Center for International Services & Programs

Current Student FAQ

If your question is not answered here, you can contact us at

Do I have to always be a full-time student?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires that all individuals in F-1 (student) status pursue a full course of study for the duration of their status. At CSU, this means a minimum of 12 credits for undergraduate students and a minimum of 8 credits for graduate students except when the student needs a lesser course load to complete the course of study during the current term. However, there are exceptions and these include the following:

1.You have completed all course work and are now only working on your thesis or dissertation.
2. It is the last semester of your program of study.
3. You are seriously ill and your doctor has prohibited you from attending school.
4. You are delivering a baby during the upcoming semester.
5. You are on a full time approved CPT.

If any of these situations apply to you for a semester, you MUST complete the attached Under Enrollment form and submit it to our office in the Main Classroom Building in MC106. Or FAX it to us at (216) 687-3965.

This must be in our office no later than the first day of school.

What do I have to do if I want to travel outside the United States?

The student should stop by the International Student Advisor's Office for a signature endorsement on the I-20. The advisor will check current registration status of student. If the student is in status, an endorsement will be done. The student can pick up the endorsed I-20 at the front desk after two full business days have passed.

I want to work / I need permission to work, what should I do?

On-Campus Employment
F-1 visa students may work on campus. Once an offer of on-campus employment has been made to a student, they must come to the Center for International Services and Programs (CISP) and get the Social Security form. They must then take that form to the hiring department and have them sign the form. The form must then be returned to the CISP for approval. After the signature has been obtained from the CISP the students will then take the form to the Social Security Administration to apply for their Social Security card. All postings for on-campus employment are at /enrollmentservices/financialaid/employment/index.html. Students may only work up to 20 hours during the semester and up to 40 hours during the summer. The hiring department will help to complete all other paperwork regarding employment.

Off-Campus Work
Students, who are in F-1 status, may not work off-campus without employment authorization. After being in F-1 status and being full-time for 9 consecutive months, a student may consider applying for off-campus work. Work opportunities are, however, very limited as the United States tries to protect its job market.

Could I get a new Form I-20 if I lost my original copy?

The student should call the International Student Advisor's Office to schedule an appointment to meet with the international student advisor to discuss the lost Form I-20 and to request a new one. Generally, students will be encouraged to look carefully for the missing Form I-20. If the Form I-20 was stolen, the student will be encouraged to file a police report. A replacement Form I-20 may then be issued to the student.

I lost my Form I-20 form. What should I do?

You need to request a new form from the CISP office. Processing time will take approximately 2-3 days.

I lost my passport and Form I-94 card. Can you replace it?

We cannot replace your passport or Form I-94. You will need to contact the embassy of your country in Washington, D.C. to report the loss and request a new passport. To replace your Form I-94 card, you will have to file Form I-102 and send it to USCIS along with the appropriate filing fee.

Can I work on campus?

Yes, you can, if you are a J-1 or F-1 student. On campus employment is incidental to your status, but you cannot work more than 20 hours when school is in session. You may work up to 40 hours during the summer holiday. J-1 students whose program sponsor is an organization other than CSU (such as Fulbright, IIE, LASPAU, AMIDEAST, ISEP, etc) must secure permission from the program sponsor before accepting employment.

I want to bring my wife or children to stay with me in the U.S. What should I do?

Please contact the CISP. You will receive some initial information about your rights and responsibilities when bringing dependents to the U.S. You will complete a request form for dependents, which will be endorsed by CISP. You will have to submit this form in our office in KB 1150, along with proof that you will be able to support your dependents financially. The university requires proof of an additional $3,000 for a spouse, $1,500 for the first dependent child, and $1000 for each additional child.

Can my parents be included in my Form I-20?

No. Only spouses and dependent children can be added to your Form I-20 form.

Can my wife / husband work?

Spouses in F-2 status cannot work under any circumstances. Spouses in J-2 status may work with USCIS (formerly INS) permission.

Can I renew my visa without leaving the United States?

No. Visas can be obtained and renewed only outside the U.S.

I have a valid visa in my old passport, but I have a new passport. Can I still use my visa?

Yes, you can use your valid visa in your old passport. When you travel, you will have to carry both your new passport, and the old one with the visa in it. If you have to return your old passport when you get a new one, you will lose your visa, and have to apply for a new one before you return to the U.S.

My Form I-20 is going to expire, do I need to extend it?

Please see the International Student Advisor to discuss your reason for waiting to extend your degree program/Form I-20. Only students with legitimate academic reasons will be authorized for program extension.

My visa is going to expire, what should I do?

The visa is a travel document issued by a U.S. embassy/consulate abroad, usually in the student's home country and it is a permission by the U.S. government to legally enter the U.S. It is not possible to obtain a visa while you are in the U.S., however if your visa expires you can remain in the U.S. as long as your Form I-20 as well as your I-94 are valid and you are a full-time student.

What if I want my family or friends from my home country to attend my commencement?

You could certainly do so. You will need to contact the International Student Advisor and provide all the necessary information about a family member or friend, for example, his or her name, date of birth and relation to you.

I don't work in the US. Do I need to file information to IRS?

If you have NOT worked in the US, you will NOT receive a W-2 form but you need to file Form 8843 which you can download from

I plan to go home. How long can I stay in the U.S. before I go home?

All students have a 60 day grace period after completion of studies but you must leave the US before the 60 day period is met.

I plan to go to another school. What should I do?

Request your SEVIS Form I-20 to be electronically sent by completing our Transfer Out form at and include a copy your admission letter from the new school. You must have your record transferred NO LATER than 60 days after you complete studies and you must be enrolled in classes at the new school no later than 5 months after completion of studies.