F-1 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I have to attend orientation?
Yes. The international student orientation is mandatory and all international students on F-1 visa status are required to attend. At orientation, you will be given information regarding federal regulations affecting your immigration status as well as have an opportunity to meet other international students and international peer mentors who can assist with your transition. Check your BCC email for orientation dates notification.
Do I need to schedule an appointment to speak to an advisor?
You are always welcomed to visit the office of International Student Services but it is advisable to make an an appointment with an international student services (ISS) advisor so that you can receive the necessary attention and appropriate advice. However, the OISS does have walk-in hours but you would need to call 718.289.5921 to make an appointment.
Can I take classes at another institution while studying at BCC?
Yes. If you have maintained your F-1 status you may be able to take classes at another CUNY institution, but you must enroll for a minimum of six credits at BCC in the fall and spring if you plan to study elsewhere within these terms. You must obtain a letter of recommendation from your academic advisor or a transient form and complete a document request form from ISS. If all is in order, you will receive authorization from an ISS advisor to study at the second institution; a copy of your grades/transcript from the second institution must be submitted to the ISS office by the end of the term.
Can I drop below full-time?
No. To maintain your immigration status you are required to enroll full-time during the fall and spring terms (12 credit hours for undergraduate students). Students who are considering dropping below full-time hours must meet with an ISS advisor.
I am out of status. What should I do?
If you are out of status you must schedule an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor to review your options for re-instatement of your status.
Can I take the summer semester off?
If you are enrolled full-time in the fall/spring semester and intend to continue full-time studies the following term you are eligible to take the summer term off.
Can I work full-time on campus?
You can work up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring terms with authorization from an ISS advisor. During the summer vacation, spring break and holiday season you may engage in full-time on-campus employment starting on the Monday of the vacation period and ending on the Thursday before classes begin.
Can I have more than two places of employment?
Yes, but the total hours cannot exceed a maximum of 20 hours per week between both employers. You must obtain authorization from an ISS advisor.
Can I extend my Optional Practical Training (OPT) end date?
If you are on OPT after graduation, you are not eligible to extend the OPT end date
I need a Social Security number. What should I do?
You can obtain a social security number once you have obtained employment and authorization from an ISS advisor. You must apply for a social security number through your local social security office, for additional information please visit the Social Security website.
Do I need a new signature on my I-20 every time I travel?
No, the travel signature on page 3 is valid for 6 months.
My I-20 was not stamped upon reentry into the U.S. What should I do?
Generally, your I-20 is only stamped upon initial entry at the port of entry; it is not stamped each time you travel.
What happens if my visa expires?
A visa is an "entry document" used to enter the U.S. If it expires in the U.S., there is no need for concern as long as you are maintaining valid F-1status. However, if you plan to leave the U.S., you will need a valid visa for reentry to the U.S. Visas are issued at the American Embassy abroad. Check with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country regarding visa renewal requirements. Students must obtain a new I-20 for visa renewal from the ISS office.
What happens if my I-20 expires?
You are considered to be out of status with immigration if your I-20 expires.DO NOT LET THIS DOCUMENT EXPIRE. If it has expired, schedule an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor immediately to discuss how to get back in status. Please note that the expiration date is the second date on section 5 of your 1-20.
What if my I-20 expires before I complete my program?
You must schedule an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor immediately to process an extension in a timely manner. If your I-20 will expire earlier than your anticipated completion date.
I lost my I-20. What should I do?
If your I-20 is lost, damaged, or stolen you must request a new I-20 from ISS by completing a document request form. If your I-20 is stolen, you should file a police report with the police department as soon as possible.
Is there a problem if my I-94 does not say "D/S"?
YES, "D/S" means duration of status and all F-1 students must have an I-94 with this annotation. If your I-94 does not reflect this, you must meet with an ISS advisor immediately.
I want to travel outside the U.S. What should I do?
If you want to travel outside the U.S. you must have a valid F-1 visa, a valid I-20 with a travel signature
that is valid for six months, and a valid passport (at least six months into the future). If you are planning to travel to a country other than your home country, view this link www.embassy.org for travel guidelines and visa requirements.
Are international students eligible for financial aid?
International students holding an F/J visa are NOT eligible for any Federal or NY State financial aid.
As an international student can I obtain a NYC State ID/Driver’s license?
Yes, international students are permitted to obtain NYC State ID and or Driver’s License. Please find out the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles to your address and visit them to apply. You will need, your
passport, i20, i94, social security card (if you do not have one the ISO will provide you with a letter
Stating why you do not have a SS card.)
I did not receive an I94 Card from the Immigration Officer when I entered the country, is that ok?
I94 cards are not given to students or any other people who enter the US at the airport anymore. You have to visit https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/ and enter in your information and print out your I94.
I am an international student at another school, how do I transfer my F-1 visa?
Upon admission, you will be sent a “Transfer Release Form” which must be filled out and signed by a Designated School Official at your current college or university. This is the individual who would have originally issued your I-20. They must also release your record in the SEVIS system. Contact the ISS office If you have not received any instructions before classes begin.