There are several opportunities for employment both on and off-campus for international students. Employment not only puts money in your pocket but also allows you to earn a social security card.
All international students, regardless of whether or not they have a U.S. source of income, must file federal income tax forms. In Massachusetts, state income tax forms also must be filed if money is earned in the U.S. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code contains special provisions, which apply to non-immigrants in F and J statuses. Factors affecting tax obligation include the following:
April 15 is the deadline each year for filing tax forms on income earned during the preceding calendar year. Each year toward the end of January, every U.S. employer prepares a "W-2 Form" for each employee showing the amount earned during the preceding tax year and the amount of taxes, federal and state, withheld. This W-2 Form is used in preparing income tax forms, and if the amount withheld exceeds the amount of tax obligation, a tax return must be filed in order to receive the refund.
You must have a Social Security Number to file income tax returns. If you, your spouse, or your children are ineligible for a Social Security Number, you must apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. This may be obtained from the IRS at the Social Security Administration offices. You will first need to obtain the form W-7 from the IRS website.
After leaving the U.S., you can obtain tax forms from the nearest U.S. consulate or from the IRS website for use in filing taxes for the preceding calendar year. These forms are available in January of the following year. It is important to keep records of financial transactions to use in completing income tax forms. It is also important to keep a copy of all income tax forms submitted, as well as supporting documentation.
International students have the opportunity to work in the United States after completing their degree. This opportunity is called Optional Practical Training (OPT) which enables F-1 students to temporarily work for up to a period of 12 months in an area/field directly related to their attained degree.
There are different types of OPT i.e., Pre-completion and Post-completion. For more information, please visit the USCIS Website. Below are some guidelines to follow as you start the application process for OPT:
Schedule an appointment with Global Connections to review the OPT application process. We will review with you the filing options (online or paper), fees, etc.
Gather all the required documents in the right order to file for OPT/STEM. The Center for Global Connections will provide you with a complete list, but these are some of the requirements:
Schedule a follow-up appointment with Global Connections and bring all of your application materials with you. At this appointment, your new OPT I-20 will be created and given to you for you to sign. Note: Your OPT application must be received within 30 days of issuance of the new I-20. Your entire application will be rejected if the date of the I-20 OPT approval is more than 30 days from the date the application is submitted.
Submit your application online via the USCIS website or via mail through USPS, FedEx, UPS, or DHL. Note: If submitting by mail, all application materials must be single-sided and unstapled when you send them to USCIS. You may use a paper clip or binder clip to secure your application. All copies can be made in black and white, or in color, so long as the information appears clearly.
Wait for approval. When you are approved, remember that you still need to inform Regis of your employment details. Once you have a job offer in hand, please fill out the Regis OPT Report Form which will be submitted to the Center for Global Connections.