Importance of Understanding Taxes for Working California F-1 Students

An F-1 student visa is the most popular means for international students to legally come to the United States in order to study at a college or university full-time. While in the United States, many students take on part-time jobs to help fund their studies; however, it is important for students to contact a California F-1 visa lawyer to learn the tax implications before they begin working. It is also important to note that an F-1 student cannot work without permission from or under the guidelines of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is otherwise considered unauthorized employment and could lead to difficulties with continued visa-approval, including F-1 visa status termination.

As explained by an experienced San Francisco F-1 visa lawyer, there are important tax consequences for F-1 students who work in the United States. An F-1 visa holder is exempt from wages paid for the following:

  • On-campus student employment up to 20 hours during the school year and 40 hours during the summer
  • Off-campus student employment approved by the USCIS
  • Optional Practical Training


However it is important to note that the exemptions do not apply to:

  • Spouses and children in F-2 visa status
  • Employment not allowed by the USCIS and not related to the purpose of the visa
  • Non-immigrants who change status to an immigrant status that is not exempt
  • Non-immigrants who become resident aliens

A spouse or child on an F-2 visa cannot work while under the F-2 visa status. Employment while under an F-2 visa could compromise the approval. If you are an F-2 visa holder seeking employment, contact a San Francisco visa attorney to discuss applying for a work visa before engaging in unauthorized employment.

Vaughan de Kirby
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California Immigration Attorney

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