International Students

Woodbury serves a large and diverse international population hailing from more than 30 countries.

We’ve welcomed students from:

Saudi Arabia, India, Armenia, Canada, China, Lebanon, Albania, Brazil, Hong Kong, Iran, Korea, Mexico, Myanmar, South Africa, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Guatemala, Italy, Kingdom of Tonga, Morocco, Russia, Syria, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and more!

We hope to welcome even more international students to Woodbury University!


Welcome   欢迎   Bienvenido   أهلا بك
Velkommen   ยินดีต้อนรับ   ようこそ   स्वागत हे

Woodbury is a truly vibrant community located in one of the most diverse and exciting regions in the world. The student population of Woodbury closely reflects that diversity. In fact, in the 2019 U.S. News and World Report College Rankings, Woodbury ranked first among Western Regional Universities in percentage of international students for the second year in a row.

Woodbury embraces its international student population and international students who attend Woodbury become closely connected, not only with the campus community, but with the broader southern California community and beyond.
In order to assist international students who come to Woodbury, the university offers a variety of specialized resources, including individual attention and advisement, academic support, and student life support.

Want to get a good look at our campus?

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Get our latest news

YueDi Wang: China

Watch Woodbury student YueDi Wang talk about her decision to come to Woodbury from China.

Elizaveta Grigoryeva: Russia

Watch student Elizaveta Grigoryeva address how safe and welcoming Woodbury’s campus is.

More information

Learn about Woodbury’s international student admissions requirements

Undergraduate Students

graduate Students


  • Prospective International Student Contact:

  • Marina Sais
    Graduate & International Admissions Counselor | Designated School Official
    Phone: 818.351.2129
    Email: [email protected]


Siddhi Nayyar: India

Siddhi Nayyar talks about her decision to attend Woodbury’s MBA program.

Support Services for International Students

Woodbury welcomes international students!


International Pre-Arrival Handbook

New international students are assigned an International Peer Advisor (IPA). IPAs are international students who provide support and encouragement to new students, and help them to adjust to life at Woodbury, and in the United States.

Tutors and coaches assist new and continuing international students with a variety of different subjects. In addition, an ESL specialist is available free-of-charge to assist international students who face difficulties with written assignments, and require a more in-depth understanding of English and how it is used

Mentors meet with students each week to assist them in preparing for classes, managing their time, and answering questions about campus processes and procedures.

Advisors assist new and continuing students with academic coursework at Woodbury.

Advisors assist students with academic courses, class requirements and scheduling, and graduation requirements.

From tax workshops, to employment and writing workshops, Woodbury  offers informative events on how to most effectively acclimatize to a U.S. university as an international student.

This course is designed to aid students with the cultural, communicative and social knowledge necessary for studying abroad, “Culture Shocks” is an interdisciplinary course designed for domestic and international students studying, or thinking about studying, in regions other than one’s home area. Covering such issues as intercultural diversity, the differences in people’s attitudes towards education, the elderly, authority, and other values, students interactively explore their personal competencies, group skills, and cultural heritages.

Woodbury helps international students experience the culture of Southern California and the United States by planning and providing fun and educational events.  These include bus tours, beach trips, holiday parties, and other activities that allow international students to experience and enjoy the culture of Southern California.

This student organization provides a platform for international students to meet scholars from over 40 countries and to learn about and share their cultures through events, discussions, and gatherings.

Advisors assist new and continuing international students in maintaining legal F-1 visa status, employment options, travel outside the United States, and all other matters related to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Answers to frequently asked questions



Students Transferring from Another U.S. School

If you are a transfer student from another American university and have an F-1 student visa, an International Student Transfer Form needs to be completed to begin the transfer process to Woodbury University. The form should be completed toward the end of the final semester of study at the U.S. school you most recently attended by the international student advisor at that school.

Transfer I-20 Form

Due to new immigration laws, you must inform the international student advisor at your previous school that you have made the decision to attend Woodbury University. He/she will then inform the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of your decision and enter a release date. Only when the release date is given can Woodbury University give you a SEVIS Form I-20.

Students Coming Directly from Abroad

If you are arriving to the U.S. directly from abroad, please note the date indicated on the SEVIS Form I-20 by which you would need to arrive in the U.S. and report to Woodbury University. Do not enter the U.S. using Woodbury’s SEVIS Form I-20 if you plan to attend a different school! Similarly, do not enter the U.S. using another school’s SEVIS Form I-20 if you do not plan to enroll at that campus.

When you are accepted to Woodbury University, you will be issued a SEVIS Form I-20. This is necessary for you to obtain an F-1 student visa from the U.S. Consulate/Embassy so that you may enter the U.S. as a student. Be sure to allow enough time for visa processing.

When you apply for your F-1 student visa, please bring the following documents with you:

  • Letter of acceptance from Woodbury University
  • SEVIS Form I-20
  • Passport valid for at least six months after your proposed entry date into the U.S.
  • Financial evidence of sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study
  • Photographs. Please use link below for the specific format.

