Visa Compliance

If you are studying on a USC International Academy I-20, you are considered a full-time student and must maintain full-time status during your stay. If you do not fulfill this and other responsibilities, you may jeopardize your legal status in the United States.

We encourage you to see an Admissions and Immigration Adviser if you have any questions, doubts, or concerns about your legal status and responsibilities. Schedule an appointment by emailing: info-international@usc.edu


Maintaining Your Student Status

As a F-1 student visa holder, you have important responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities include:

  • Maintain a valid passport and Form I-20 at all times. This includes correct program, funding, and valid program end date.
  • Enroll and attend courses full-time. (See Attendance Policy)
  • Make satisfactory progress in your program.
  • Request an I-20 extension before your current I-20 expires.
  • Leave the U.S. or transfer to another school within 60 days of your last day of class.

Please remember to notify one of the Admissions and Immigration Advisers in the following scenarios:

  • Before you travel outside of the U.S.
  • Before you transfer to another school
  • Changes in personal information (e.g., address, dependent information)
  • Before you stop attending class
  • Before your I-20 expires, if you want to extend your program

Program Extension or Termination

Program extensions must be requested in writing.

At the end of each term, students are required to complete a Stay/Go Form. You will receive the Stay/Go Form in your Reading and Writing class 3-4 weeks before your program end date.

If you plan to stay at the Academy, you will choose “Stay” on the form and your enrollment will be extended into the following term. If you successfully complete levels 3, 4, or 5 in the Intensive English Program, you can choose to take one of the preparation programs the following term.

Want to stay for more than one term?  Contact the Admissions Office in person or via email/phone and request an extension. Unless the request is made in writing, you will be asked to sign a Program Change Form.

If you plan to leave the Academy, you will choose “Go” on the form and your enrollment will not be extended. Students who have an F1 visa need to leave the U.S. or have their I-20 transferred  to another school within 60 days from their program end date. Students planning to transfer to another school need to contact an Admissions and Immigration Adviser as soon as they can to initiate the transfer process. I-20 transfer students need to present a Letter of Acceptance from another SEVIS certified institution and submit a completed Transfer Out Form.

Students who want to terminate their enrollment before their program end date need to submit the request in writing and do not have to wait for the Stay/Go forms to be distributed. All program terminations require that a Program Change Form is completed and signed by a student.

Changing Your Program

Program changes can be made within 5 calendar days after the program start date. A Program Change Form needs to be signed by a student for the change to take effect. In an exceptional situation, an email request to change programs can be accepted in lieu of the Program Change Form.

There are two types of changes:

  • Voluntary (student requests to change programs)
  • Involuntary (if there is an academic compelling reason for a students to change a program; usually as a result of placement test on intake)

Please note:  Intensive English Program students placed in levels 4 and above may be eligible to change their program to a Preparation Program; once the program change is processed, the full payment is due immediately. However, students enrolled in Undergraduate Preparation, Master’s Preparation or Pre-Master’s Program are not eligible to change their programs to the Intensive English Program unless there is a compelling academic reason to do so. All program changes need to be approved by the Academic Director or Associate Academic Director. Students who are approved to change their program from Undergraduate Preparation, Master’s Preparation or Pre-Master’s Program must enroll in at least 14 weeks of Intensive English Program.

To request a program change, please fill out the Program Change Form and submit it to info-international@usc.edu or the DCC Front Desk.

Travel

Students on a USC International Academy I-20 who plan on traveling outside of the U.S. during their program will need a travel signature from the Admissions and Immigration Adviser on the third page of their I-20. Please see the Admissions and Immigration Adviser to discuss any issues regarding your travel plans.

Vacation Policy

You may be eligible to take a vacation for one term if you have successfully completed 28 weeks of uninterrupted full time study, have good academic performance, attended minimum 85% of all classes, have a valid visa and I-20 with an end date that covers your vacation as well as the next term of study. You would remain on USC International Academy’s I-20 and enroll in the next term after vacation. Please note that I-20 length cannot be extended because of your vacation. I-20 extensions are granted for academic or medical reasons only.

If you would like to take vacation, you need to contact the Admissions and Immigration Adviser who will determine your eligibility. You need to make all arrangements before the end of the term. If your vacation is approved, before you leave you will need to finalize your enrollment, pay a $1000 non-refundable tuition deposit (down payment) to guarantee your return for the stated term. Intensive English students are eligible to take max. 7 week vacation; Undergraduate Preparation, Master’s Preparation and Pre-Master’s Preparation students may take max. 14 weeks’ vacation.