International Student Services

Resources and Guidance for Studying in the U.S.

The International Student Services Office provides information and services to students concerning international F-1 student status and immigration regulations. In addition, the office is here to support international students in adjusting to college life at LIM College, as well as life in New York City, one of the fastest moving cities in the world.

Remember, all first year international students must check in with the office of International Student Services at LIM College at the time of the International Student OrientationIt is mandatory to participate in the International Student Orientation.

International Student Resources

All LIM College students are required to have health insurance. All full-time undergraduate students will be automatically enrolled in LIM College’s plan through Gallagher Student Health unless proof of comparable U.S.-based health insurance coverage is provided.

If you are already covered with a U.S.-based health insurance carrier, you may submit an online waiver. Waiver deadlines can be found on Gallagher Student Health's website or in your new student enrollment packet.

Students enrolled in LIM College’s plan can find out more about it here:

If you have any questions about the plan or the waiver, please contact the Office of Student Financial Services at or 212-310-0689.

If you'd like to find out more about U.S. health care system and learn how insurance plans in the U.S. work, contact the Office of International Student Services at to receive a free “Health and Wellness” brochure and schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our staff members.


The Office of International Student Services wants to ensure that you are aware, as an F-1 status student, that you may be required to file federal and state income tax forms while you are in the U.S. LIM College is not able to provide guidance on tax filing. However, you can contact any tax professional or accountant within the U.S. for assistance. Alternatively, many students have used or to determine their filing needs. Please note that LIM College does not endorse any specific person or entity for tax guidance/filing.


An F-1 student is a nonimmigrant who is pursuing a "full course of study" to achieve a specific educational or professional objective at an academic institution in the United States that has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to offer courses of study to such students and has been enrolled in SEVIS (the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). It is very important for nonimmigrants to maintain their status while in the United States. Failure to maintain the appropriate nonimmigrant status is grounds for removal from the U.S.

Students must maintain a full-time course load during each required semester for the duration of the program. U.S federal regulations require students to pursue a full course of study each semester until completion of their degree. Full-time enrollment for undergraduate students is a minimum of 12 academic credits per semester. Full-time for graduate students is a minimum of 9 academic credits per semester.

Only one (1) online class may count towards the minimum credit amount each semester. According to F-1 regulations, an online class is one that "does not require the student’s physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class.”

If a student cannot register for a full-time courseload, they must see the ISSO before classes begin. If a student is registered full-time but needs to drop a class or classes, and thus be registered part time, he or she must first see the ISSO.

Below are the documents that international students must keep valid at all times.

Form I-20: Students must notify the ISSO immediately of any changes and request an updated I-20. It is each student’s responsibility to keep his or her I-20, even after graduation, in case the I-20 is needed to apply for future immigration benefits.

Passport: If your passport is lost or stolen, a report should be filed with the New York City Police Department. This report may be needed in order to obtain a new passport. To renew or replace a passport, students must contact their home country's consulate in the United States.

F-1 (Student) Visa: An F-1 visa permits students to apply for admission into the United States as an F-1 student, and it does not need to remain valid while a student is in the United States (Canadian citizens are not required to have a visa.) If the visa expires while a student is in the United States, the next time the student travels abroad s/he must obtain a new F-1 visa before returning to the United States. Visas can only be obtained outside of the United States at a United States embassy, consulate, or mission.

Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record: Form I-94 serves as proof that a student has entered the United States in a lawful F-1 status.

LIM College is required by law to report and update certain information about students into SEVIS. The information that we are required to report includes:

  • Withdrawal from the College
  • Failure to register for classes
  • Failure in a course
  • The information on your I-20
  • Most recent residential address
  • Student only registered part-time
  • Student registered full-time
  • Employment authorization information (if applicable)

Program Extension
If you are unable to complete the course of study before the completion date on your I-20, you must request an extension before the current I-20 expires.

Changing Schools

If you decide to transfer to another school, you must contact the ISSO prior to completing your final semester at LIM College.

Change of Level
If you complete your current program of study and plan to continue at LIM College in another program (for example, you finish a bachelor’s degree program and will then continue in a master's degree program), the I-20 must be updated, since you were admitted to the United States to complete the specific educational program reflected on your I-20. If your academic program will change, it is your responsibility to request an update to your SEVIS record and obtain a new I-20.

Change of Major
If you have been accepted into one major and wish to change into another major, you must request a new I-20.

Change of Funding
If there is a substantial change in the source or amount of funding available to you to pay tuition, living expenses, meals, travel expenses, etc., this change must be reported to the ISSO in order to obtain a new I-20.

Name Change
The name on your I-20 should match, exactly, the name on your passport. If you change any part of your legal name on your passport, this change must be reflected on your I-20.

Address Change
F-1 students must satisfy their obligation to notify the Department of Homeland Security of an address change by informing the CISS of any change of address. This notification must be made within ten (10) days of the address change.

If you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT), you must contact the ISSO if you change your address, within ten (10) days of the address change. Please note that your local U.S. address for OPT must be a physical address, not a post office box.

