On-Campus Employment and Taxes

International students are permitted by their visa status to work up to 15 hours per week on-campus. Please be advised that working more than 15 hours per week will put your student status in jeopardy.

Finding Campus Employment

Student employment is coordinated by the Financial Aid Office in Payson Hall. International students are encouraged to use the services provided by the office in securing on-campus employment. Please find more information about on-campus employment here. In addition, new students are encouraged to attend the employment fair during New Student Orientation. Employers on campus will have booths at the fair to provide applications and employment information.

Employment Forms

Before starting work students must go to the Business Office in Vilas Hall to complete an I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) and W-4 (Employee Withholding Allowance Certificate) form.   The I-9 form requires proof of identification and citizenship such as an unexpired passport so students should bring their documents with them.  The W-4 form is used to determine how much income tax must be withheld from a student’s pay.  International Students must claim Single, may claim 0 or 1 withholdings, and must write “NRA” (for Non-resident Alien) above the dotted line on line 6.

Social Security Numbers

Once you have secured on-campus employment, you must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) from the US government. This is an identification number used for taxation and benefit purposes. An identification number from another country can not be used in place of a US Social Security Number. Any student who receives wages must obtain a SSN. Once you have secured campus employment, the procedure for obtaining a social security number is:

  1. Obtain a Letter of Employment by completing the Letter of Employment Request Form. Once you submit the form, you will receive an e-mail when the letter is ready to be picked up. Please allow 2-3 days for your request to be processed.
  2. Have your Letter of Employment signed by the supervisor listed on the letter
  3. Complete Form SS-5. If you need help filling out this form, please see someone in International Student Services.
  4. Bring the following documents to the Social Security Office in Ogdensburg, NY. During the beginning of each semester ISS will provide periodic transportation to the Social Security Office.

You should receive your Social Security Card in the mail in approximately 4-6 weeks. When you receive the card, please take it to the Business Office in Vilas Hall so they will have a copy on file for processing your tax forms. Please make sure you keep your SSN documentation in a safe place. You will need it to complete your tax forms.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)

International students who do not receive wages, but who do receive income in the form of grants in aid or scholarships that exceed the cost of tuition alone can instead apply for an ITIN. You should apply for your ITIN 2-3 months before the first time you file your taxes. Information on ITIN numbers from the Internal Revenue Service can be found here. Students who need an ITIN should see Carol Gable in the Business Office to fill out their W-7 form.

Tax Documents

International Students who received income from the University will receive one or both of the following tax documents in January or February of each year. Please make sure you retain these documents for the purpose of filing your taxes.

W-2 forms
All students who worked during the previous calendar year receive a W-2 statement from the Business Office at the end of January which states the wages earned and taxes withheld on the earnings.  The only exception is for students whose wages are exempt from tax because they have applied for tax treaty benefits.  These wages are reported on the 1042-S form described below.

1042-S forms
All students who received scholarships and or fellowships for expenses other than tuition receive a 1042-S which states the amount of the scholarship or fellowship and taxes paid on the scholarship.  Any wages paid without being subject to tax due to a treaty exemption are also reported on the 1042-S. Students will receive the 1042-S from the Business Office at the end of February.

Tax Treaties

The U.S. has tax treaties in effect with many countries which exempt students’ wages and/or scholarships from taxes while in the U.S.  Students may submit a request to receive treaty benefits by completing certain required documents in the Business Office. The Business Office will contact students who are eligible for these benefits.

Filing Taxes & Tax Workshops

Every international student is required to file annual tax returns (1040NR-EZ or 1040NR and/or 8843) by each April 15th for the preceding calendar year regardless of whether or not they have earned income. Which form(s) you complete depends on whether or not you received income during the previous calendar year and the type(s) of income you received. If you received income (wages, scholarships, grants, fellowships) you are required to file either the 1040NR-EZ or 1040-NR and 8843. F-1 and J-1 international students who received no income during the previous year still must file form 8843.

In order to assist international students with the process of filing taxes, tax sessions are held on campus. Students should bring the following documents to the sessions:

  • Passport
  • Form DS-2019 or Form I-20
  • Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (if you have been assigned one)
  • Address Information (Current U.S. Address and Foreign Address)
  • U.S. Entry and Exit Dates for current and all past visits to the U.S.
  • Forms W-2, 1042-S and/or 1099 (if you received any)
  • A copy of your previous year federal income tax return (Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ), if you filed one in the previous year
  • The routing number and account number for the account where you might like any refund direct deposited.

Tax forms and/or access to SPRINTAX, a tax preparation system specifically for international students will be provided at the tax workshops.


IRS: Foreign Students and Scholars

New York State tax: Filing Information for Non-Resident Aliens