Photo Requirements

  • Receipt of your Sevis (1-901) fee payment
  • Completed Application Form. You may download these forms from your home country’s U.S. embassy’s website.

U.S. Embassy Website

You may also be required to obtain certain immunizations before entering the U.S. You can find more information on the U.S. government travel site.

Link to U.S. Government Travel Site

Be sure to contact the U.S. Consulate/Embassy and request any additional information that you may need.

U.S. Embassy Website

Your passport must remain valid at all times

Your home country’s consulate/embassy should be contacted at least 6 months before the expiration date regarding renewal procedures.

Visa for entry and travel

The visa is the stamp that the U.S. consular officer placed on a page in your passport. The visa allowed you to apply for admission into the U.S. as an F-1 student, and does not need to remain valid while you are in the U.S. (Canadian citizens are not required to have a visa.) If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., the next time you travel abroad you must obtain a new F-1 visa before returning to the U.S.

All new international students must check in with the International Student Advisor during their first month at Woodbury

Students who do not check in to submit their required documents (e.g., I-94, I-20, passport, visa/CBP stamp) during the first month of their studies at Woodbury will have a HOLD placed on their record and will not be permitted to register for courses until they attend their initial meeting with the International Student Advisor.

Pay your I-901 (Sevis) Fee

International students who do not pay their I-901 fee will risk going out of status and eventually have their I-20s terminated. If you have not already done so, visit the Fee Processing website (fmjfee) to pay your I-901 fee.

fmjfee website

You must remain enrolled in a full course of study during the entire academic year (fall and spring semester).

At Woodbury, this is defined as six units for graduate students and 12 units for undergraduate students.This requirement may be waived in the last semester of study where less than a full load is required for completion of the program or under other extreme circumstances as authorized by the University. Should the required courses not be available, this requirement may be met by substitution of another course after approval by your academic advisor or by concurrent enrollment at another institution. Concurrent enrollment is permissible providing:

  • Credit from that institution is transferable to Woodbury;
  • Combined enrollment equals full time study at Woodbury;
  • The other institution is authorized to enroll international students, and;
  • Attendance at the second school is approved by your academic advisor and the Registrar prior to attending another institution.
  • You must obtain permission from the Registrar and the International Student Advisor, and complete a Concurrent Enrollment Form.
You must complete your degree within the length of time stated on your I-20 or apply for an extension of stay.
  • You must also apply for an extension if you need to remain in student status for more than 8 years (e.g. are completing more than one course of study).
Traveling outside the U.S.

Your I-20 must be endorsed for travel when you leave the U.S., even to Mexico or Canada. Note that your passport and visa should be current. Plan ahead and seek the travel endorsement from the International Student Advisor at least two weeks prior to your travel. The signature endorsement for travel is valid for six months; however, it is highly recommended that you meet with the international student advisor before every trip outside the U.S. You must be pre-registered for the following semester if you are traveling in between semesters.

Your transfer from the school which last issued you an I-20 must be facilitated in a timely manner.

To do this, you must submit your Woodbury I-20 to the International Student Advisor for processing within the first two weeks of classes. Also, submit the International Student Transfer Form completed by the international student advisor at your previous school.

You must limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week during the school year.
  • There are no residency requirements for on-campus employment.
You may not work off-campus unless authorized to do so. Work authorization applies only under the following conditions:
  • You have been in legal status as a student in the U.S. for the past 9 months
  • You have been enrolled on a full-time basis at approved school for one full academic year.
  • Graduate students may be authorized to work off campus (internship) only after having completed two full semesters at Woodbury University.
  • Students in English language training/transition programs are not eligible for off campus work.
  • You can maintain full-time student status while working
  • You have been authorized for curricular or pre-completion optional practical training; and
  • You have consulted with the Office of Student Affairs International Student Advisor.
You may apply for two types of practical training during the course of your study at Woodbury: OPT & CPT.
  • Both must be within your field of study, and be approved by your faculty advisor and the International Student Advisor.
  • Curricular practical training (CPT) is allowable if you are required to do an internship as part of your graduation requirements.
  • The time spent in part-time curricular practical training (CPT) will not be subtracted from your optional practical training. You may apply for this only after you have maintained lawful status for at least 9 months. If you use CPT during the academic year, you must still be enrolled at the full-time rate.
  • A total of 12 months of full-time optional practical training (OPT) is available to all students who have maintained proper academic and legal status as a student for one academic year, and continue to do so.
  • The 24-month STEM extension ONLY applies to Media Technology and Animation majors!
  • CPT Process and Endorsement form
  • OPT Process and Endorsement form
You will need to see the International Student Advisor if…
  • Events That Require You to Update Your I-20
  • Many kinds of updates must be reported to the Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS and must be changed on your I-20. Notify the international student advisor of the following changes and request an updated I-20.
  • Keep every I-20 for your permanent record, even after you graduate. Do not discard the old ones, even from previous schools. It is your responsibility to keep your I-20s in case you need them to apply for future immigration benefits.
Program Extension

If you are unable to complete your course of study before the completion date noted in item 5 on your I-20, you must request an extended I-20 before your current I-20 expires.

