Immigration and Visas

Obtaining your F-1 visa

You are responsible for obtaining your F-1 student visa after you are admitted to Clark College. Follow the steps below to obtain an F-1 visa:

  1. Receive your international student admissions packet and I-20 (official immigration document from the college).
    • It takes up to 2 weeks to process your admission after a complete application with all required documents is submitted.
    • An admission packet that includes an I-20 and pre-arrival information will be mailed to you.
    • If you are outside the U.S., a tracking number from UPS will be emailed to you.

  2. Pay the SEVIS fee and prepare for your visa interview.

IMPORTANT: After you receive an F-1 visa, contact international@clark.edu to confirm your arrival and orientation attendance.

SEVIS Fee payment information: https://fmjfee.com

Study in the States information: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students

F-1 Visa information: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/study-exchange/student.html

U.S. Embassy information: http://www.usembassy.gov/

Maintaining your F-1 status

It is YOUR responsibility as an international student to maintain your F-1 status while in the U.S. International student advisors are trained to help you understand immigration policies. It is very important for you to talk with an international student advisor about any changes that may affect your immigration status and SEVIS record.

Failure to report changes in your situation may result in SEVIS (immigration record) termination. General immigration information is listed below:

Change of Address

If you move to a new address, have a new email address or phone number, you must notify the International Programs office within 10 days. You must also change your address in your MyClark account.

Change of Major

If you change your major area of study, you must:

  • Make an appointment with your academic advisor to change your major and request a new Clark College Educational Plan.
  • Notify International Programs of a change of major by making an appointment with an international student advisor.

Change of Status

If you change anything that might be connected to your immigration status, such as dropping classes, break in study, leaving the U.S., marriage, birth of a baby, or other, you must notify the International Programs office of the change in your immigration status.

Completion of Program

When you are ready to leave Clark College, or graduate, you must:

  • Notify the International Programs office of your graduation or departure.
  • Submit the Transfer Request form to International Programs if you are transferring to another school within the U.S.
  • Submit the Graduation Application to Credential Evaluations by the 10th day of the term you are graduating.

 

Employment

Employment for international students with F-1 status is controlled by the U.S. government. Most forms of employment must first be authorized by USCIS, a government agency.  You must meet with an international student advisor to discuss employment on or off campus. Unauthorized employment is viewed as a serious violation by the U.S. government and may result in a loss of F-1 status.

On-Campus Employment

If you are in-status, and have a Clark College 2.0 GPA or higher, you are eligible to work on campus. If you want to learn more about on campus employment:

Off-Campus Employment

Employment off-campus is NOT permitted while you are a student unless approved by USCIS under very limited circumstances. If you want to learn more about off-campus employment:

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is a paid experience or approved internship directly related to your major area of study.  OPT is authorized by USCIS. If you want to learn more about OPT:

  • Review the OPT fact sheet.
  • Apply for OPT about 90 days (1 term) before you complete your academic program at Clark College, to meet government deadlines.
  • Meet with an international student advisor.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is a special internship or work experience required for specific degrees and certificates. To find out if you are eligible, schedule an appointment with an international student advisor.

Severe Economic Hardship (SEH)

If you experience a severe and unexpected financial problems, you may be eligible to apply to USCIS for employment authorization. To apply for SEH:

  • Understand that eligibility is very limited and is not guaranteed.
  • Schedule an appointment with an international student advisor. 

Full-time Study

You are required to be a full-time student to maintain your immigration status which means:

  • 18 credits per term for students enrolled in the Intensive English Language Program (IELP).
  • 12 credits per term for students enrolled in college level classes.
  • Exceptions, including vacation term, leave of absence and reduced course load, must be approved in advance by an international student advisor.

Leave of Absence (outside the U.S.)

Students planning to leave the U.S. and return to study at Clark College, may request a leave of absence. To request a leave of absence you must:

  • Be out of the U.S. for the entire term to be approved for a leave of absence.
  • Complete the International Programs request form.
  • Make an appointment with an international student advisor.

If you are eligible for a leave of absence, your international student advisor will prepare a new I-20 with a travel signature for you.

  • Your SEVIS record will be terminated.
  • You must contact International Programs at least 60 days before you return to the U.S. to reactivate your SEVIS record.
  • Failure to contact International Programs may result in being denied entry into the U.S.

Reinstatement

If your SEVIS record is terminated, you may be eligible to apply to USCIS for reinstatement of your F-1 student status. Make an appointment with an international student advisor to discuss reinstatement.

Transfer

International students planning to transfer to another school, college or university in the U.S. must:

  • Submit a SEVIS transfer release form from your new school (if required).
  • Submit the letter of admission from the new school to International Programs (required).
  • Transfer out only between terms, not in the middle of a term.
  • Maintain your F-1 status. Do not stop studying if you plan to transfer.

If you are eligible to transfer, International Programs will transfer your SEVIS record to the new school.

Travel

International students planning to travel outside the U.S. must:

  • Request a travel signature on their I-20 (immigration form) by completing an International Programs request form.
  • Make an appointment to meet with an international student advisor.
  • Bring your request form, passport, visa, I-20 and copy of next term registration (if available) to your appointment with your international student advisor.
  • Renew your passport or visa, (if needed) to return to the U.S.

If you are eligible for a signature, your international student advisor will sign your I-20.

Vacation Term (inside the U.S.)

Students planning to stay in the U.S., but not study, may be eligible for a vacation term. To be eligible for a vacation term, you must:

If you are eligible, an international student advisor will approve your vacation term.