On-Campus Work (F and J Students)

On-campus employment is work done for and paid by Columbia University. This also includes work for a commercial firm on the campus if it provides direct services to all Columbia students.

On-Campus Work Overview Graphic
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F-1 and J-1 On-Campus Work Overview

Your status as F-1 or J-1 allows you to work on campus for a certain number of hours per week. You don't need special permission* and the time you work is not deducted from the amount of time you are allowed for other types of work, such as F-1 Optional Practical Training or J-1 Academic Training.

      * J-1 students must confirm their on-campus employment with the ISSO.

You are allowed to be paid for work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year when classes are in session, and unlimited hours during any recess periods, such as winter break or summer vacation.

This is because they are subsidized by Federal Financial Aid for domestic students.

There is no one central place where all on-campus jobs are listed. Some places to look are:

On-Campus employment
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What to Do After You Find an On-Campus Job

On-Campus Work Timeline
Step 1

Apply for a Social Security Number (if you don't have one)

Read about an SSN application here.

Take the card to your hiring department or office for them to resubmit paperwork with the number to Human Resources.

We advise you not to carry the Social Security Card with you, but to memorize the number or make a note of it elsewhere and put the card in a safe place with your other important documents. We all need to be careful to avoid identity theft.

Step 2

Complete the I-9 Employment Verification Authorization Form

Everyone employed in the U.S. must complete the I-9 Employment Verification Authorization Form within the first 3 days of employment. Read this webpage from Human Resources to learn more.

Most students on the main campus go to 205 Kent Hall to complete an I-9 but there are other I-9 Centers at both campuses.

Bring your:

Step 3

J-1 Students Only: Authorization Required for Your Employment 

J-1 regulations require authorization of your on-campus employment. If your DS-2019 was issued by Columbia University, make this request to the ISSO /ISSO-CUMC by clicking on the appropriate link below.  If you have a DS-2019 issued by a different J-1 sponsor, such as Fulbright, you need to contact them instead.

Not sure of your campus? Check our campus school list.
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Other paperwork you may need for employment

The W-4 is a federal tax withholding form that you must complete, even if you qualify for any tax exemption based on a tax treaty with the U.S.

If you are a nonresident alien (in the U.S. for fewer than 5 years in F/J status), you should follow page 2 of these special instructions by the IRS.

Your office or department where you’ll work will also give you this form for New York State and New York City tax withholding.

The U.S. has tax treaties or agreements with many countries and territories.

  • See if your country is among these and whether you are eligible to claim a tax treaty benefit here.
  • Your hiring department will have you complete Federal Form 8233 to file with the Human Resources office to claim a tax treaty, if applicable.
  • Questions regarding Tax Treaty eligibility can be directed to Carlos Lira-Coppoin Human Resources