The International Student Office will provide each student with an I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility) which you must submit to the U.S. Consular Office abroad in your application for a student visa. In addition, you may be required to offer proof of financial support for your stay in the United States. You will receive an F-1 visa which indicates you have your financial obligations covered by either personal or outside private sources. While on-campus employment is permitted for international students, off-campus employment is restricted during a student’s first year and requires special authorization from USCIS thereafter. All F-1 and J-1 international students must follow the below set of immigration regulations as outlined by the U.S. government in order to maintain their international student status:
Grace Periods: F-1 students who complete an academic program or Optional Practical Training have a 60-day grace period and J-1 visa holders who complete an academic program or Academic Training have a 30-day grace period.
F-1/J-1 visa holders who have received prior authorization to withdraw from classes have 15 days to depart the U.S. after the withdrawal date. Students who withdraw from classes without prior authorization are not eligible for a grace period.
While the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations provide a variety of opportunities for F-1 international students to be employed during their time in F-1 student status, working without proper authorization is a serious violation of the F-1 student status. Please make an appointment to see Amanda Kang or Penelope Weston if you would like to discuss employment opportunities.
On-Campus Employment: On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours a week when school is in session during Fall and Spring semesters and 40 hours a week during summer vacation.
Off-Campus Employment: Off-campus employment is restricted during a student’s first year and requires special authorization from USCIS thereafter. The types of employment authorizations available to F-1 visa holders are as follows:
Please be sure that your passport remains valid while you are in the United States. Contact your home county's Consul General or Embassy to renew your passport 6 months before the expiration date.
Canadian Citizens  are exempt from the general requirement to have a U.S. visa.
In order to re-enter the U.S. after a temporary absence (less than 5 months), students must carry the following documents:
If you need a new visa in your passport for re-entry into the United States, you will need to follow the same procedures you followed when you secured your first visa, with some small exceptions. Check the website of the U.S. Consulate  where you will be applying for specific rules and the most current application procedures.
It is possible to get a new visa at a U.S. Consulate that is not in your home country. Be aware that you are applying as a "third-country national" when you do this. There may be additional items that you need to present to the Consular Officer. It is generally simpler to apply in your home country.
There are some instances where you can get a visa renewal without another interview. Check the website of the U.S. Consulate where you will apply to see if you are eligible. The U.S. Department of State is gradually expanding the number of consulates where this is available, so be sure you have current information.
Before you leave:
We are aware that life is complex and people run into situations where they need to travel unexpectedly.
Immigration regulations require that you have a valid travel signature (less than 12 months old) from your international advisor if you are in F or J status. Please make sure to come to see us when you encounter this situation.
F-1 Students on OPT must carry the following documents: