Work Rules

International students in lawful F-1 and J-1 student immigration status can work on campus (with some restrictions and limitations) for the university that maintains their record in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). To work off campus, all student visa holders must receive written work authorization in advance from an international advisor.  For all work (both on and off campus) students must follow procedures to work legally and to be taxed correctly.

A social security number is required for students who work, but students can begin working before being issued a number.

On Campus Employment

How many hours can I work at UNM?

  • Up to 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters.
  • The week of Spring Break also has a limit of 20 hours.
  • More than 20 hours per week during the Summer and Winter vacations, but the maximum hours allowed is dependent on enrollment in classes and type of employment (graduate assistantship or student hourly employment). 

F-1 Work Authorization

If you have an F-1 visa and want to work off campus or increase how many hours you can work on-campus, you must receive written work authorization from an international advisor to begin working.

J-1 Work Authorization

If you have an J-1 visa and want to work off-campus or increase how many hours you can work on campus, you must receive written work authorization from an international advisor to begin working.

Social Security Number (SSN)

To apply for a social security number (SSN), students can ONLY apply after they have been in the US for 10 days and have reported their local address to the Global Education Office. The on-campus employer will need to complete the top part of the UNM Employment Verification form and an advisor at the Global Education Office will need to sign the bottom before students can apply. Once students have this form completed and signed, they must take it with the following documents to apply for their SSN at the Social Security administration office off campus: 

• Passport
• I-94 (print out from I-94 website)
• I-20 form for F1 visa holders/DS-2019 form for J1 visa holders
• “UNM Employment Verification Form” signed by employer and by GEO
• J1 Scholars need a department letter on letterhead describing their job/position


J-1 Visa Holders

International students in J-1 immigration status must report all new employers to the international office before beginning employment so the information can be entered in SEVIS (the government database).

Finding A Job

Jobs at UNM

UNM student hourly jobs (not graduate assistantships) are posted on the student employment website. Students can sort for jobs by date posted, salary grade and campus. (International students are not eligible for positions classified as Work Study, which is a program only offered to U.S. citizens, unless it says "all students considered regardless of work study.") Students will need to complete paperwork and provide other information to the office of student employment when they get a student job on campus. J1 students must report their campus employer to an international advisor for entry into SEVIS.

Students may also work for UNM food services; however, the job must be on campus.

Here are some tips for getting a job on campus

Please see our handout On-Campus Employment for information and procedures for on-campus jobs. 

UNM Graduate Assistantships

An assistantship is a type of work opportunity available to graduate students. There are 4 types of assistantships at UNM: teaching, research, graduate and project assistantships. Assistantships pay an hourly or monthly salary to the student for teaching, grading, research or other academic work. If a student holds an assistantship for more than half of the semester it also pays for health insurance, and if the assistantship is at least 10 hours per week, it entitles the student to pay in-state tuition. Some assistantships also pay all of the tuition and fees for the student.

Most assistantships are offered by a student’s own academic department (students should check with their departments first.) However, a student can look for assistantships in another department if they qualify. Some assistantship and graduate job announcements are posted on the Office for Academic Personnel (OAP) website. OGS assists with paperwork and information that students will need when getting an assistantship on campus.

Career Services

Career Services helps UNM students with job search, internship and career issues both during and after their UNM studies. Services include career advisement, resume writing assistance, interview practice, cooperative education, career fairs, on-campus recruiting, job listings, employment workshops and other career-related services. 

Work Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify for work study?

International students are NOT qualified for work study. Work study is an option only available to American citizens.

Can I work at an off-campus job?

Yes. International students are permitted to work off-campus during their studies or after graduation if they obtain proper work authorization. Students studying full-time in F1 status are able to work off-campus on “Curricular Practical Training” (CPT) in a job related to their field of study after they have completed 2 semesters as a full-time student. Students studying full-time in J1 status are able to work off-campus on “Academic Training” (AT) in a job related to their field of study after they have completed 1 semester as a full-time student. After completing all their coursework, students can proceed to apply for full-time work authorization in the U.S.

How many hours can I work during the summer and winter break?

This depends on many factors, including whether the position is on or off-campus, whether the position is through student employment or is a graduate assistantship or whether students are in F1 or J1 status. It is best to check with an advisor at GEO for number of hours possible for individual cases. In some cases, it may possible to work full-time during winter break.

Can I work during the Summer/ Winter break even if I do not take classes?

Yes. International students are permitted to work over the summer and winter break, even if they are not enrolled in classes during the breaks.

Can I work more hours during Fall and Spring breaks (like Summer and Winter)?

No, increased work hours during vacations only applies to summer and winter breaks, NOT to Fall and Spring breaks.

How do I increase my maximum number of work hours?

If students want to increase their maximum number of work hours to more than 20 hours per week of on-campus employment or to include off-campus employment, then students in F1 status will need to meet eligibility requirements and apply for “Curricular Practical Training” (CPT). Students in J1 status will need to meet eligibility requirements and apply for "Academic Training" (AT).

Can I continue to work at UNM during my grace period?

No, it is not possible to work during a grace period. Grace periods allow students to remain in the US after program completion or after work authorization expires, but does not enable students to work during that period.

Assistantship Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work 40 hours on an assistantship?

It is possible to work 40 hours per week on an assistantship but only during winter and summer breaks. Assistantships for international students are limited to a .50 appointment rate, or 20 hours per week without work authorization. International students cannot accept assistantship offers that are greater than a .50 appointment rate unless they meet the eligibility requirements and apply for CPT work authorization, in which case they may work up to 30 hours per week on an assistantship during the Spring and Fall semesters with CPT. (Engineering students are NOT eligible.)

If I get a 2nd job, can I work more than 20 hours with an assistantship?

Yes. International students may get a second job while on an assistantship, so long as proper work authorization is obtained (CPT for students in F1 status and AT for students in J1 status).

During the Summer, can I work 40 hours on an assistantship if I am enrolled in a 3 credit hour class?

Yes, graduate students with assistantships who are enrolled in any summer credits, as well as graduate students who are not enrolled in summer credits,  are allowed to work full-time for the summer session.

I have an assistantship and am only taking 6 credit hours. Do I need to fill out the Certificate of Completion form for a reduced course load authorization?

No, it is NOT necessary to complete a Certificate of Completion as students with assistantships are only required to take 6 credit hours during the Spring and Fall semesters.

When does my health insurance from my assistantship begin?

Health insurance plans that come with assistantships are usually valid through the contract dates. However, some plans may start before the contract start date and last past the contract end date. Please contact to know coverage dates for specific contracts.

Can I add dental to my assistantship insurance?

Yes, please contact UNM Dental Benefits to add dental to your assistantship insurance.