Generally speaking, working is not expected of students while they are attending a college or university in the United States. But, knowing that most students do need to supplement their income somewhat, working on campus is permitted to  non-citizens on student visas without needing special permission from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS, formerly U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)).

On campus jobs are available in a variety of academic and support service offices. These jobs are usually advertised on REDConnect,, the university's online job database for students. Other jobs that are considered "on-campus" for DHS purposes are available through our on-campus food service provider, a private contractor known as Chartwells Dining Services.      

Full time international students can work on campus for 20 hours per week during the regular semester and 37.5 hours per week during spring, summer and fall breaks. International students on student visas are not authorized to work off campus unless authorized through the Office of International Education & Services OR the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services.

Working Off Campus

A non-citizen almost always must have some kind of permission or authorization in order to work in the United States. Information for F-1 and J-1 student visa holders can be found by clicking on links below:

F-1 Student Visa Holders
J-1 Student Visa Holders

Students that begin work prior to receiving written authorization are in violation of their student visa status.

In Summary

If you have read all of the above, you will be well-informed enough to prevent you from believing various myths about working off-campus in the U.S. while on a student visa. The consulate that issued your visa was convinced by your documentation that you have the financial resources to be able to complete your educational program in the U.S. If the documents you submitted were not accurate, then U.S. law can provide serious penalties for committing fraud.

Sometimes ill-informed or ill-intentioned advisors overseas will tell prospective students not to worry about money because they will be able to work off campus after nine months. As you can see from the above, this is only true under specific circumstances. And it is never possible without the authorization of a DSO and/or the U.S.C.I.S. (DHS) In other words, a foreign citizen student should never begin working off-campus without consulting with a DSO in the International Education and Services Office.

There are special ways that international student may work in the U.S. They are generally provided as benefits of maintaining lawful status. They are excellent ways to understand the world of work as it relates to your chosen profession, and we encourage international students to seek these opportunities where available. We stand ready to help students file the appropriate applications, and we are happy to be of service in supporting international student success at Southeast Missouri State University.  Please contact our office if you have further questions.