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Updated August 3, 2023

Tufts departments and hiring units are encouraged to hire international students to eligible positions and job opportunities at Tufts. This guide is to provide a basic overview to certain immigration considerations in hiring international students.

Hiring and Payroll Procedures

All hiring procedures involving student workers, including international students, are managed through Tufts Support Services. However, the International Center provides guidance on immigration-related factors involved in the hiring process.

International Students Defined

For the purposes of this section, 'international students' refer to students at Tufts or at another US-based institution of higher education who have a non-immigrant student visa status. They include:

  • currently-enrolled students working toward their educational objectives
  • students who have recently completed, and who are approved for post-completion student visa work benefits, such as Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT)

Depending on the student's visa sponsor (Tufts or another college / university) as well as the student's academic status (currently-enrolled versus recently graduated), work benefit options and limitations may vary. Please read through the bottom section for more details. If you have any questions, please contact the International Center.

Immigration Compliance Responsibility

A major consideration for international students is immigration compliance responsibility. Under student visa regulations, the individual student has the primary responsibility for understanding and complying with any restrictions governing their eligibility to work, including restrictions on allowed employers, employment types, and hourly limitations. Students who fail to comply with appropriate employment regulations, even inadvertently and unintentionally, may be deemed to have engaged in unauthorized employment, leading to a loss of valid immigration status. Departments are responsible for following any applicable University hiring policies and procedures and for supporting international student compliance with immigration restrictions.

Currently Enrolled Tufts International Students Offered Employment at Tufts

International students currently attending Tufts are permitted to work for any campus unit or department on a part-time basis (up to 20 hours / week) while school is in session, and full-time (over 20 hours / week) during school breaks and vacations. The hourly limitations are inclusive of all on-campus jobs. Currently enrolled students in good standing do not require special work authorization to accept on-campus employment, but may need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) if they do not already have one. A SSN is not needed to be offered, or to start, employment; however, students who need to apply for a SSN will need to have an Evidence of Employment form completed and signed by their hiring manager, and directed to the International Center for further instructions on how to apply for a SSN.

Recently Completed International Students Offered Employment at Tufts

Tufts students who have completed their programs are no longer eligible for on-campus employment without specific work authorization. The most common form of authorization is post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), which is a benefit that allows F-1 student visa holders to accept employment related to their major field of study. "General" employment not related to their major field of study is not permitted. OPT is valid for up to one year; however, students in certain STEM fields may be able to extend their authorization up to three years. Students cannot accept any work until they receive an Employment Authorization (EAD) work permit card from USCIS, indicating that their OPT is approved, and the start date of their OPT period has been reached.

International Students from Other Institutions Offered Employment at Tufts

Any international student under the student visa sponsorship of another higher education institution is eligible to work at Tufts only if they have received valid US work authorization through their home institution. They would then present this work authorization when completing their I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form with TSS. Most student visa-based work benefits are subject to certain restrictions such as hourly limitations and limitations on duration. Departments seeking to hire students who principally attend other institutions should refer the student back to their home institution's international office, or to the International Center for additional guidance and direction. Such students may not commence working at Tufts until they are able to present valid US work authorization.

Immigration Sponsorship beyond Student Visa Benefits

Tufts departments interested in retaining an employee beyond the expiration of any student visa-based work benefit should contact the International Center for a review of work visa options available through Tufts, or as described in this section of our web site. Ideally, this discussion should take place well in advance of the termination of student visa benefits, as work visa sponsorship procedures may take 6 months or longer to complete.

Student Employment Types