The Immigration and Nationality Act provides that F-1 students must be coming to the United States solely to pursue a full-course of academic, language, or other non-vocational study. Nevertheless, F-1 students may work under certain circumstances.
F-1 students have the following work opportunities:
- On-Campus Employment
- Severe Economic Hardship
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Social Security Tax
During the first 5 years of study, lawfully employed nonresident F-1 visa holders are not subject to social security withholding or reporting requirements. Therefore, wages received by nonresident F-1 status holders should not have taxes withhold until they become resident aliens for purposes. This generally does not occur until their sixth tax year in the U.S.
If social security tax is withheld in error contact your employer who withheld the tax for assistance. You may not request a refund on your income tax return.
Federal Income Taxes
You may be eligible from exemption from federal income tax withholding based on a tax treaty between the United States and your country of residence. Exemption amounts vary by country and requests for exemption must be made annual. Exemption from federal taxes based on a treaty in the U.S. is made on Form 8233 (with appropriate letter) through your employer’s payroll office.