This site is NOT for IEP students

Intensive English Program students – go to Arriving and Maintaining Student Visa Status (IEP students only)

This page is for students in one of these programs:

  • MST (M.S. in Taxation)
  • GCBA (Graduate Certificate in Business Administration)
  • MIA (M.A. in Music Industry Administration)
  • ABA (M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis)
  • MPA (Master of Public Administration)
  • SAC (Semester at CSUN)

 

New Students and Checking In at ARC

After arriving in the US, or after transferring into The Tseng College, every new student must check in with the Office of Admissions, Registration and Client Services (ARC) and submit a Check-In Form along with copies from your passport.

  • Information requested on Check-in form is current, local address INCLUDING APARTMENT NUMBER, current phone and email, and local emergency contact
  • From your passport, ARC needs copies of identity pages, visa, and entry stamp
  • Proof of Health/Medical insurance. See “Health (Medical) Insurance” below.

    Exception: SAC students turn in health insurance to the IPP (International Programs and Partnerships) Office.

Throughout the entire time you are on an I-20 issued by the Tseng College, you must report the following to a DSO in ARC. Failure to do so can lead to termination of your I-20!

  • Any address changes – within 10 days of change
  • Any changes to normal enrollment – except for emergency situations, must be reported and authorized PRIOR to change
  • Updated health/medical insurance policies (you must be covered at all times, even while on OPT)

Health (Medical) Insurance

All international students are required to have insurance at all times.

The minimum coverage is:

Required Minimum Student Insurance
$100,000 Medical/Hospital and
$30,000 Emergency evacuation and repatriation

Students can buy insurance from the company of their choice as long as they have the minimum coverage.

Relation Insurance is the company that works with CSU, Northridge for all CSUN international students. You are not required to purchase insurance from Relation Insurance, but it is recommended. This link is specifically for you (for F-1 students in the Tseng College):

4studenthealth.relationinsurance.com

School/Organization: Cal State Northridge
Select Your Plan: IGCP International Student Insurance Plan

The following companies offer international student insurance. They are listed here for convenience only; there is no particular recommendation or association with Tseng College.

International Student Insurance (ISO) www.isoa.org 800.244.1180
ISP International Student Protection intlstudentprotection.com 877.738.5787
International Student Insurance www.InternationalStudentInsurance.com 888.247.1387
INSUBUY www.insubuy.com 866.467.8289

Caution! If you have insurance that is not specifically for international students, you will probably have to buy a separate policy for repatriation and medical evacuation. Be aware of this when comparing prices.

If you have medical/hospital coverage only and need separate evacuation and repatriation insurance (“supplemental insurance”), here are some companies that sell it separately:

SAC students submit proof of insurance to the International Programs and Partnerships (IPP) office on the First Floor of the Extended University Commons building.

Contact: Natalie Haban, International Program Support Specialist, natalie.haban@csun.edu
(818) 677-3113

All other Tseng College students submit proof of insurance to Admissions, Registration, and Client Service (ARC), on the Second Floor of the Extended University Commons building

Contact: Danielle Keesee, International Student Information Specialist, danielle.g.keesee@csun.edu
(818) 677-7482

Submit proof of insurance via email, in person or by regular mail.

Insurance is not automatically renewed. Remember to renew your insurance policy so that you are covered at all times (including during OPT).

Your International Office is ARC - not IESC

If Your I-20 was issued by The Tseng College, your International Office is in EU 200, in the Extended University (EU) Commons Building, in the Office of Admissions, Registration, and Client Services (ARC)

Although you are a California State University, Northridge (CSUN) student, you do NOT report to CSUN’s International and Exchange Student Center (IESC).

It can get a little confusing sometimes. Because you are a CSUN student, you are identified in the CSUN computer system (SOLAR) as a CSUN international student. As a result, sometimes you can be included in automatic emails from IESC (International and Exchange Student Center) and will often have the same ‘flags’ placed on your SOLAR record as all the other CSUN, international students.

  • If you receive email warnings from IESC, you should ignore them. You are NOT required to attend their orientation. You do NOT have to come into the US early to attend IESC’s orientation. You should not do their online ‘6 Steps’ for new international students.
  • In addition, IESC (International and Exchange Student Center) has OPT workshops which do have excellent information; however, IESC does not have access to the SEVIS records of any students on an I-20 issued by Tseng College, so they cannot request OPT, Optional Practical Training, or request any other SEVIS-related process.

