COVID-19 Updates from CIIS

Check the CIIS website international students page for on-going updates

If you depart the U.S. to do your online courses, please email me directly. Please also report any (temporary) changes of your U.S. address during the COVID-19 emergency.



OPT Fees to Increase October 2020

Effective Oct. 2, 2020, I-765 filing fee (for OPT and Severe Econ Hardship) will be increased from $410 to $550.

This new fee will apply to applications received after October 2, 2020.

I-765 application and instructions  Also review CIIS OPT Application and OPT FAQ document here on MyCIIS.




You must log in to check your admission number each time you re-enter the U.S. to confirm that your entry to the U.S. was recorded properly. Please keep all copies of all I-94 print outs.

This number shows proof of your being admitted to the U.S. in a legal status and is used for many purposes such as applying for a SSN, dealings at the DMV, and applications for OPT among other things.
To retrieve this number electronically, visit:  

If you have trouble retrieving your number, please make an appointment with Jody so we can get it for you.  Please note that often it is the name field that causes issues so if you have more than one last name please try a variety of combinations.


Study in the States U.S. Government webiste


Maintaining your status and more. Please use CIIS documents and IS Handbook to supplement information from this website. Thank you!



New International Student Orientation

Fall 2020
Friday, August 14, 11AM- 1PM, Virtual

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

We will discuss you immigration rights and responsibilities, services offered at CIIS, and any questions that you may have.

Participation in the international student orientation is required. We ask you to prioritize this Orientation. If there is a conflict with your CIIS degree program courses or retreat, please let us know.
Please send the following to Jody via email before the orientation and to the orientation to refer to:
  • Visa in your passport (admission stamp for Canadians)
  • I-94 Admission Number
  • Proof of Health insurance in English (CIIS offers a health insurance plan which we will discuss at the meeting, so you may choose to wait on this) 

Please also bring your SEVIS I-20 form and passport.

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Check all that Apply:

  • New Employment
  • Are you reporting completion of this position
  • Are you amending your current employment information?

Employment Type:

  • Full-Time (more than 20 hours/week)
  • Part-Time (20 hours or less per week)

Are you changing your visa status:

  • Yes - I am changing my visa status
  • No - I am not changing my visa status

Are you transferring to another U.S. SEVIS-approved university?

  • YES - Transferring to another U.S. SEVIS-approved university Please contact the International Student Advisor for assistance to transfer your SEVI SI-20 form.
  • NO - I am NOT transferring to another U.S. SEVIS-approved university


Required for School of Professional Psychology & Health and ACTCM who are registered for practicum/internship/clinic at CIIS counseling centers, ACTCM clinics or elsewhere. You must be registered for the course and have a contract agreement on file to qualify. Exception is for Drama Therapy students in required pre-practicum course where they are not registered for a course, but have a contract on file in the PDT office. CPT must be reported here.

*Students in School of Consciousness and Transformation whose program requires an internship or are registered in for credit that requires CPT should fill out the CPT form on MyCIIS and make an appointment with the International Student Advisor to discuss.*

Please review the full information provided in the document called CPT Application and Information on MyCIIS. It is a LOT of information, but please do read through it.


CPT is defined as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” It is a considered type of off-campus employment authorization in the F-1 student visa category that is related to a student’s academic program whether paid or unpaid therefore ‘employer’ and ‘employment’ is used even when it is an internship/practicum/clinic and/or is unpaid.

Eligibility Requirements

1. Students must have been in full-time status for at least one full academic year. Exceptions exist for graduate students whose programs require immediate CPT.

2. In order for work to be considered permissible under CPT, it must be a required or an integral part of your degree requirement and temporary.

3. Employment authorization is employer-specific and requires an offer of employment. SSPH and ACTCM students must have a practicum contract for each site on file. Eligible SCT students must provide a letter from your potential employer (more information in application section).

4. You must be enrolled full-time during the semester(s) that you work CPT, and you must be registered for a practicum/internship course in summer semester exception for PDT students who require a pre-practicum, but are not registered. Contract must be on file in PDT Office and CPT must be reported.

5. NOTE: CPT cannot be authorized beyond the program end date of your I-20. If such a case arises, please also submit a Program Extension Form and support documentations.

Please submit documentation at least 2-4 weeks in advance of your proposed employment start date.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Reporting: SPPH & ACTCM Students 
Submit for each eligible CPT contract.
Please note that all categories with * are required.
CIIS User ID :     0  
First Name :
Last Name : 
Email Address (default) :  



Employer / Practicum or Clinic Site Information
Employer Name :
Employer Address :
Employment Dates

These dates are written on your contract.

