University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

ISSS Career Support



How to Hire a University of Minnesota International Student

Hello employers! We are glad you are interested in hiring UMN international students/alumni at your organization. In addition to the world-class education that all UMN students receive, most international students offer skills of adaptability, perseverance, and knowledge of other cultures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Isn't it illegal to hire international students because they do not have a green card?

No. U.S. immigration regulations allow international students to work, within certain limits. They receive work authorization either from the University of Minnesota (UMN) or from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

OK, so it's legal.  Won't it cost my company a lot of money and involve a lot of paperwork?

No. The only cost to the employer who hires an international student is the time and effort to interview and select the best candidate for the job. The student and UMN handle much of the paperwork. In fact, some companies find they save money by hiring international students because the majority of them are exempt from Social Security (FICA) and Medicare tax requirements. See IRS Publication 519.

How long can international students work in the U.S. on their student visa?

International students can work during their studies (after one year of study in the U.S.) plus at least 12 months after graduation, as long as the job is in their major.

Don't international students need work authorization before I can hire them?

No. International students must have the work authorization before their first day on the job with you, but not before they are offered employment. In some cases, students need a written job offer from your organization in order to apply for the work authorization. The student can give you a reasonable estimate of when they expect to receive their work authorization. Before graduation, it can be as little as seven business days!

What does the international student's work authorization look like?

When hired while they are in school, the student presents their Form I-20 where UMN has issued the authorization (per U.S. immigration regulations, "No Service endorsement is necessary:" 8CFR 274a.12(b)(6)(iii)).

When hired post-graduation, the student presents an Employment Authorization Document, a small photo identity card that indicates the dates for which they are permitted to work.

To begin any job, the student must also present a Social Security number or a receipt showing their Social Security application is in process

Doesn't an employer have to prove that international students are not taking jobs from a qualified American?

In most cases, no. The STEM OPT extension form asks the employer to attest that a U.S. worker was not displaced. The only time an employer must prove and document that they did not turn down a qualified American applicant for the position is when they wish to hire the international employee permanently and sponsor them for permanent resident status ("green card").

What if my organization wants to continue to employ an international student after their work authorization expires?

With some planning ahead, you can keep an international student (now employee) by supporting their work visa application. The H-1B visa is the most common and allows an international employee to work for up to six years. The H-1B visa is for a worker in a "specialty occupation" and the job must meet two basic requirements:  1) The salary must meet the US Department of Labor's prevailing wage; and 2) A bachelor's degree is a minimum normal requirement for the position.

Please Note:

Most University of Minnesota students hold an F-1 visa and the work authorization described here applies to F-1 students. The small number of international students on other types of visas, such as J-1, have slightly different work authorization rules. University of Minnesota students are responsible for knowing their own visa status and being prepared to explain their rights and restrictions to employers. Also, advisers at International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at UMN Twin Cities offer general advice to employers about F-1 and J-1 work options for UMN international students. You can contact ISSS at or 612-626-7100.

Legal Disclaimer:

This guide is not intended as, and does not serve as, legal advice. It is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice. Content is subject to change, and employers are advised to consult an experienced U.S. immigration attorney for advice and further information. For tax information, see