Changing Schools

You must register full-time at the Woodbury, since Woodbury issued your I-20 and oversees your SEVIS record. If you decide to transfer to another school, contact the international student advisor prior to completing your final semester.

Change of Level

If you will complete your current program of study and plan to continue at the Woodbury University in another program (for example, change from a Bachelor’s degree program to a Master’s program), your I-20 must be updated.

Change of Major

If you are accepted into a major or if you change your major you must request a new I-20.

Change of Funding

If there is a substantial change in the source or amount of your funding, report this change to the international student advisor and a new I-20 will be issued to you. For example, if you receive a Research or Teaching Assistantship through your department, but your I-20 indicates that you use personal funds to pay for expenses, you should request a new I-20.

Concurrent Enrollment

If you would like to take courses at another university at the same time that you are taking courses at Woodbury.

Name Change

The name on your I-20 should match the name on your passport. If you change any part of your legal name—first/given name, middle name, or last/family name—on your passport, this change should be reflected on your I-20. Conversely, if you want a different name on your I-20, the international student advisor will wait for you to change your passport first, before updating the I-20. Note that SEVIS is a separate database from the WU database.

Full-time Registration Requirements and Exceptions

In general, F-1 students must be registered full-time. This is defined as at least:

  • 12 credits each semester for undergraduate students
  • 6 credits each semester for graduate students
Exceptions to the full-time rule:

1. Last semester of study
2. Medical condition
3. Lack of English proficiency
4. Misunderstanding of American teaching methods

Only one online class may count towards the minimum credit amount each semester.

According to the F-1 regulations, an online class is one that “does not require the student’s physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class.” Therefore any course that has some sort of physical attendance requirement, such as for a lecture, exam, or faculty meeting is not considered fully online for visa status purposes.

Do not register for fewer than the required number of credits or withdraw from a course without first receiving permission from the international student advisor! Part-time studies could jeopardize your stay in the U.S. and make you ineligible for F-1 benefits.

Scenario 1

If you wish to change your non-immigrant status to F-1 and you are traveling outside the U.S., you must apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate and use your I-20 issued by Woodbury University to re-enter the U.S. Although costly, this is often the fastest way to become an F-1 student. If your current non-immigrant status is expired, then this option is the best choice.

Scenario 2

If your current non-immigrant status is not expired and you wish to change your non-immigrant status to F-1 during your stay in the United States, follow these instructions.

  • A change of status only changes your permission to stay in the U.S., i.e. your I-94 card.
  • You will NOT receive an F-1 visa stamp in your passport with an approved change of status. This means that if you need to travel outside of the U.S. in the future, generally you will be required to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy/ consulate.
  • There is no guarantee that an F-1 visa stamp will be issued even if the U.S. immigration service approved your change of status to F-1 student. For this reason, students often feel more comfortable leaving the U.S. and applying for the F-1 visa first before they make an investment in school.
Instructions for applying for a change of status while in the USA

Step 1. Apply for admission to WU. Once you are admitted and have met all admission requirements, the Admissions Office will notify you to of your acceptance.

Step 2. Once you are accepted, show proof that you meet the university’s English language requirement and financial requirements, you need to pay a $500 non-refundable commitment deposit to receive an I-20 from Woodbury University.

Step 3. After receiving your Woodbury I-20, you must pay the SEVIS fee of $200 using the Fee Processing website and print out your payment receipt.


Step 4. Apply for change of status to F-1 electronically by visiting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. If you choose not to file electronically and file by mail, visit uscis.gov to download the application and instructions.

USCIS website

USCIS Application

USCIS Application Instructions

Documents required/recommended for filing for change of status
  • Fee of $370.00 (made out to the Department of Homeland Security)
  • $200 SEVIS fee receipt
  • Photocopy of both sides of the I-94 card if you have a paper I-94. Electronic I-94 is available here.
  • All three original pages of the I-20 issued by WU. Print your name, sign and date page 1 at the bottom.
  • Photocopy of passport information page, expiration date (at least 6 months validity period).
  • Photocopy of you current U.S. visa page.
  • An ORIGINAL bank letter (savings or checking account only) on official letterhead signed and dated by a bank official within the last six months. For non-personal funds, an ORIGINAL affidavit of support is required. If you don’t have a notarized affidavit of support (because notary is not readily available in your country), you may use the attached form.
  • Letter explaining why you want to change your status (see attached sample letter)
  • Proof of deposit payment, registration and payment of tuition and fees if you are allowed to attend school and are currently attending (certain status holders such as B1/B2 and F-2 are not allowed to attend school until change of status is approved).
  • Proof of your U.S. address (example: lease, utility bill, phone bill, bank statements)
  • Proof of your home country address (example: evidence of ownership of property of yourself or your family, driver’s license)

Note not all categories of visas allow a student to begin study before a change of status to F-1 is granted and not all categories of visas are allowed to change status to F-1. For example, if you are currently in B1 or B2 visa status, you will NOT be allowed to begin your studies at Woodbury University until AFTER immigration approves your Change of Status Application to F-1.

