Working in the US

There are limited work opportunities available in the US for F-1 students. To determine if you are eligible for the following types of employment opportunities while you study in the US, please read below and contact ISS for more information.

ON-campus employment

Active F-1 students may work ON-campus so long as:

  1. an ON-campus faculty or staff supervisor offers a job,
  2. the student obtains a Social Security Number (SSN), [see below for more details] and
  3. the student completes the appropriate HR/tax paperwork at Horky House.

If you participate in ON-campus employment, you may NOT work more than 20 hours per week when classes or exams are in session.

OFF-campus employment

After the first academic year, F-1 students may engage in three types of OFF-campus employment with authorization:

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension


In general, F-1 students at Centre will use CPT for paid or unpaid, credit or non-credit US internships during the summer breaks. At Centre, OPT and STEM OPT extension are usually for employment after graduation. All OFF-campus work must be related to a student’s intended or declared MAJOR. OFF-campus work authorization cannot be authorized based on a student's minor(s) or general education credits. 

Note that F-1 students may also seek employment authorization under the sponsorship of a qualifying international organization or due to severe economic hardship, but these circumstances are atypical. Furthermore, the U.S. government considers starting your own business in the United States, also known as entrepreneurship, as work. Therefore, if you are an F-1 student who plans to start your own business in the United States, you must qualify and apply for OPT. You cannot be your own employer for the purpose of the STEM OPT extension.

If you are interested in working OFF-campus after your first academic year, please contact ISS to go over all policy and application.

Social Security Number (SSN) / Card

For F-1 students who have been given permission to work ON or OFF campus, you will need to acquire a Social Security Number (SSN) / Card. You should wait 10 business days after arriving in the US before applying for an SSN.

If you have not been offered a job, but want to apply for a Kentucky driver’s permit, license or ID card, then you will need to visit the Social Security Administration office for an ineligibility letter.

Please refer to the appropriate How-to Instructions on the Forms page, and contact ISS for more assistance obtaining an SSN.


Volunteering is a great way to “make a difference,” to help people where there is need and participate in your community. As an F-1 student, you may volunteer while you study in the United States, but you must maintain your nonimmigrant student status by complying with Department of Homeland Security rules and regulations.

Here are some important reminders if you plan on volunteering:

  • You cannot receive any form of taxable income from your volunteer activity.
  • If the volunteer position is one for which an employer would otherwise officially hire someone, you may work there only with all necessary employment authorization. [See OFF-campus employment above]


US Taxes

*Disclaimer: Tax law is subject to continual change, at times on a retroactive basis and may result incremental taxes, interest, or penalties. Each individual tax situation requires individual tax, judicial, and administrative interpretation of the current tax law based on the specific facts and circumstances and may require additional tax analysis. Centre College and Sprintax are not responsible for updating the following details for changes in law or interpretation after the date hereof. 

Generally, most international students who are on F-1 visas are considered nonresidents for tax purposes. If you have been in the US for longer than five years, the Substantial Presence Test will determine your tax residency.

As a nonresident alien for tax purposes, you may be taxed on US-sourced income. If your country of residence has signed a tax treaty with the US, you may be either partially or completely exempt from tax. That said, as a nonresident alien, you will need to file a federal tax return (often with Form 1040NR) to assess your federal income and taxes. Even if you do not earn money during your time in the US, you will still need to file Form 8843 with the IRS by the mid-April deadline.

Sprintax logo

Taxes are very complicated (!!), so we have teamed up with Sprintax to provide you with an easy-to-use tax preparation software designed for nonresident students. Check your Centre email for information, instructions, and discount code around the end of January. Reminder emails will also be sent around Spring break and right before the mid-April tax filing deadline.  


For more information, please contact ISS and/or refer to the following source(s):

Jessica Leonard

Photo of Jessica Leonard
Assistant Director, Centre Global
International Student Services (ISS)

Office Location: Old Carnegie
Office Phone: +1 859.238.6106
Office Email:
Schedule an Appointment on Navigate (for Current Students only): Click Here

BS: Physics, University of Maryland

M.Ed (pursuing): Higher Education – Student Affairs, Liberty University

Jessica Leonard joined Centre Global in August 2018 as the English as a Second Language (ESL)-International Student Services (ISS) Support Specialist before taking on the ISS Assistant Director role in June 2019. She previously taught ESL in South Korea for almost 8 years.

Jessica is a member of the College's CARE team and Enrollment Management & Retention Advisory Committee in addition to serving on the College's Staff Congress as Secretary. She currently advises the International Student Association (ISA), the Asian American and Pacific Islander Coalition (AAPIC), and the Centre South Asian Cultural Association (SACA) and previously advised the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA).

In her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter at home in Versailles, KY.

Adam Chen-Dedman

Photo of Adam Chen-Dedman
Executive Director, Centre Global

Office Location: Old Carnegie
Office Phone: +1 859.238.5268
Office Email:
Schedule an Appointment on Navigate (for Current Students only): Click Here

BA: Comparative Culture (Humanities), Sophia University (Japan)

MTS: Asian Religion & Gender, Harvard University

Adam Chen-Dedman is a native of Kentucky and joined Centre College in 2023 as Executive Director of Centre Global. He spent 25 years studying and working abroad in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Australia. From 2005 to 2012 Adam served as head of International Student Services, Director of the Study Abroad program, and then Assistant to the President of International Affairs at Payap University in Thailand. From 2013 to 2019 he served as Executive Director of the Institute of South East Asian Affairs, a regional study abroad program, that was based at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. In these roles, Adam forged relationships with US colleges and universities and oversaw students from the US and other countries who were studying abroad in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Adam is completing his PhD in Cultural Studies of Asia at The University of Melbourne (Australia) where he researches responses to Chinese nationalism, geopolitics in Taiwan's LGBTQ+ social movement, and Japanese and Thai queer cultural interactions with Taiwan. He has taught courses on LGBTQ+ activism and human rights in Asia, Sex and Politics, and Global Media Cultures. His publications can be found in Nations and Nationalism, International Journal of Taiwan Studies, Feminist Media Studies, Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest, and Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics. Adam speaks Japanese, Thai, Mandarin, and conversational Spanish.;

Vivienne Main

Assistant Director, Centre Global
Study Abroad and Away

Office Location: Old Carnegie
Office Phone: +1 859.238.5285
Office Email:
Schedule an Appointment on Navigate (for Current Students only): Click Here

MSci: Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of Glasgow

Vivienne Main is a Scotland native who graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2015 with an MSci in Marine and Freshwater Biology. She studied abroad in Egypt and focused on tropical ecology with a strong emphasis on citizen science engagement and science communication.

Vivienne spent 4 years working abroad in Egypt and The Bahamas coordinating STEM and sustainability-focused programs for visiting international students. Upon moving to the USA in 2019 she served as Program Coordinator for International Field Studies, an educational and scientific non-profit organization established to promote and assist educators with field study programs. In these roles, Vivienne coordinated international travel, and on-site logistics, and advised students from the US and other countries who were studying abroad.

Margaret Meadows

Photo of Margaret Meadows
Office Coordinator, Centre Global

Office Location: Old Carnegie
Office Phone: +1 859.238.5295
Office Email:
Schedule an Appointment on Navigate (for Current Students only): Click Here

BA: Spanish and International Relations, University of Kentucky

Margaret Meadows joined Centre Global in 2022. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2015 where she studied abroad in Costa Rica and earned a BA in Spanish and International Relations.


Current Students

Newly Admitted Students

Obtaining a Student Visa Planning Your Arrival INTL Student Orientation