Spring 2020 classes have resumed online.
Please visit dcccd.edu/coronavirus for additional information and to learn how to prepare for online classes.

Current International Students

Maintaining Student Status

You are responsible for complying with the federal regulations, which are related to your F-1 student status. It is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations to avoid violating your immigration status.


An F-1 student may be admitted no more than 30 days from the program start date indicated on the I-20.

Attend the school noted on your I-20

Students must have a current, valid I-20 from the school you are attending. If you transfer from another school to Eastfield College, the transfer process must be completed before the semester begins.


You must enroll in and complete 12 credits every semester.

Concurrent enrollment

International students can concurrently enroll at another institution while being enrolled at Eastfield College. Your combined enrollment must be equivalent to a full-time course of study (12 credits). You will be required to enroll in at least nine credit hours at Eastfield College.

Keep your I-20 valid at all times

If necessary, request an extension of your I-20 at least 30 days before the expiration date.

Request a new I-20 if you change your degree level, program, source of funding, or number of F-2 dependents.

Request a travel signature from International Student Services prior to traveling outside the U.S. Travel signatures are valid for one year. Request travel signatures at least three weeks before your departure. F-2 dependents also require travel signatures.

If you decide to study elsewhere in the U.S., request a transfer of your SEVIS record before beginning studies at your new school.

Note:  It is your responsibility to keep all of your I-20s from each of the schools you attend in the U.S. Do not throw any of your I-20s away. When you travel, bring all I-20s with you.

Maintain the validity of your passport

Your passport should be valid at least six months into the future. If your passport will expire soon, contact your embassy. Once you have updated your passport, submit a copy of your new passport page to International Student Services.

Keep your address, phone, and emergency contact information updated

We are required to have this information on file at all times. Update your address within 10 days of any move.

Departing the US

Obtain approval from International Student Services before withdrawing from Eastfield College. If for some reason you cannot study, you must notify your DSO before withdrawing from your classes and leaving the U.S.


There are only two employment categories for F-1 students:

  1. On-campus
  2. Off-campus with prior approval.

F-1 students are automatically eligible to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week total while school is in session. During vacation periods (spring, summer, and winter breaks), you may work full-time on campus.

To work off-campus, you must apply for and receive authorization before beginning work. See the sections on Optional Practical Training, Curricular Practical Training, and Economic Hardship for more information.

F-2 dependents may not work.

Note: Eastfield College allows students to work up to 19.5 hours per week.

Training Opportunities

  • Spring Optional Practical Training Workshop
  • Spring Curricular Practical Training Workshop

Grace periods

Be aware of the grace periods associated with your status.

You have a 60-day grace period following the completion of your degree program and following the completion of Optional Practical Training (if applicable).

If you receive authorization from International Student Services to withdraw from all classes, you have a 15-day grace period, beginning on the date of the withdrawal, during which you must depart the U.S.

If you withdraw from all classes without first receiving authorization from International Student Services, you have no grace period and must depart the U.S. immediately.

If you are suspended or dismissed from the college, please speak with your DSO immediately.

Enrollment Requirements

F-1 students must abide by strict enrollment requirements in order to maintain their student status. The following section describes the specific enrollment requirements of F-1 students.

In your initial semester of study and every semester thereafter, except for vacations, you must be enrolled full-time (12 credit hours). There are some exceptions to this rule.

You must be enrolled full-time by the first day of classes to avoid possible termination of your SEVIS record.

Reduced Course Load Authorization

Immigration regulations permit exceptions to the full-time enrollment requirement with prior approval from your international student advisor. This is known as a Reduced Course Load Authorization.

Note: Students who drop below full-time without prior approval from an international student advisor may be in violation of their status.

Reduced Course Load for Academic Reasons

Academic reasons for dropping below full-time include improper course placement, initial English language difficulties, and reading or unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods. A DSO must recommend the reduced course load. Reduced course loads for academic reasons may be approved for only one semester during the student's degree program. 