For students changing status from F-2 to F-1 add the following
  • Copy of marriage certificate (translated into English!!)
  • Copy of spouse’s I-20, visa, I-94, passport information/expiration date
  • Letter from spouse’s school verifying current F-1 status
    Note: You cannot start school until a change of status to F-1 is granted

For students changing status from B-1/B-2 to F-1 add the following

  • Copy of evidence showing original purpose of U.S. visit. For example, travel itinerary, round trip airplane ticket, business itinerary, etc.
    Note: You cannot start school until a change of status to F-1 is granted
For students changing from another status (H-1, H-4, R-1, etc.) add the following
  • Copy of passport, visa, I-94
  • Copy of approval notice (front and back)
  • Past three paystubs and income tax returns
  • Marriage certificate, if applicable.
    Note: If you are in a dependent status (such as F2, H4, J2, etc), you must provide documentation to verify both your and your spouse’s legal status
  • If the Immigration Service approves your request to change your non-immigrant status, this does not change the visa stamp in your passport
  • If you were to leave the U.S. you would have to go to an U.S. embassy or consulate and apply for an F-1 Visa
  • You are required by law to notify the USCIS and the school within 10 days of any legal changes to your name or any change of address
  • Feel free to consult an immigration attorney regarding your application. This document is created to inform students about the change of status process but does not constitute any legal advice

As a student in F-1 status, you are expected to comply with immigration regulations. If you fail to comply with these regulations, you will be “out of status.” When you are out of status, you are no longer eligible for on-campus employment, practical training, recertification of your I-20 for reentry to the US or any other benefits of F-1 status. IT IS YOUR JOB TO MAINTAIN YOUR STATUS!!!

The following are considered violations of your F-1 status
  • Failure to attend the school whose I-20 you used to enter the United States
  • Failure to maintain full-time registration
  • Failure to request a Program Extension before the completion date on your I-20, if you need more time to complete your current program
  • Failure to obtain a new I-20 if you change your educational program or degree level
  • Unauthorized employment
Reinstatement allows you the opportunity to regain valid F-1 status. You may be eligible for reinstatement only if you
  • Are currently enrolled or intend to enroll for a full-time course load
  • Can establish that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control
  • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • Have not been out of status for more than five months
  • Can document sufficient financial resources to pursue a full-time course load
  • Do not have a history of repeated violations
  • Are not deportable from the US on any other grounds

The application for reinstatement is made by you directly to USCIS. The Woodbury International Student Advisor does not have a role in approving your application. Only USCIS can reinstate your status. However, International Student Advisors are available to review your application before you submit it if you wish.**

You must provide:
  • A new, original I-20 created for you by the International Student Advisor for the purposes of reinstatement that you have signed and dated. You must submit the original I-20 for reinstatement applications.
  • Financial documentation showing one year of tuition, fees and living expenses
  • Copies of your passport, visa and I-94 card
  • Copies of all I-20s previously issued to you
  • Transcripts
  • Form I-539  (link below)
  • A payment to Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $370
  • Personal statement explaining exactly why you went out of status

Link to I-539

If you have dependents in the US, you must also include them in the application since a violation of your F-1 status affects your dependent family members as well.

Special Considerations

Processing times for reinstatement applications vary; however, it may take as long as six months for the application to be adjudicated. Although you may continue to study while the application is pending (in fact, you are required to register full time during this period), you will not be eligible for any type of employment until the reinstatement is approved.

Alternative to Reinstatement

You also have the option of traveling to regain status instead of applying for reinstatement. When you travel to regain status, you are issued a new I-20 for “initial attendance” with a new SEVIS ID number. You then leave the U.S. and reenter using the new I-20. When you enter the U.S. and receive an I-94 marked “F-1 D/S,” you will once again be in valid F-1 status. However, if you choose to travel to regain status, you will forfeit any time you have accrued toward practical training eligibility. You will need to be registered for one academic year in order to qualify for practical training.

**Woodbury University reserves the right to refuse assistance with reinstatements due to the above-mentioned violations of status. If we determine that your SEVIS profile/I-20 termination occurred in spite of your best efforts to maintain good standing, we will happily assist you in facilitating a reinstatement. Otherwise, we will recommend that you get an immigration attorney to provide assistance with your reinstatement.

