Richmond Home

International Employment for Faculty and Staff

For Nonresident Aliens and Resident Aliens for Tax Purposes

International faculty and staff hires, unlike U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, complete portions of their employment paperwork with OIT, rather than Human Resources (HR). Your main points of contact for the hiring process will be HR and your department, however, OIT will work with you as well. OIT will also assist you with the SSN application process, if you do not already have an SSN. Below are the steps you need to follow so that you can meet with OIT.

Employment Process
Step 1: Obtain an on-campus job

HR maintains an online listing of open jobs on-campus. Follow the application instructions to apply for and be hired for a job.

Step 2: Obtain a U.S. Visa

Your UR Department Supervisor, the Office of International Education (OIE), and Human Resources will work with you to help you apply for the appropriate visa and to start initial hiring paperwork. HR will contact you to schedule appointments for you to meet with HR and OIT to complete hiring and taxation paperwork. The meetings are usually scheduled for your first day on campus.

Step 3: FNIS

After HR has contacted you to schedule your meetings, Devon Slough in OIT will email you with a secure passworded link to FNIS (Foreign National Information System). FNIS is the website where you will enter in your personal information (name, addresses, passport, visa, previous US visits and visas, etc.) The FNIS information must be entered before you can meet with Devon Slough.

Step 4: OIT Meeting

Attend your scheduled meeting with Devon Slough. During this meeting you be given several employment and taxation documents to sign and you will begin the social security card process, if you do not already have an SSN. 

Bring the following documents to your meeting:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Electronic I-94 card or paper I-94 card.  The electronic I-94 card can be printed from the CBP (Customs & Border Protection) website after you enter the US
  • I-20, DS-2019, I-797 or other visa paperwork
  • Contractual hiring letter from the UR hiring department
  • Social Security Card (SSN), if available
Frequently Asked Questions
Working Without Authorization

Non-US individuals are not permitted to begin their on-campus employment without completing the full hiring process. Individuals who begin their employment without authorization risk being reported to U.S. Customs and Immigration as working illegally and face the consequence of deportation without the ability to apply for future U.S. visas. Working without authorization is a work violation that is taken very seriously at UR and can result in termination from the UR employment system.


There is a common misconception that volunteer work is not employment, but that is only true if the volunteer activity is charitable in a traditional way. Under immigration law, unpaid employment is still employment if it meets any of the three tests:

  • the individual is compensated in any way for services from a US source (typically the entity at or for which the services are performed)
  • but for the services, the US entity would have to hire a US worker to perform the services
  • the primary benefit of the services inures to the US entity at or for which the services are performed

Foreign nationals may only volunteer for jobs that are traditionally filled by non-paid volunteer workers.  Volunteering for any other position is viewed as taking a position that would otherwise be filled by a US citizen or work-authorized alien.

If the activity is really unpaid employment, it is prohibited during unauthorized periods including the 60-day post OPT period. Any volunteer activity must be cleared through OIT and Student Employment in advance.

Training Experience

If services are provided, and if they would be considered to primarily benefit the alien if no productive value is provided to the US entity (except incidentally), and if the services constitute a bona fide training experience to the alien. If any work product is provided to the hosting entity, however, the activities are considered employment and would require employment authorization.

Gap in Visa

If there is an unavoidable gap between the end of one visa status and the start of another visa status, the non-US individual must stop working during the gap period. The non-U.S. individual cannot volunteer time until the new visa is approved or begins. In fact, he or she shouldn’t go anywhere near the department in any type of employment or research capacity until the change of status approval is received.  Any activity that falls under the job description that the non-U.S. person will ultimately be paid for, once the change of visa status is approved, should be avoided.

Working While Abroad

Non-U.S. individuals classified as non-resident aliens (NRA) by the IRS who work for UR while they are living abroad are not subject to U.S. payroll taxes. The income is considered foreign-sourced by the IRS. Individuals who will work abroad for UR should ask their supervisor to email Nancy Colón in OIT with the dates the individual is working abroad.

Working in a Different U.S. State

Occasionally, a UR employee’s job duties will require the individual to work outside of Virginia. If this is to occur, the department and the employee must contact OIT with the specifics. UR is required to report payroll taxes to the state where an individual is working.

Last Paycheck Before Leaving U.S.

In order to avoid cashing a U.S. paycheck abroad, employees who are leaving the U.S. and who will not be returning can request that their last paycheck be issued early (before they leave the U.S.) This must be done with the department’s approval. Have your supervisor contact the Payroll Office.

Social Security Card Information (SSN)

International individuals may be employed and be paid for their work without an SSN. In fact, a non-US individual will not be issued an SSN without proof of current employment.

  • If you do not have an SSN, you will begin the SSN application process when you meet with Nancy Colón in OIT
  • You must apply in person for an SSN at the Richmond Social Security Administration (SSA) office. You will need to bring the application (generated by OIT) and your documents to the SSA. OIT will provide you with the directions to the SSA and give you a list of required documents for the application process.
  • Your SSN will be mailed to your local US address about 1–2 weeks after you submit your application at the SSA.
  • Once you receive your SSN, you must return to OIT so that a copy can be made for your employment file.
  • IMPORTANT: While an SSN is not required for employment purposes, it is required for tax purposes. The IRS will not accept a tax treaty form without an SSN. And, the IRS has begun to deny tax refunds when federal tax returns are submitted without an SSN.
Electronic I-94 Card Tips

You will only be able to print your electronic I-94 card AFTER you have entered the US.

  • Print the electronic I-94 card BEFORE you meet with Devon Slough
  • CBP Website: Click on “Get I-94 Number”
  • If you are having problems obtaining your electronic I-94 card from the CBP website, verify that you are entering in your name as it is listed on your passport and not on your U.S. visa.
  • If you have not recently exited the U.S. and you are still in possession of an old paper I-94 card, then bring this paper I-94 card to the meeting with Devon Slough.
  • Non-U.S. individuals entering the U.S. should confirm that the U.S. Customs and Immigration passport entry stamp includes all required information. The passport entry stamp should be annotated with (1) date of admission; (2) class of admission (visa type); and, (3) admitted until date (for F-1 and J-1 visas this will say “D/S” instead of an actual date).

Contact Us

Payroll & International Taxation
Maryland Hall, Room G-24