If the end date goes beyond your I-20 program end date, you need to first process a Program Extension request. The form is available on MyCIIS.

Start Date :
Show Calendar
End Date :
Show Calendar

Employment Details

Use of full-time CPT will affect your eligibility for OPT after graduation. Please review the CPT Application and Information form on MyCIIS. ;


Explain how employment is related to your course of study/degree at CIIS:

Updated I-20 with CPT Information

All I-20s will be updated with CPT information on page 2. If you contract dates change, please re-submit this form with the new dates. Please make comments in the "Additional Notes"  section below. Preferably students can collect their I-20 from Student Affairs in Room 302.


Home Address
Street Address :
City :
State :
Zip Code :
Additional Notes

Additional Notes :


Principal Designated School Official (PDSO, main contact for international students and the U.S. government):

Note: International student advisors are not attorneys and are unable to provide legal advice.

Jody O'Connor (Pronoun: she/her), Associate Director of Student Affairs
1453 Mission St., Room 302, 415-575-6157 ,
Schedule an appointment!
Designated School Officials (DSO) listed below are authorized to assist you in Jody's absence.
Fraylanie Aglipay (Preferred Pronouns: She/Her/Hers), Associate Dean of Students
Mission and Arkansas Street campuses,
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Students who request immediate shipment of their SEVIS Form I-20 from Student Affairs, International Student services must provide a pre-paid DHL Express Mail waybill via email to Jody O'Connor with as much advanced notice as possible. Most requests will be completed within 2-3 business days, and the arrival usually takes 3-5 business days.

Please visit the DHL website at

If shipment is required due to CIIS error then CIIS shall pay for the extra shipment. DHL shipment of the initial SEVIS Form I-20 is sent at no cost to the incoming student.



International Student Listserv

Let's connect!

All F-1 international students are automatically added as members to this listserv with their CIIS mymail address.
Any other interested person who wishes to join the list should email 
Members send emails through the Outlook365 group -- please be cautious about what personal information you send or reply to 'all'.
This listserv is for:
  • communication by the International Student Advisor to F-1 students regarding immigration updates and reminders . Please be sure to read through the emails or digest of announcements so as not to miss important deadlines and instructions. This is the primary way in which information is transmitted to international students;
  • communication between international students and the International Student Advisor for general immigration and university policy questions/information;
  • communication between members.

Email to:

Documents for current students

Please refer to CIIS policies and immigration regulations on these forms prior to any action that may affect successful maintenance of your visa status.  Please give yourself at least 2-4 weeks (as much as 12 weeks for OPT) for processing and submit in a timely manner to the International Student Advisor.  Many of these forms require your department signatures and an appointment with the International Student Advisor.

US Immigration laws are complex and always changing. The information provided on this website and in documents is intended only to give you an overview of different immigration procedures. It should not be construed as a substitute for legal advice. Although we make every effort to make certain that all information contained on this web site is current, we make no guarantees as to its accuracy. You are encouraged to consult an international student advisor or an immigrant attorney to see how the law applies in your case.


Forms for newly admitted International Students: click here.

Please refer to the handbook for information on immigration regulations, CIIS policies, cultural adjustment and more:

  • Arriving in SF
  • Maintaining Your Visa
  • Essential Documents
  • Address & Name Update Requirement
  • Enrollment Requirement & Exceptions
  • Audit Units & Online Classes
  • Concurrent Enrollment
  • Extending Your Study
  • Change of Degree Level/Program
  • CPT reporting requirements
  • OPT application and reporting requirements
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As an international student, you have an obligation to comply with the immigration laws and regulations of the United States. It is illegal to violate U.S. federal immigration laws and regulations for any reason whatsoever .   Please refer to detailed information in the Maintaining Your Visa Status document and always check in with the International Student Advisor for questions and advance authorization on actions that will affect your visa status.


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This is a list of organizations for finding funding through grants and scholarships. Please help us keep this information up-to-date and relevant. If you find any good leads for funding, please let the International Student Advisor know.


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This list includes grants and scholarships for non-residents and U.S. citizens.

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F-1 students who are maintaining their visa status are eligible to work on-campus.  The MyCIIS Financial Aid tab posts campus jobs. Upon being offered employment students will need to apply for a social security number and complete HR paperwork in order to begin working.


Folks who did not work on campus will need a SSN in order to participate in paid CPT or OPT.


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There are very few exceptions to the requirement to be enrolled full-time in each semester. Those exceptions include academic difficulty, medical condition, and completion of study, and there are strict criteria for each. In every instance, you must obtain prior authorization from the International Student Advisor. Requests must be made prior to the semester in which a RCL will take place.


