Paying Foreign Nationals

Departments frequently have questions about making payments to foreign nationals.

You can find valuable information on the website of the FSU Controller’s Office. Visit Payroll’s Frequently Asked Questions page for information on Payments to Foreign Nationals.

The information below gives you some visa classification-specific information regarding employment eligibility and documentation for classifications most commonly encountered at FSU.  Please seek more information directly from CGE advisors for accurate information in specific situations.

F-1 Students

Departments may employ F-1 students with I-20 documents issued by Florida State University without special work authorization as long as the work is on-campus and the total weekly hours for all appointments does not exceed 20. Departments may employ FSU F-1 students for more than 20 hours/week during the annual summer vacation or school breaks.

On campus entities contracted by FSU to provide services for students (e.g. FSU Bookstore, food service) may also employ FSU F-1 students as long as total hours worked, including any hours worked directly for FSU, does not exceed 20.

F-1 students without a social security number can apply for the number once a department provides required information using the sample Social Security Letter on the CGE website.

J-1 Students

Departments may employ J-1 Exchange Visitor students (students with a DS-2019 document) only after the student has written authorization from the sponsor that issued the student’s DS-2019 form. In most cases, the employment will be limited to no more than 20 hours per week. The written authorization will specify the employment and hours the program sponsor allows. J-1 students sponsored by FSU complete an authorization request form that they can get from the CGE website. Tanya Schaad issues the authorization for FSU.

Note that many J-1 students at FSU are sponsored by an outside agency, not by FSU. These students must contact their sponsor for employment authorization. In addition, J-1 students from other universities may work at FSU through Academic Training (AT). They will have written authorization from their university/program sponsor. The authorization will give the dates of the employment and will specify the name of the employer.

Individuals with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card)

USCIS issues EAD cards for various categories of individuals eligible to work. The card will have the dates of the authorization. The ability for the individual to extend the authorization depends on the category of work authorization.

If you know that the individual is an F-1 student (the student status remains even after graduation for the period of Optional Practical Training, OPT, work authorization), the employment must be in the F-1’s field of study. Students in STEM fields may extend the typical 1-year of OPT authorization by up to 2 years if employed by an E-Verify employer and if the student and employer complete the Training Plan and apply through the international student office of the school from which the student graduated. Note that an FSU employer of a student on STEM OPT agrees to notify the student’s internationals student advisor within 5 days of a termination.

J-1 Research Scholars, Professors, Short-term Scholars, or Specialists

J-1 Exchange Visitors with a DS-2019 form issued by FSU may be employed on campus. The DS-2019 form should reflect the program sponsor (FSU) as a source of support. If there are changes in funding (additions, reductions, etc.) the department should notify Tanya Schaad so that she can update funding information as required by federal regulations.

J-1 Exchange Visitors with a program sponsor other than FSU can only work at FSU with specific authorization from the program sponsor. In the case of research scholars, professors, short-term scholars, or specialists, the work could only be performed as an independent contractor.


FSU may not employ or provide payment for services to Individuals with B-2 (visitor for pleasure) or WT (visa waiver – tourist) status. FSU may provide an honorarium or stipend to an individual in B-1 (visitor for business) or WB (visa waiver – business) as long as the individual is not on the FSU campus for more than 9 days. FSU may also reimburse reasonable expenses. Contact the Payroll Tax team at with questions about payments to WB/B-1 visitors.

H-1B and E-3

FSU's Office of the General Counsel files H-1B and E-3 petitions for FSU employees at the request of the employing department. The H-1B and E-3 are employer-specific. FSU may only employ H-1B nonimmigrants after petitioning USCIS. The advance paperwork for E-3 is somewhat different. The I-797 document provides specific dates for an H-1B employee and the individual’s I-94 is evidence of the H-1B status. The I-94 provides evidence of E-3 status and duration of employment authorization.


Like the H-1B, TN (Treaty NAFTA) status is employer-specific. Either the Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer at a port of entry or USCIS (through a petition filed by FSU at a USCIS Service Center) must have issued the TN status on the basis of specific FSU employment. FSU would be indicated in the passport (if handled by a CBP officer) or on an I-797 form (if processed by USCIS). The TN status would be on the employee’s I-94.

Other Statuses

For questions regarding payment to individuals in other non-immigrant statuses, please contact Leslie Crosdale, Associate General Counsel,

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