On Campus Employment

About 'On Campus' Employment

'On campus employment' is work that is paid for directly by the University of Chicago or an approved, close educational affiliate (explained below).  Students who are maintaining F-1/J-1 status are eligible to work on campus while they remain students at the University.

Please note that the following information is for immigration purposes only and only applies to maintaining your F-1 or J-1 immigration status.  In addition to immigration regulations, your employer will also have internal HR and personnel policies to which you must adhere.

Eligibility for On Campus Employment

To be eligible for on campus employment work authorization, you must:

  • Be in valid F-1/J-1 status currently
  • Have checked in at OIA at the beginning of your program
  • Still be a full-time registered student (you are not eligible for on campus employment after your I-20/DS-2019 end date)
  • Work for an 'on campus' employer as described beow
  • Otherwise maintain your F-1/J-1 status (e.g. remain full-time enrolled, report any changes,etc)

What is considered 'on campus' employment?

For immigration purposes, 'on campus employment' is quite narrowly defined and may be different from how other entities at the University define 'on campus' employment. 'On campus employment' includes:

On Campus employment where review by OIA is not typically needed:

  • Work done on campus and paid for by the University directly
  • Work done at an off campus location that is paid for by the University directly (such as research at a UChicago facility in a different city)

Check with OIA to confirm it is considered 'on campus' before accepting:

  • Work done on school premises that provides direct service to students (such as working in the bookstore or a restaurant in Hutch)
  • Work performed on or off campus at an approved, close educational affiliate of the University (such as UChicago hospitals or Argonne)

Each of the above scenarios are explained below in more detail below:

Generally, if you are getting paid by The University of Chicago directly, then your work is considered on-campus. If you are not sure is a job is considered 'on campus' for immigration purposes, contact OIA before accepting it.

If you are not being paid by the University of Chicago, but your work will be performed on school premises and will provide direct services to students (e.g. a restaurant in Hutch), it might also count as 'on-campus' employment. It might also be considered 'on-campus' if the entity for which you work is a close educational affiliate with The University, such as UChicago hospitals, Argonne, Fermi Labs, or the Neighborhood Schools Program. 

If you are not getting paid directly by the University or have questions about your eligibility, be sure to check with your international student adviser to make sure that the work qualifies as on-campus before accepting the job.

Authorization and Applying to On Campus Jobs

On-campus employment does not require authorization, permission, or additional documentation from OIA; it is an automatic benefit of F-1 or J-1 status. You do not need anything from OIA to apply for on campus jobs or begin working. Contact OIA if you need help figuring out whether or not the job would be considered 'on campus'.

Although you do not require additional work authorization for on campus jobs, you will require a Social Security Number (SSN) when you begin work.  If you do not already have one, an on campus position makes you eligible to apply for an SSN.  Application information and instructions are on our website through the link above.

How to Find On Campus Employment

On-campus jobs can be found through your department, by networking with professors and friends, and through the student jobs website. Not all of the jobs listed on the student jobs website will be considered 'on campus' for immigration purposes, so make sure to review the opportunities closely.

The following are a few examples of employers you may find on the student jobs website that are NOT considered on campus. To work at any of the following (or companies similar to the following), you would require approved off campus work authorization:

  • Telefund/Ruffalo Cody (phone bank for alumni donations)
  • All CIE Incubator companies
  • Local or start up companies such as Rumi Spice, Kids in Danger, or Kumon

Additionally, when you go to the job website, you will see that some jobs are classified as 'work study' or 'ws'. International students are not eligible for federal work-study jobs. Work-study is a type of federal financial aid which subsidizes campus jobs, and is only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents as part of their financial aid package. 

Review the criteria on this page for eligibility information and contact OIA if you have any questions.

Timing and Limits for On Campus Employment

Start Date and End Date

You are eligible to start on campus employment after you submit your online check in form with OIA.  Your eligibility for on campus employment ends on your I-20/DS-2019 end date.  As long as your status remains valid and you are otherwise maintaining status, you can work on campus year round.

Any changes in your I-20 end date will also impact your eligibility for on campus employment.  For example, if you graduate earlier than expected and your I-20 is shortened, your eligibility for on campus employment will be shortened, as well.

Hour Limitations

During The School Year

  • Up to 20 hours/week total while school is in session

You are permitted to engage in on campus employment for maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session. The 20-hour limit includes any work performed for any on campus employer, including teaching or reaching assistantships. The 20-hour limit cannot be treated as an average; the maximum in any week is 20 hours.

During Official School Breaks

  • No F-1/J-1 regulatory limitation on hours
  • Your employer may have restrictions or hour limitations
  • Official school breaks include winter break, spring break, and summer break
  • If your status or program requires you to be enrolled during summer quarter, it is not considered a school break and you will be limited to 20 hours.week

During official school breaks and vacation periods, the F-1/J-1 regulations do not limit the hours you are eligible to work on campus.  For immigration purposes, you could work part time or full time during school breaks. However, your employer may limit the number of hours per week you are allowed to work based on their own internal HR policies.

If you are working for the University of Chicago, you can review the relevant student employment policies in the student handbook.  Please follow up directly with your employer if you have any questions about hour limitations or employment restrictions. 

To be eligible for on campus employment during an official school break (such as summer), you must be enrolled in the quarter immediately following the break.