International students can work on-campus up to 50% time (20 hours/week or less) during the academic terms and full-time during the academic break periods including summer quarter. Special authorization is not required to work on-campus as long as you are in valid F-1 student status, pursuing a full course of study. Once you complete your study program you are no longer eligible to be employed on-campus without special authorization ̶ i.e., practical training. On-campus employment is employment engaged in at UCSB such as a teaching or research assistantship, employment in the University Center, library aide, etc. Generally speaking, this means that you will be receiving a paycheck from UCSB. On-campus employment opportunities can be found on Handshake.
Off-campus employment requires some form of written or documented authorization issued by either the USCIS or OISS.
You must be currently in legal status and have been enrolled as an F-1 student in the U.S. for a minimum of one academic year (9 months) to be eligible for any form of off-campus employment (You can engage in on-campus employment without any special authorization before 9 months have elapsed, as long as you are a full-time enrolled student).
Employment, both on and off campus together, is limited to 50% time (20 hours per week or less) while school is in session and can be full-time during the vacation or break periods.
Work Authorization Options for F-1 Students
Click on each link in the boxes below to learn more about each F-1 work authorization option, including eligibility requirements and how to apply.
Social Security Number
If you have never applied for or been issued a Social Security Number (SSN) you will need to do so within a month of starting your position. You are not required to have an SSN when applying or starting a job.
First, you will need to request an On-Campus Employment Request from OISS through the UCSBGlobal platform. When you fill out your request, you'll need your employing supervisor's name and contact information so that they can verify your employment. If you're not sure who this is, make sure to ask the department that hired you.
Once OISS verifies your employment information, as well as your full-time employment, they will approve your request and send you a UCSB Employment Verification Letter. You can include this letter in your Social Security Card Application.
Social Security Card Application for F-1 Students
Social security numbers (SSNs) will only be issued to F-1 students who have a UCSB Employer Verification Letter (explained in the section above). In addition, F-1 students must be registered for classes as full time students (graduates 8 units and undergraduates 12 units) before the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) can endorse the employment verification letter.
If a student is submitting this form during their first quarter at UCSB, then that student should wait at least 10 days after OISS has endorsed the employer verification letter before applying for their number. If students apply before the 10 day waiting period, the Santa Barbara Social Security Office will not be able to verify their registration in the SEVIS immigration database.
The Santa Barbara office will then be required to send the application to their regional office where it will take a minimum of 30 days to issue the number. Students will need the following documents to apply:
- Form I-20 and I-94 (white card or printout from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/)
- Passport (or original birth certificate—if passport exempt)
- One other form of identification (driver’s license, student card, health insurance card, marriage record, etc.)
- Properly endorsed UCSB Employer Verification Letter (see reverse)
Social Security Administration
122 W. Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone: (866) 695-6285
Directions from UCSB/Goleta: If traveling by bus from UCSB, take the 24X bus to the downtown MTD Transit Center. The Social Security Administration is about one block from Transit Center.
Please see the Social Security Administration website for further details about applying: https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/
Your SSN is a sensitive document/number that should only be provided to authorized personnel or agencies. Keep your Social Security card secure and do not carry it with you on a daily basis.