Work Permission

There are various specific employment options available to international Students on F-1 visas. (Note: These options are available provided that you are maintaining lawful F-1 status. See Maintaining Student Status site for maintaining lawful F-1 status.)

  • On campus work is permitted up to 20 hours a week during the academic year unless Practical Training has been authorized. Full-time on-campus employment is possible during vacation periods. Please contact the International Student Advisor before accepting any employment offers.
  • Off-campus work permission prior to graduation may be granted under the following conditions:
    • The student maintained a legal F-1 visa status for at least 9 months.
    • The student wishes to complete an internship.
    • The student elects to work in his/her field of study and use Practical Training on a part-time basis.
    • The student experiences severe unexpected financial hardship.

The on-campus option is the easiest way to begin working if you are looking for general experience and a little pocket money. As you read through each of the options, determine which category(s) apply to you and begin the process by speaking with the Office of Student Affairs as soon as possible. This is only an overview and is designed to give you a general breakdown of the employment benefits/programs available to F-1 students. Specific regulations and application procedures for each of the above can be discussed with you in greater detail.

On-Campus Employment

On a student visa (F-1) you are entitled to work on campus up to 20 hours per week in the Fall and Spring semesters. However, you may work full-time on campus in the Summer. If you choose to work during the Summer months, you must be registered for classes in the following Fall semester. You must possess a valid passport, I-94, I-20 and social security card. You may work on-campus as long as you are enrolled full-time at Woodbury University. Once you find an on-campus employer, you and your employer must fill out the Campus Employer Verification Form to start your Social Security Number application process.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines Curricular Practical Training (CPT) as a training program which is “an integral part of an established curriculum…such 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.” (Manual Section For example, if your major is Architecture, your program requires structured work experience. This work experience or internship is also included in the course catalog under major requirements. You will see that many other majors at Woodbury require an internship or curricular practical training.

If your major requires such experience, you should meet with your faculty advisor to discuss internship options. Then, you should make an appointment to see the Office of Student Development’s international student advisor. Be sure to bring your program description detailing your employment contract approved by your department your I-20, passport, and I-94 card. CPT may be used at the part-time rate (less than 20 hours a week) during the Fall and Spring semesters, and full-time (40 hours a week) during the Summer.

Once you establish who your CPT employer will be, you and your academic/faculty advisor must fill out the CPT Eligibility Form to start your Social Security Number application process.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)
In order to qualify for Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization, you must be in lawful F-1 status for one full academic year (9 consecutive months) and be in good academic standing. The employment opportunity must be directly related to your field of study. You may work up to 20 hours per week during the Spring and Fall semesters and full-time during vacation periods before completing your program (pre-completion). You may also work full-time if you have completed your program of study (post-completion). You must apply for practical training authorization up to 90 days prior to your program end date to 60 days after your program end date. OPT is valid for a total of 12 months. There is a processing fee payable to BCIS. In addition you will need to complete Form I-765 which will be specified at your meeting with the International Student Advisor. This application can be done by mail or online, so plan ahead if you think this option applies to you. If approved, you will receive an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card which should be presented to your employer at the time of hire. You must obtain your EAD in order to begin working. If you are interested in applying for OPT, you should schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor for assistance. Be sure to bring your I-20, passport and other documentation.

The first step in the OPT process is to complete the Optional Practical Training (OPT) Endorsement Form with your academic/faculty advisor.

Meet with Lauren Seo prior to accepting any employment
Location: Office of Student Development (Whitten Student Center)
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (818) 252-5254
Hours: Monday- Friday: 8:00am – 5:00pm

Off-Campus Job Search Resources

Woodbury’s OnLine Job

Free H1B Visa Information, Guide, Resources, Jobs, Sponsors

Online Database of Sponsoring Employers

Off Campus Job Search Resource


Career Development Services Team

Catherine Roussel, AIA
Career/Outreach Coordinator and IDP Educator
Advises School of Architecture students in Burbank & San Diego
Office: Isaacs Faculty Center
Direct: (818) 394-3339
[email protected]

Your Passport Must Remain Valid at All Times

Your home country’s consulate/embassy should be contacted at least 6 months before the expiration date regarding renewal procedures.

Traveling Outside the U.S.

Your I-20 must be endorsed for travel when you leave the U.S., even to Mexico or Canada. Please note that your passport and visa should be current. Please plan ahead and seek the travel endorsement from the Office of International Student Programs at least two weeks prior to your travel. The signature endorsement for travel is valid for six months; however, it is highly recommended that you meet with the international student advisor before every trip outside the U.S. You must be pre-registered for the following semester if you are traveling in between semesters.

Visa Application

Once you are accepted to Woodbury University, you will be issued an initial I-20. You will need this I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa in your home country. The visa application process is explained in greater detail on the United States travel site.

Visa Renewal

Depending on your home country, you may be required to renew your student visa during your program. More details on visa renewals can be found on the ICE website.

