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Employment, Taxes & Legal Matters

U.S. Social Security

What is it?
A Social Security Number (SSN) is used by U.S. employers and employees for the purpose of reporting individual employee earnings for tax purposes only. The SSN is valid for life. You only need to apply once.

Who is eligible?
F1 (visa) students who have secured on-campus employment or are working off-campus through OPT or CPT.

Why do I need it?
  • You must have a SSN to receive income from Messiah College as a work-study student employee.
  • You will need a SSN to file a U.S. income tax return for each calendar year for which you spent any period of time in the U.S.
  • SSNs are often used for a variety of unoffical purposes, such as opening telephone, utility, or bank/credit card accounts. While having a SSN is convenient for these reasons, it is not required. If you have difficulty opening a bank account or other types of accounts because you do not have a SSN, you may want to speak to a supervisor or seek a different vendor.
How to Apply
For information, visit All incoming international students assigned work-study positions will be taken to the local Social Security Administration office during pre-semester orientation to apply for your number.

Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN)

Foreign nationals who are not eligible to work, and therefore not eligible for an SSN, can apply for the ITIN. PhD students receiving non-service fellowships that are from a country where they would benefit from a tax treaty may apply for this number upon their arrival in the U.S. Please see our instructions on how to apply.

Employment for International Students

Before beginning any employment, you should always consult the Director of International Student Programs first. This is the only way to ensure that you don't engage in illegal employment, which carries with it many adverse consequences for your future in the United States.

In order for an international (F1 visa) student to be eligible for employment, you must be enrolled in a full course of study. Once employment is authorized, you must maintain your eligibility or you will lose your right to continue employment, even if it was authorized in writing.

Messiah College F1 students may work on campus part-time (up to 20 hours per week each week) when school is in session and full-time (40 hours per week each week) during holiday and vacation periods. A new F1 student who has been issued a Form I-20 may work prior to the commencement of classes, but for no more than 30 days prior to the actual start date of classes.

Type 1: Employment for any on-campus work at Messiah College for which you receive a paycheck (or other compensation, such as room and board, etc.) from Messiah College.

Type 2: Certain Off-Campus Employment where there is an official educational relationship between Yale and the off-campus employer. USCIS regulations allow work at an off-campus location provided the:
    1. location is educationally affiliated with Messiah,
    2. educational affiliation is associated with your school's established curriculum or is related to a graduate level research project which your school has contracted to perform, and
    3. work is an integral or important part of your program of study.



Personal Income Taxes - Information to be listed soon.

Payroll Office - Information to be listed soon.

Legal Assistance

Rights and Responsibilities

Driving in the U.S.

Getting a Pennsylvania Driver's License - Information to be listed soon.

Car Ownership and Insurance - Information to be listed soon.