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The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) permits program extensions for, “compelling academic or medical reasons, such as changes of major or research topics, unexpected research problems, or documented illnesses.” A program extension may not be granted for reasons resulting from academic probation or suspension. Deadlines and information are listed in the form.


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All SSPH and ACTCM students must fill out the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) online form on MyCIIS and meet eligibility for qualifying CPT.

Students in the SCT programs should review the CPT document and contact the International Student Advisor to verify eligibility.


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Optional Practical Training (OPT) is most commonly used by F-1 students to gain work experience in their field of study after completing a degree program, but there are certain other situations in which OPT may be possible prior to completion of a degree program.  OPT has a cumulative maximum of 12 months per degree sought and requires approval from USCIS. It takes approximately 3 months to receive approval.


You can confirm dates with a date calculator at


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Information on applying, wait times, taxes, employment, unemployment, travel during pending and approved OPT...

Update: March 2019

Students approved for post-completion OPT will need to create a student profile in SEVIS and update their U.S. address and employer information. Please see details inside the OPT FAQ document.


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Use for travel while OPT, applying for a social security card if your OPT employment is the first time you are being employed in the U.S.
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If you arrive at the U.S. port of entry without all of your required documents or with unsigned or missing information, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may deny your entry into the United States. As an alternative, the officer has discretion to issue you a Form I-515A, which allows you temporary entry into the United States for 30 days.


Documents required for entry to the U.S. every time include:

Signed, valid I-20

Valid passport

Valid visa

EAD card and employment letter (students on post-OPT)


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Please use these documents when submitting required financial documentation for the visa process or updates/changes to your I-20 form.
For Wire Transfer information, please contact the CIIS Business Office at

Use this form along with official documentation of proof of funding, required for the visa process and extensions of the I-20 program end date.


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Fee waiver is used to request non-payment for the I-765 application which is used for the OPT or Severe Economic Hardship application. In addition to the form, a one-page explanation and evidence is required.

Print the most up-to-date form from the USCIS website linked up above. Instructions are also available on the link. Include the fee waiver request form with your application for OPT or other USCIS applications.
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Tax Information

All F1 students living in the U.S. must file at least one tax form each year, whether they worked or not. All F1 students need to file the Form 8843. Students who worked must also file the Form 1040NR-EZ. Tax workshops are held in March each spring semester.

All forms and information begins at



IRS will NEVER – not ever – send F-1 students an email.  No exceptions.  And, in no case should they ever respond to an email from the IRS (or any other governmental agency) seeking personal or banking information.  IF the IRS needs to reach someone or has a question, the IRS will print a letter and then use the U.S. postal mail system. And, if there is missing information from a tax return, the original or a copy of the tax return is usually sent along with the letter requesting information, in which case, the person would re-submit the filing.  The IRS will NEVER solicit a taxpayer to try to file a form to avoid paying tax.


U.S. employers are required to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from wages earned in the U.S.  Individuals in F-1, J-1, M-1 or Q-1 status are exempt from these withholding as long are they are considered non-resident aliens for tax purposes. Employers are frequently unaware that F-1 students are exempt from the Social Security tax law and you can recover taxes wrongly withheld.


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This form explains a few key forms required by all new employees to file in their Human Resources Department before beginning employment.


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Please use this form to go line by line through your 1040NR-EZ. You will need any of the tax documents that you received:


W2 from all employers-- CIIS for campus jobs, and any other employers you had for CPT and OPT.


1099 from employers whom you worked for and got paid as an independent contractor. These forms are usually issued only if you earned over $600, but all income is required to be reported regardless of if you received this form or not. You can request a 1099 from the CIIS Business Office.


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This document is filed by all F1 and adult F2 dependents who resided in the U.S. in 2017 even if you did not work on or off campus.


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This form is used by students who earned money through campus employment or various employers while on CPT/OPT.


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The instructions include the mailing address where to submit your 1040-NR EZ form. The deadline is April 15, 2020.


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If you qualify for the medical reimbursement funds in any given quarter, you will receive this letter/information from SF City/CIIS. For more information, please find documents on the MyCIIS Financial Aid--Campus Employment section. Contact for questions:


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Welcome to CIIS’ Unique Culture of Transformative Learning!


Aug 3-14: International Student Bridge Writing Intensive. This two-week writing intensive is geared specifically for the international student community. International students will have the opportunity to engage academically and connect socially with other new CIIS international students. The program is designed to challenge you intellectually, sharpen your academic writing skills, and give you an early orientation and introduction to the University and program expectations and culture. For all of these reasons, CIIS requires all incoming international students participate in the Bridge Program as part of the International Student Orientation.

