International Student Center
Current Students
  • Employment options for International Students

    All international students can work on-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week (part-time status).

    Please note that in order to work off-campus, international students need approval from an international advisor.

    Important Information for F-1 Visa holders

    It is your responsibility to understand and comply with the terms of your immigration status during your stay in the United States. If you comply with all of the F-1 regulations you will be considered "in status" and will be eligible for all benefits of the F-1 visa. If you violate the rules, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), the former INS, may consider you "out of status."

    For assistance or clarification of any of this information contact Seattle University's International Student Center (ISC) at 296-6260.

    I am transferring to Seattle University from another school in the United States. What do I need to do?

    Under new regulations, you must report to the school as soon as you are released from your current institution. If you travel outside the U.S. after you have been released, you will need the new I-20 from Seattle University to re-enter in "Transfer Pending" status. You cannot re-enter on your previous I-20 once you have been released from that school.

    You must report to the International Student Center with the following documents:

    • I-20 of all schools that you have attended in the United States
    • SEVIS ID Number
    • Passport

    If you wish to obtain a travel signature, you will need to leave your I-20 at the ISC for 3-5 days so that an advisor can endorse the back of the I-20.

    If you do not report to the ISC, you will be out of status and will need to apply for reinstatement to good immigration status. For further information, please contact an International Student Advisor.

    How do I get my I-20 signed on the back and how long does it take?

    You do not need to have your I-20 signed every time you leave the country. You should come in to have page 3 signed every 6-8 months. When you want to have it signed, you can drop it off at the front desk at the ISC. Please remember it is not just a signature as ISC staff must verify your information before we apply the signature. If you have a new visa or I-94 card and admission number since the last time you had it signed, you will need to bring your passport so that the ISC can make a copy.

    You will be able to pick up your I-20 at the front desk **3-5 working days** after you drop it off. By signing off on the I-20 we are verifying to immigration that you are in status and currently enrolled as a full-time student at Seattle University. This requires carefully checking your records, and can take up to 5 days.

    The advisors will only sign I-20s for students who are in status. If you are out of status, for such reasons as attending less that full-time, you are not eligible to receive the benefit of having your I-20 signed.

    How many credits must I register for/complete each quarter?

    If you are in the United States on a F-1 visa, you must be a full -time student. "Full-time" is defined as follows:

    • Undergraduate students: completing at least 12 credits each quarter
    • Graduate students: completing at least 9 credits each quarter

    Please note that registering for the required number of credits is not the same as completing the required number of credits. If you register for the minimum number of classes, then subsequently drop, withdraw, or fail a class, you will not be completing the required number of credits. Choose your classes carefully!

    Can I ever register for less than a full time course load?

    You may take fewer credits if you are in the final quarter of your degree program. You may also reduce or interrupt a full course of study because of illness or other medical conditions with documentation from a medical doctor and approval by the International Student Advisor.

    If you are having academic difficulties, you may be able to get approval to drop or withdraw from a class, with authorization from the International Student Center.

    Do not take less than the required course load for any reason without first consulting the International Student Center. Even if your departmental advisor recommends you take less than full time, you will also need to get approval from the International Student Center. Many advisors on campus are not aware of your F-1 visa requirement to take a full course load.

    Studying less than full-time jeopardizes your stay in the United States and may disqualify you from receiving practical training, travel authorization, employment, school transfer, and an extension of your I-20.

    When can I take a vacation?

    If you have completed fall, winter, and spring quarters as a full-time student, you will not need to take any classes during the summer. You can remain in the United States, or travel back to your home country. Summer is generally an automatic vacation quarter.

    If you wish to attend the summer full-time, and take another quarter as your annual vacation quarter, you will need to get approval from the international student advisor first.

    Students who transfer to Seattle University during the winter, spring, or summer quarters from another school in the United States will need to discuss their options for taking an annual vacation quarter with the international student advisor.

    Students who are not transferring from another institution in the United States and are starting their studies at Seattle University during the winter or spring quarters are eligible to take the summer as their vacation quarter.

    I want to travel outside of the United States. What documents do I need to have?

    Depending on your nationality, you may need to have a visa to enter the country that you will be visiting. You need to check with the embassy/consulate of that country. The ISC can assist you to locate the telephone number of the appropriate embassy.

    To be able to return to the United States after a trip abroad, you will need the following things:

    • Valid passport
    • Valid visa
    • An I-20 that has been signed on page 3 within the last year.

    I am just making a short trip to Canada or Mexico. Are the requirements the same?

