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J-1 Student Employment

J-1 students may engage in any employment specifically listed on Form DS-2019 as part of their program. For all other employment, International Services authorization is required.

On-Campus Employment

J-1 students are eligible for on-grounds employment at the University of Idaho for up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and full-time during breaks with International Services approval. Graduate teaching assistantships and graduate research assistantships are considered to be 20 hours per week. J-1 students must bring a completed On-Campus Work Authorization Request to International Services before engaging in any on-campus employment.

Academic Training

J-1 students may be approved to engage in academic training outside the university. Academic training is employment directly related to a J-1 student's major field of study and may be used during the semester, during breaks in the academic year or directly following the completion of studies. Generally, the length of this training, in total, may not exceed 18 months or the length of the program, whichever is shorter. Postdoctoral academic training may extend to 36 months.

Throughout the period of academic training a J-1 student's DS-2019 must remain valid, and the J-1 student and any J-2 dependents must maintain adequate health insurance. J-1 students who have completed their studies must continue to maintain health insurance that meets the standards for J-1 scholars and exchange students.

J-1 students wishing to apply for academic training must* bring the following to International Services during office hours:

J-1 students may not engage in academic training before International Services approval.

J-1 students who carry a DS-2019 that was not issued by the University of Idaho should contact their program sponsor regarding any employment.

J-1 Scholar Employment

A J-1 scholar should contact International Services if he or she plans to engage in any employment activity outside the confines of his or her J-1 program at the University of Idaho.

A Social Security number (SSN) is necessary to receive any income for services while in the U.S. Many non-immigrants are eligible for SSNs because of their visa status in the U.S. Many others are not eligible for a Social Security number unless they have a job offer letter from an employer.

F-1 students are only eligible for SSNs if engaging in lawful employment. Therefore, a job offer letter is required while attending school. If an F-1 student has not applied for a SSN before applying for optional practical training (OPT), once the employment authorization card (EAD) is received, it can be used to support an application for a SSN in place of a letter of employment.

Individuals in J-1 status are eligible to apply for a Social Security number after arrival in the U.S. and are not required to provide any documentation of employment.

Many F-1 students wish to apply for an Idaho driver’s license or state ID card, where an SSN is required. If they do not have a job offer letter, they can apply for a Letter of Denial, which can be used in place of an SSN.

For more information, please visit the Social Security Administration web-site.

To obtain a Social Security card, you must do the following:

  1. F-1 students must receive a job offer letter from your department (see Word template of job offer letter) J-1 students and scholars do not need a letter to apply.
  2. Bring the finished departmental letter to IPO for a “stamp” from a designated school official in the office
  3. Take your documents to a Social Security Administration representative to apply
  • A letter verifying your employment from your department and stamped by an International Programs Office (IPO) school official.
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 card
  • Visa
  • Passport
  • Social Security application (available at the IPO)

To obtain a letter of denial take the following to the Social Security Administration:

  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 card
  • Visa
  • Passport
  • Social Security application (available at the IPO)

A Letter of Denial can be used to show proof that a student does not qualify to receive a Social Security number. This letter is most commonly used to obtain a cell-phone or driver's license.

Where to Apply

There are three ways to apply for a Social Security card.

  1. Wait for a Social Security representative to visit Moscow. Email to request the dates and times of the next time the Social Security representative will be in Moscow.
  2. Make arrangements to travel to the Social Security Office in Lewiston. The Social Security Office in Lewiston is located at 1617 19th Avenue. The office is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and can be contacted at 208-746-2995.
  3. Every fall and spring semester a Social Security representative comes to our New International Student Orientation to collect applications.

The Moscow Valley Transit bus goes from Moscow to Lewiston. For times and reservations, call 208-883-7747.

International Programs Office

Physical Address:
901 Paradise Creek St.
LLC Bldg. #3
Moscow, ID 83844

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 1250
Moscow, ID 83844-1250

COVID-19 Information for international students, employees and scholars

Phone: 208-885-8984

Fax: 208-885-2859