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The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the sponsoring agencies of international students all have rules and procedures that must be followed in the employment of international students. These rules are summarized here to help guide you through the process. As each student's situation is different, you are encouraged to seek assistance from the International Student Services Office (ISS), located on West Campus in Welch Hall.
If you want to work, contact ISS, located on West Campus in Welch Hall. A staff member will evaluate your immigration status and determine your eligibility to work. ISS usually grants on-campus work permission to full-time students with F-1, J-1, and J-2 (students in J-2 status must have applied for and received an Employment Authorization Document card (EAD) to be eligible to be paid.) status. In rare instances students in other visa statuses may be granted on-campus work permission. International students pending permanent residency are also granted permission to work.
International students are required to enroll full-time each academic semester unless it is their final semester. Undergraduate students must register for a minimum of 12 credits per semester and graduate students must register for a minimum of 9 credits to be considered full-time. International students are eligible to work during the summer at UNK provided they are enrolled full-time for the fall semester.
All those employed by UNK must have a valid Social Security number.
Any student employee who does not have a valid Social Security number must obtain one from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in Grand Island, NE. This application (SS-5) may be downloaded from the Social Security Administration's website (www.ssa.gov). Students must present this application with a letter from ISS, which authorizes them to work on-campus and verifies their full-time enrollment in person to a Social Security Administration Office. Students must also present a letter from their employing department indicating that they have secured on-campus employment. International students must also bring their passport, I-94 card, and I-20 or DS-2019 with them. The Social Security Administration has indicated that it generally takes two to three weeks to receive a Social Security card, after the SSA has been able to verify the student's information on the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) system.
In order to qualify for work-study, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you are in the U.S. on an F1 or F2 student visa, a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, or a G series visa (pertaining to international organizations), you cannot complete the FAFSA and are therefore not eligible for work-study. If you are not eligible for work-study, you cannot apply for work-study jobs. If you have an Alien Registration Number, you may be able to complete the FAFSA and then you might be eligible for work-study. Find out how to complete the FAFSA here.
All on-campus student employment jobs are posted at the following website: https://employment.unk.edu. You must log in and complete a student application and then you can apply for any position classified as "Student Worker". Work-study positions are not available to international students because international students do not qualify for Federal Work-Study. If you are a graduate student, you may be able to apply for Graduate Assistant jobs.
Once you have found a job on-campus, you should return to ISS with your immigration documents (passport, I-94 card, and I-20/DS-2019). Staff at the UNK Human Resources office (Chartwells or the Antelope) will have you complete an Employment Eligibility Form (I-9) and will update the electronic Student Payroll system.
You may not work more than twenty hours per week while classes are in session, but may work full-time during vacation periods: winter break, spring break, and summer break. Teaching fellows, research assistants, and residence hall assistants who are paid on a monthly basis are considered to be working twenty hours a week. If you are a monthly paid teaching fellow, a research assistant, or a residence hall assistant, you cannot work in an hourly paid position during the academic year as those positions fulfill the 20 hour per week maximum employment allowed by CIS regulations.
You may work through the date authorized by ISS or until you graduate from UNK, whichever comes first. Once your work authorization date expires, you may not work until you get an extension from ISS.
If you are a monthly paid research assistant or teaching fellow, you will receive your check on the last Friday of the month, provided the department you are working for has submitted the proper paperwork before the monthly payroll deadline.
If you are an hourly paid employee, you should submit a time sheet to your supervisor each week that you work. Your supervisor is responsible for forwarding your time sheets to the departmental payroll coordinator for processing. You are paid every two weeks. Thursday is the day hourly employees are paid. UNK uses Direct Deposit; thus when you are hired, you will sign a form that allows UNK to deposit your earnings electronically into your personal bank account.
While working in the United States, you are subject to both federal and state taxes. If you are from a country that has a tax treaty with the United States that exempts you from full or partial tax withholdings, do not complete Form W-4 (Employee Withholdings Allowance Certificate). Instead, you must complete a form 8233 (Exemption from Withholdings on Compensation for Independent Personal Services of a Nonresident Alien Individual), a Foreign National Data Sheet, and a treaty letter. You may obtain these forms from ISS. These forms must be completed each calendar year in order to claim exempt status and must be accompanied by a copy of your passport, visa, I-94 card, and DS-2019 or I-20.
Most tax treaties have a limit on tax exempt earnings that can be exempt from taxes. Your country’s treaty letter will identify this amount. You will be notified by Human Resources when your earnings have reached the limit allowed by the tax treaty between your country and the United States. You then must complete Form W-4 following the same procedures as students from countries that do not have tax treaties.
If your home country does not have a tax treaty with the United States that allows you to claim an exempt status from tax withholdings --- for example Brazil, Denmark, and the United Kingdom --- you should complete Form W-4. You should claim 1 exemption from withholding at the single rate, with an additional amount of $7.60 per week to be withheld from your earnings. If you are from Canada, India, Korea, or Mexico, tax treaty provisions may allow you to claim more than one exemption. If you do not file a Form W-4, you will have taxes withheld at the highest possible rate.
If you have been in the United States for less than five years and you are a student in F-1 or J-1 immigration status, you are exempt from FICA (Social Security and Medicare taxes).
Each year you are required by law to file a 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ tax return and Form 8843 with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You may obtain these forms by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676. You may also download these forms from the IRS' website (www.irs.gov). Failure to file these forms is a violation of United States law and may jeopardize your future status in the United States. You are also be required to file a Nebraska Income Tax Form with the Nebraska Department of Revenue. You should consult their website (www.revenue.state.ne.us) to determine your filing responsibilities. You may obtain Nebraska State tax forms by downloading the forms at: www.revenue.state.ne.us. Forms are also available at the ISS office after the 1st of the year.