Employment While at Millikin


It is important to understand the permissions and limitations of the your visa type. Visit the IEFA website for a better understanding of those expectations.

  • F-1 students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week on campus while school is in session, and up to 40 hours per week during vacation periods.
  • J-1 students may work on campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session and up to 40 hours per week during vacation periods. Permission is required from the Program Sponsor.


  • F-1 students are allowed to work off-campus if after one academic year of study they have a proven severe unforeseen economic need. This work authorization, called F-1 Economic Necessity, must be obtained from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by submitting documented proof of the change in financial circumstances, as well as filing an application and paying the required fee. For more information see the Director of Student Services.
  • J-1 students on exchange programs can engage in part-time off campus employment unrelated to the field of study if the employment is due to unforeseen economic need, does not adversely affect full-time enrollment status; and has the written approval of the program sponsor. This option is called J-1 Economic Necessity and requires an unforeseen financial crisis. It is very seldom approved.

Practical Training

  • F-1 students may engage in Practical Training or work experience related to the field of study either during or after your studies at Millikin. You must have been in status one full academic year prior to being eligible for Practical Training. There are two types of practical training: curricular and optional.
  • J-1 students may be authorized for Academic Training for a total of 18 months, but no more than the total number of months the student studied. The training must be recommended by Millikin and must be authorized for a specific job offer.
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) can only be used when an internship is an integral part of the curriculum during a course of study. It is an authorization for temporary employment, dedicated to F-1 non-immigrant foreign students while they are studying in the USA. Such an employment must be directly related to a student’s major field of study and an integral or important part of the program of study.
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a program that allows F-1 students to work or intern in their field of study in the United States for 12 months after their program study ends. The Center for International Education (CIE) must recommend you for OPT by issuing a new I-20. F-1 students will then need to apply through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for OPT authorization. It can take up to 90 days to process your OPT Application and issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card), so we encourage students to plan ahead and apply early. If you are a major in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) you can work for more than a year. Please check with CIE to find out if your major qualifies for the STEM extension. It is a 17-month extension which may be used once during your entire program of study at all levels. Students who qualify can apply up to 120 days before the end date of their current OPT. CIE offers OPT workshops each fall and spring semester. Please check out our OPT workshop schedule for further information. If these times do not match your schedule, you may set up an appointment with a CIE advisor to learn more about OPT.

Employment of Dependents

  • F-2 dependents may not be employed under any circumstances.
  • J-2 dependents may apply to the DHS for employment authorization. They must verify that the employment is only to pay for the their expenses or the expenses of their children, not for the J-1.

Social Security

A Social Security Number (SSN) is an identification number required for working in the U.S. If you plan to work, you will need to obtain a SSN. It is recommended that you wait 2-3 weeks after entering the U.S. to apply for the SSN. Contributions for Social Security and Medi-Cal should not be withheld from wages. Be sure to inform your employer before beginning employment.

Documents needed to apply for a SSN: Your passport, I-94, I-20 or DS-2019, Birth Certificate, and EAD if applicable. You should also take proof of an on campus job offer if you have one (usually in letter form).

Bank Account

It is not necessary to have a SSN to open a bank account. However, you should obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The form to obtain an ITIN number can be obtained from the bank or the IRS website at www.irs.gov

Illinois Driver's License

International Students who are employed: To obtain a Illinois Driver's License, please contact the CIE to assist with necessary documentation.

International Students who are not employed: See CIE for assistance to obtain a Driver's License. 


All F-1 and J-1 students must file federal tax forms every year they are in the U.S. even if they do not earn any money in the U.S. The deadlines to file the forms are April 15, if you have earned money in the U.S. (including scholarships and assistantships), and June 15, if you have not earned money in the U.S.

Students earning money while in the U.S. may have to pay federal and state income taxes. The completion of a W-4 form at the time of hire determines the amount of tax to be withheld from each paycheck. Students often mistakenly claim "exempt" on this form only to find they must pay a large sum of tax on April 15. Students should only claim "exempt" if they are positive it will not negatively affect their tax liability.

Federal tax information can be obtained from the IRS website at www.irs.gov. The following federal tax publications are of special interest to international students: Publication 519: US Tax Guide for Aliens; Publication 520: Scholarships and Fellowships; Publication 901: US Tax Treaties. They can be downloaded from the website www.irs.gov

There are several tax assistance businesses that can prepare your taxes for you and help you apply for a refund if you are eligible. Check the yellow pages in the phone book, but make sure the one you use knows about non-immigrant tax laws. One fee-based business is Tax Back International. Check out the website to get a free refund quote! www.taxback.com/fellow

Let the Center for Academic and Professional Performance Help

The Center for Academic and Professional Performance services are designed to prepare you for professional success by assisting you in preparing you for graduate school and the world of work. We help you build lifelong career skills that will serve you well in each phase of your career development. Let the Career Center help you develop and achieve your career goals.

International students seeking employment in the U.S. or in any other countries have unique and different challenges. Millikin University's Center for Academic and Professional Performance will provide assistance and advice regarding the job-search process.

According to the American Council on Education, some of the top reasons students note for going to college include:

  1. To get a better job
  2. To be able to make more money
  3. To prepare for graduate or professional school

We hope that you will consider Millikin University, where we prepare our students for professional success. In fact, last year 99% of our graduates were employed six months after graduation or chose to continue their education.