Study Abroad

If you are studying abroad, notify an International Student Advisor of your acceptance to a Woodbury University study abroad program. The International Student Advisors will assist you with obtaining a visa as needed.

Information about lost or stolen visa’s is available at the U.S. Visa site, link below.

U.S. Visa

How to Apply for F-2 Status

Prospective/New Woodbury Univeristy F-1 Students:

1. Before the F-1 student submits his/her online application to Woodbury University, the student should enter the Dependent Information under the International Applicants only section.

a. Additional proof of financial support is required
b. The Dependent I-20 will be processed with the Initial I-20 for the student

Important Note: If the I-20 is for a spouse, the marriage certificate issuance date must be earlier than the dependent I-20 issuance date. Failure to completely or correctly enter the Dependent Information on the online application may delay processing of the dependent I-20.

2. If the F-1 student has already submitted his/her application to Woodbury University without dependent information, but has decided to request a dependent I-20, the F-1 student should email [email protected] with the following information:

a. Dependent Information (as on dependent’s passport):

1. Surname and Given name
2. Gender
3. Relationship to F-1 student
4. Date of Birth
5. Country of Birth
6. Country of Citizenship

b. Additional proof of financial support

c. Copy of marriage certificate if not married at the time online application was submitted
Important Note: The Dependent I-20 and an updated Initial I-20 for the F-1 student will be processed and mailed out at the same time.

3. The dependent I-20 will be mailed to the current mailing address indicated on the application.

4. The dependent(s) applies for the F-2 visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate in their home country with their dependent I-20 along with other supporting documents as required by the embassy/consulate. Dependents should apply for the Dependent F-2 visa with F-1 student.

Current Woodbury University F-1 Students:

1. Set up an appointment with an International Student Advisor

a. Provide proof of financial support
Important Note: If the I-20 is for a spouse, the marriage certificate issuance date must be earlier than the dependent I-20 issuance date.

2. The F-1 student is responsible for picking up the dependent I-20(s) and delivering them (either by mail or in person) to the dependent (s).

3. The dependent(s) applies for the F-2 visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate in their home country with their dependent I-20 along with other supporting documents as required by the embassy/consulate.


  • Fill out I-539 Form for change of status.
  • Obtain new “Dependent” I-20 from International Student Advisor.
  • Photocopy of your new I-20 and all previous I-20s
  • Photocopy of your spouse’s new I-20 along with all previous I-20s.
  • Photocopy of financial documentation (e.g., bank statements).
  • Photocopy of marriage certificate
  • Photocopy of current passport, visa, and I-94.
  • A check for $370.00 made out to “USCIS” for change of status.
  • A cover letter from you addressed to USCIS requesting change of status and explaining circumstances.
    Be aware that changing your status this way could take several months.

Travel for Dependents

  • F-2 dependents are not required to travel with the primary F-1. However, the F-2 dependent must carry the following documents required for re-entry to the U.S.:
  • Valid Passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of the re-entry to the U.S.).
  • Valid F-2 visa in passport (except dependents from Canada).
  • F-2 dependent I-20 with a valid travel signature from an International Student Advisor on page 3 (signatures are valid for 6 months).
  • Copies of the most current immigration documents (I-20, passport, F-1 visa, I-94 Arrival/Departure record) of the primary F-1 (if traveling separately).
  • If the primary F-1 is on post-completion OPT, F-2 dependents should carry copies of the F-1’s OPT I-20, EAD card and job offer letter.
  • F-2 dependents are able to remain in the U.S. without the F-1 as long as the F-1 maintains status and will return to the U.S. after a temporary absence using the same SEVIS ID number.

For more information, visit the ICE website.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has implemented a new automated I-94 arrival/departure record process for all air and sea ports of entry. CBP no longer requires non-immigrant travelers to fill out a paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record upon arrival to the U.S. at that port. The agency will gather travelers’ arrival and departure information automatically from their electronic travel records. If you need to access your I-94, you may do so online.

I-94 Online Access

  • If an F-1 international student needs additional time on their I-20 to complete their studies (an extension), they need to contact the International Student Advisor and the Registrar during the semester prior to the semester they would like to be extended. They will need to do the following:

1. Contact the Registrar and request an “I-20 extension” form.

2. Wait at least 10 business days for the form to be processed by the Registrar.

3. Schedule an appointment with the International Student Advisor after you have been contacted about your extension letter.

4. The International Student Advisor will approve or deny your I-20 extension request.

  • Should your I-20 be approved for an extension, you will need a new I-20 from the International Student Advisor with the additional time reflected on the I-20.
  • I-20s may only be extended one semester at a time. This means that international students will have to reapply for an additional extension should they need another semester to complete their studies. They will need to repeat the process described above.
  • If you have not requested an I-20 extension before your I-20 expiration date, your I-20 will be considered “completed” and you will need to request a reinstatement as your I- 20 cannot be extended after it has expired. Therefore, international students should request an I-20 extension as soon as possible to avoid future difficulties with their status.