ARC - Your International Office (for all SEVIS-related matters):

California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
The Tseng College, Office of Admissions, Registration and Client Services (ARC)
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8343
U.S.A.
818-677-2504
collexl@csun.edu

ARC is located on the Second Floor of Extended University Commons, EU 200
ARC is open 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday through Friday

DSO’s in ARC
Danielle Keesee, PDSO 818-677-7482 danielle.g.keesee@csun.edu
Susana Nieto 818-677-2626 susana.nieto@csun.edu
Lesa Green 818-677-3404 lesa.green@csun.edu
Lauren Jarvis 818-677-3272 lauren.jarvis@csun.edu

 

Meanings of Commonly Used Abbreviations and Acronyms
OPT OPT is Optional Practical Training; CPT is Curricular Practical Training. OPT and CPT are types of work authorizations for F-1 Student Visa holders.
SEVIS SEVIS is Student and Visitor Exchange Information System. It is the database in which I-20s are issued and maintained. A student’s SEVIS record refers to the information on your I-20, the status of your I-20 and information about requests for employment or transfers to other schools.
Undergrad and Grad refers to Undergraduates and Graduates A Graduate is a student who has already received a Bachelor, or 4-year, degree. It can be a Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized U.S. institution or a Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized university in a country outside of the U.S. (“recognized” means that the university and degree is considered by CSUN to be equivalent to a U.S. degree).

An Undergraduate is a student who has not yet received a Bachelor, or 4-year, degree – from any country.

CSUN CSUN is the acronym for California State University, Northridge. CSUN is commonly said as ‘C Sun’ (See Sun). It is also common to hear it said as four letters ‘C-S-U-N’ and also ‘Cal State Northridge.’ It is one of the 23 universities in the California State University system. Other CSUs you may have heard of are CSULB (Long Beach), CSULA (Los Angeles), CSUSD (San Diego), and CSUCI (Channel Islands).
GPA GPA stands for Grade Point Average. GPA is a number that indicates a student's average grades.

F-1 VISA: Maintaining Your Visa Status

As an F-1 student visa holder, you have certain rights and responsibilities. Below are the basics. Complete information regarding studying in the United States can be found at the websites listed throughout the site. For SEVIS-related questions and concerns, contact a DSO in Admissions, Registration and Client Services (ARC) in EU 200, in the Tseng College.

To maintain SEVIS status, students are expected to:

  1. Arrive and enroll by the start date on their I-20.
  2. Enroll full time (see chart for specific programs)

    Full-time enrollment for various programs in the Tseng College:

    Semester at CSUN Program

    • Undergraduate students must enroll and attend 12 or more units of university classes per semester. (Undergraduates are students who have not yet earned a bachelor degree in any country)
    • Students who are considered graduate-level students must enroll and attend 9 or more units each semester. (Graduates are students who have earned a recognized bachelor degree in any country)

    Open University Study Program

    • Students must enroll and attend 12 or more units of university classes per semester.

    Master’s Degree programs and Grad-Level Certificates

    Graduate-level students in The Tseng College are either

    • in a Cohort, OR
    • in the Masters of Public Administration, MPA, program

    COHORT students are considered full-time based on simply following the regular class schedule for the individual cohort program they are admitted to (many are 6 units per term, but are required to attend classes in the summers).

    MPA students must be enrolled in 9 units in the fall and spring semesters. Summers are optional. See the Handout Maintaining SEVIS Status which is specifically for Tseng College Grad students.

  3. Make normal progress toward completing the program
  4. Report a change of address to the DSO within 10 days of the change.
  5. Not have any unauthorized employment (even unpaid). You must be authorized for employment (even unpaid internships) before beginning work.
  6. Avoid Academic Disqualification
  7. Not overstay the 60-day grace period after completion. After completing your last session in a program, you have 60 days to do one of the following:
    • Transfer to another school (must be admitted to new school and provide proof of admission to a DSO in The Tseng College in enough time to be transferred before the 60-day grace period ends).
    • Prepare for departure from the US. There is a 60-day grace period at the end of your studies and also at the end of OPT in which you can stay in the United States. You can travel WITHIN the U.S. only. You cannot travel outside of the US and reenter the US during the 60-day grace period.
    • Apply to change status to another visa status such as H-1B, O Visa, F-2, etc. The Tseng College cannot give you any assistance with such a request. You must look into your options on your own, and it is highly recommended that you consult an immigration lawyer.
    • Request OPT (Optional Practical Training) - Allows students to work up to 12 months following completion of a degree or completion of a graduate-level certificate. However, I-20s are terminated if unemployed for a total of 90 days.
    • Only degree (and grad certificate) programs have the option to request OPT. Students in programs that do not result in a earning a degree or graduate-level certificate, such as the Semester at CSUN (SAC), OUDQ, or 3 + 1 + 1 programs are not eligible for OPT.

     

    Note: Graduation ceremonies are not considered part of an educational program. If your graduation ceremony occurs more than 60 days after completing your last requirement for a degree, you must leave the US during your 60-day grace period and then return to the U.S. on a different visa type to attend the graduation ceremonies.

