Employment of Noncitizens

Employment of Noncitizens


UVA must comply with the provisions of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as amended, and the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, governing the employment of immigrant and non-immigrant aliens (non-citizens).


It is UVA’s policy to follow the provisions of applicable federal laws and regulations when employing immigrant and non-immigrant aliens.

  • Immigrants are those who have been granted permanent resident status but who are not U.S. citizens. They may engage in all forms of employment.
  • Non-immigrants (non-residents) are those who are admitted temporarily for specific purposes and periods of time. They may be employed by the University only if the DHS has authorized them to work in the U.S.

Non-immigrant Status

Non-immigrants who are eligible to work normally fall into three categories:

1. International Students with F-1 Visas

International students are aliens temporarily admitted to this country under DHS rules to study at a recognized educational institution approved by the Attorney General of the United States. International Students can be identified by the code F-1, which appears on their I-94 (F-2 for spouses and children).

  • International students who are taking a full course of study and otherwise maintaining a valid F-1 status may hold any on-campus employment, limited to hours listed below. International students do not require DHS permission to accept on-campus employment.
  • The F-1 visa normally limits students to 20 hours of work per week during academic sessions. Under special circumstances, certain F-1 students may qualify for exceptions. Contact the International Student and Scholar Programs (ISSP) for assistance. During the summer or when school is not in session, international students on F-1 visas may work full-time.
  • F-1 visas must be petitioned by UVA.

Spouses or children with F-2 visas may not be employed (unless specifically authorized by DHS and issued an Employment Authorization Document [EAD card]).

2. Non-immigrants with J Visas

Nonimmigrants with J-1 visas (J-2 for spouses or children) are students, scholars, trainees, teachers, professors, specialists, or similar individuals temporarily admitted to this country under DHS rules to participate in a program designated by the United States Information Agency.

  • Non-immigrants with J-1 visas who are students may be employed part-time on campus if work is authorized by their sponsor (this requires a confirmation letter from the sponsor of the ISSP).
  • J-1 visas must be petitioned by UVA.

Spouses or children with J-2 visas must have DHS permission to seek employment in the U.S. before they may be employed.

3. Non-immigrants with H Visas

Individuals admitted to the United States as “workers of distinguished merit,” “temporary workers,” or “trainees,” may be employed at the University under special circumstances on a temporary basis. The DHS approval notice must specify UVA as the employer.

  • H-1 visas must be petitioned by UVA.

Benefits and Taxes

  • Non-citizens who are employed are eligible for the same benefits as other employees in comparable positions.
  • Non-immigrants on F-1 or J-1 visas who have been authorized to work are not subject to Social Security withholding (FICA) for a limited period of time. However, all non-immigrants must file federal income tax withholding, even if their income is otherwise exempt from taxation. The University is required to withhold the correct amount of tax from the individuals’ paychecks. If the individuals are tax exempt, they may receive a refund of all taxes withheld after filing an annual income tax return.
  • Non-immigrants on H visas are subject to Social Security taxes and income taxes, unless tax exemption is specifically provided by treaty or convention.
  • Permanent residents (immigrants) and spouses or children (with J-2 visas) of individuals with J-1 visas must participate in Social Security and income tax withholding.

Visa Types

  • A-1 Diplomat, Government Official, and immediate family - Authorization for work must be approved through diplomatic channels, using FORM I-566; A-1 students cannot work on campus unless they have received work permission as noted above
  • A-2 Other Government Officials and immediate family - same as A-1
  • F-1 Student - UVA student enrolled full-time in an academic program, or who will be enrolled at UVA in the next semester, can work on campus with a current FORM I-20 issued by the UVA International Studies Office. Non-UVA student, or a UVA student who has graduated, may work only if approved by the DHS for practical training and holding EAD card from the DHS stating the authorized dates of employment, and only if the employment is related to the field of study in which the student just graduated
  • H-1 Temporary Worker of Distinguished Merit and Abilities
  • H-1A Registered Nurse Employed by Petitioning Sponsor
  • H-1B Temporary Worker in a Specialty Occupation
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Participant
  • J-2 Exchange Visitor’s Dependent
  • K Fiancé of U.S. Citizen - May be employed, but the marriage must be concluded within 90 days of entry to the U.S. at which time the K visa holder applies for conditional permanent residency.
  • O-1 Person of Extraordinary Ability
  • TN Canadian/Mexican Citizen under NAFTA
  • IM Resident Alien
  • EAD Nonimmigrant with Employment Authorization Document