International student interested in attaining more information regarding paths to United States citizenship should consult with an immigration lawyer. Below are immigration law firms who have worked with Woodbury University staff and students.

Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group
Work visa options for F1 students after OPT: presentation by immigration attorney, Richard Yemm

CSI Professionals

Nelson & Associates. A Professional Law Corporation

Law Offices of Adam Green


Office: Miller Hall Room 107
Phone: (818) 252-5243
Email: [email protected]
Milika McCoy: (818) 252-5244
Hours: Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm
(Extended hours first two weeks of semester: Monday – Thursday 8am – 6pm)

Tuition: Based on full-time (undergraduate: 12-18; graduate 6 or more) or overload unit status
Associated Students of Woodbury University (ASWU)
SOAR or Graduate Orientation/ProSeminar
Health Insurance: Can only be waived by completing a waiver and obtaining approval at www.4studenthealth.com/woodbury

Review your account balance anytime using your Self-Service account at go.woodbury.edu
Account balance breakdown:
Charges: Tuition and fees
Credits: Payments, Financial Aid (Scholarships, grants, loans)

Option 1: Full payment of balance
Option 2: Deferment payment plan
Break up current semester balance over pre-set payment dates
$100 one-time fee per semester set up at the Business Office
Option 3: Student sponsored by outside entity
SACM, Study Group, ISES

Adding or dropping any portion of classes
Prior to the add/drop period: no charges
During the add/drop period: $100 administrative fee
Withdrawal from university or dropping all classes
Prior to start of semester: 100% refund
During add/drop period: 100% refund less withdrawal fee
Weeks 3-4: sliding scale
After week 4: no refund
No guarantee of continued seat in a course
Instructor may drop student
Subject to a no-show fee

Who must file tax forms?
All international students are expected to complete and file tax forms with the U.S. federal government, whether or not they had earned income during the tax year. In addition, F-2 and J-2 dependents must also file certain tax forms.
Two factors determine which forms you complete for U.S. federal taxes
• Whether you are resident or non-resident for tax purposes
• Whether you received income in the U.S. in 2016
If you arrived in the US after December 31 2016, you do not have to file any tax forms for 2016.

What tax forms do I have to file?
If you had US source income in 2016:
Form 1040NR or Form 1040 NR-EZ: see link below to download forms and instructions
Form 8843: see the Form 8843 section below for more information
Information on whether you need to file California state taxes is available at California Franchise Tax Board
If you have no U.S. source income:
Form 8843: see the Form 8843 section below for more information

Step by step process
1. If you have been physically present in the U.S. for FEWER than 5 calendar years as a student (i.e. you arrived on 1/1/2011 or after), you are a NON-RESIDENT for tax purposes.

2. Every non-resident MUST file Form 8843. You do not need to have a social security number to submit this form.

Form 8843

3. If you earned money in the United States in 2015 (January 1 through December 31), you also need to file U.S. federal taxes. This means you need to fill out Form 1040NR-EZ.

Form 1040NR-EZ

4. Mail your Form 8843 and 1040NR-EZ to:

Department of Treasury
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX 73301-0215

5. If you earned money in California in 2016 (January 1 through December 31), you also need to file California state taxes. That means you need to fill out Form 540NR.


Mail this form to:

Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942840
Sacramento 94240-0002

6. The deadline to file all tax forms is April 15, 2017.

Note: There are also free online software programs, as well as programs you can purchase, to help you file your taxes yourself. Those include TurboTax, TaxACT, Sprintax, and H & R Block at Home. Additionally, if you want to pay someone to assist you, you can contact companies such as H & R Block or Jackson Hewitt. Woodbury does not endorse any of these programs or companies in particular.

Healthcare in the USA is very expensive.

• Health insurance is AUTOMATICALLY provided to Woodbury students, unless you choose to waive Woodbury insurance for your own private insurer.

• We require you to have health insurance (a broken toe can cost $10,000 without health insurance), but you need to take care of it yourself.

• If you have your own health insurance or are an international student who has your own comparable coverage and your insurance has an office in the USA, please visit the Woodbury Health Plan Site to submit the waiver.

• You must purchase the Woodbury University health plan, or waive it, by providing us with information on your current health plan.

• Woodbury University’s on-site nurse may be able to assist international students with limited insurance-related questions:  Telephone:  (818) 252-5238

• While the university’s requirement for health insurance only applies to students, dependents are urged to purchase supplemental health insurance.

Woodbury requires all nonimmigrant F-1 international students to get a Social Security number to work on campus. Social Security numbers are used to report your wages to the government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. The local Social Security office will not assign you a number just to enroll in a college or school.

