Hiring International Students

Hiring International Students

International students at TC are mostly on the F-1 or J-1 visa status. They are subject to USCIS government regulations which restrict the types of employment they can accept and number of hours per week they can work.

We hope the following guidelines will be useful to you when you are considering hiring an international student in F-1 or J-1 status.  Please feel free to contact the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) if you have any questions at tcintl@tc.columbia.eduor 212-678-3939.

Note: The following information applies to TC F-1 and J-1 international students.  If you would like to hire a TC student that is in another visa status such as H-1, L-2, G-4, A-2, etc., please consult the Human Resources for employment verification.  

To sponsor a foreign faculty or to pay honorarium, please see TC Hiring and Paying Foreign Nationals policy.

International Students Employment Eligibility 

International students are eligible for GA, RA, TA, fellowships and/or interim positions. International Students are not eligible for Work-Study or Full-time appointments when school is in session. They are only eligible to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters.  If the student has more than one on-campus job, the combined hours cannot exceed 20 hours per week.  During summer and other vacation periods, students are eligible for full-time on-campus employment.  

On-campus Employment Authorization

On Campus Employment at TC: TC International students offered on campus employment at TC must follow the guidance of TC Human Resources to meet hiring process. If they need to apply for a social security number (SSN), the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) can assist the student further in the process. More information on this process can be found on the OISS website here

On Campus Employment at CU: TC international students offered on campus employment at a CU campus must obtain an employment authorization letter from the OISS prior to the start date of the employment. Employment authorization is granted based on the individual student’s eligibility. 

General information regarding the TC/CU on campus employment eligibility requirements and authorization process can be found on the OISS website here

Note for J-1 Exchange Visitor Students: J-1 exchange visitor students are required to obtain on campus employment authorization from the OISS prior to starting their position. Information on J-1 employment can be found on the OISS website here

Student may be authorized to work on campus from their first or second term up till the final term they are completing their degree.

Students who are in their last term of studies may only be authorized to work till the term ends. For example, if a student will complete degree in May, the student may only work till May. Student may still be paid in June for work performance in May. The last date of any on-campus employment must end by Spring term college term end date. 

Student with additional employment authorization from USCIS or OISS may be eligible to continue their on-campus employment under the Optional Practical Training (F1) or Academic Training (J1). 

Social Security Number for International students

If the student does not have a SSN#, OISS will assist the student to apply for a SSN upon approving the on-campus employment.  The student will need a letter from the hiring department to bring to the SSA office. For an example of the letter, please click on this: Sample Department letter for On-campus Employment


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