    To enter the United States from Canada or Mexico, you will still need a valid passport and a valid travel signature on page 3 of your I-20. However, if you are staying less than 30 days, you can come back to the United States on an expired F-1 passport visa.
    If you are going to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days, you should keep your I-94 card in your passport. Do not surrender your I-94 card at the border leaving the United States.

    Students from certain countries are required to obtain a visa to visit Canada. The ISC has a list of countries that have visa agreements with Canada. You can call the Canadian consulate in Seattle at (206) 443-1372.

    I just changed my home address/phone number. Am I required to inform anyone?

    Yes! It is a legal requirement that the university have your current address and phone number at all times. Every time you move, or change your phone number, you must report your address change to SU Online and to the ISC for update in the SEVIS database.

    I have changed my major. Do I need to change that information on my I-20?

    Yes, as soon as you change your major you need to inform the International Student Center so that it can be changed on your I-20.

    Does my I-20 have an expiration date?

    Yes, and please be aware of when it expires. You can find the expiration date on item #5 of your I-20. If you will not be completing your studies by that date, you will need to come in to the International Student Center before it expires to discuss how you might have an extension of time to complete your degree. You will be out of status if you stay in the United States beyond the expiration date. No exceptions!

    My passport will be expiring this year. What should I do?

    You must have a valid passport at all times while in the United States. If your passport will be expiring this year, contact your country's embassy/consulate in the United States well ahead of the expiration date for information abut how early you will need to start the renewal process, and what documents you will need. The ISC can assist you to locate the nearest embassy or consulate.

    The F-1 visa in my passport has expired. Am I still in status? What do I do?

    The dates on your F-1 visa are only important when you are crossing international borders and entering the United States. As long as you are attending classes as a full-time student, and you have a valid passport and I-20, you are in status, even if your F-1 visa has expired. However, if you wish to travel outside of the United States and your F-1 visa has expired, you will need to go to the American embassy/consulate in the country you are visiting to have the visa renewed before you return. Generally speaking, this means returning to your home country to renew your visa.

    The exception to this rule includes travel to Canada, Mexico, and several adjacent islands to the United States. If you are going to travel to these countries, and will be staying less that 30 days, you can return on an expired F-1 visa, as long as you have a valid passport and a valid I-20, with an advisor's signature on page 3 of the I-20.

    You cannot renew a visa within the United States.

    How long can I stay in the United States?

    F-1 visa students are generally admitted for the "duration of status," (marked as D/S on your I-20 and I-94 card). The duration of status is the time during which you are pursuing a full course of study or engaging in practical training. Following completion of studies, you are allowed a sixty day grace period to pack and depart the country or change to another visa status. This grace period is only valid if you are in status as an F-1 visa holder.

    I have completed all the classes required for my degree, but my I-20 will not expire until later. Can I remain in the United Sates until my I-20 expires? Can I travel and re-enter the USA with the I-20?

    No. You have sixty days to depart after your last class ends to leave the country. If instead, you plan to start a new degree, you must do it within the sixty days. After completing your last required class, you cannot use your I-20 to travel and reenter the United States.

    What happens if I fall out of status?

    If you intentionally or inadvertently violate the immigration regulations discussed above, you may lose your F-1 visa status (become "out of status") and all of the benefits that go along with it, including receiving practical training, travel authorization, employment, school transfer, and an extension of your I-20.

    If you think you may be out of status, it is best to bring your situation to the attention of the International Student Center as soon as possible. The ISC can help you apply to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) to request that you be reinstated to F-1 status.

    The reinstatement process requires that you write a letter describing why you violated the F-1 rules, and provide proof that you are now pursuing full-time study, along with various other documentations. Application for reinstatement must include a $195 fee. Reinstatement is not guaranteed, buy can be granted at the discretion of the immigration official who handles your case.

    It is much easier to stay in status than to go through reinstatement!

    Can I work in the United States with my F-1 visa?

    F-1 students who are in status and taking classes full-time are eligible to work on-campus part-time during the school year and full-time during vacation periods. Please be aware that just because a job is advertised on the S.U. campus, it doesn't necessarily mean it is an "on-campus" job.

    Working off campus is only possible under certain conditions and always requires prior approval from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and/or the S.U. International Student Center (ISC). Please consult the handout "Employment for F-1 students" or call ISC for more information.

    The information displayed on this page is the same shown on the "new students" window. This is because the F-1 visa information is pertinent to both groups. Remaining in-status is an ongoing process for international students studying in the US. Current students and new students are required to follow the same procedures in order to remain in active legal status. The information below should be reviewd on a regular basis from both new and current students.

  • Contact ISC

    James C. Pigott Pavilion for Leadership, PAVL P160 
    901 12th Avenue
    Seattle WA, 98122
    206.296.6260

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