I-9 Process for Foreign National Faculty, Staff, and Student Workers

The University of Minnesota requires all newly hired students, staff, and faculty members to complete the federal I-9 form and provide documentation on their eligibility to work at the University on or before their first day of work for pay. If the new hire can't provide the documents on their first day, they may not be allowed to start work or remain in the workplace until they present the required documents. 

I-9 Process for Foreign National Faculty, Staff, and Student Workers

When an international student arrives on campus, they must first check in with the International Student and Scholar Services Office (ISSS) on campus so the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record can be activated. This is a required immigration check-in process and must be completed before applying for a Social Security number.

The ISSS website explains the process for foreign national student workers (and departments) to follow when applying for a Social Security number. The student must have proof of a job (or job offer) and present that proof along with the standard documentation. ISSS has a template for the hiring department to complete for the student.

International faculty, staff, and student workers can begin work as long as they have completed Section 1 of the I-9 form and have presented their original documentation to verify employment eligibility on their first day of work for pay. They should contact their HR department to complete their I-9. They don't need a Social Security number before completing their I-9. However, they should be strongly encouraged to apply for their SSN within 10 days of their employment start date. A Social Security number is required for employment, and foreign nationals will not be able to claim tax treaty benefits until they have reported their SSN. They will also need their SSN for many personal transactions, such as opening a bank account and filing a tax return.

See Social Security Number Requirements for more information.

Required Documents by Type of Visa

Employment eligibility verification for permanent residents is processed in the employing unit the same way as for citizens. For nonresidents, see the visa types below for the required documentation.

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F-1 Student

  1. Valid, unexpired passport
  2. Most current Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
  3. Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) stamped by Immigration and issued for University of Minnesota,
    • OR: I-20 indicating transfer to U of M (If ISSS sign-off date is within 15 days of semester begin date, then semester start date can be employment date)
    • OR: I-20 indicating "curricular practical training" shown on page 2 of Form I-20

OPT (Optional Practical Training)/F1T

Optional or post-completion practical training shown on USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)-issued I-766/EAD (passport and I-94 not required with I I-766/EAD card)

J-1 Student or Scholar

  1. Valid, unexpired passport
  2. Most current Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
  3. DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor [J-1] Status) stamped by Immigration and issued for University of Minnesota,
    • OR: DS-2019 indicating sponsorship transferred to U of M. Sign-off dates must be prior to effective begin date of DS-2019

J1 Practical Training/J1T

  1. Valid, unexpired passport
  2. Most current I-94
  3. DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor [J-1] Status), issued from University of Minnesota or another institution, indicating academic training has been granted. Must be accompanied by a letter from the sponsor.

H-1B Temporary Professional

New to H-1B status:

  1. Valid, unexpired passport, Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record)
  2. I-797 Approval Notice showing University of Minnesota as petitioner (employer)

Current H-1B Changing Employer to U of M

  1. Valid, unexpired passport, Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) for current employer, and
  2. I-797 Receipt Notice showing application for employer change to University of Minnesota.

When the I-797 Approval Notice with U of M as petitioner is received, the foreign national must return to Payroll Services to show the Approval Notice for I-9 purposes.

TN―Trade NAFTA Visa Holder

  1. Valid, unexpired passport
  2. Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record), and invitation letter from University of Minnesota

J-2 or H4 Visa Holder, or Other Employment Authorization Status

Other employment authorization status may include residency pending, application for asylum, or refugee:

  1. J-2 visa
  2. Immigration-issued EAD (Employment Authorization Document)/I-766 card

Resident Alien on a Temporary Status

  1. Alien registration card (I-551, green card),
  2. Passport with stamp "Processed for Temporary Evidence of Lawful Admission for Permanent Residence, Valid Until (date) employment authorized"

Extensions and Changes in Status

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J-1 Extension

  • Employment expires when DS-2019 expires.
  • If extended before expiration date, there is no break in service.
  • If extended after the current DS-2019 expiration date, the effective date becomes the date the sponsor signed off on the form, not the begin date of the new DS-2019.

F-1 Extension

  • If the expected date to complete studies has expired, the faculty, staff, or student worker must be issued a new Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) to continue employment. The new I-20 must have an effective date immediately following the completion of studies to continue to work without a break in service.
  • If the training that justifies the extension is curricular, it must be noted on page 2 of the I-20.

OPT/F1T Extension

  • Official receipt from USCIS stating that they have received the application for extension.
  • Expiring EAD card

H-1B

  • If the faculty, staff, or student worker can produce an I-797 Receipt Notice from USCIS verifying that they applied for an extension before the H-1B expiration, they can continue to be employed for 120 days, pending USCIS approval.
  • The faculty, staff, or student worker must present the I-797 Approval Notice in person at Payroll Services when it is received.
  • If the faculty, staff, or student worker has had a change in status to their H-1B (such as from F-1 student to H-1B visa holder), they must show both the I-757 Approval Notice and I-94 (attached to approval). If USCIS does not approve the change in status to H-1B by the expiration date of the current status, the person may not be employed pending the H-1B approval.

Other Employment Authorization Extension

  • J-2 visa holders, pending residents, asylees, refugees, etc., must present a USCIS-extended EAD card (I-766) to continue to be employment authorized. The extension must be given before the original expiration date.
  • For certain visa types, if the faculty, staff, or student worker can produce an official receipt from USCIS verifying that they applied for an extension before the H-1B expiration, they can continue to be employed for 120 days, pending USCIS approval. For additional clarification, please email or call the OHR Contact Center.

Contact Us

For I-9 questions or more detailed information, email or call the OHR Contact Center ([email protected], 4-UOHR, 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363).

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