Reduced Course Load for Medical Reasons

The reduced course load must be recommended by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist. A reduced course load for health reasons may be approved for no more than a cumulative period of 12 months during the student's degree program. Approvals will be given for only one semester at a time.

Reduced Course Load for Final Semester

Students completing their remaining degree requirements can enroll less than full-time in their final term. If, for example, you have only one class remaining to graduate, you may be approved for a reduced course load to complete your final class.

Note: Your final class cannot be an online course. If it is, you must add an additional on-campus course.


  1. Submit the Reduced Course Load Authorization Form.
  2. An international student advisor will review your request and, if eligible, update your SEVIS record to reflect the RCL.
  3. You will be notified by e-mail when this process is complete and your I-20 is ready for pick-up.
Note: Do not drop below full-time without receiving notification of your RCL approval.  

Extending Your I-20

Students must complete their studies by the program end date listed on the I-20. If additional time is needed to complete the program, an extension must be requested at least 30 days prior to the program end date. Extensions are granted only under limited circumstances. Once the program end date passes, extensions are not possible. 

In order to qualify for an extension, students must show that they have continually maintained status and that the extension is needed for compelling academic or medical reasons. 

Students are eligible for an extension if:

  • The delay is caused by documented academic or medical circumstances (Change of degree or program, change of research topic, unexpected research problems, or a documented illness)
  • You have sufficient financial resources to continue funding your studies and living expenses
  • The extension is requested in a timely manner (at least 30 days before the expiration date)

The following are not valid reasons for extension:

  • To enroll in extra courses for academic or personal interests
  • To finish pending coursework for an incomplete grade
  • To repeat a course or to improve GPA
  • To engage in non-required Curricular Practical Training
  • To enroll in coursework delayed by participation in Curricular Practical Training
  • To finish coursework due to academic probation or suspension


  1. Schedule an appointment with an advisor to discuss your eligibility.
  2. Complete the I-20 Extension Request form and financial documents and submit them to your international student advisor at least 30 days before your I-20 expires.
  3. An international student advisor will review your request and update your I-20 if eligible.
  4. You will be notified by email when this process is complete and your I-20 is ready for pick-up.

Updating Degrees/Education Level

Any changes to a student's academic degree must be reflected on the I-20. If you change your program or academic level (from Language Training to Associate Degree), you will receive an updated I-20.


  1. For a change of degree, submit the Change of Degree/Level form to ELLA immediately after the change. ELLA will verify the change before updating your I-20. Change of levels must demonstrate adequate funds to cover an entire year of expenses and complete their current level before a new I-20 can be created.
  2. If approved, you will be notified by email that your I-20 is ready for pick-up.

Leave of Absence

If you wish to take a semester off from studying, you must meet with your international student advisor to request a Leave of Absence.

Before taking a leave of absence:

  • Meet with an international student advisor to request and complete the Leave of Absence form.
  • You cannot remain in the U.S. while on a leave of absence.
  • You will be required to depart the U.S. within 15 days of the termination date.
  • If you take a leave of absence for more than five months, you will have to request a new I-20.
  • You will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training or Curricular Practical Training until you have completed two semesters (one academic year of enrollment).


1. Meet with an international student advisor to discuss your plans.

2. Submit the Leave of Absence form and flight itinerary.

3. You will be notified by e-mail when this process is complete.

Traveling In and Outside the U.S.

Traveling outside of the U.S. as an F-1 student is permitted as long as it does not disrupt your studies. Before traveling, you will need the following documents:

  • A valid passport. Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future.
  • A valid VISA. Ensure that your visa will not expire before your return date. If so, you will have to renew your visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country.
  • A travel signature. A DSO must sign your I-20 on page 2 of your I-20. The signature is valid for one year or until your program end date, whichever comes sooner.
  • A copy of your college transcript and program of study. This will prove your full-time enrollment to CBP. 

Note: At Eastfield, we require that you be registered for at least 12 credits hours in the following semester before obtaining travel signature.


