Students in J-1 status may accept employment under certain conditions. Please work with an international student adviser to ensure you have proper work authorization. Working without authorization is a deportable offense.
The Wilberforce Pamphlet on the Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers is an informational pamphlet provided by the U.S. Department of State that describes your rights while working in the United States. It is available in multiple languages and can be accessed at travel.state.gov.
Social Security Number:
If you desire to work, either on-campus or off-campus, you will need to apply for a social security number. More information about how to apply for a Social Security Number can be found in this document provided by the Social Security Administration.
During your first academic year, you are only permitted to work on-campus. On-campus employment is work performed on the premises of Penn State University (not a vendor renting space from Penn State such as Panda Express.)
- You are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week
- You cannot work earlier than 30 days before classes begin
- You can work more than 20 hours per week during fall break, winter break, and spring break.
- You must maintain a full course load
- If you are enrolled in spring semester and intend to enroll in fall semester, you can work full time on campus in the summer
- You cannot work beyond the expiration date on your I-20 document
If you find yourself having unforeseen economic hardship, see an international student adviser as these employment cases require permission from USCIS and recommendation by DISSA. Off-campus work authorization is not permitted in the first year.
After your first academic year, J-1 students may engage in two types of off-campus employment:
- Serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic need
- Academic training
DISSA provides several workshops about academic training during each semester. Check the Global Programs website for more information about upcoming workshops.
REMEMBER: Any off-campus employment must be related to your area of study and must be authorized by DISSA prior to starting any work.