Aug 10-14: Student Bridge Program Writing and Diversity Intensive. A writing, diversity, and social awareness intensive for working students, first generation college students, returning adult learners, international students and historically underrepresented students. This module will prepare incoming students for the types of writing required across academic programs at CIIS. This interactive workshop is designed to re-familiarize students with the critical reading, writing, and analytical skills that are the foundation for effective academic writing. We'll also engage in community-building activities to strengthen communication skills and classroom engagement.

August 14: New International Student Orientation. Please see details at

August 14: Bridge Welcome Party (in Lobby). A celebratory launch event for all students participating in the Bridge Project, complete with music, dancing, gifts, food, and guest visitors from the CIIS community.


Please review details and the video on the main CIIS website .  
CIIS requires all newly admitted international students to participate in the Bridge Orientation program.  Additionally , any continuing English language learner at CIIS is also welcome to enroll .


What is the Bridge Project?

The Bridge Project is a summer intensive and year-long program of support designed to assist first-year students in building academic confidence and cultivating a sense of belonging as they enter into CIIS’ unique educational culture. Serving a diverse and global community, the Bridge Project will connect students with a supportive cohort of peers, mentors, faculty, and advisors through writing workshops, diversity and social justice modules, field trips to San Francisco venues, and social events. All programs are free to participating students.

What will I (as a student entering CIIS) gain from participating in the Bridge Project?

As a participant in this dynamic Bridge Project initiative, you will:

  • Gain assistance with transitioning into a new city and educational environment
  • Join a supportive cohort of 30 first-year students
  • Hone foundational writing, research, and classroom communication skills
  • Cultivate resilience, belonging, and academic confidence, as you gain tools for thriving during your time at CIIS
  • Participate in community-building workshops, San Francisco field trips, and welcome mixers
  • Connect with mentors, peers, and advisors who will support you throughout your time at CIIS
  • Receive a Certificate of Completion for completing the Bridge Project during a closing ceremony honoring your work

Fall and Spring 2019-2020 Workshops and Social Events. Over the course of the spring and fall semesters, Bridge staff will host a number of events. Possibilities include International Education Week, an evening with guest presenter, Eduardo Duran, and a Social / Movie Night.

Ongoing Year-Long Support: Besides the above learning modules, students will work with advisors and peer mentors throughout the Bridge year, cultivating a sense of resilience, belonging, and confidence in their academic and professional skills. Possible support modalities will be individualized based on students’ needs and professional goals, and may include:

  • Integrated academic support through CWS credit-based writing and research courses
  • Advising meetings with Bridge leadership and staff
  • An online Canvas community page with resources, tutorials, and videos
  • Collaborating with faculty to integrate support modules and workshops in individual classes
  • Support for living and thriving within the context of the San Francisco Bay Area
Please contact International Student Advisor, Jody O'Connor, with questions at

Forms for Incoming Students

Please review the International Student Acceptance Packet for the steps to obtain the SEVIS I-20/student visa upon your full or conditional acceptance to an eligible CIIS program.
All incoming international students using the F-1 visa are required to attend the Summer Intensive and New International Student Orientation.  Information can be found in the New International Student Acceptance Packet document on this MyCIIS page and at
Contact me with any questions: Jody O'Connor,
This document explains the next steps for newly admitted students to obtain an F-1 student visa. It also includes information on scholarships, employment and services for F-1 international students.
You may scan required documents in one email to Jody O'Connor at, but please keep the originals for your visa appointment and arrival to the U.S. Jody may require the originals be presented at the New International Student Orientation.
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Submit the Certificate of Funding form with original financial support documentation showing the minimum amount required to obtain the I-20 as outlined in the International Student Acceptance packet.
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F-1 visa applicants must pay a one-time fee to supplement the administration costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS). New students are required to pay this fee.
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This is a short list of some organizations for finding funding through grants and scholarships. Please help us keep this information up-to-date and relevant. If you find any good leads for funding, please let the International Student Advisor know.
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Students already attending a U.S. institution who wish to transfer their SEVIS I-20 form to CIIS must also submit the Transfer Eligibility form.
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Many applicants for student visas are denied for reasons that can be avoided if a little advance knowledge and common sense are applied. Here are some tips prospective students should consider when preparing for an interview with a US consular officer (or at the border, for Canadians).


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If you are a newly admitted student in the U.S. in a valid visa status and wish to change to the F-1 visa status, you may file a Change of Status application, can remain in the U.S. and should begin your studies at the start of the semester for which you are admitted.


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