F-1/J-1 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Family/Life at Cal Poly Pomona


Enrollment/Student Status

Other Questions

Am I required to pay I-901 SEVIS fee?

Yes. You can go to the official website for SEVIS fee information and payment. You should print a copy of the receipt and take it to your visa interview and when traveling to the U.S.

How do I “check-in” when I arrive to begin my program?

Upon your arrival to the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status, you are required to report to the International Center for a mandatory immigration check-in. Please bring with you your passport, visa, I-94 card, and I-20 or DS-2019. Failure to check-in may result in the loss of your legal status.

I'm planning on traveling outside the United States. What do I need to do to re-enter the United States?

  • Valid I-20 (signature on the 3rd page within 6 months)
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa
  • Valid Passport
  • Additional documents such as transcripts and certificate letter is recommended

What happens if I try to enter the U.S. without an I-20/DS-2019 or without a travel signature? What is an I-515a?

Students/scholars who travel outside the U.S. and do not have all the required documentation may be denied entry to the U.S. However, Customs and Border Protection has the authority to admit F-1/ J-1 students/scholars (and accompanying dependents, if applicable) to the U.S. for 30 days by issuing a Form I-515A if they are otherwise eligible for readmission but have some documentary deficiency. A student issued the Form I-515A will be given a date specific I-94 (with a 30 day validity period). It is essential that the I-515A be resolved. Please see an advisor for assistance.

How can I renew my F or J visa? What if my visa expires?

You do not need a valid visa in the US if you have maintained your F-1 or J-1 status. Howeever, if you travel outside of the country you will need to return with a valid visa.

How does my spouse/child under 21 join me in the U.S. as my F-2/J-2 dependent?

To obtain F-2/J-2 DS-2019 documents for your spouse and/or minor children under 21 years, please contact an International Student/Scholar Advisor.

How do I invite family members to visit?

Family members who are NOT children (under 21) or the spouse of the F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor should apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa.

Can I get a driver's license?

California Driver's Licenses and Personal Identification Cards are issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For more information, you can refer to the Social Security/DMV section of our website.

Do I have an opportunity to participate in club or other activities as an international student?

Yes, you are strongly encouraged to do that. You can email them at isc.cpp@gmail.com.

I'm interested in finding a job while attending classes. Can I work?

On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and available full time during school vacation and holidays.

Under certain conditions you may be eligible for off-campus employment either in the form of practical training related to your academic program, or severe economic hardship employment authorization. You may not begin employment unless you have received official authorization. For more information, refer to the Employment section of our website.

Employment in the U.S. requires having a social security number. For more information on obtaining a social security, please refer to Social Security/DMV section of our website.

Can I work in the U.S. after I graduate? When can I apply for OPT?

Yes, please see the Optional Pratical Training (OPT) page.

J1 students only:
J-1 students can apply for an internship after your exchange program. The length is determined by the time enrolled in classes at Cal Poly Pomona. For example, if you are enrolled in school for one quarter, you are allowed only one quarter of internship.

Please see the International Advisor for more information.

How do I get a Social Security number?

F-1 students are only eligible for a Social Security number (SSN) when employed on-campus or approved for off-campus work permission. For more information on the procedures please refer to Social Security/DMV section of our website.

Do I need a Social Security number before I begin working?

You can begin work (and be paid) while you are waiting for your Social Security number to be issued. However, you must have applied for a Social Security number if you are employed in the U.S. or if you have received and plan to accept an offer of employment in the U.S.

How can I find assistance regarding taxes?

International Center staff members are not authorized to give advice regarding taxes. We do have some helpful information about taxes and tax preparation on our website in the Income Tax Info section. The Internal Revenue Service is the U.S. department in charge of taxes; paper forms and information can be found on their site.

What is the International Student full-time enrollment requirement?

International students must maintain a full course load at all times. For undergraduates, 12 units is full time and graduates must take 8 units. If you are in final term, please notify the International Center Advisor in which case you can take less than the required units.

Can I take an online class and how many online class can I register for?

Yes, you may register for an online class, but you may only register for one online class per quarter.

What should I do if my I-20/DS-2019 will expire and I am not finished with my academic requirements?

If you need longer than the end date listed on your current I-20 or DS-2019 to complete your program, you must request an “Extension” of your I-20/DS-2019 to continue your studies. To do so, please consult with an International Student/Scholar Advisor.

What financial support do I need to maintain the F1/J1 status?

You must have evidence that you have sufficient funds to pay tuition and living expenses for one year.

What do I need to do if I want to change my major or degree?

