International Students

International students are subject to domestic student requirements as well as U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations. Per USCIS, the primary purpose of a student visa status is to attend school. Employment in general is restricted. However, international students possessing an F-1 or J-1 visa may be employed through Student Employment, although they are subject to certain regulations, procedures and restrictions per immigration law. These should be followed not only to ensure students do not violate their status as a legal alien, but also, to ensure the University is not responsible for employing an illegal alien. Additionally, an international student cannot displace a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. This means that an on-campus employer cannot remove a U.S. student employee in order to hire a foreign student employee.

  1. International students must maintain their immigration status in order to work on campus. This includes carrying a full-time course of study during the academic year, keeping their passport valid, unless exempt from the passport requirement (i.e. Canada), keeping immigration status documents such as I-20 or DS-2019 current, and limiting work to no more than 20 hours a week.
    1. Undergraduate students are required to maintain a minimum of 12 credit hours enrollment Graduate students are required to maintain a minimum of nine (9) credit hours or six (6) credit hours for those students holding teaching or research assistantships. International students are not required to attend summer sessions.

      However, in order to work during summer they must have been enrolled for at least 12 credit hours in the previous spring and be pre-registered for at least 12 credit hours for the upcoming fall semester. International graduate student employees must have been enrolled for at least nine (9) credit hours in the previous spring and be pre-registered in at least nine (9) credit hours in the upcoming fall semester. Students from tax treaty countries will lose treaty benefits if they are enrolled in less than full-time status or do not remain enrolled in full-time status subject to the language of the Student Article of the respective tax treaty.

      1. International students who meet Missouri State enrollment requirements, but do not meet (USCIS) full-time enrollment requirements, must have proper authorization from the Designated School Official (DSO) in the International Services office approving the under enrolled status for the purposes of USCIS.  Note: International students from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, or South Korea who were in the United States in student status on or prior to June10, 1998 may be eligible to carry less than full-time status. These students should obtain the Designated School Official's approval signature for their I-20 PRIOR to their interview with the International Payroll Specialist.
      2. For summer, international students must be pre-registered in full-time status for the fall semester.
    2. Valid passports are a requirement for maintaining immigration status. Since Missouri State requires international students to maintain status as an eligibility requirement for on campus work through Student Employment, international students will be required to keep their passports valid at all times. If a passport needs to be mailed to an embassy for renewal, the student should mail it registered mail with a return receipt requested. The receipt can be used as verification that the passport renewal is in progress.
    3. F-1 and J-1 students are generally authorized to work for the "duration of their status". The duration of an F-1 student's status is determined by the expiration date of the I-20 or the end of the student's studies, whichever is the earliest date. J-1 students must be given permission to work by the Program Sponsor (see section B below) and are authorized to work until the date specified by the Responsible Officer. This date generally matches the end date of the DS-2019, which also determines the duration of the J-1 student's status.

      Since the I-20 and the DS-2019 documents verify student status and generally show work authorization, these documents must be kept current. The I-20 is updated and extended through the International Services Office, and the DS-2019 document is updated and extended through the Program Sponsor. Any student working with an expired I-20 or DS-2019 document jeopardizes his/her status and is no longer authorized for employment. Until a new form is on file in the Payroll Office, the student will be removed from payroll.

    4. International students can work up to a total of 20 hours per week university-wide while school is in session, and full-time during school breaks and vacations, including summer. Working more than 20 hours a week while school is in session jeopardizes the student's status. Students who have worked more than 20 hours a week will be removed from payroll until the Designated School Officer has notified the Payroll Office that the situation has been addressed. It will be the student's responsibility to inform the hiring department if they are also working for more than one department or any of the on- campus vendors, such as University or Plaster Student Union food services. Note: International students from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, or South Korea who were in the United States in student status on or prior to June 10, 1998 may be eligible to work more than 20 hours a week. These students should obtain the Designated School Official's approval signature for their I-20 PRIOR to their interview with the International Payroll Specialist.

    Both the student and Missouri State can be subject to penalties associated with international students working who are in violation of status. Any student who is in violation of status is, therefore, ineligible to work until the situation has been addressed. International students who deviate from any of the above requirements will be expected to address the situation through the Designated School Official or Responsible Officer in the International Services Offices.

  2. International students in J-1 exchange visitor status must obtain written authorization for employment. The Responsible Officer of the exchange visitor program sponsor grants permission to work. If Missouri State is the sponsor, permission to work is granted through the International Services Office.
  3. International students must have a valid Social Security number (SSN). Numbers beginning with "899" or "900" are not valid for employment purposes. If the student does not have a valid SSN, he/she must apply for a Social Security card. This application is available in the Office of International Services and the Payroll Department.
  4. International students should not attempt to apply in person at the Social Security Office. The application should be turned in to the International Services Office with copies of their passport, visa, I-94 and I-20 or DS-2019. An international student's University records and BearPass Card are required to be changed to reflect the new social security number prior to working.
  5. New international students are required to meet with the International Payroll Specialist in the Payroll Office prior to the beginning of his/her employment as part of the Student Employment Clearance Process. International students previously cleared for another department do not need to meet with the International Payroll Specialist.
    1. Contact the International Payroll Specialist at InternationalPayroll@missouristate.edu to obtain a username and password for the on-line information form and receive a copy of the I-9 form. The on-line information form is used for determining the international student's tax status.
    2. When the student has completed the on-line information form and I-9, and appointment will be scheduled to meet with the International Payroll Specialist.
    3. The student should be prepared to bring to his/her appointment: passport, I-20 or DS-2019 with sponsor's employment authorization letter, I-94, social security card and any other pertinent immigration documentation.
    4. The W-4, Direct Deposit Form and any other tax documents will be completed during the interview with the International Payroll Specialist.
  6. Payroll/Taxation Issues
    1. International students who plan to leave the United States prior to receiving his/her last pay should notify the International Payroll Specialist or Payroll Manager in the Payroll Office, and must keep their bank accounts open. There will be no special pay arrangements to receive pay before leaving the country. In most cases this will apply to international students who are in the foreign exchange program and are in the U.S. for only a semester or two. Administrators may want to work with the student in terms of scheduling in the event that it would not be feasible for the student to leave his/her bank account open.
    2. International students should see the International Payroll Specialist for any changes to the W-4 address. Most international students have a different tax status than a U.S. citizen which dictates the appropriate way to complete the form. Completing a new W-4 with changes in the Payroll Office will help ensure that the form is correctly completed.
    3. International students whose tax status is Non-Resident Alien is not allowed to claim exempt on their W-4.
    4. International students are generally exempt from social security depending upon their tax status. Resident Aliens will be subject to the domestic student rule as stated in the Social Security tax section. Any international student NOT in F-1, J-1, Q-1 or M-1 visa status will be subject to the domestic student rule.
  7. International students are not eligible for the federal work study program.