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Employment regulations (both on-campus and off-campus) vary according to an international student’s immigration status. The majority of UNC-Chapel Hill international students are in F-1 or J-1 student status. Students who are in a status other than F-1 or J-1 should consult with an immigration attorney regarding their ability to work in the U.S.

An international student who engages in any unauthorized employment (either by working more hours than permitted on-campus or working off-campus without requisite authorization) is considered to have fallen out of lawful status. Being out of status has negative consequences and renders the student immediately ineligible for any immigration benefits.

On-Campus Employment

  • Students enrolled full-time as defined in the enrollment section, may work on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus up to a maximum of 20 hours per week during the academic year. Students may work full-time on campus during the summer or  vacation periods if they were in status the previous semester and intend to register as full-time students the following semester. The 20-hour  maximum per week is the total number of hours permitted regardless of the number of positions the student may hold. The student is limited to working 20 hours each week; that is,  the 20-hour maximum per week cannot be an average of 20 hours per week per pay period.
  • Students must bring a letter of employment to ISSS in order to get paid. The letter must contain a start date, position title, job description, employing department and should be on letterhead and signed by the department.
  • J-1 Students must receive written authorization from ISSS for any on-campus employment prior to beginning work.

Off-Campus Employment

Students in F-1 or J-1 immigration status are not permitted to work off-campus without prior authorization from ISSS or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Find more information about off-campus employment authorization in the Student Employment section of our website.