Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I have to attend orientation?
- Yes. The international student Orientation is mandatory and all international students on F-1 visa are required to attend. At orientation, you will receive information regarding federal regulations affecting your immigration status, as well as have an opportunity to meet other international students and international peer mentors who can assist you with your transition.
- Do I need to schedule an appointment to speak to an advisor?
- Yes. You must make an appointment with a DSO so that you can receive the necessary attention and appropriate advice. To make an appointment, please call 313-496-2756 or e-mail email@example.com.
- Can I drop below full-time?
- No. To maintain your immigration status you are required to enroll full-time during the fall and spring terms (12 credit hours). Exceptions to the full-time requirement must be approved by your WCCCD DSO BEFORE dropping below full-time.
- I am out of status. What should I do?
- If you are out of status you must schedule an appointment to meet with DSO immediately to review your options in returning to status.
- Can I take the Summer Semester Off?
- If you are enrolled full-time in the fall and spring semesters and intend to continue full-time studies the following term you are eligible to take the summer term off. However, you need to get your WCCCD DSO’s permission first.
- Do I have to attend an F-1 Employment Workshop in order to apply for CPT or OPT?
- Yes. If you are planning to work off-campus in the U.S. you must get authorization for either Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). To apply for either of these F-1 employment benefits, you must view the online employment workshop on the WCCCD website, or attend a live employment workshop hosted by the WCCCD Organizational Development Institute. You must complete the workshop acknowledgement form and set up an appointment to meet with your WCCCD DSO before engaging in any type of off-campus employment.
- Can I work full-time on-campus?
- Working on campus is NOT an entitlement. F 1 students may work at any qualifying on-campus job that does not displace a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. You can work up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring terms with authorization from your WCCCD DSO. During the summer vacation, spring break and holiday season, you may engage in full-time on-campus employment starting on the Monday of the vacation period and ending on the Thursday before classes begin. This is of course contigent upon availability of positions. Check frequently with your WCCCD DSO
- Can I extend my OPT end date?
- If you are on OPT after graduation, you are not eligible to extend the OPT end date unless you earned your post completion OPT degree in one of the STEM majors listed in Classification of Instructional Programs codes published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES CIP codes), that have been designated by ICE as science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) degrees. If you are on OPT following completion of a STEM degree AND working for an employer registered with E-Verify, you may apply for a 17-month extension of your OPT. You may visit http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm for a list of majors that qualify for the STEM extension. You may need to check with the International Student office to find out if your program has a CIP code that is on this list.
- I need a Social Security number. What should I do?
- You can obtain a social security number once you have obtained employment and authorization from your WCCCD DSO. You must apply for a social security number through your local social security office. For the location nearest you, please go to https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp and type in your zip code. You may also call 1-800-772-1213 or visit http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10181.html. You may download the social security application (Form SS-5) online at http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf
- How Soon Can I Get A Driver's License At The Secretary Of State?
- Please allow for two weeks after your entry semester begin before going to apply for your driver's license.
- Do I need a new signature on my I-20 every time I travel?
- No, the travel signature on page 3 is valid for 12 months.
- My I-20 was not stamped upon reentry into the U.S. What should I do?
- Generally, your I-20 is only stamped upon initial entry at the port of entry; it is not stamped each time you travel.
- What happens if my visa expires?
- A visa is an “entry document” used to enter the U.S. If it expires in the U.S., there is no need for concern as long as you are maintaining valid F-1 status. However, if you plan to leave the U.S., you will need a valid visa for re-entry to the U.S. Visas are issued at the U.S. embassies/consulates abroad. Check with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country regarding visa renewal requirements. Students must obtain a new I-20 for visa renewal from the International Student office.
- What happens if my I-20 expires?
- You are considered to be out of status with the Department of Homeland Security if your I-20 expires. DO NOT LET THIS DOCUMENT EXPIRE. If it has expired, schedule an appointment to meet with your WCCCD DSO immediately to discuss how to get back in status.
- What if my I-20 will expire before I complete my program?
- To maintain status, you must obtain a new I-20 showing a program extension BEFORE your current I-20 expires. You may request an extension of your I-20 no earlier than 120 days prior to the program end date listed on your I-20. You must schedule an appointment to meet with your WCCCD DSO immediately to process the extension.
- I lost my I-20. What should I do?
- If your I-20 is lost, damaged, or stolen, you must request a new I-20 from the International Student office by making an appointment to see your WCCCD DSO. If your I-20 is stolen, you should file a police report with the police department as soon as possible.
- Is there a problem if my I-94 does not say "D/S"?
- YES. “D/S” means “duration of status” and all F-1 students must have an I-94 with this annotation. If your I-94 does not reflect this, you must meet with your WCCCD DSO immediately.
- I want to travel outside the U.S. What should I do?
- If you want to travel outside the U.S. you must have a valid F-1 visa, a valid I-20 with a travel signature (travel signatures are valid for one year), and a valid passport (valid at least six months into the future). If you are planning to travel to a country other than your home country, view this link www.embassy.org for travel guidelines and visa requirements.
- Can I apply online?
- No. International student application materials must be submitted by mail or in person. Original documents are required.
- Can I take classes at other colleges while I am using the WCCCD I-20?
- The WCCCD I-20 requires all courses to be taken at WCCCD. However, in rare cases, enrollment at another college part-time (no more than 6 credits) can be authorized if a required course has been cancelled or is not offered at WCCCD. Students must obtain written documentation from their counselor and authorization from the DSO.
- Can international students apply for financial aid?
- No. International students are not eligible for Federal or State aid.
- Are my fees due at the time of registration?
- Yes. Students should be prepared to pay all fees at the time of registration. However, WCCCD will allow 65% of the tuition and fees to be paid while arrangements are made for the balance.
- Do I have to pay for my fees all at once?
- Yes. Your full semester fees must be paid at the time of registration.
- Can I take online courses?
- Yes. However, the number of online courses that may be taken is limited. Visa regulations require international students to enroll in and complete 12 credits each semester; only three of the twelve credits can be online coursework. Nine credits must be traditional, in-class coursework every semester.
- I want to change my major – what should I do?
- If you need to change your major, you first need to meet with an academic advisor. During your appointment, you will generate a new academic plan with your advisor. Please bring your new academic plan of work to the DSO. We will make a copy of your new plan, and begin the process of updating your SEVIS record and I-20. Please allow us between 5-7 business days to issue you a new I-20 with your updated major.
- What should I do if I want to drop a class because I am struggling?
- Most importantly, do NOT drop your class without consulting with the DSO, especially if your enrollment falls below full-time! WCCCD has resources for students who are struggling in their classes! Your instructor is a valuable resource; he/she may be able to assist you with extra reading, or suggested study tips or resources. If you have tried this method, and still want to drop a class, please come by and speak to the DSO about your desire to drop a class. Please note that you are required to be enrolled in and complete at least 12 credits. You will need to meet with the DSO BEFORE you drop below full-time. Dropping a class and being enrolled in less than 12 credits will have negative immigration-related consequences.
OMB has approved a new version of form I-539. Click here for more detail.