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The following is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Internship providers with questions regarding their obligations under US immigration and/or labor law should consult appropriate legal experts.

Thank you for considering a Tufts international student for an internship opportunity with your company or organization. The Tufts International Center supports international students at Tufts with information and services concerning US immigration requirements for working and interning in the US. The good news is that if you are an internship provider considering a Tufts international student for an internship opportunity, don't panic! The process for onboarding an international student intern is easy, because it is up to the students themselves to work directly with the International Center to secure any authorization, if needed. Internship providers have little or no direct responsibility to manage the process. Read more for further details:

  • International Students, Defined. International students refer broadly to any non-US citizen or non-US permanent resident. This broad category can include individuals who are living and studying in the US on the basis of one of many different types of US visas and categories. However, for the purposes of this guide, international students refer to students who have come to the US using the F-1 student visa, which is the most common type of visa used to come to the US for study and research.
  • Paid versus unpaid internships. Paid internships in all cases require US work authorization. International students can work with their schools to get the required authorization, which they need before starting or by the time they start their internships. The internship provider may be asked to provide a letter describing the internship (internship work site, internship dates, compensation, and a general description of internship duties), but do not need to do anything further regarding work authorization. Unpaid internships do not necessarily require US work authorization, but international students may still want to get work authorization anyway to provide legal protection. Some options for work authorization are described below.
  • US Department of Labor requirements. Internship providers should be aware of US Department of Labor guidance that differentiates bona fide unpaid internship experiences, which can be unpaid, from employment, which must be paid and requires US work authorization. If the internship constitutes 'employment' under Department of Labor guidelines, then the student should work with Tufts to get work authorization.
  • Internships outside of the US. Is the internship taking place outside of the US? International students don't need to follow any US immigration requirements if they will be outside of the US when doing the internship. However, there may be local country regulations and restrictions - consult with a local business specialist for more information.
  • Social Security Numbers. If an internship is paid, the student should work with the International Center get to get work authorization as well as a Social Security Number (SSN) if they don't have a number already. Internship providers should be aware that a SSN by itself is not valid US work authorization. However, if a student is authorized to do a paid internship, they can qualify for and should apply for a SSN. Tufts will assist the student with this process.

Please feel free to contact the Tufts International Center if there are any questions about hiring or onboarding international students for internship experiences with your company or organization!

Types of US Work Authorization for F-1 International Students