Employment and Training

Employment and Training

There are different types of employment and training opportunities available to F-1 students depending upon their program of study, the amount of time they have been in the US as a student, and their personal circumstances. Following is a brief description of each type. Please speak with the Office for International Students for more details, including application timelines.

On-campus employment: F-1 students are permitted to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and for more than 20 hours per week when classes are in recess. There is no waiting period for this benefit.

Off-campus employment: Students must receive approval from US Customs and Immigration Service before beginning off-campus work.

Curricular Practical Training: Also called CPT, is training that is an integral part of the student’s academic curriculum (for example, a required internship). Students must be enrolled in a degree-granting program, and generally are required to have completed a full academic year before starting CPT. Exceptions to the full academic year requirement may be made for students enrolled in a graduate-level program. Students in the Intensive English or Academic English programs are not eligible for CPT. CPT may be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. However, 12 or more months of full-time CPT will affect the student’s eligibility for Optional Practical Training. Students must receive approval from a Designated School Official before beginning CPT.

Optional Practical Training: There are three subtypes of Optional Practical Training or OPT: prior-to-completion OPT, post-completion OPT and STEM OPT. Students are required to obtain positions that are directly related to their major program of study. Students in the Intensive English or Academic English programs are not eligible for OPT.

Students are permitted up to 12 months total of prior-to-completion and post-completion OPT per academic level. Students are limited to 20 hours per week of prior-to-completion OPT while school is in session, but can request full-time training during school breaks. Post-completion OPT is expected to be full time. A student may apply for OPT prior to receiving an offer of employment, but is limited to 90 days total of unemployment.

Students with qualifying Science, Technology, Engineering or Math degrees are eligible for an additional 24 months of training after completing 12 months of standard OPT. Students are required to have an employer prior to applying for STEM OPT, and are subject to more frequent reporting requirements. Students engaged in STEM OPT are allowed up to 150 days total of unemployment.

The Social Security number is a string of nine digits that the US government uses to record an employee’s wages. A student is eligible to apply for a Social Security card after receiving an offer of employment. The process for applying for a Social Security card follows:

  1. The student asks their supervisor to email the Office for International Students to confirm the student’s job title, start date of employment, and whether the position is full (more than 20 hours per week) or part time (less than 20 hours per week).
  2. The student reports to the Office for International Students to complete the one-page application form for a Social Security number, and the Foreign National Information form (if applicable).
  3. The student brings the completed application form, a letter of support from the Office for International Students, the passport with US visa, and the Form I-20 to the Social Security Administration Office at 128 Lakeside Avenue in Burlington.

Social Security cards are generally received within two weeks of submitting a completed application.

This material is for informational purposes only. Saint Michael’s College policy does not allow faculty or staff to help students complete tax forms. Assistance is available through the Internal Revenue Service, a licensed tax preparer, or an online tax preparation service.

Taxes in the United States

Each year, between January and April, US citizens and lawful permanent residents file tax forms to report income for the previous year. These tax forms are sent to the federal and state governments. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is part of the Department of the Treasury and is responsible for tax-related issues. If you were a student in the United States between January 1 and December 31 of the last calendar year, you may need to file income taxes.

How do I get started?

First determine which category below describes your status between January 1 and December 31 of the last calendar year:

  • I was not a student in the US.
    Action needed: None. You do not need to file tax returns.

  • I was a student, but did not work/receive income or receive a scholarship.
    Action needed: File Form 8843.

  • I was a student and worked/received income in the US or received a scholarship.
    Action needed: File Form 8843, as well as Form 1040NR or 1040NR EZ, and a state tax return.

​ If you do not know your category, contact the Office for International Students.

Where can I get help filing my tax forms?

Both online and in-person assistance is available. If you worked in the US or received a scholarship during the past year, gather the following information:

  • Form W-2: If you worked, your employer will send you this summary of earnings and any taxes you paid.
  • Form 1042-S: If you receive a tax treaty benefit you will receive this form instead of Form W-
  • Statements you received from your bank that show interest you earned on a savings or checking account
  • Whether you received a scholarship, the source of the funding, and the amount received
  • Your passport and Form I-20/DS-2019

Companies such as Glacier Tax Prep and Sprintax offer web-based assistance in completing tax returns. Glacier can be used to complete Form 1040NR and Form 8843. Sprintax offers options for completing Form 1040NR, Form 8843, and state tax returns. Both companies charge fees for these services. Please check their websites for pricing information.

The IRS provides a directory of federal tax return preparers. Search the listings using the zip code for Saint Michael’s College: 05439 to find nearby in-person help. When you make an appointment with a tax preparer, ask how much their services cost.

Both the web-based and the in-person assistance will help you understand your status (resident alien or nonresident alien) for tax purposes, and your tax obligations. To help make this determination, you will need to know if you were in the United States during the past 3 years and if you were a student during that time.

Both types of assistance will also help you figure out which federal tax forms (such as Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040NR and Form 8843) and which state tax forms you need to complete. You will also determine if you are eligible for a tax treaty benefit.

The Office for International Students will hold optional, drop-in Form 8843 workshops to explain this important form. Bring your passport and Form I-94 to the meeting. Workshops are generally scheduled in February and March.

What if I choose to file my taxes myself?

Links to Forms 1040NR-EZ, 1040-NR and 8843 are below. Make copies of your completed forms and supporting documents before mailing this information to the government. If you mail your tax forms using the US Postal Service, send your envelope using Certified Mail and a Return Receipt. These services will prove when you mailed your forms and who received your mailing. There are fees for these services.

What is the deadline for filing my taxes?

The deadline for filing tax forms is usually April 15. That date may be different if you received a scholarship. A tax preparer can help you with this.

Important Information for Fulbright students

Fulbright students who have a J visa issued by the Institute of International Education (IIE), should contact their IIE advisor for tax-preparation help.


Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS office in Burlington is available to answer questions. However, they will not prepare your taxes. They are located at:

128 Lakeside Avenue

Innovation Center, 2nd Floor

(802) 859-9308

*Offers multilingual assistance.*

  • Form 8843
  • Form 1040NR-EZ ​
  • Instructions for 1040NR-EZ
  • Form 1040NR ​
  • Instructions for Form 1040NR
  • Form I-94
  • State of Vermont Tax Information
  • Tax Treaty Information
  • Glacier Tax Prep
  • Sprintax