find helpful information at: University of Colorado Employee Services Payroll FAQ
  2. Offer Letter
    ISSS has an F-1-J-1 Offer Letter Template that on-campus employers may want to use when hiring an F1/J1 international student. This template is based on expectations of the Social Security Administration (SSA). The F-1/J-1 student will need to submit an original offer letter, signed in blue ink, to the SSA, in order to get an SSN.
  3. SSN
    • Most F-1/J-1 international students will not have an SSN when they arrive in the U.S. With the assistance of ISSS and the prospective employer, an F-1/J-1 student can apply for an SSN.
    • In order to obtain an SSN, an F-1/J-1 international student needs a letter from ISSS verifying their eligibility, which ISSS issues when a student submits the On-Campus Employment Request form and the job offer letter. An F1/J1 international must have a legitimate job offer in order to apply for an SSN as well as the letter from ISSS.
    • An F-1/J-1 student can start working prior to receiving the SSN! If you have any questions, please read the document Employer Responsibilities When Hiring Foreign Workers for more information. (Federal regulation: Reference: 26 CFR 31.6011) or at University of Colorado Payroll and Benefits Memorandum "Social Security Administration Delays in Social Security Number Issuance to International Employees"
    • If the SSN is not received within 30 days of employment, then the student should make an appointment with one of the University of Colorado’s International Taxation Specialists, who can issue a temporary number.
    • Once the student has been entered in HRMS using the temporary identification number, a handdrawn check can be requested as “late pay” for any missed payroll periods.
    • When the student receives the SSN, he or she should notify the departmental Payroll Liaison and the International Tax Specialist on his or her campus.

F1/J1 international students must complete the Form I-9 within 3 days of starting employment. Please direct your F-1/J-1 international students to the I-9 office at 3100 Marine Street. Please do not send the student to ISSS with the I-9 form. ISSS does not assist with the I-9 process.

Virtually ALL F-1/J-1 international students and scholars and their dependents must file an income tax form every year in order to be in compliance with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. This is true regardless of whether they earned income while in the United States. Income tax issues for foreigners are complex and confusing. ISSS cannot assist student with tax questions.

Please make sure your F-1/J-1 international student employee makes an appointment with a University of Colorado Tax Specialist. This is a very important part of the hiring process. The F-1/J-1 students should make an appointment online via University of Colorado International Tax Office’s online appointment system.