U.S. federal government regulations require all international students to maintain F-1 student status. It is your responsibility to be aware of the factors that impact your legal status and make sure you remain compliant. Non-compliance is a very serious matter with severe consequences. While the responsibility for maintaining compliance is yours, IPGE is here to help you navigate the complexities of U.S. government regulations and procedures. This section will assist you in providing key information for maintaining your student status.
Full Time Enrollment
You must maintain full-time enrollment each academic term (except during designated vacation periods) and make normal progress toward the completion of your program of study. Full-time enrollment is as follows:
- Undergraduate students: 12 units during the spring and fall semesters
- Graduate students: 9 units during the spring and fall semesters
Change of Address/Email/Phone Number
You must update IPGE and your MySacState within 10 days of any change. To update IPGE, complete a address update form at the IPGE front desk.
Extension of Program
If you are unable to complete your program of study before the program end date on your I-20, you must apply for an extension of stay from ISSS at least 30 days before the program end date on your I-20.
Curricular Practical Training:
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of off-campus work authorization which permits eligible F-1 international students to engage in paid or unpaid work experience which "is an integral part of the established curriculum" and "directly related to the student's major area of study." Employment includes alternate work/study internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum.
Optional Practical Training:
Through OPT, F-1 students can gain hands-on work experience related to their academic field of study. Learn more about eligibility, the application process, and reporting requirements while on OPT in the links below.
STEM OPT Extension:
There are numerous on-campus locations where you can work. We encourage you to start your job search with the CSUS Career Center. Please see below for an employment guide that lists on-campus offices that commonly employ students:
International Students who have been approved for on or off campus work will be required to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) before they may begin work. SSNs are generally assigned to F-1 and J-1 students who are authorized to work in the United States and are used to report their wages to the IRS. Please be aware that an SSN is not a work authorization.
How to Apply for an SSN:
Present the following documents at the Social Security Administration Office.
- Valid Passport
- Original I-20
- SSN Support letter from IPGE
- SSN Support letter from Employer
To receive an SSN Support letter from IPGE, you must first be authorized to work (On-campus, CPT, or OPT). Then, complete a letter request form at the IPGE front desk. Your SSN Support Letter will be available to pick up the next business day.
Note: If you are a new student, please wait 10 days after the semester starts before you apply for an SSN.