International Student Services
Student Services Building
Office 48271 (2nd floor)
ISS Office Hours Announcments:
Aug. 20, 2018 - Closed for orientation
Sept. 3, 2018 - Campus closed
Summer 2018 Regular Office Hours:
|Monday||8 am - 5:30 pm|
|Tuesday||8 am - 5:30 pm|
|Wednesday||8 am - 5:30 pm|
|Thursday||8 am - 5:30 pm|
|Friday||8 am - 4:30 pm|
CURRENT F-1 VISA STUDENT
If you have any questions about your status or your academic goals, please stop by the International Student Services (ISS) Office located on the second floor of the Student Services Building (Room# 48271). Our trained staff is here to assist you with your specific needs. Come in for answers to general questions about your status or schedule an appointment with a counselor to discuss your educational plan.
As an F-1 student admitted to the United States you must meet certain obligations set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The general obligations are as follows:
- Have a valid passport at all times.
- Attend the school you are authorized to attend on your I-20.
- Continue to carry a full course load (12 units @ Pierce College) every fall and spring semester. Certain exceptions apply – you must receive written authorization from a Designated School Official (DSO) prior to dropping below a full course load.
- Leave the U.S. by the anticipated completion date on your I-20, or, prior to that date, apply for a program extension.
- Refrain from off-campus employment without written authorization from USCIS or the school.
- Limit employment, both on campus and off, to a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session.
- Report a change of residence within 10 days of the change.
- If you plan on taking on-line classes, only one on-line class (maximum 3 units) may be used to count towards a full course load per semester. The rest of your classes must be “in-person.”
You can also find more information about F-1 student policies on the Department of Homeland Security - Study In the States website.
Please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.
International students studying in the United States may face emergency situations while attending college. These emergencies can include natural disasters to man made events that effect your safety and school operations. It is important that F-1 students maintain status, even during emergency events, to the extent possible under the circumstances. Be sure you are signed up for campus emergency notifications through the Student Portal. These alerts typically explain the emergency and can include directions on what to do next.
For more information on how to prepare for emergency events, visit the Study in the States link on how to Maintain F and M Status in Emergency Events.
If you need to contact our office, call (818) 719-6417 or email us at intlstu@piercecollege. Also visit our department Contact Us page. If you cannot reach our office during an emergency event described above, you can contact the SEVP Response Center (SRC). You may call (703) 603-3400 or (800) 892-4829. The SRC is open Monday through Friday, 8 am - 6 pm Eastern Time, except federal holidays.
If Pierce College is not offering a course you need to complete your program, you may be eligible to take the course at another college. Please visit the ISS Office for more information. For the Spring and Fall semesters, you will need to enroll in a minimum of 7 units at Pierce and clear your registration holds before a concurrent permission letter will be issued. The majority of your units must be taken at Pierce College. Please note that some colleges do not accept concurrently enrolled international students. It is the student's responsibility to contact the other college to find out which documents are required for concurrent admission.
In order to be eligible to take an on-line or instructional television (ITV) course during the Fall and Spring semesters, an international student must be enrolled in a minimum of nine (9) units that meet on campus or "in-person." A maximum of 3 units of on-line coursework can be counted towards a full-course load of 12 units.
If you leave the U.S. and you wish to re-enter as a continuing F-1 student, you will need to obtain a DSO's signature on the 2nd page of your I-20. In order to obtain this signature, you will need to enroll in courses for the upcoming semester. Visit the ISS Office and bring your current I-20 with you. Standard processing time is up to 3 business days.
You will need to present the following documents at the U.S. Port of Entry: a valid passport, visa and I-20 with travel signature. It is also strongly recommended you bring other supporting documents such as proof of enrollment for the upcoming semester.
International students may be eligible to work on-campus after successful completion of their first semester. This means passing and completing 12 units with a minimum 2.0 or "C" grade point average (GPA). In order to receive a support letter to apply for jobs on-campus please visit the ISS Office to fill out the Request for On-Campus Employment Permission Form. After you receive permission, you may start your job search. Most students visit various departments to find out who is hiring. Please note that employment is not guaranteed. It is based upon department funding and the availability of positions.
If you are able to find on-campus employment, please complete the following steps and keep in mind that each office has processing time frames for documents:
- Visit the ISS Front Desk to pick up an Employment Verification Form
- Ask your new supervisor to fill out the employment information portion of the form
- Submit the form to ISS so that a DSO can fill out the section verifying your F-1 status
- If you do not have a Social Security Number, visit a Social Security Administration Office to apply for one using the completed Employment Verification Form and other documents
- Visit our campus Personnel Office to fill out the LACCD employment forms and schedule an appointment for fingerprinting
- You may only start working once your assignment has been cleared by the Personnel Office
Practical training can provide valuable work experience in your field of study. Pierce College offers Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). Informational workshops on both CPT and OPT are offered every semester. Attend these workshops for more information. We also have handouts in our office.
CPT - You may be eligible to work part-time while you are studying if practical training is an integral part of your program curriculum. Practical training may be an integral part of your curriculum if:
1) Your major requires you to enroll in a practical training course to graduate (e.g. Nursing, Child Development or Veterinary Technology).
2) You enroll in a Cooperative Education or Directed Studies class in order to receive course credit for practical training experience.
In order to be eligible to apply, a student must complete one academic year in his/her program. Eligible students may submit the application once they are enrolled in the appropriate course AND have secured part-time employment related to their major. You may only start working on your approved CPT start date stated on your I-20.
Post-Completion OPT - After you complete your degree at Pierce, you may be eligible to work full-time for up to 12 months in a job related to your major. Eligible students are encouraged to apply during the last semester of their program. OPT requires Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approval in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You may start working on the employment start date you receive from DHS.