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Woodbury University is committed to providing services that promote educational and cultural experiences for international students and other members of the Woodbury community. We provide assistance with student visas and information about the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS, formerly INS) requirements, and advising on a variety of matters, including adjustment to life in the United States and issues pertaining to study at Woodbury University. Scheduling an appointment with the international student advisor may be made by calling (818) 252-5254.
Information for International Students:
International Students Guide - Fall 2009
Woodbury's International Students Guide is full of dates and guidelines for new international students and helpful resources for ALL international students. Check it out!
Basic BCIS Regulations - There are privileges associated with international student status, which are not available to students who have violated their status. The following is a summary of some of the BCIS regulations that apply to international students on F-1 visas to maintain legal status in the United States.
- Keep a valid passport at all times. Renewals may be arranged through the student's consulate in the U.S.
- Maintain a continuous enrollment and a full course study each semester of the academic year. This means that students must be enrolled in at least 12 units as an undergraduate, or at least 6 units as a graduate (MBA) student.
- Complete extensions before the student's I-20 form expires.
- Acquire the signature of your International Student Advisor before traveling.
Please scroll down to find answers to the following questions:
Interested in pursuing internship requirements for academic requirements by utilizing Curricular Practical Training?
Thinking of supplementing your enrollment at Woodbury with additional classes at another college by Concurrent Enrollment?
Family coming to visit?
Completing academic requirements and interested in Optional Practical Training?
Traveling and temporarily leaving the US for a vacation?
Graduating this semester or leaving Woodbury permanently?
On campus work is permitted up to 20 hours a week during the academic year unless Practical Training has been authorized. Full-time on-campus employment is possible during vacation periods. Please contact the International Student Advisor before accepting any employment offers.
Off-campus work permission prior to graduation may be granted under the following conditions:
- The student maintained a legal F-1 visa status for at least 9 months.
- The student elects to work in his/her field of study and use Practical Training.
- The student experiences severe unexpected financial hardship.
For questions call extension 254 to schedule an appointment.
Optional Practical Training for Students on F-1 Visas
What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
OPT is employment authorization given by the BCIS which gives international students on F-1 visas the opportunity to gain work experience directly related to the students' field of study.
When are students eligible?
Students who has been in lawful F-1 status consecutively for 9 months or more. Students on F-1 visas for English as a Second Language may not apply for OPT.
When can students apply for OPT?
Students may apply for OPT within 90 days before completion of studies. Applications must be received by BCIS by that time or the application is void.
What is the duration of OPT?
Students can receive a total of 12 months of full-time OPT. OPT granted after a course of study will be at the full-time rate. Part-time OPT granted during a student's course of study will be deducted at one-half the full-time rate.
Do students need a job offer before applying for OPT?
No - but students must have the intention of looking for a job related to his/her area of study and commensurate with his/her educational level.
When can a student start work?
A student may start work once BCIS has authorized OPT and the student has received the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Can students change jobs while on OPT?
Yes - students do not need a new EAD for each new job while on OPT.
Can an EAD be replaced?
Yes - students will need to submit a new application to request a new EAD and pay a fee of $120. It is a good idea to keep a photocopy of your EAD in a safe place.
How long does it take to receive authorization and an EAD from BCIS?
It takes BCIS anywhere between 2 weeks and 3 months to process the request. However, this will depend on their workload.
Can students travel outside the US while on OPT?
Yes - students must travel with the following documents:
- Form I-20 endorsed for travel by the Office of International Student Programs
- Valid passport with a valid F-1 visa
The Office of International Student Programs must have a photocopy of the EAD before the Form I-20 can be endorsed for travel. It is not recommended that a student travel outside the US while OPT authorization is pending as it will void the OPT application.
Obtain Form I-765 and instructions from the Office of International Student Programs in Cabrini Hall.
Curricular Practical Training for Students on F-1 Visas
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorization for temporary employment directly related to a student's major area of study (e.g. internship, practicum etc.). Such employment must also be an integral part of your studies.
Training which is required by your degree program always meets the requirements for Curricular Practical Training. Training which is not required by your degree program may meet the requirements for Curricular Practical Training if you receive academic credit for the employment experience and is an important part of your studies. Students must be in full-time legal F-1 visa status for a minimum of 9 months to be eligible to apply.
CPT may be exercised at the part-time rate (less than 20 hours a week) while during the academic year, and at the full-time rate (more than 20 hours a week) during the summer months.
Curricular Practical Training is authorized by the Office of International Student Programs upon receipt of the proper application materials, outlined below.
Obtain Form I-538, F-1 Curricular Practical Training Endorsement Form and instructions from the Office of International Student Programs in Cabrini Hall.
Download the form here. Complete the form and submit it to the Office of International Student Programs in Student Affairs, Cabrini Hall.
