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Information for Current International Students

 

Legal & Immigration Issues
   
Compliance with the Law
USCIS Rules & Regulations
   
Full Course of Study
   
Distance Ed & Online Courses
   
Reduced Course Load
   
Change of Major
   
Unpaid Work  Exp/Internship
   
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
   
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
   
Social Security Number
   
Completion of Degree
   
Transfer to Another Institution
   
Extension of Stay
   
Grace Periods
   
Visa Renewal

Health Insurance
Concurrent Enrollment
Work on Campus

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RULES AND REGULATIONS

LEGAL AND IMMIGRATION ISSUES
The International Admissions and Immigration Advisor in the Admissions Office is your primary liaison with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS.  The International Admissions and Immigration Advisor is well informed about USCIS regulations and can advise you on proper compliance with USCIS procedures.  It is important that you do not rely on the advice of friends regarding immigration matters.   Situations often vary, so it is advisable that you contact the International Admissions and Immigration Advisor, or an immigration attorney on all matters that might affect your visa status.

To remain in good standing with USCIS, consult with the International Admissions and Immigration Advisor BEFORE you do anything that might jeopardize your right to remain in the U.S., BEFORE you begin a new degree objective, change of major, change marital status, sponsors, transfer schools, leave the United States (even to Tijuana), or secure any employment.

Compliance with the law involves the following: 

1.  Maintain the validity of your passport for a minimum of six months at all times. The consulate or embassy of your country in the U.S. will renew it.  

2.   All international students have to report any change in address, phone number, email address, change of major or any other important information within 10 days to the International Student Admissions Office through a form called "Change of Address/SEVIS Update" form.  Cuyamaca College is required by law to have current information on all international students at all times and need to report any changes in SEVIS.

Failure to maintain your non-immigrant visa status can result in serious immigration problems which could ultimately lead to deportation from the United States.  The International Admissions and Immigration Advisor has additional information if you wish to discuss non-immigrant visa status.

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USCIS RULES AND REGULATIONS

FULL COURSE OF STUDY
All F-1 students have to be enrolled in and complete at least 12 units per semester (Spring and Fall) which has to be reported in SEVIS.

DISTANCE EDUCATION AND ONLINE COURSEWORK
No more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per semester may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on line or through distance education facilities.

REDUCED COURSE LOAD
There are only a few legitimate reasons to be enrolled in less than 12 units. Reduced course load always needs prior approval!  A student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval will be considered out of status.  A counseling appointment and a completed petition are required! Click here to print the petition.

CHANGE OF MAJOR
Students who wish to change their major during their studies at Cuyamaca College need prior approval!  A counseling appointment and a petition are required!
Click here to print the petition.

The student also needs to submit the following paper work together with the petition:

UNPAID WORK EXPERIENCE/INTERNSHIP
Prior approval by petition is needed.  Click here to print the petition.

CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING
Curricular practical training (CPT) is a paid work experience class with credit towards your degree.  Prior approval for paid work experience is needed.   Click here to print the petition.  A counseling appointment and a completed petition are required! 

OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT)
Optional practical training is available for students enrolled in many of the majors offered at Cuyamaca College; some majors are excluded.  Post completion OPT has to be applied for prior to the end of the last semester of completion of your degree.  OPT is available for up to a total of 12 months and if taken after graduation it has to be completed within 14 months after the last day of school.  For more details on requirements, please contact Vanessa Saenz.  A counseling appointment and a completed petition is required! Click here to print the petition.

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
International students can apply for a social security number only if they are approved for work.  No other reason is accepted by the Social Security Administration.  A letter from the International Student Admissions Office is necessary.  Completed petition is required!

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COMPLETION OF DEGREE
Students
who are eligible for graduation must apply for graduation and petition prior to the end of their last semester.  Applying for graduation can be done in the Admissions and Records Office.  Deadline to submit application for graduation is listed in the Class Schedule calendar.  A counseling appointment and completed petition are required! Click here to print the petition.

Deadlines to submit application for graduation are listed in the Class Schedule calendars each semester.

TRANSFER TO ANOTHER INSTITUTION
A petition must be completed with the international student counselor prior to the end of their final semester at Cuyamaca College.  In addition, a student who decides to transfer to another institution must provide an original letter of acceptance from the prospective school before the end of the 60-day "grace period."  Click here to print the petition.

EXTENSION OF STAY
Any F-1 student who is maintaining status and making normal progress toward completion of his/her educational objective, but who is unable to complete the course of studies by the program end date on form I-20, must apply for a program extension prior to the end date stated on the I-20.  A counseling appointment and completed petition are required!  Click here to print the petition.

IN ADDITION, a student who decides to transfer to another institution must provide an original letter of acceptance for the prospective school before the end of the 60-day grace period to the International Admissions and Immigration Advisor to be properly transferred in SEVIS.

GRACE PERIODS
The grace period regulations are as follows:

  • A 60-day period for those who have completed their course of study and any authorized practical training and

  • A 15-day period for those who terminate their course of study before it is complete with authorization prior to termination.

Students who terminate their course of studies without prior approval or otherwise fail to maintain status are not eligible for any additional period and have to leave immediately.

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VISA RENEWAL
Students who need to renew their F-1 student visa during their studies need to petition at least 2 months before they are leaving the USA to visit their home country where they can renew their visa by making an advanced appointment with the US Embassy/Consulate in their home country for a visa interview.  They will need a letter from the International Student Admissions and Immigration Advisor for that interview.  A completed petition is required! 
Click here to print the petition.

The student also needs to submit the following documents together with the petition:

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HEALTH INSURANCE ASSISTANCE
Medical care in the United States is extremely expensive because the system is privately based.  The rate that expenses accumulate can be astounding. Costs for treatment at a clinic for a simple broken wrist can exceed $800, but may cost more.  Medical treatments are very expensive in the United States.  As an "F-1" visa student, you are not eligible for any federal or state welfare assistance, and if you are uninsured, you are held responsible for paying all your medical expenses.

As a consequence, Cuyamaca College STRONGLY RECOMMENDS that ALL International Students maintain valid health insurance coverage during their entire stay in the United States.  You will be asked for proof of insurance after you arrive in the United States.  The Student Insurance Agency web site offers information on international student insurance.  Just click on "International Plans" and then on state of California on the map to get started.

CONCURRENT ENROLLMENT AT ANOTHER COLLEGE
International students are not allowed to take classes at another college for the first two semesters of their studies.  Continuing students are only allowed to take classes that are counted towards the full course of study requirement at another college if the needed classes are not offered at Cuyamaca College or if there are schedule conflicts.  Students are encouraged to take all courses at Cuyamaca College however, exceptions are made on a limited basis. Completed petition is required! Click here to print the petition.

WORK ON CAMPUS
On campus work (20 hours/week during the semester and 40 hours/week during school breaks) can be applied for by petition after successful completion of at least 2 semesters at Cuyamaca College.  Click here for more detailed information.  Prior approval is required by petition!  Click here to print the petition.

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