It is important for international students to know the policies and regulations in order to maintain status in the U.S. and have the best possible learning experience. There are many benefits that international students can apply with other U.S. government agencies. Our Designated School Officials (DSO’s) and International Student Advisors are here to provide not only these details but also dependable support, advocacy, and resources for our multicultural student body. We strive to empower and advocate for our diverse student populations so that they may become leaders and contributing individuals in an inclusive global community.
Our goal is to guide students on maintaining F-1 status, USCIS regulations, acclimating to the U.S., work authorizations, options after graduation, and more.
New International Students:
- Review the F-1 Handbook to prepare for your arrival, the application process, and understand the policies and regulations
- Understand the international student life cycle and its benefits while studying in the U.S.
- Upon arrival, report to campus by attending New Student Orientation (NSO) and meet your DSOs and International Student Advisors
- Update your U.S. address using our Contact Update Link in order to be registered in SEVIS
- Email your International Student Advisor for any inquiries or concerns
Resources for Success as an International Student:
Know Your Student Benefits
- Apply for a driver’s license
- Obtain a social security number
- Work in the United States
- Participate in Training Opportunities
How to Maintain F-1 Status
It is the responsibility of each student to be familiar with the immigration requirements related to their status. Following the guidelines below may help you to avoid an accidental violation.
- Report to the DSO to have your SEVIS record registered in SEVIS in a timely manner
- Enroll in a full course load for the duration of your program
- Make normal progress towards completing the course of study
- Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures
- Abide by the grace period rules after your program ends
- Maintain satisfactory academic status throughout the duration of your program by attending your courses and achieving the program required G.P.A.
- Report any changes to your DSO, including U.S. address changes, employment changes, or visa changes
- Review Study in the States – Maintaining Status for additional details.
Please contact your International Student Advisor if you have any further inquiries or concerns.
Travel and Annual Vacation
International students are able to travel during their program of study. However, there are appropriate steps to be taken when traveling internationally during a break or an annual vacation to ensure smooth entry back into the U.S.
- Obtain a travel signature on your Form I-20 by completing the International Travel Request Form and emailing your International Student Advisor for additional inquiries
- Bring proper documentation to the U.S. Port of Entry
- Review more details at Study in the States – Traveling as an International Student and ICE | SEVP – Travel
Work Authorization and Training Opportunities
International students must obtain proper authorization in order to work in the U.S. Working without authorization is against the law and is grounds for termination of status.
Depending on your status and program of study, you may be eligible for on-campus or off-campus employment in the U.S. The following are some resources you can review from Study in the States and USCIS:
Other opportunities are available through practical training, where international students can gain on-the-job learning and experience, provided that the student qualifies and the position is directly related to the student’s program of study. The two types of practical training available are Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). Below are resources regarding practical training:
- Study in the States – Training Opportunities in the U.S.
- ICE | SEVP – Practical Training
- Study in the States – CPT Reminders
- Study in the States – STEM OPT
- Study in the States – Determining STEM OPT Extension Eligibility
Additional information on CPT and OPT requirements, as well as applying, can be found in the F-1 Student Handbook or acquired through emailing our International Student Advisors. Our advisors can provide you information on how to apply for practical training, including the forms and deadlines to submit each semester. Please email your designated International Student Advisor or contact the International Affairs Department if you have any further inquiries or concerns.
Additional Resources for other F-1 Related Inquiries
COVID-19 Updates for F-1 Students
Westcliff University remains committed to educating, inspiring, and empowering students during these unprecedented times. For international students, Westcliff provides the following information to support the additional responsibility of understanding the various regulations and guidance that have been established in response to this unique situation.
According to the March 2019 guidance for SEVP-approved universities, which has since been reaffirmed by the Department of Homeland Security, all active, continuing students are allowed to maintain their SEVIS status through a full course load of online classes for the time being. This includes F-1 students within the U.S., as well as F-1 students that have returned to their home countries during the pandemic and have maintained their full-time studies while abroad. Westcliff University continues to offer onsite instruction for initial F-1 students each semester as per the guidance of SEVP.
|Student Situation||Method of Instruction|
|Continuing students in the U.S.||100% online allowed|
|Continuing students outside of the U.S.||100% online allowed|
|New F-1 students (including Change of Status)||Hybrid component with onsite instruction required|