Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

How to Hire an F-1 International Student

This information is designed for the prospective employer to clarify the legal obligations of both the employer and the international student. Hiring an international student is easier than you may expect.

The Office for International Student Services (OISS) at Portland Community College is available to assist you in this process. Should you have questions about the immigration regulations authorizing employment, the OISS staff will be glad to answer them.

Who is an F-1 international student?

International students enter the United States using an F-1 student visa. The majority of the students in our program are classified as F-1 students. Although the primary purpose of an F-1 student’s status is to study in the United States, this classification allows for off-campus employment. Verify if Student is International in Banner [pdf]

More information on an international student’s eligibility for employment and limitations on work is available on our Student Resources: Employment page.

How can an F-1 international student work on campus?

F-1 students can work on campus without any special permission from immigration as long as:

  • the work does not exceed 20 hours per week during the academic year
  • the student has maintained their F-1 immigration status

Since on-campus work does not require any special work authorization, students do not need an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), nor an authorization from an international student advisor. Students can be paid directly by the employer.

How do I process hiring paperwork for an F-1 international student?

Once offered a position, a student will need to obtain a Social Security number to work on campus. The employer can help the student get this process started, and will need to fill out a portion of the student’s Social Security Verification letter. Please visit Applying for SSN for more information.

To complete an international student’s I-9, the student has to present the following documents:

Please refer to this sample: How to Complete an International Student’s I-9 Form [pdf]

When reviewing a student’s SEVIS form I-20, please check for the following:

    • Verify student’s identity
    • Form Issue Reason: must say “Continued Attendance,” not “Initial”
    • School Information: must list Portland Community College
    • Program of Study: current/future Program End Date
      • This date will become the expiration date of the student’s I-9 and work authorization. International students may renew their I-20, if their anticipated graduation date changes, and then the I-9 will need to be updated. (see update section below)
    • School Attestation: valid signatures (not unsigned)

The Office of International Student Services (OISS) at Portland Community College is available to assist you in this process. Should you have questions about the immigration regulations authorizing employment, the OISS staff will be glad to answer them.

Are taxes withheld from F-1 international student employees?

Yes, international students do have taxes withheld from income earned in the United States, with some exceptions. F-1 students who have been in the U.S. less than five calendar years, are nonresident aliens for tax purposes. Most PCC international students will be classified as such.

  • When filling out the Federal W-4, international students should refer to the instructions in Notice 1392.
  • When filling out the Oregon W-4, international students should refer to the instructions on the form for nonresident aliens.

A nonresident student is exempt from FICA/FUTA (social security, medicare, unemployment) withholding, if enrolled in 6 or more credit courses each term they work.

  • PCC’s Payroll department will need to receive a copy of the international student’s I-20 and/or visa, along with the W-4, in order to process these exemptions.

Students can refer to Internal Revenue Service publications 515 and 519 for further information.

Approximately 45 countries have tax treaties with the United States. Students from a tax treaty country may have part of their income exempt from federal taxation. Students who claim this exemption, they must be able to prove eligibility under the tax treaty. Summaries of these treaties can be found in IRS Publication 901. (If a student wishes to claim a tax treaty exemption, they must file IRS Form 8233 [pdf] upon completing the I-9, along with a requisite statement as outlined in Appendix A of IRS Publication 519.)

How do I update an I-9 for an F-1 international student employee?

The expiration date of a student’s I-9 can be found in Banner: (PEAEMPL screen, United States Regulatory tab, I-9 > expiration date). Once the expiration date is within 90 days, automated emails are sent by HRIS to the student and employer.

The student may be able to renew their I-20 with the OISS. If a new I-20 is issued to the student with a later program end date, the student can show the new I-20 to their employer. The employer can then process an I-9 update, referencing the new I-20. The employer should check for the same criteria on the new I-20 as when filling out an original I-9 (see hiring paperwork section above).

  • For I-9 updates, the student does not need to fill out or sign the updated I-9. The employer can fill out a new I-9 form as follows:
    • Page 1: write student G# on top of page 1. Include note: “update p.2.” Leave rest of p.1 blank.
    • Page 2, section 2, top line: fill out employee info
    • Page 2, Section 3, C: fill out with new I-20 info
    • Page 2, bottom signature line: sign, date, print name
  • The final step is to send the I-9 update to PCC HRIS.

How can an F-1 international student work off campus?

The regulations allow for practical training for F-1 students. Practical training allows for paid employment in the student’s field of study at an off-campus location. There are two types of practical training: Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Please see the links below for further information:

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

This page is maintained by the OISS Senior Office Assistant.