F-1 students may work on campus while enrolled full-time and making normal progress toward the completion of degree requirements. This employment can be in any on-campus position that does not displace a United States worker. This employment does not have to be related to your course of study.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an internship or a required practicum that is offered through the College. CPT is available only as an integral part of an established curriculum and the student must receive school credit for this training. CPT must be related to the student’s program of study.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with an F-1 status, who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than nine (9) months, are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to work for up to one (1) year on a student visa. This work must provide practical training to complement the student’s field of studies. Students can apply for OPT 90 days before the end date of their program, or 60 days after the end date of their program. On-campus employment, CPT, and OPT must be authorized by the ISSO at LIM College before a student starts working.

A DSO at LIM College’s International Student Services office must sign a Form I-20 before a student leaves the United States. A travel signature allows students to return to the United States after having left the country. This signature will be valid for one year and can be used for multiple entries. If a student is on OPT, he or she must obtain a travel signature every six (6) months. To obtain a travel signature, students must make an appointment with the ISSO.

After a temporary absence from the United States, students must present the following at the port of entry:

  • An unexpired I-20 endorsed for travel within the last 12 months
  • A valid passport
  • A valid F-1 Visa
  • Evidence of financial support
  • A copy of the student’s most up-to-date transcript and current course schedule

Please note that students who stay outside the United States for more than one (1) semester and students on Optional Practical Training may have additional requirements. See the ISSO for details.

If a student plans to continue studies at another school, he/she needs to meet with the ISSO to have his/her SEVIS record transferred to the new school. The student must begin classes at the transfer school or program within five months of transferring out of LIM or within five months of the program completion date on his or her current Form I-20, whichever is earlier. In the case of an F-1 student authorized to engage in post-completion optional practical training (OPT), the student must be able resume classes within five months of transferring out of the school that recommended OPT or the date the OPT authorization ends, whichever is earlier. In order to transfer to a new school, students must be in lawful status, and they must do the following:

  • Apply to a new school and be accepted to a program of study.
  • Contact the Office of International Student Services (or similar office) at the new school to inform them of their intent transfer. Students will need to complete an I-20 transfer application, and turn in documentation that will allow their new school to issue an I-20.
  • Inform the ISSO at LIM College that you plan to transfer to a new school and obtain a transfer recommendation form for the new school.
  • If a student is graduating and planning to transfer to another institution, he/she must inform the ISSO within 60 days of the last day of classes at LIM College.
  • If a student is not graduating but transferring, he/she must inform the ISSO of the transfer before the end of his or her last semester at LIM College.

Once an I-20 record has been transferred to a new school, LIM College will no longer have access or authority to update or otherwise change that record.


International students who graduate have 60 days to leave the United States, apply for a change of status, or transfer to another school. The grace period is a period of time given to students who successfully complete their program of study and have graduated. This time allows such students to take care of certain business, such as transferring schools, changing one’s status, or starting a new degree program at LIM College following the completion of OPT.

Please note: Students cannot travel internationally and re-enter the United States in F-1 status during this grace period. Students who do not graduate are not eligible for a grace period.

A high view of the expansive New York City.

Useful Links

Applying for an I-20

Students may choose to submit the I-20 application electronically using Adobe EchoSign link, or as a PDF attachment via email to



I-20 Application

International Student Handbook

The International Student Handbook provides helpful information about staying in status as an incoming international student, life at LIM College, and living in New York City.

International Student Handbook

Contact Us

The Office of International Student Services provides information and services to students concerning international F-1 student status and immigration regulations. In addition, the office is here to support international students in adjusting to college life at LIM , as well as life in New York City.

Phone: 646-388-8440


Frequently Asked Questions

When an F-1 student is preparing to graduate, they have the following options: transfer to another school; apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT); or leave the United States before the 60-day grace period expires.

Students have 60 days from the last day of classes to inform the CISS of their plans to transfer to a new school. If you do not inform LIM College that you wish to have your record transferred to another institution, it will automatically be marked “completed” in the SEVIS system.

Students can be part-time only if there are compelling academic or medical reasons that must be properly documented and proven. If these criteria are not met, part-time study cannot be authorized. In order to study part-time, an international student must receive from the ISSO authorization to maintain a Reduced Course Load.

No. If you need less than 12 (undergraduate) or 9 (master's) credits to complete your degree requirements, you will be allowed to enroll part-time in your last semester.

A visa is an entry document used to lawfully enter the United States. If you plan to leave the U. S., you will need a valid visa for reentry into the U.S. If you plan to leave the U.S., please make sure you visit the Office of International Student Services prior to departing.

You are considered out of status if your I-20 expires. If either document has expired, immediately schedule an appointment to meet with the Office of International Student Services.

You must schedule an appointment, in a timely manner, to process an extension of your I-20 if either expires earlier than your anticipated completion date. Please note that an extension of status is granted only for compelling academic or medical reasons.

If your I-20 is lost, damaged, or stolen you must request a new I-20 or DS-2019 from the ISSO. If your I-20 is stolen, you should also file a police report with the NYPD as soon as possible.

After one (1) academic year, F-1 students are eligible to pursue off-campus work that is integral to their course of study. This is known as Curricular Practical Training (CPT). F-1 students can also apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Please see the Coordinator of International Student Services if you are planning to apply for OPT.

Yes. F-1 students are authorized to work on campus. Please see LIM's International Student handbook for more information.

If you are an F-1 student, you must leave the United States within 60 days of your program end date. You may travel within the U.S. during this grace period.

Leticia came from Brazil to the U.S. to study the business of fashion. Here, she speaks about the friendly community she found.