Employment and Training

F-1 students are allowed to work on campus up to 20 hours a week while school is in session and 40 hours a week during traditional summer breaks after a nine month academic year.  Students are paid a minimum wage of $8.00 while they work on campus.  International students may not include their current U.S. employment as part of their F-1 visa's proof of financial solvency.  Note:  On-campus employment does not require the DSO’s approval, but will require a social security number.

Social Security Number:  In order to legally work on campus you must obtain a social security number.  Social security cards are issued to international students for work purposes only.  You do NOT need a SSN to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Rent an apartment
  • Open a ulitility account (e.g. electricity, gas)
  • Set up a cell phone account
  • Obtain a California Driver's License

To apply for a SSN, you must appear in person at the Social Security Office located in Walnut Creek.  You will need to complete an application form (available in the C.I.P) and supply the following original supporting documents:

  • Vaild passport
  • Valid I-94 card
  • All original I-20's
  • Verification of your employment authorization-Letter from SMC department / supervisor detailing the coniditions of your employment (dates, position, hours per week, supervisor's contact, etc.)
  • Letter from the Center for International Programs

Tips for completing the Social Security Card application:

#2  Mailing Address:  You must use your residential address, you may not use someone else's.

#3  Citizenship:  Check "Legal Alien Allowed to Work"

#8  A.  Mother's Maiden Name:  Put the last name your mother had before marriage.

      B.  Mother's SSN:  Only put if your mother has ever lived in the U.S. and received a SSN.

#9  B.  Father's SSN:  Only put if your father has ever lived in the U.S. and received a SSN.

Social Security Office Address:

1111 Civic Drive, Suite 180

Walnut Creek, CA 94595

Doing paid internships before graduation (Curricular Practical Training): Curricular Practical Training (CPT) refers to a paid or non-paid internship that a student does as part of his/her coursework; it is work that one does and receives academic credit.  Some academic majors, such as Business Administration, require an internship (or practical work experience) for all students during the four-year degree program.   The internship or practicum must be required by a course.  There is no restriction on compensation during CPT and compensation is not a consideration when determining whether an opportunity qualifies as CPT; however, the maximum number of hours of work time under CPT authorization cannot exceed 20 hours per week.   Approval must be obtained from the PDSO in the Center for International Programs.  An internship offer letter, proof that the internship is a required element of a course through a letter from the course professor, an interview with the PDSO, and approval by the PDSO are required before the student begins the internship can start.   

Traditionally, CPT falls into one of three categories:

1.)  Work approved by a sponsoring office such as internships, or Co-op education.

2.)  Work that fulfills the required internship component of a degree.

3.)  Work that is not a required part of a program but is deemed to be an integral part of an established curriculum, and the student can receive academic credit for the work.

Working in the U.S. after graduation (Optional Practical Training): After completing the requirements for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, international students are eligible for one year (12 months) of O.P.T. in addition to any Curricular Practical Training they may have received.  Work must be directly related to the students’ major field of study.  Students can apply for OPT up to 120 days prior to their last day of classes and are given three months from the date they are approved for OPT to find a job.  Students should see their DSO to help complete their application.  The DSO is here to advise students in the process, but it is the students' responsibility to submit the application and maintain their O.P.T. status.  Note: Permission to work is granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) and students cannot work until permission is granted.