To change your major, contact the major department to learn about its requirements for changing majors. Once your major is changed, notify the International Center. There is a form you can obtain from the International Center office.  

I moved or I changed my name. How do I report my change of address or name?

You are required to report these changes within 10 days to both the International Center either in person or by e-mail so that your SEVIS record can be updated. Do not confuse this with updating BroncoDirect.  You should also update the changes on BroncoDirect as well.

I will go to a different academic institution in the United States. What is the procedure to move/transfer to a new school?

To request a transfer, you should submit our F-1 Transfer-Out Form and follow the instructions on the form.

I've changed my immigration status and am no longer F-1 or J-1. How should I report this?

If your immigration status is no longer sponsored by Cal Poly Pomona (such as F or J) it is your responsibility to notify the University of any change of status. To officially record your new status, the Office of the Registrar will need a copy of the approval form(s) you received from USCIS.

Where can I find information about the “green card lottery”?

The U.S. Department of State Diversity Immigrant Program (green card lottery) enables randomly chosen people to obtain permanent residence in the United States. For Diversity Visa information updates, please check the U.S. Department of State's Diversity Visa Program page.

I have some more questions. How can I meet with an advisor?

International Center staff is available from 8am-5pm. You can call us at 909-869-3267 or email us at international@cpp.edu.

My documents got lost/stolen. What should I do?

Please check with the "lost and found" desk or office in the building or department where you think you lost your passport. You should also contact campus police to report the stolen documents.

If your documents are never found, there are different procedures that you must follow to replace each one of the documents you lost:

    1. To replace your passport, you will need to contact your home country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S. and follow their instructions on what you need to do to obtain a new passport.
    2. You cannot replace your visa (a sticker with your photo placed in your passport) while in the U.S. Next time you leave the U.S., you will need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. Fortunately, you do not have to have a visa in your passport while you are in the U.S., it is only required for travel.
    3. To replace your I-94 card, you can retrieve it online
    4. You can request a replacement of your I-20 or DS-2019 from our office.
    5. If you are an F-1 student on OPT, and your EAD card was lost/stolen as well, you will have to apply for a replacement card with USCIS. Check box for “Replacement of lost Employment Authorization Document” at the top of Form I-765.

Where can I print and copy on campus?

  1. The Library
    1. Photocopying and Printing (Print Release Stations)
      All research workstations in the library have print capability. Printers are available in the following computer area:
      • 1st floor 24 Hour Computer Lab - 1 black and white printer
      • 2nd floor Productivity Center - 1 color printer, 1 black and white printer
      • 2nd floor Learning Commons - 1 black and white printer
      • 4th floor computer area - 1 black and white printer
      • 5th floor computer area - 1 black and white printer
      • 6th floor computer area - 1 black and white printer

      You can only print from the printing station located on the floor where you submit your print job. There are two print release stations in each printing station. Either BroncoBucks or cash (add to your Pharos Account first) may be used to activate the print release stations. If you're paying using BroncoBucks, swipe your Bronco ID card in the card-swipe on one of the print release station keyboard. If you are paying using funds in your Pharos Account, use the Login print release station to enter your BroncoName and BroncoPassword. Detailed printing instruction is posted on each printing station.

      You may add money to your BroncoBucks online (need to register for a Bronco Bucks Account first) with credit cards or in person at the Foundation Cashier's Office (Building 55), Los Olivos Cashier's Office, or the Guest/ BroncoBucks/Dining Services Office (Campus Center - Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters only) in cash, check, or debit card ($5.00 minimum).

      You may add money to your Pharos Account using the Pharos Print System Kiosk with cash, bills only. The kiosk is located in the Copy Room on the library 2nd floor across from the Circulation Desk near the entrance. The machine does not accept coins, nor does it give change.

  2. Copy and Mail Services
    The Bronco Copy 'N Mail, which is located on the lower level of the Bronco Student Center, provides copying and mail services for the campus at a reduced cost. The following services are provided.
      • Self-use - simple black image copies only, manual collating, hole punching and stapling.
      • Full service - simple black and colored images, on-line collating, hole punching and stapling.
      • Class handouts, syllabi, supplemental test and homework materials.
      • Transparencies - black and colored

    However, those places below will allow students print for free (8-10 pages/day) if you bring your own papers (must be blank printing papers => notebook paper are not allowed)

  3. Learning Resource Center - located on the 2nd floor of the University Library

  4. Asian & Pacific Islander Student Center - located in Building 95, directly behind the African American Student Center. It is between the Career Center and the University Library. Building 95 is referred to as the Cultural Centers.

    Feel free to email, phone or visit our office if you have further questions.