Other Situations that can Result in Terminated I-20s:

In addition to the above, you risk “falling out of status” and your I-20 being terminated if the following circumstances occur.

SEVIS will Terminate I-20s if the SEVIS I-901 fee has not been paid for that specific SEVIS ID number.

  • Any time you receive a new SEVIS ID number, which happens if you receive a brand-new I-20, not during a SEVIS transfer, not due to reinstatement, but a completely new I-20, you must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • The SEVIS fee is supposed to be paid after receiving the new I-20 and before scheduling the visa interview. However, sometimes the payment is not recorded in SEVIS and those students are sent notices to pay. If not paid, SEVIS terminates their I-20s.

SEVIS will Terminate I-20s if you do not respond in time after receiving a Form I-515A “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form I-515A is given to students when CBP allows a student to enter the US, temporarily, for 30 days, despite not having all required documents, especially if trying to reenter the US without correct I-20.

  • Other reasons you could receive an I-515A are: have not paid the I-901 SEVIS fee, I-20 not endorsed (signed) for travel, using the wrong I-20, and also dependents (F-2) without proper documents receive a Form I-515A.
  • If you receive a Form I-515A, immediately contact a DSO in Admissions, Registration and Client Services (ARC) and show the form to the DSO. Next, send in all required documents to the address on the I-515A within 30 days!
  • Information about Form I-515A is at: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/what-is-a-form-i-515a

Termination due to violating SEVIS regulations is a permanent negative mark in a SEVIS record, but sometimes I-20s are terminated for reasons other than violations. In those cases, the termination is not a negative mark on a student’s SEVIS record. Those non-violation terminations are for specific situations, such as when students who are in status must withdraw from school and leave the U.S. Their I-20s are terminated, but the reason in SEVIS is “Authorized Early Withdrawal.” This type of termination is not a negative in SEVIS. Under these circumstances, students have a 15-day grace period to prepare for departure from the U.S.

I-20s that are terminated because students failed to maintain status due to SEVIS violations are not eligible for a grace period after their I-20 has been terminated and are expected to depart the US immediately. In fact, every day in the U.S. after this type of termination counts as days of unlawful presence.

Passports and Visas

Passports must be valid when entering the United States. If you travel outside of the US, make sure to renew your passport before reentering the U.S. to continue your studies, if necessary.

Passport Expiration Dates and Reentering the US

  • Try to keep your passport current at all times. You need to determine your country’s requirements and timelines for renewing passports. It’s best to renew your passport when you return home for a visit, but many countries will allow you to renew your passport while in the United States.
  • In some cases, you may want to delay leaving the United States until you have renewed your passport. You will not be able to re-enter the United States without a valid passport.
  • If your expired passport has a valid visa, you can still use that visa if you kept the old passport. Present the old passport, along with the new passport when you reenter the country.

Visas must be valid for at least six months past the date you enter the United States. Students are permitted to stay in the U.S. with an expired F-1 visa as long as they stay in status in SEVIS.

However, whenever students travel outside of the United States, they must have a valid visa to re-enter. Students who leave the US with expired visas, must apply to a US Consulate for a renewed visa before attempting to re-enter the US.

Lost or Stolen Passports, Visas, I-20s

  • If your passport is lost or stolen, contact your local embassy in the U.S. for a replacement passport. If it was stolen, report the theft to the police, too.
  • If your I-20 was lost or stolen along with your passport, request a reprinted I-20 before requesting a replacement passport.
  • Passports can be replaced while in the U.S., but visas are not replaced. (Visas are only needed to enter the US.)

See “I Lost an Important Immigration Document. What do I do now?” on the Study in the States website.

Extension of Stay

If you will not be able to complete your program of study by the end date on your I-20, request an extension of stay.  Submit a request at least 3 weeks prior to program end date on I-20.

I-20s are issued for the average length of time a program takes to complete – with some extra time added to cover the potential need to retake a class or two or other unforeseen events. As a result, the time printed on I-20s is not necessarily how long you will be in a program – or how long you are authorized to stay in the U.S. You could be in a program a much shorter time.

Number of months on I-20s for Tseng College programs: Master’s degrees – 36 months; GCBA – 24 months; IEP and SAC – 12 months.

But remember that you are only in status when you have been reported to SEVIS as enrolled – and that is done every session/term/semester. If not enrolled, that is reported to SEVIS and your I-20 will be terminated by SEVIS 60 days following your last day of enrollment. Of course, that scenario is only for students who just stop attending and do not report to a DSO. Students who transfer from one school to another, in a timely manner, and students on OPT are not automatically terminated after 60 days.

Keep all I-20s issued for different reasons by different schools. You need copies of them when applying for OPT, applying for an H1-B visa, applying for permanent residence, and at other times.