Welcome to the Office of International Students' information page for current F-1 and J-1 status students at the CUNY Graduate Center, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and CUNY School of Public Health.
The Office of International Students provides advice and assistance to students from outside the United States, particularly with regard to immigration issues relating to F-1 Student Status and J-1 Exchange Visitor Student category.
The office also assists students in understanding American cultural behavior and in interpreting various bureaucratic procedural requirements, including nonresident alien taxation.
The following is a summary of important information for new and
continuing students. Please refer to United States Immigration
Regulations and Procedures available in the Office of International
Students, or make an appointment with an International Student
Counselor. See contact information below.
All International Students must keep a current US address in their SEVIS Record. International Student regulations require that a Student update the current US Residence Address in the Office of International Students at the Graduate Center-CUNY within 10 days of moving. The "Address Form" must be completed either in person at the Office or sent by PDF email attachment to the Office. NOTE: Updating the US address at other Graduate Center locations offices, or in Banner, does not meet the US government SEVIS requirement.
US government regulations for International Students require that the student's passport be continually valid for at least six months into the future. Students from a limited number of countries have a 6-month "grace period" during which they may complete passport validity or renewal process with their country's consulate.
International Students must inform the Office of International Students at the Graduate Center-CUNY when their name in their passport is changed. A copy of the New Passport must be presented to the Office, either in person or by PDF email attachment. The student then must obtain a new Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or DS-2019) to verify the name change in the student's SEVIS Record.
4. Travel and Re-Entry into the United States
a. Before Leaving the United States
Report to the Office of International Students where we will check documentation for reentry eligibility. Bring passport and Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 for F-1 Status, Form DS-2019 for J-1 Status). This process needs to be followed even when it may appear that all documentation – including entry visa and reentry validation signature – appears to be up-to-date. If you will need a new Entry Visa to reenter the US following your trip, make an appointment one to two months before your planned departure from the US, and an International Student Counselor will advise you on the process.
b. Upon Returning to the United States
Report to the Office of International Students with the following documentation: Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019), passport showing the reentry date stamp, the Entry Visa, and the new “Admission Record-Form I-94.” Instructions for downloading the I-94 are available at www.cbp.gov/i94. You may also send copies of the passport entry stamp and I-94 by email attachment.
1. Full-Time Registration
To maintain valid Immigration Status in the United States, International Students must be registered Full-Time each semester. To discuss deviations from this Regulation a student must make an appointment with an International Student Counselor in the Office of International Students at the Graduate Center-CUNY to discuss the student's plans and available options.
Students who are considering a Leave of Absence at the Graduate Center should discuss the implications of the Leave on their International Student Immigration Status BEFORE applying for their Leave in their Academic Program Office.
International Students who are considering withdrawing from a course should consult FIRST with an International Student Counselor in the Office of International Students at the Graduate Center-CUNY. Dropping below a full-time registration during the semester may put the International Student in danger of violating US government regulations.
Federal regulations allow F-1 status students to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the semester. There is no hourly limit for on-campus employment during vacation periods when school is not in session. F-1 status students at the Graduate Center are authorized to work at any of the CUNY campuses and the 20 hours per week limit applies to all combined on-campus employment.
When an F-1 status student works at another CUNY campus, that college's Payroll or Human Resources office may request verification of the student's eligibility to work. When requested, the Office of International Students will provide a CUNY International Student Status Employment Verification Form. An F-1 status student may request this form from our office either in person or via email.
J-1 status students must receive on-campus employment authorization in SEVIS prior to commencing on-campus employment. Please submit your on-campus employment letter to the Office of International Students to receive such authorization.
International Students must not begin any kind of employment off campus (i.e., outside CUNY) without (a) receiving authorization from either the Office of International Students or U.S. Immigration Services (USCIS) and (b) determining the applicable limit on the number of hours of employment permitted per week, the duration for which the employment may continue and employment reporting requirements. Students who work outside the regulations will be in violation of their Immigration Status.
a. Curricular Practical Training
Before graduation, an International Student may apply for "Curricular Practical Training" (CPT). See this link for general information about CPT. Make an appointment to discuss before accepting a teaching, research, or other employment job.
b. Optional Practical Training
To apply for Extended F-1 Status after graduation, an International Student must discuss their plans four months in advance of the expected graduation date. An International Student Counselor in the Office of International Students at the Graduate Center-CUNY will discuss the eligibility and application requirements for "Optional Practical Training" (OPT). See this link for general information about OPT. Make an appointment to discuss the timing and procedure for OPT four months before planning to graduate.
All International Students are subject to taxation on all U.S. source income and must file annual reports ("tax returns") with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regardless of whether or not they received any income. Although the Office of International Students is not able to provide income tax advice, it does make available appropriate information concerning Federal (U.S.) and New York State tax requirements. The Graduate Center makes the Sprintax online tax preparation software available for students to help them prepare their annual U.S. tax returns.