  1. Visit with an international student advisor to request a travel signature.
  2. Register for the following semester (if applicable).

Probation and Suspension

Probation Students

International students on Probation 1 or 2 must report to ELLA with their program of study and a list of classes they wish to register for in order to get approval by an international student advisor.

Suspension Students

International students on suspension cannot attend Eastfield College for one semester. Students will have to either find a transfer school or return to their home country.

Dismissed Students

International students who are on academic dismissal cannot attend Eastfield College for 12 months.

Please see your International advisor for further information as it relates to your academic and immigration status.

Additional information related to suspensions and dismissals.

Transferring from Eastfield College


  1. Meet with an international advisor at Eastfield College.
  2. Submit your acceptance letter from the school you are transferring to.
  3. Complete the Eastfield College Transfer Out form to transfer your record to the school of your choice. Once your record has been released in SEVIS to the transfer in school, Eastfield College will not be able to cancel this process.


On-Campus Employment

International students are eligible to work on campus immediately after they have reported and registered for classes.

Students may work up to 19.5 hours on the Eastfield College campus.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

An F-1 student may be authorized to have 12 months of Optional Practical Training and become eligible for another 12 months of practical training when he/she changes to a higher educational level (bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees).


  1. Meet with an international student advisor to discuss your eligibility.
  2. Complete the Optional Practical Training Request Form.
  3. Complete the I-765 application for employment.
  4. Submit your Optional Practical Training Reporting Form with the job offer letter to International Student Services upon securing employment.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training is defined as an alternative work/study, internship, or cooperative education that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. Curricular Practical Training is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of request. Curricular Practical Training may not delay completion of the academic program.

An F1 student may be authorized to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum.

The Curricular Practical Training must be directly related to the student's major area of study.


  1. Submit the Curricular Practical Training Request Form.
  2. International Student Services will review your request and if eligible update your I-20 to reflect the Curricular Practical Training.
  3. You will be notified by e-mail when this process is complete.

Note: Do not begin work until you are approved for Curricular Practical Training.

Economic Hardship

If other employment opportunities are not available, an eligible F-1 student may request off-campus employment work authorization based upon severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control.


  1. Meet with an international student advisor to discuss eligibility.
  2. If it is determined that you are eligible to apply for economic hardship, you will need to submit the following documentation:
    • Copy of I-20 issued for economic hardship
    • A personal statement describing the unforeseen financial hardship situation and supporting documentation; for example, news articles, a letter from home telling of a change in family circumstances, proof of a currency devaluation in your country, etc.
    • Completed Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization (available from www.uscis.gov/i-765)
    • Completed Form I-912: Request for Fee Waiver (available from www.uscis.gov/i-912)
    • Check/money order for Form I-765 processing fee
    • Two full-face passport style photos. The photos must be identical and in color with a plain white background. They must be no more than 30 days old when the I-765 is filed with USCIS.
    • Copy of I-94
    • Copy of your current class schedule
    • Copy of transcripts from all U.S. schools
    • Copy of passport photo page
    • Copy of financial documentation
    • Copy of VISA if applicable
  3. Once you have prepared all these materials, schedule a meeting with an international student advisor. At the meeting, an advisor will review your application materials. After the review process is complete, you will submit the materials directly to USCIS.

Health and Safety

To maintain the safety of our students, International Student Services has the following requirements:

  • Consider getting health insurance. Having health insurance can substantially benefit you in the case of unexpected medical expenses. Visit the International Student Services office for a list of recommended providers.
  • Update your emergency contact information. Submit contact information for a parent, guardian, or spouse whom the college will contact in the event of a serious emergency. Update emergency contact information through eConnect under DCCCD Emergency Alerts Information.
  • Update your local address and cell phone number. Under F-1 regulations, you are required to submit your change of address within 10 days of moving. Please complete the Update Contact Information Form and email to EFCGlobal@dcccd.edu.