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International Students Working On-Campus

Students who are not citizens of the United States are eligible to work on-campus a maximum of 20 hours per week during periods of enrollment and a maximum of 40 hours per week during periods of non-enrollment such as spring break and summer vacations. Students employed by more than one department should note that total hours per week is the total amount of hours worked at all jobs.

Note: summer break officially begins the day after exams end in May.

Proper Documentation

In order for an international student to be employed on-campus, they must possess the following documentation before they begin working.

  • Social security number issued by the Social Security Administration*
  • Valid F1 or J1 visa
  • INS Form 1-20
  • Completed IRS form W-4 or 8233

Copies of the above information must be submitted along with the student's contract for employment.

Students have the option of completing either the W-4 or 8233. They are not to complete both. Please remember that College of Charleston employees are not able to provide help with the interpretation or completion of these documents. Please see the publications and web sites mentioned in each section for guidance.

*The Office of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration (SSA) has released information regarding the issuance of Social Security cards for international students. Due to the events of 9/11, the processing period for applications has been delayed, thus leaving students without the opportunity to begin working as they arrive on-campus. They have since updated their policy and now allow students the opportunity to work as their application is being processed.

The student MUST have applied for a card as this update does not allow them to work without having the proper documentation already filed with the SSA.

Employers are responsible for obtaining and keeping the following information for student's in this situation: the worker's full name, address, date of birth, place of birth, father's full name, mother's full maiden name, gender and the date s/he applied for a Social Security number. Once a number and card has been issued, the student is to present this to their employer as well as send a copy to Student Employment Programs in the Career Center.

Completing IRS Form 8233

Please consult the instructions for form 8233 first to see whether or not this document applies to you. Information may be found in Publication 901, U.S. Tax Treaties, located in the reception areas of the International Education and Programs office, the Career Center, or through the IRS web site at

This form may be picked up through your employer, the Career Center or International Education and Programs or by downloading it through the IRS site listed above. Please download the important instructions as well as the form.

Completing IRS Form W-4

When completing IRS Form W-4 to provide information with respect to withholding on wages to be paid on or after January 1, 2006, nonresident alien employees are required to:

  • Not claim exemption from withholding;
  • Request withholding as a single person, regardless of actual marital status;
  • Claim only one allowance unless a resident of Canada, Mexico, or South Korea;
  • Write “Nonresident Alien” or “NRA” above the dotted line on line 6.

Nonresident alien employees will no longer be required to request an additional withholding amount on wages paid on or after January 1, 2006.

Information concerning this change may be found in I.R.S. Bulletin 2005-46 (2005-46 IRB). Other important tax information may be found at

Completing INS Form I-9

Each student employee is required to complete a I-9 form. Copies of official documentation are required in order for the form to be considered valid and complete. A list of valid documentation may be found on the back of the I-9.

All international students must provide a copy of their visa and social security card. International passports are NOT acceptable forms of documentation.


All internationals are issued a visa from their home country. The INS allows two types of visa holders to gain on-campus, part-time employment - F1 or J1. While most students have one of these, some do not. No exceptions or variations will be made.

All student visas expire. When submitting a copy of their visa, please make sure that all information is valid. Students may also submit form I-20 to complement their visa information.

Filing Tax Returns

All international students should complete their tax returns for the indicated year. Please note that Federal regulations deem it illegal for employees of the College of Charleston to provide tax advice and/or assistance while serving in the capacity of a College of Charleston employee.

Students filing their taxes may retrieve tax forms at any county library, including the main branch located on Calhoun Street.

The following resources may help with questions pertaining to filing:

  • VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program) - This is free services provides trained volunteers who can help with simple tax questions and forms. Please contact the local IRS agency at 556-0207 for site locations.
  • U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens (Publication 519) - This publication is a very useful reference and may be read and/or printed off from the IRS web site located at This publication is 55 pages long, so please take this into consideration when printing.

Helpful Forms and Publications

The following forms and publications are useful resources for international student employees. When accessing information from the IRS web site, enter the form/publication name and number in the "Search" box at the top right of the page and click "Go".

  • IRS Publication 515 (2010): Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens
  • IRS Publication 519 (2009): U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens
  • IRS Publication 901: U.S. Tax Treaties
  • IRS Form 8233 (with instructions)
  • IRS Form W-4
  • INS Form I-9