U.S. federal government regulations require international students to maintain F-1 student status while studying. It is your responsibility to be aware of the factors that impact your legal status and make sure you remain compliant. Non-compliance can be a very serious matter with severe consequences.
While the responsibility for maintaining compliance is yours, the Office of International Programs & Global Education is here to help you navigate the complexities of U.S. government regulations and procedures. This section will assist you by providing key information for maintaining your student status.
You must maintain full-time enrollment each academic quarter (except during designated vacation periods) and make normal progress toward the completion of your program of study. Full-time enrollment is defined as follows:
You must update the International Office within 10 days of any change. To update the International Office, complete a Student Information Update Form or stop by the International Office front desk.
If you are unable to complete your program of study before the program end date on your Form I-20, you must apply for an extension of stay with the International Office at least 30 days before the program end date on your Form I-20. You may be granted an extension if you have maintained status and show that the completion delay has been caused by academic or medical reasons, such as changes of major or research topic, unexpected research problems, or documented illness. Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extensions.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus work authorization which permits eligible F-1 international students to engage in paid or unpaid work experience which "is an integral part of the established curriculum" and "directly related to the student's major area of study." Employment includes alternate work/study internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum. If you have questions as to whether you may be eligible to apply for CPT, make an appointment with an international advisor by calling (425) 739-8145
Through OPT, F-1 students can gain hands-on work experience related to their academic field of study. Learn more about eligibility, the application process, and reporting requirements while on OPT in the links below.
There are numerous on-campus locations where you can work. We encourage you to start your job search with the Associated Student Government (ASG). Please see below for an employment guide that lists on-campus offices that commonly employ students
International Students who have been approved for on or off campus work will be required to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) before they may begin work. SSNs are generally assigned to F-1 students who are authorized to work in the United States and are used to report their wages to the IRS. Please be aware that an SSN is not a work authorization. How to Apply for an SSN:
To receive an SSN Support letter from the International Office, you must first be authorized to work (on-campus, CPT, or OPT). Then, request a SSN letter (if needed) at the International Office front desk or schedule an appointment with an advisor.
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