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) DO NOT count
  • LINC and Non-Credit classes DO NOT count

An advanced APPROVAL from our office is REQUIRED if you need to drop below 12 units.  Meet with our Immigration Advisor during drop-in advising hours.

Drop-In Advising Hours are Tuesday 6AM-7AM, 12PM-1PM, 6PM-7PM PT.  You can also email Stephanie Gross at

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

Changing Your Major

  • Come to the International Office to change your major
  • You must complete and sign a form
  • 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. Bring the complete form and the education plan to the International Office and meet with an immigration advisor during drop-in hours

Transferring to a New School?

  • Bring a copy of your admission letter to the International Office and complete a Transfer Out form
  • We will transfer your I-20 to the new school. Most I-20s are transferred on the last day of the quarter.

Stopping Your Studies at Foothill?

  • Meet with an immigration advisor during drop-in hours to discuss your situation.
  • Send us a copy of your plane ticket, showing the date you will leave the USA
  • We will close your I-20 after you return home 

Working in the USA

  • 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 quarters)
    • Work must be related to your major
    • Work must be approved in advance by International Office
    • Maximum 20 hours per week

  • 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

Absence From the USA

  • 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 an immigration advisor during drop-in hours to discuss your situation. Your I-20 will be closed under Authorized Early Withdrawal.

  • Outside the USA less than 5 months

You may return to Foothill College after receiving approval from an immigration advisor

60 days before your return, contact the International Office so we can process your return with immigration.

  • Leaving the USA for 5+ Months

You must have a new Initial I-20 to return to the USA after more than 5 months. You must also pay the  SEVIS fee (I-901 fee) again.

After your return to the USA, you must study for one academic year (3 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
  • You must travel outside USA and re-enter with new I-20 to regain status
  • Customs will question you every time you return to the USA in the future


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International Student Programs Office


Administration Building 1900 Room 1933

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