Employment in the U.S.

Employment is any activity for which you receive compensation. Compensation does not only refer to receiving money. For example, baby-sitting or housekeeping in exchange for room and board would be considered compensation for services.

Self-employment (for example, offering personal services, making and selling products, or otherwise engaging in income-producing activity in the U.S.) is generally prohibited.

Income from investments, interest on bank accounts, and similar funds do not constitute employment because there is no direct service/compensation relationship. Similarly, income from foreign employers does not necessarily constitute employment in the U.S. if that money is paid abroad.

Consult your International Student Services (ISS) adviser or an immigration lawyer about opportunities to work in the U.S. Research the F-1 employment and J-1 employment benefits and restrictions.

Estimate of Annual Expenses

ISS provides an estimate of annual expenses for UW international students and their dependents.

Funding Options

Funding your studies is a challenge faced by many international students studying in the U.S. While the University of Washington's Office of Student Financial Aid does not offer any type of scholarship, grant, or other form of aid to international students studying in the United States, there are other funding opportunties available.

Individual Tax Identification Number

If you do not intend to be employed, but receive a scholarship or fellowship in excess of tuition and fees, you may need to apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). Detailed information about the ITIN is contained in IRS Publication 1915

ITIN Application Instructions

After October 15

  1. Submit an ITIN Request Form and a photocopy of your award letter to International Student Services (ISS). Allow one week for processing. Your ISS adviser will prepare an ITIN support letter for you and will give you instructions for the ITIN application.
  2. If the ITIN office instructs you to get your documents notarized by the ISS office, please call our office at 206-221-7857 or email at uwiss@uw.edu to schedule an appointment with our notary public.

Social Security Number

Students holding F-1 and J-1 status who are employed in the U.S. must apply for a Social Security number.


Most F-1 and J-1 students must file forms each year with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even if no income was earned. For information about your tax obligations, review ISS tax information.

The International Student Fee

The International Student Fee ($45/quarter) is used to pay for specialized services used by and for international students, such as visa processing, academic integrity outreach services, career counseling, International Teaching Assistant (ITA) training, and compliance reporting required by the Federal government. For more information on the fee, please see the FAQ sheet.

UW Tuition and Fees

The UW Office of Student Fiscal Services answers these and other questions: How much do I owe? When is it due? How do I pay it?