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Study in the U.S.


Working in the U.S.

A part-time job or internship in the United States can be a great addition to your academic program. This experience can help you improve your language ability and professional vocabulary, develop skills, and build your resume.

Although ISEP does not provide job placement services, ISEP will grant you permission so you can legally work in the United States.

Working should not be necessary to support yourself during your ISEP program. It is expected that you will have sufficient financial means to participate in an ISEP exchange without the need to work. Your host institution will cover tuition, housing and meals and other required fees. Students must have sufficient funds to pay for incidental expenses, such as books, laundry, entertainment, local transportation, health insurance deductibles, etc.

Any type of work undertaken during your stay in the United States, including unpaid work and internships for credit, must be approved by ISEP before you begin employment. There are two types of eligible work, please see the links below for more information on each program:

On-Campus Employment during the Semester >>

Academic Training during or after Your Program >>

For even more information about employment during your exchange, please watch our webinar!

Labor Rights for Students

International students that choose to work in the United States are protected by the same labor laws that protect U.S. citizens. The State Department has established a hotline for labor exploitation issues for temporary, nonimmigrant workers. If you are on an ISEP J-1 visa and believe you have been exploited and/or that your employer has violated U.S. labor laws, please contact the hotline immediately at 1-888-428-7581. Please see the State Department's Wilberforce program website for more information

Special Conditions for Students Who Work in the U.S.

Social Security Number

If you obtain permission from ISEP to work, you will need to obtain a social security number. Ask your host ISEP coordinator about application details, or check the phone book under "U.S. Government, Health and Human Services" for the number of the nearest social security office. You will need your ISEP employment authorization approval letter to apply for your social security number.


Certain nonresident alien students (including most ISEP J-1 students) are not subject to paying Social Security or FICA taxes. However, income from working in the United States is generally subject to taxation and income tax be deducted by employers for both federal and state purposes. Between January 1 and April 15 of the year following your exchange, you must file U.S. federal and state tax returns for the previous calendar year if you earned income or received other taxable payments (for example, taxable scholarships). In many cases, you may be entitled to a refund of some of the taxes withheld from your paycheck. Most ISEP J-1 students who do earn income during their time in the United States will need to file a non-resident tax form, either the 1040-NR or 1040NR-EZ. Please note that all ISEP participants must file Form 8843 regardless of whether they earned income, as this is a requirement of the J-1 visa.

If you finish your exchange in the middle of the academic year, you will have to file tax returns for the first part of that year if you have worked during that period. Check with the international student advisor at your host institution to be sure you comply with these and other tax-related regulations before departure from the United States.

For more information on tax policy for foreign students in the United States, please see the IRS official website.