Keep your personal information updated in SOLAR. You’d be surprised how much it matters – and can matter in the future.
Go to Update Personal Information to see how to add or update your information. This affects any refunds you might receive, makes sure your diploma is sent to the correct address, who can obtain educational information about you, etc. In addition, you can select your preferred name to show in SOLAR, record how to pronounce your name, select your identity and pronouns, assign an emergency contact, you can even opt to add your student ID picture to class rosters!
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).
To Check In, submit the following to ARC:
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!
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.
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
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|
|Ayda Vardumyan, PDSOemail@example.com|
|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 a student in the U.S. on an F-1 visa, you have certain rights and responsibilities. Maintaining your status includes not forgetting that your purpose for coming to the United States was to be a STUDENT. The U.S. Department of State issued you your visa based on your intended purpose. This means that you came to the U.S. to study. You should not take any action that takes away from that purpose.
For SEVIS-related questions and concerns, contact a DSO in Admissions, Registration and Client Services (ARC) in EU 200.
More information regarding studying in the United States can be found at:
Student Process Steps: How to Navigate the U.S. Immigration System
To maintain SEVIS status, students are expected to:
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.
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.
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
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
See “Frequently Asked Questions” 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.
Completion of Studies
Only for students who maintained their SEVIS status:
After completing your last requirement to receive your degree or certificate, you have 60 days to (1) prepare for departure from the U.S., (2) work under authorized OPT. (3) transfer to another school, or (4) change to a different non-immigrant or immigrant status.
Completing your last requirement means your last class, the last comprehensive exam (if applicable), whatever was necessary to earn your degree or certificate. It does not include the graduation ceremony. If your graduation ceremony occurs after your 60-day grace period, you must leave the US and then return to the U.S. on a different visa type to attend the graduation ceremonies.
If you are leaving the United States and not returning within the next 5 months, you have 60 days to prepare for departure from the US. During that 60-day grace period, you:
- can leave the U.S. permanently on any day during the 60-day grace period
- can stay in the United States and not attend school
- can travel WITHIN the U.S. only
- CANNOT travel outside of the US and re-enter the US
- should tell a DSO in ARC that you are not returning
If you will be on OPT after completing your studies, you:
- can still apply for OPT within the 60-day grace period but you really should have applied earlier (see Employment & Tseng College Students, “Working in the United States” at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/working-in-the-united-states, and “Practical Training at https://www.ice.gov/sevis/practical-training).
- should NOT travel outside of the U.S. until receiving your EAD (Employment Authorization Document)
- can travel WITHIN the U.S.
- cannot start working until OPT is authorized
- cannot be unemployed more than 90 days
- will have a 60-day grace after OPT ends
If you are transferring to a new school, you:
- must request to transfer out
- must provide a written proof of admission to the new school in enough time to be transferred before the 60-day grace period ends
- must attend the first available session at the new school
- can travel in and out of the U.S. in the time before the new school starts, or not travel at all
- must use the new school’s I-20 to re-enter the U.S. if you travel while between schools
If you are interested in changing to a new status,
- It is not easy to do. First, get an immigration lawyer.
- Read up on it at Changing Visa Status and also at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/change-of-status.
If you are on OPT, and remained employed and in status, you have all the same options listed above, except, of course, applying for OPT.
NOTE: A student on OPT can transfer to a new program/new school at any time, but OPT permanently ends on the day of the transfer. In other words, you can transfer out in SEVIS before OPT ends or during the 60-day grace period after OPT ends.