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COVID-19 Updates

All information on the link below is valid for the AY 2021-2022.

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.

Review the FAQ document for non-immigrant students at the ICE website at





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!
Summer 2021: Jody is out of the office June 11-14, July 2-10, Aug 3-9
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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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
(.pdf, 1592K)

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.


(.pdf, 533K)

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.


(.pdf, 558K)

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

(.pdf, 505K)

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.


(.pdf, 588K)

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.


(.pdf, 572K)

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.


(.pdf, 153K)

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.


(.pdf, 182K)

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)


(.pdf, 294K)

It is CIIS policy that F-1 and J-1 visa holders have health insurance while studying at CIIS. Students can provide proof of coverage in English from their home country or from a US insurance company. This document provides information on understanding the confusing world of health insurance in the US. More details are covered at the New International Student Orientations.

CIIS does not endorse any one company, but can provide links to plans used by other students.

International students on the F1 visa are not eligible for US/California Medicare or Medicade health plans. Enrollment and usage of these plans can have negative impacts on your F1 visa status and/or future visa applications.

(.pdf, 1748K)

Optional Practical Training (OPT)


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


(.pdf, 222K)


Please submit this form to the International Student Advisor no sooner than a week before your program end date to request OPT be updated to your SEVIS record, as required for the I-765 application process. Based on this form, students will receive an updated I-20 showing your request for OPT on page 2. You will sign the I-20 and use this updated in yourI-765 application. Please review other documents on OPT on MyCIIS for further clarification.


(.pdf, 147K)

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.
(.pdf, 106K)

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.


(.pdf, 210K)
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.
(.docx, 15K)

Tax Information

Spring 2021: CIIS will no longer host tax workshops for non-resident visa holders. Please use the resources below to file on your own, with free services or through a paid e-service called Sprintax.

All F1 students living in the U.S. must file at least one tax form each year, whether they worked or not.  PLEASE READ WHO MUST FILE AND WHAT FORM(S)? IN THE DOUCMENT BELOW.


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.

This form explains the various tax documents that you may have received from your employer(s), banks and what to gather before starting your paperwork filing including, but not limited to:  W2, 1099, 1042-S

It’s important to be aware that, as a nonresident student in the U.S., you’re legally required to file a tax return if you received US income during 2020.


And even if you didn’t work or receive income in the US, you’re still obliged to file a Form 8843 with the IRS.


This document is provided by Sprintax, but of course you may chose to use free services through IRS Vita program or file on your own.


(.pdf, 260K)

This document is filed by all F1 and adult F2 dependents who resided in the U.S. in 2020 even if you did not work on or off campus.


(.pdf, 115K)

The details of this form are discussed in the Sprintax webinar and are useful as well for maintaining non-residency for tax purposes if you've bee in the U.S. for more than 5 years and wish to file as a non-resident.


2020 Recorded Webinar 


(.pdf, 149K)

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.


(.pdf, 137K)

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


(.pdf, 917K)

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:


(.pdf, 512K)

Welcome to CIIS’ Unique Culture of Transformative Learning!


As a new student, incoming folks are eligible to participate in CIIS’ Bridge Program! The Bridge is an opportunity to be supported with transitioning into a new city and/or educational environment with a cohort of first-year students.

The Bridge Program creates space to 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. You are invited to participate in community-building workshops, welcome mixers, and connect with mentors, peers, and advisors who will support you throughout your time at CIIS.

CIIS will contact incoming students with details for registering for all or part of the Bridge Program services. If you have questions, please reach out to


2021-2022 DATES

CIIS strongly recommends all incoming international students participate in the Bridge Program Writing Intensive at the start of their program. F-1 students are required to attend the Summer Intensive and particularly the in-person meeting(s) in order to maintain their F1 visa status. Details forthcoming upon one's acceptance.

Aug 2-12: International Student Bridge Summer 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.

Aug 9-12: 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 13: New International Student Orientation. Please see details at MyCIIS International Students page

September 2021- exact date TBD: F-1 Visa Holder In-Person Intensive Day-Long, Mission Street campus. An in-person day-long academic and culture intensive is required for new international students using the F-1 student visa. More details will come from the International Students Office.

Week of January 10, 2022: Bridge Program Winter Writing Intensive and New International Student Orientation. This one-week writing intensive is geared specifically for the international student community and includes in-person meeting requirements to maintain one's F1 student visa.


What is the Bridge Program?

The Bridge Project is a writing intensive at the start of each fall/spring semester and a 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 and educational and social events. All programs are free to participating students.

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

As a participant in this dynamic Bridge Program, you will:

  • Gain assistance with transitioning into a new city and educational environment
  • Join a supportive cohort of 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 and welcome mixers
  • Connect with mentors, peers, and advisors who will support you throughout your time at CIIS 


Ongoing Year-Long Support-- The Bridge Mentor Program: 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
Questions about the Bridge Program:
Questions for international students:

Forms for Incoming Students





Only 100% residential programs are eligible for the F-1 visa status. Please review the International Student Acceptance Packet for the steps for the visa process.

All incoming international students are asked to attend the Summer/Winter Intensive before the start of your first semester (online options available for online/hybrid students).

*same details in the document applied to the 2021-2022 academic year* 
COVID Information here
This document explains the next steps for newly admitted students in residential programs 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.
Online degree programs are not eligible for the student visa and therefore new students do not need to provide financial documentation. Online students are eligible for services offered through Student Affairs Office and International Student Services.
(.pdf, 828K)
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.
(.pdf, 560K)
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.
(.pdf, 656K)
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.
(.pdf, 483K)
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.
(.pdf, 591K)

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).


(.pdf, 462K)

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.


(.pdf, 606K)

It is CIIS policy that F-1 and J-1 visa holders have health insurance while studying at CIIS. Students can provide proof of coverage in English from their home country or from a US insurance company. This document provides information on understanding the admittedly confusing world of health insurance in the US. More details are covered at the New International Student Orientations.

CIIS does not endorse any one company, but can provide links to various insurance companies that folks have used in the past. In general, the more expensive the plan, the more coverage one receives per injury/illness.

International students on the F1 visa are not eligible for Medicare or Medicade health plans. Enrollment and usage of these plans can have negative impacts on your F1 visa status and/or future visa applications.

(.pdf, 1748K)