Family Visit: Letter of Invitation
Are your family members thinking of coming to the US to visit you? If so, you may request for a Letter of Invitation that may assist them in obtaining visas to enter the US.
All you need is to provide the following information:
- name of family members (please provide correct spelling)
- duration of their length of stay in the US (month and date will be helpful)
- where they will be staying while in the US (address, hotel name etc.)
- reason for visit
The Letter of Invitation will typically be available for pick-up 48 hours upon receipt of the above information, with the exception of weekends, vacations, and other holidays.
Travel for Students on F-1 Visas
Question: I am travelling outside the US. What do I do?
Students on F-1 visas and their F-2 dependents must have the following documents when travelling out and planning to re-enter the United States:
- valid passport;
- valid F-1 or F-2 entry visa;
- properly endorsed and valid Form I-20, and
- any previously issued I-797 approval notices for extension or change of status.
Bring the documents mentioned above to the Office of International Student Programs at least two weeks in advance of your departure from the U.S. Your documents will be checked to ensure that they are in order for you to travel and re-enter the United States.
You may only require an endorsement on the back of your I-20. That endorsement is valid for 12 months (six months if you are optional practical training).
* Citizens of Canada do not need a passport to enter the United States from countries in the Western Hemisphere, and do not need a U.S. entry visa in any case. However, the Form I-20 is still required.
If you have F-1 Optional Practical Training approval from BCIS, you would need to also carry your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with you when you travel, in addition to the documents mentioned above.
Question: My entry visa has expired. What do I do?
You may need to apply for a new U.S. entry visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in a country outside the U.S. You may obtain further information on visa application procedures by contacting the respective U.S. Embassy or Consulate in advance. It would be a good idea to obtain a letter of certificate from the Office of International Student Programs or a copy of your transcripts from the Registrar's Office when applying for a new visa.
Travel of less than 30 days to Canada, Mexico, or a Caribbean island (other than Cuba): You may not need to apply for a new U.S. entry visa if you plan to travel to a contiguous territory for less than 30 days, provided that you have a valid passport, I-94, properly endorsed I-20, and a U.S. entry visa that has not been cancelled. This provision is known as "automatic revalidation". You should not surrender your I-94 Card when you leave the United States; if you do so, you must obtain a new U.S. entry visa to return to the United States. Citizens of Iraq are not eligible for automatic revalidation. Furthermore, citizens of Iran and Libya may not be eligible for automatic revalidation as a one-entry visa may be considered as cancelled.
If you need a new U.S. entry visa to re-enter the United States, please note that there is never a guarantee that one will be issued at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. It is important that your travel documents are reviewed and endorsed, and that you carry them with you. It is a good idea to make copies of all of your documents, and keep them separate from the originals should anything unforseen happen.
It can be more difficult to obtain a new U.S. entry visa outside of your country of citizenship or permanent residence. There are several reasons including the fact that the U.S. Embassy/Consulate does not have any obligation to process visa applications from third-country nationals, and nonimmigrants who have overstayed their status in the U.S. are usually not eligible to apply for a visa in a third country.
If you have overstayed your F-1/F-2 status (remained in the U.S. beyond the 60-day grace period as of the last day of classes or Optional Practical Training), your visa is void. You must apply for a new F entry visa in your country of citizenship or legal permanent residence even if you were subsequently reinstated to F-1 status.
If you decide to apply for a U.S. entry visa in a third country, it is strongly suggested that you carry proof of your valid F-1 status with you. Examples of such proof include an official copy of your transcript from the Registrar's Office, or a Letter of Certificate from the Office of International Student Programs. In addition, it may take several days or weeks to get a visa outside of your home country.
Graduating? Departure Checklist:
If you are graduating this semester or permanently leaving the Woodbury University campus, this Departure Checklist may be helpful in attending to last minute arrangements.
- Give the Registrar's Office the address to which your diploma should be mailed or make arrangements for a friend to pick it up.
- Notify the U.S. Post Office of your new address.
- If you live on campus, be sure to contact the Office of Residence Life for check-out procedures. You would also need to inform Central Services of a forwarding address so that you can continue to receive your mail.
- Give your bank several weeks notice if you are planning to close your account. If you would prefer to keep your account open, check with the bank for associated rules and fees for accounts that are non-active.
- Arrange for shipping of your baggage and personal effects. Obtain insurance for unaccompanied baggage shipments. Check with your country's consulate for customs procedures for bringing personal belongings home.
- If you have earned any income while in the U.S., you may wish to obtain a tax clearance sailing permit from the Internal Revenue Service.
- If you are remaining in the U.S. for practical training or further study, make sure necessary arrangements are made regarding your nonimmigrant status.