International Student Employment Guide
International students with work authorization are permitted to work as student employees on-campus at UNC. There are several steps that all international students must follow before being hired or working as a student employee.
Finding a Job and Recruitment
If you are an international student seeking an on-campus job, a supervisor looking to hiring an international student, or a hiring representative involved in hiring an international student, make sure you review the following information on eligibility and work authorization for international students working as student employees at UNC. Please note that international students do not qualify for Federal work-study positions
To be eligible to work as a student employee on-campus at UNC, international students must meet the following enrollment requirements:
- Undergraduate Students: Minimum of 12 credit hours per semester
- Graduate Students: Minimum of 9 credit hours per semester
Visit International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) for more information on enrollment requirements and exceptions.
Before an international student can be hired or start working, they must obtain the proper work authorization.
- International students holding F-1, J-1, H-1B, M, or Q immigration status must check-in with ISSS and submit an offer letter from their hiring department before starting to work. International students with J-1 immigration status must obtain written approval from ISSS prior to starting to work on-campus.
- All other immigration status holders, including refugees and pending asylum seekers, must contact Andrea Cox by email only at firstname.lastname@example.org before being hired or starting work.
Like all other students at UNC, international students can visit Finding a Job for more information on how and where to find available student employee job opportunities at UNC. Please note that international students seeking or accepting employment are responsible for ensuring that employment is considered “on-campus”. Visit ISSS for more information.
Getting Hired and Hiring
Once an international student receives an offer letter, there are a few critical things that will need to be done before they can be hired and start working.
All international students employed by UNC are required to obtain a social security number (SSN) through the Social Security Administration. Visit ISSS for more information on how to apply for an SSN.
Please note that international students holding F-1 or J-1 immigration status will not be eligible for a social security number unless they have obtained an on-campus job offer. These students must obtain a letter from ISSS in order to apply for an SSN at the Social Security Administration office. Visit ISSS for more information on how to apply for an obtain an SSN.
Once the international student receives an SSN they will need to update Section 1 of Form I-9. The hiring representative should verify that Section 1 has been updated within 90 days of the international student employee’s first day of work.
Once an international student receives and accepts an offer to work as a student employee on campus, the hiring representative will need to submit a hiring request in ConnectCarolina. Student records should indicate an international student’s status, which will trigger a notification to Payroll Services. In order to approve the request, Payroll Services will first contact ISSS, and if needed will contact the department, to obtain the following documents:
- PR100 Form which contains a student’s biographical information and immigration history
- Form I-20 (student with F-1 status)
- Form DS-2019 (student with J-1 status)
- Visa Type (for students with immigration status other than F-1 or J-1)
- On-Campus Employment Authorization Letter signed by ISSS (students with J-1 status)
- Other immigration documents showing immigration status and/or work authorization
- Form I-94
Once Payroll Services obtains and verifies these documents, the hiring request will be approved and the hiring representative will proceed with the hiring process.
Like all new student employees, international students must complete several required forms in order to start working and to receive a paycheck. However, unlike other students, international students being hired as student employees CANNOT complete tax forms online via the Self-Service tab in ConnectCarolina. All international students must submit paper copies of Form W-4 and Form NC-4 to Payroll Services by mail or in person at:
Administrative Office Building
104 Airport Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (Map)
Phone: 919-962-7242, Fax: 919-962-4140
Tax Treaty Benefits
International students working as student employees on-campus will be contacted by Payroll Services if they are eligible to receive tax treaty benefits.
Please note that eligibility to receive tax treaty benefits cannot be checked until the international student obtains an SSN. Once the student receives an SSN, the hiring representative will need to enter the SSN in ConnectCarolina so that it can be accessed by Payroll Services. If you are an international student with questions regarding your eligibility to receive tax treaty benefits, contact Andrea Cox by email only at email@example.com.
International student employees not eligible to receive tax treaty benefits will need to submit paper copies of Form W-4 and Form NC-4 to Payroll Services by mail or in person. Visit ISSS for more information on filing requirements and resources.
International student employees should follow the same procedure for logging hours as all other student employees. Visit Getting Paid for more information.
On the Job
Once an international student is hired and starts working as a student employee, there are several considerations that must be kept in mind.
International student employees holding F-1 or J-1 immigration status may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year while classes are in session. International student employees may work over 20 hours per week during official University breaks or during the summer if they intend to enroll for the subsequent semester. Visit ISSS for more information.
Special Considerations for Students with J-1 Immigration Status
International student employees holding J-1 immigration status are only authorized to engage in the terms of employment explicitly indicated in their on-campus employment authorization letter signed by ISSS. Students with J-1 immigration status must obtain, in advance, a new or updated authorization letter to engage in any new or additional employment beyond what was originally authorized. This includes working additional hours beyond what has been authorized, working outside of the dates the student has been authorized, and changes to the location of employment and/or the employing department/organization. Students holding J-1 immigration status must also obtain a new authorization letter every year, even if engaging in the same on-campus employment.
International students may be subject to both federal and state income taxes like any other student employee. Students from countries that have tax treaties with the United States, however, may be eligible to exempt a portion of their earnings from taxes.
International student employees with F-1 or J-1 immigration status can visit ISSS for more information on filing taxes, including dates for tax seminars typically held every spring.
International student employees holding other types of immigration status will be contacted by Payroll Services at the time of hire if they are eligible to receive tax treaty benefits. Review the International Student Employment Guide for more information.
Visit ISSS to access more resources for international students.