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Employment is defined as any type of work performed or service provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food, or other benefits. If a student does not receive any pay for work performed, this activity is not defined as "employment" but is considered to be "volunteer work." There are restrictions associated with volunteer work and all F-1 students should consult the Coordinator of International Student Services before accepting any employment or volunteer work in the United States. Employment for F-1 and J-1 students is very restricted and proper authorization is required. 

F1 students are normally permitted to work on campus subject to some restriction described below. F1 students may NOT work off-campus except in very specific circumstances. Do not take ANY off-campus job, internship, or assistantship without first consulting the International Student Advisor. You must be authorized for practical training for most off-campus employment, even if it is unpaid.

Categories of F-1 Student Employment: On-Campus

On-campus Employment "Incident to Status"

Work on campus is usually permissible if it meets certain requirements. Immigration regulations state that this employment is automatically authorized for any student in lawful F-1 status. Students should check with the Coordinator of International Student Services for school requirements and procedures governing the authorization of on-campus employment. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week except during vacation periods when a student may work full-time. 

International students are not eligible to receive any federal monies; if for example, a summer science research project is funded by NSF (National Science Foundation), the student would NOT be able to be paid with NSF grant funds.

Type 1: Employment by Hamilton College 

On-campus work performed is usually acceptable, whether it is employment in a student's academic department, the library, the computer center, or the housing office. Work required by a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship is also acceptable.

Type 2: Other Employment on Hamilton College Premises

Work performed on Hamilton College grounds or premises for an outside contractor or firm is considered to be on-campus employment as long as the employer provides direct services to students. The only outside contractor that hires students on this campus is Bon Appetit (Dining Services). 

International Students Who Do NOT Hold F-1 Visas

International students who are not in F-1 status (such as L-2s or H-2s) are covered by different regulations and may not be eligible to work in the US.  Verify eligibility with the international student advisor prior to accepting any employment.

How to Get Started Working On Campus 

If you have been offered work study as part of your financial aid….
  • Expect a letter regarding work study in your campus mailbox this week.
  • Contact one or both of the work study supervisors listed in the letter as soon as possible. You must contact a supervisor to secure a job. The jobs mentioned in your letter are opportunities only and you are not guaranteed one until you speak to a supervisor.
  • See which one can offer you a job with the number of hours you want and with times that will fit your class schedule. You may combine a few hours from both, if your supervisors allow it and this works for you.
  • Inform your supervisor that you need a letter offering you a job. This letter is necessary to apply for your Social Security card. Your supervisor can get a template of such a letter on line or from by calling x4021 or emailing Regina Johnson (rjohnson@hamilton.edu).
  • You will also need to complete and submit a federal employment eligibility form and federal (W-4) and state (IT-2104) income tax withholding forms.  All three of these fillable forms are available on-line from the Human Resources form page.  Look under "Payroll."
  • Remember, you are only authorized to work ON CAMPUS! You may work for any Hamilton office or for Bon Appetit Food Services. 
 If you have not been offered work study...
  • You are still permitted to work ON CAMPUS ONLY up to 20 hours per week. You may not work off-campus without special authorization for practical training.  Students are eligible for practical training beginning in the summer following their first year.
  • If you learn of a campus job that interests you, you may apply for it.
  • You should not expect to find a job until three weeks or so after the semester starts, because until then first priority will go to students with work study offers.
  • If you do find and accept a job, you must ask your supervisor for a letter offering you the job. The letter is necessary to apply for your Social Security card. Your campus supervisor can get a template of such a letter by calling x4021 or emailing Regina Johnson (rjohnson@hamilton.edu).
  • You will also need to complete and submit a federal employment eligibility form and federal (W-4) and state (IT-2104) income tax withholding forms.  All three of these fillable forms are available online from the Human Resources form page.  Look under "Payroll."

Students Who Have Already Worked On Campus

You should have a social security card from your previous employment.  You may continue to work on campus at any job you find, provided that you do not exceed 20 hours per week during the semester.  You may work up to 40 hours a week during vacations. You do not need to ask your supervisor for an offer letter.  Any questions regarding on campus employment, whether from you or your supervisor, can be directed to Allen Harrison or Regina Johnson, 859-4021.


If you have any questions about the student employment process, wage level, forms, etc., please contact Human Resources at extension 4688 or email Michael Thayer

If you have questions about obtaining a social security number, please contact the Office of the Dean of Students at extension 4021 or email Regina Johnson.

If you have any questions regarding student job opportunities, work-study eligibility, etc., please contact Financial Aid at extension 4434 or email finaid@hamilton.edu.

Contact Information

Allen Harrison

Assistant Dean for International Students and Accessibility
Elihu Root House
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