Employment and Tax Information

On-Campus Employment

International students can work on campus, up to 20 hours per week during the academic year. Many on-campus jobs are work study positions for which international students are not eligible, so on-campus jobs are limited during the academic year. At Viterbo the on-campus jobs available to new students are in the Fine Arts Center and with Aramark Food Service. Aramark hires for the cafeteria, the POD convenience store in the Student Union, Einstein’s Bagels, and catering. International students who will be returning to Viterbo can apply for resident assistant positions with the office of residence life, tour guide positions with Admissions, and to work in the Viterbo bookstore.

Over the summer on-campus jobs are funded through Viterbo rather than federal work study, so undergraduate international students can apply for any on-campus job. These include part-time administrative assistant positions, staffing the Mathy recreation center, copy center, grounds and cleaning crews. These jobs are advertised through Handshake on the Career Services website. During the summer international students can work up to 40 hours per week (International students can also work up to 40 hours per week over breaks, e.g., spring and semester breaks).

Off-campus Employment

International students are not allowed to work off campus unless they have received prior approval (usually through CPT or OPT).

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - CPT must be an "integral part" of a student's program. At Viterbo, this means the off-campus work must either be required by a major or must provide a student with internship credit. CPT must be approved by Kenneth Felts. You will need to secure a letter from your place of internship indicating your title, a brief description of your duties, and the start/end dates for the internship. This letter should be on company letterhead and signed by your supervisor. Your faculty advisor will also need to email Kenneth Felts indicating that the internship is required and/or you'll will receive university credit that will count towards your degree completion.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) - OPT is work experience in the student’s field of study, usually performed after a student's degree completion. Standard OPT is up to 12 months full-time. For a student whose area of study is in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) an additional 24 months is possible. The STEM degree list is available at www.ice.gov/SEVIS/Stemlist.htm.

OPT can be Pre-Completion OPT or Post-Completion. Pre-Completion OPT reduces the amount of time available for Post-Completion OPT. Full-time Pre-Completion OPT will be deducted from the 12 months standard. Part-time Pre-Completion OPT (less than 20 hours per week) is deducted at one half the rate of full-time OPT. For example, two months of part-time OPT equals one month of full-time OPT.

A student may apply for Post-Completion OPT up to 90 days before degree completion or up to 60 days after degree completion. More information is available at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. You will need to schedule a meeting with Kenneth Felts to prepare and submit the OPT application, which will be mailed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Typically, it takes two to three months after the application is received for USCIS approval of an OPT request. It can be denied. The student applying for OPT is not allowed to work until he or she receives the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which will list a start date.

Social Security Number

Before you may begin employment, you must obtain a social security number. If this is an on-campus job, your supervisor must prepare a letter on department/company letterhead indicating your pending employment with them and requesting that a social security number be issued. This letter must then be signed and brought to Kenneth Felts or Melissa Giefer so that they may issue a letter from authorizing you to work. Once you have secured both signed letters, you will take the letter along with your passport and I-20 to:

Social Security Office (La Crosse)
210 Seventh Street South, Suite 100
La Crosse, WI 54601

You may not start working until you have received your social security card.

Tax Information

Filing federal income tax is the personal responsibility of each international student

ALL international students are required to file Form 8843 with the IRS each year regardless of income earned (whether the student worked or not). Tax forms must be postmarked no later than April 15th of each year (information reported will be from the previous tax year - e.g., information due by April 15, 2021 will be from January 1 - December 31, 2020).

If you worked during the year, you will also need to file a tax return for both Federal and State Income Tax - Form 1040-NR or Form 1040-NR-EZ are the forms for Non-Residents and you must use these forms. You must also complete 1NPR for State of Wisconsin income tax purposes.

Unfortunately, Viterbo does not have tax professionals on staff. Students should seek the help of a Certified Public Accountant or tax preparation company (e.g., H&R Block).

International students should not use Turbo Tax to prepare their taxes as this program is for U.S. residents only. If you would like to file your taxes through an online system, please consider using Sprintax.

Who Must File Form 8843? - All non-resident aliens present in the U.S. under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 non-immigrant status must file Form 8843 even if they received NO income during the tax year.

What is Form 8843? - Form 8843 is not an income tax return. It is merely an informational statement required by the U.S. government for certain non-resident aliens (including the spouses and/or dependents of non-resident aliens).

Do I Need a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to File Form 8843? - Generally, no. Non-resident aliens who are not required to file an income tax return (Form 1040-NR or Form 1040-NR-EZ), but who are required to file Form 8843, need not apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If, however, a SSN/ITIN has been assigned, the number must be included on Form 8843.