International Student Services

Your Gateway to a Transformative U.S. Academic Experience

Get support from LIM College’s Office of International Student Services as you embark on the next phase of your education. We’re here to guide you through the immigration and visa process and make it as stress-free as possible. Let us be your bridge to academic excellence, career readiness, and the thrilling vibrancy of life in the center of New York City.

As of Fall 2023, international students in all master's programs can apply to begin Curricular Practical Training (CPT) in their first semester. In addition, master's degree students in STEM-designated programs may be eligible for a 24-month STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension after completing their post-completion OPT.

F-1 Students at LIM College

An F-1 student is a nonimmigrant who is pursuing a “full course of study” at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school to achieve a specific educational or professional objective. Maintaining F-1 status is crucial for staying in the United States throughout your course of study. 


At LIM College, we are committed to supporting international students in navigating these requirements and ensuring a successful academic journey.


All first-year international students must check in with the Office of International Student Services at the time of International Student Orientation. Participation in International Student Orientation is mandatory.

F-1 students must maintain a full-time course load during each required semester for the duration of their programs. 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 status for graduate students is a minimum of 9 academic credits per semester.

Only one online class may count toward 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 course load, they must contact the Office of International Student Services before classes begin. If a student is registered full-time but needs to drop a class or classes and thus be registered part-time, they must first contact the Office of International Student Services.

International students must keep the following documents valid at all times:

Form I-20: This document, the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status certifies that a student has been admitted to a specific program of study, has demonstrated the financial ability to pursue their education in the United States, and intends to comply with the federal regulations governing their nonimmigrant student status.

Students must notify the Office of International Student Services immediately of any changes and request an updated I-20 if necessary. 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 (and other valid immigration documents) permits students to apply for admission into the United States as an F-1 student, and the F-1 visa does not need to remain valid while a student is in the United States (Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement).

If the visa expires while a student is in the United States, the next time the student travels abroad, he or she 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. Students should contact the Office of International Student Services for further information on renewing their F-1 visa.

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. The D/S or “duration of status” means that a student may remain in the U.S. as long as they are properly maintaining status and their I-20.

LIM College is required by law to report and update certain information about students into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The information that we are required to report includes:

  • Withdrawal from the College
  • Failure to register for classes
  • Information on your I-20
  • Most recent residential address
  • Part-time registration status
  • Full-time registration status
  • Employment authorization information (if applicable)

Program Extension

If you are unable to complete your course of study before the completion date on your I-20, you must request an extension 30 days before the current I-20 expires. Contact the Office of International Student Services in order to determine if you are eligible for a program extension.

Changing Schools

If you decide to transfer to another school, you must contact the Office of International Student Services 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 to 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., then you must report it to the Office of International Student Services in order to obtain a new I-20.

Name Change

The name on your I-20 should match the name on your passport exactly. 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 Office of International Student Services of any change of address. This notification must be made within 10 days of the address change.

If you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT), you must contact the Office of International Student Services if you change your address within 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 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 one academic year are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to work for up to one (1) year. This work must provide practical training to complement the student’s field of study. 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 must be authorized by the Office of International Student Services at LIM College and CPT must be authorized by the Office of Career and Internship Services before a student starts working. OPT must be authorized by USCIS. As an F-1 student, any employment in the U.S. must be authorized. Be sure to contact the Office of International Student Services for questions about on-campus employment, CPT or OPT authorization.

Learn more about CPT and OPT: 

A designated school official (DSO) from LIM College’s Office of International Student Services 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 leaving the country. This signature will be valid for one year and can be used for multiple entries. If a student is on OPT, this travel signature is valid for six (6) months. To obtain a travel signature, students must contact the Office of International Student Services.

When returning from being outside 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
  • 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. Contact the Office of International Student Services for details.

If a student plans to continue their studies at another school, they need to contact the Office of International Student Services to have their SEVIS record transferred to the new school. The student must begin classes at the transfer school or program within five (5) months of transferring out of LIM or within a 60-day grace period of the program completion date on the current Form I-20, if they have graduated.

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 to 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 Office of International Student Services 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 Office of International Student Services within 60 days of the last day of classes at LIM College.
  • If a student is not graduating but transferring, they must inform the Office of International Student Services of the transfer before the end of the student’s last semester at LIM College.

In the case of an F-1 student authorized to engage in post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), the student must be able to resume classes within five (5) months of transferring out of the school that recommended OPT. Students on OPT can transfer their SEVIS record before their OPT expires or within 60 days (grace period) of their OPT expiring.

Note: 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.

The grace period is a period of time given to students who successfully completed their program of study and graduated. International students who graduate have 60 days to leave the United States, apply for a change of visa status, transfer to another school, apply for a new degree program at LIM, or apply for CPT.

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

Applying for a Form I-20

Submit the I-20 application electronically using the Adobe EchoSign link or as a PDF attachment via email to Learn more about submitting an I-20 application and the supporting documents you need.

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Health Insurance for International Students

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 by 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 the U.S. healthcare system and learn how insurance plans in the U.S. work, contact the Office of International Student Services at to receive a “Health and Wellness” brochure and schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our staff members.

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.

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Tax Filing for International Students

Students with F-1 status may be required to file federal and state income tax forms while 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.

Useful Links for International Students

All F-1 students are encouraged to visit the following websites to learn more about F-1 status:

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 Office of International Student Services 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.

You can enroll in part-time study 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 authorization from the Office of International Student Services to obtain 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 in part-time study in your last semester. If you only need one course to complete your program of study in your final term, the course can not be online. That 3-credit course must meet on campus.

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 re-entry 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 Office of International Student Services. If your I-20 is stolen, you should also file a police report with the New York City Police Department as soon as possible.

After one 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 contact the Office of International Student Services if you are planning to apply for OPT during or after your program is completed.

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.

Contact the Office of International Student Services

The Office of International Student Services provides information and services to students regarding international F-1 student status and immigration regulations. The office also supports international students in adjusting to college life at LIM, as well as life in New York City.

Phone: (212) 310-0628

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