Work Permit

Your first step at securing approval for on-campus employment is through the Work Permit process.  Even if you have a Social Security Card, you must complete this process.  


STEP ONEIf this is your first time working in the U.S., complete the application process for a social security number

STEP TWOBring the Social Security receipt/letter OR your Social Security card to the Kearney Center and collect the following forms:

STEP THREEReturn the completed forms to the Kearney Center. Bring your passport, I‐20, I‐94 Record, I-94 Travel History, and U.S. Visa for Kearney Center staff to copy. 

STEP FOUR: Pick up your On‐Campus Work Permit (yellow signed form) from the Kearney Center. 

STEP FIVESubmit a copy of the On‐Campus Work Permit to your Employer/Supervisor and keep the other copy for your records.


  • The Kearney Center will process your work permit in three to five business days. It is not possible to receive your work permit the same day as you drop off your forms. 
  • If you have an on-campus job with Sodexo, Barnes & Noble, Wells Fargo or Affinity Plus, you will receive your work permit from your employer. You will need to complete the Statement of Employment and return it to the Kearney Center. 
  • When you receive your original Social Security card by mail, take it to the Campus Hub so that they can update your MSU records.   

Understanding Employment Regulations

  • You may not work more than a combined total of 20 hours/week.
    • As an F-1 or J-1 International Student, if you choose to work more than a total of 20 hours/week, you will be out-of-status - leading to serious immigration issues including having your SEVIS record terminated.  This is considered unauthorized employment making you ineligible for reinstatement. 
    • 40 hours/week is authorized for summer & winter break for undergraduate students 
    • 14 hours/week is authorized during summer & winter break unless you have a GA, TA or RA for graduate students 
  • A job offer is required to obtain a social security card.  
  • You need to keep your Passport valid at all times. An expired passport terminates your campus employment.  
  • You need to request a Program Extension if your I-20 program end date is near. You are not allowed to work on-campus if your program has ended. 
  • You can work only on-campus unless you have authorization for CPT, OPT, or an Economic Hardship EAD. 
  • If you have more than one job, you can only work a total of 20 hours/week as an undergraduate student or 14 hours/week as a graduate student during the school year.