Cherry Blossoms

Current International Students

Maintaining Your F-1 Status

Foothill College is proud of its international students, and we want you to be successful.  Follow the tips below to help you follow the immigration rules that keep you "in status."

Enroll in and Complete 12 Units Each Quarter (Fall, Winter and Spring)

F-1 students are required to enroll in and complete a minimum of 12 units each quarter.

  • Grades of A, B, C, D, F, P (Pass) and NP (No Pass) COUNT toward your 12 units
  • Withdrawals (grade of W, AW, and EW) DO NOT count
  • Non-Credit classes DO NOT count

Advanced APPROVAL from our office is REQUIRED if you need to drop below 12 units. Contact the ISP office at to make an appointment with an F-1 advisor.

1 Online Class in Your First 12 Units(Fall, Winter and Spring)

F-1 students are allowed to take 1 online class in your first 12 units. You must stay in on-campus classes to enroll in extra online classes.

  • Correct
    • Accounting (On Campus, 5 Units)
    • Business (On Campus, 4 Units)
    • Basketball (On Campus, 1 Unit)
    • Music (Online, 4 Units)
    • Accounting 5 + Business 4 + Basketball 1 = 10 on-campus units + 4 online units

  • Incorrect
    • Accounting (On Campus, 5 Units)
    • History (Online, 4 Units)
    • Basketball (On Campus, 1 Unit)
    • Music (Online, 4 Units)
    • Accounting 5 + Basketball 1 = 6 on-campus units + History 4 online units = 10 units.
    • Enroll in additional on-campus classes to meet the 12 units, if you want to enroll in the online Music class
    • Unsure? Bring your schedule to the International Office for advice.

IMPORTANT: Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has ended its Coronavirus guidance regarding online class enrollment starting Fall 2023

  • Students must register in on-campus/in-person classes beginning Fall quarter of the 2023-24 academic year. 
  • You will only be allowed to count a maximum of one online class toward the mandatory full course load of study (12 units) each quarter.
  • If you wish to take more than 12 units, any additional units over the first 12 can be online. You must stay in on-campus classes in order to enroll in extra online classes.
  • Failure to comply will result in the termination of your F-1 status.

Changing Your Major

  • Update your major in MyPortal > Apps > Student Registration > Update My Major/Educational Goals.
  • Then, you must contact the International Office to update your I-20.
  • Need more time to complete your new major? Read “Extending Your I-20” below.

Extending Your I-20

Your I-20 has a Start Date and an End Date. If you will not complete your program by the End Date, you may apply to extend your I-20. Apply for an extension 1-2 months before your I-20 expires.

  1. Meet with an international counselor about the extension.
  2. The international counselor will create/update your education plan, showing the classes remaining to complete your major.
  3. The counselor will also complete a Program Extension Form.
  4. If approved, your Immigration Advisor will issue an updated I-20 with new dates.

Transferring to a New School?

  • Contact the Immigration Advisor to request the Foothill F-1 Transfer Out Form. Submit this form with a copy of your acceptance letter from the new school.
  • Most I-20s are transferred on the last day of the quarter. You will receive an email confirmation when your record is transferred.

Stopping Your Studies at Foothill?

  • Meet with the Immigration Advisor during drop-in hours to discuss your situation.
  • Complete the Foothill Exit Form and send us a copy of your plane ticket, showing the date you will leave the U.S.
  • We will end your I-20 after you return home.

Working in the U.S.

  • On Campus Work
    • Work must be approved by International Office
    • Requires employment letter from your supervisor
    • Maximum 19 hours per week

  • Off Campus Work While Studying - CPT
    • After one year of F-1 study (3 full quarters, summer does not count)
    • Work must be related to your major
    • Work must be approved in advance by the International Office
    • Maximum 20 hours per week
    • Register for an ITRN class

  • Off Campus Work After Associate Degree - OPT
    • Must be receiving an Associate Degree or a Certificate of Achievement
    • Apply to USCIS during your graduation quarter - Immigration/USCIS must approve prior to starting work
    • Work must be related to your major
    • Maximum 40 hours per week
    • Meet with an Academic Counselor first to confirm you will receive a degree/certificate of achievement. Then, meet with the Immigration Advisor to review your OPT application and receive your I-20 with OPT recommendation.

Absence From the U.S.

  • Absence during Summer quarter:

Attending a Summer quarter is optional; therefore, you are not required to take any classes.

  • Absence during Fall, Winter or Spring quarter:

Meet with the Immigration Advisor during drop-in hours to discuss your situation. Your I-20 will be ended under Authorized Early Withdrawal.

          • Leaving the U.S. for less than 5 months
            You may return to Foothill College after receiving approval from the Immigration Advisor.
            60 days before your return, contact the International Office so we can process your return with immigration.
          • Leaving the U.S. for 5+ Months
            You must have a new Initial I-20 to return to the U.S. after more than 5 months. You must also pay the SEVIS fee (I-901 fee) again.
            After your return to the U.S., you must study for one academic year (3 full quarters) in order to qualify to work off-campus.

        Keep Your Passport Current

            • Must be valid for 6 months in future to travel
            • Apply for passport renewal in your home country

        What Happens If I am Out of Status?

          • Your I-20 will be canceled, and Immigration will be notified.
          • Customs will question you every time you return to the U.S. in the future.
          • You will need to leave the U.S. as soon as possible and reenter on a new I-20 (recommended) or apply for reinstatement.
          • Meet with the Immigration Advisor as soon as possible to find out more information about getting back into status.
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International Student Programs Office


Administration Building 1900 Room 1933

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