Employment & Taxes

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Teachers College, Columbia University
Printer-friendly Version
Teachers College, Columbia University Logo
Title

International Services

The Office of

Employment & Taxes

Introduction

International students are subject to U.S. immigration and labor laws that determine when employment in the U.S. is allowed. Note: in all cases, international students must obtain prior written authorization before accepting any employment. Do not accept employment without such authorization.

"Employment" is any type of work performed or services that is offered in exchange for compensation. Compensation typically takes the form of salary and/or stipends, but may include the equivalent in tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, or for any other benefit. International students should be aware of the restrictions on employment, since even inadvertent failure to comply with applicable employment regulations is considered a serious violation of immigration regulations.


Frequently Asked Questions

May I work while I am in the U.S.?

Your eligibility to accept employment will depend on type of immigration status you hold, whether or not you are in good academic standing, and TC's institutional and academic policies. Regulations and procedures are explained in detail throughout this web site. It is essential to read through the information in this site carefully, and contact the Office of International Services with your questions.

In general, international students in F-1 or J-1 student status have limited employment on-campus and off-campus employment benefits. Additionally, students may have limited eligibility to remain in the U.S. after completing studies to pursue post-completion practical or academic training (professional training or employment related to the student's field of study).

Note that any employment that does not fall within one of the authorizable categories is not permitted. Not every employment offer can be authorized. 

I need to work in order to finance my studies. Will I be able to do this? 

International students on student visas are required under immigration regulations to have adequate financial resources before entering the U.S. to start full-time studies.  Moreover, employment benefits - including on-campus employment - are not guaranteed and are usually insufficient to meet required costs for tuition and fees. As a result, students should not assume that they can support their studies through employment.  This is especially true in New York, where the cost of studying and living is extremely high. Additionally, on-campus work permission is not usually granted to international students if it is their first semester of study in U.S. higher education.

May my dependents work in the U.S.?

Dependents (husbands, wives, children) in F-2 status are not allowed to work under any circumstances. Spouses holding J-2 visas may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for permission to work, but only for their own professional development or for their own support (or that of their children). A J-2 dependent cannot apply to work to support the J-1 student. More information about J-2 employment authorization eligibility and application procedures may be obtained from the Office of International Services.

I am a TC student, but on I am not in F or J status. May I work at TC?

International students who are not in F-1 or J-1 status, or who do not have specific authorization to work at Teachers College, should contact the Office of International Services directly to determine their eligibility to work at TC.

I am applying for a 'green card' and have an employment authorization card. Does the information in this web site pertain to me?

No. However, please contact the Office of International Services with precise information about your immigration situation for a final determination.