Woodbury’s Designated School Official (DSO) can tell you if you are eligible to work on campus. Also, Woodbury may approve certain limited off-campus employment, as permitted under Department of Homeland Security regulations. If you are authorized to work either on or off campus by Woodbury’s DSO, and you meet Social Security’s eligibility requirements described in the next section, you can get a Social Security number.


Do I Need a Social Security Number Before I Start Working?
We do not require you to have a Social Security number before you start work. However, the Internal Revenue Service requires employers to report wages using a Social Security number. While you wait for your social Security number, your employer can use a letter from us stating that you applied for a number. Your employer may use your immigration documents as proof of your authorization to work in the United States. Employers can find more information on the Internet at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/hiring.htm

How do I Apply for a Social Security Number?

  1. Complete an Application for a Social Security Card AFTER you receive a job offer.
  2. Schedule an appointment with the International Student Advisor to obtain a letter to confirm employment eligibility.
  3. Obtain additional employment eligibility letter from supervisor (you will have a total of 2 letters).
  4. Gather original travel documents (I-94, I-20, and passport) to prove the following information:

WORK ELIGIBILITY (One letter from DSO and supervisor [2 letters] confirming employment)
AGE (Passport)
IDENTITY (Passport)

5. Take your completed application, 2 letters, and original travel documents to your local Social Security office:

1420 West Olive Avenue, Burbank, CA 91506
Telephone Number: (800) 772-1213
(For the deaf or hard of hearing, call TTY number, 1-800-325-7780)
Monday through Friday: 9am-4pm (except on Wednesdays: 9am-12 pm)
Automated phone service 24 hours a day.

Normal processing time for a new social security card is approximately 3-5 business days.

Living in the US

International students are encouraged to obtain a California Driver’s License if they plan to drive a car in the United States. A California Driver’s License is required to purchase a car and obtain auto insurance. The State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP)/International Driver’s License/International License as a valid form of driver’s license.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website outlines the process of obtaining a California Driver’s License. The steps include a written and driving skills test administered by the DMV. The California Driver’s Handbook is the best resource to help you prepare for these tests. Samples of written tests are also available online.

DMV Application Process
Please take the following documents to the DMV when applying:

  1. Valid passport/visa
  2. I-94 Arrival/ Departure record
  3. I-20

Information for International Students:

  • Wait at least ten calendar days from the date of entry into the United States before applying for a driver’s license or ID to allow time for arrival data processing
  • Students must be enrolled full-time and pay the SEVIS fee to apply for a driver’s license. If not, there will be significant problems and delays with your application.
  • Students must wait patiently to ensure that their SEVIS record has been registered in SEVIS, and that they have an “active” SEVIS record. If a student remains in “initial” status upon application, the DMV will not issue the student a driver’s license.
  • Students who have a driver’s license from their home country may be exempt from the driving skills test.
  • The DMV requires that you present the originals of all immigration documents: passport, printout of your I-94 Arrival/Departure record and I-20. Your passport or I-20/DS-2019 CANNOT expire less than 60 days from the date of application. If these documents expire in less than 60 days, you cannot apply. Be sure to bring your driver’s license from your home country to present to the officer at the DMV as it may exempt you from the driving test.
  • Fill-out an application form at the DMV.
  • If you do not have a Social Security Number (SSN) and are not in the process of applying for one, mark on the DMV application that you are not eligible for a SSN. You are only eligible for a SSN if you have a job offer for authorized paid on-campus or off-campus employment.
  • You must wait at least 30 days before calling the DMV office to inquire about your application. Most licenses will be issued within two weeks of the appointment. They cannot assist you before the 30-day window ends.

Information for Students on OPT

  1. Students on OPT who would like to renew their driver’s license are required to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). Without a SSN, the DMV will not approve of the driver’s license extension.
  2. Take your OPT EAD card and F-1 documents to the Social Security Office to get a SSN.
  3. Take your SSN, EAD card and F-1 documents to the DMV to obtain a license.
  4. You must also wait until the start date on your EAD card to submit your driver’s license application for it to be accepted.

Obtaining a California Identification Card
A California driver’s license is the primary form of identification. International students who do not drive can obtain a California Identification (ID) card instead. The DMV website offers detailed guidelines on obtaining an ID card.

Visiting the DMV
DMV office located closest to the Woodbury University Burbank campus:
1335 W. Glenoaks Blvd.
Glendale, CA. 91201

To reduce wait time at the DMV office, make an appointment online.

For more information regarding driver’s licenses, please consult the ICE Website.

If you are a male and between the ages of 18 and 25 you may receive a notice from the U.S. government’s Selective Service System (SSS) that you have been registered. Registration means that your data has been provided to the US government in the event that the US military needs to call up more soldiers than those who are already serving as volunteers. Even though such registration is normally only required of US citizens and US permanent residents, foreign nationals on non-immigrant visas may receive a notice in their mail, informing them of their registration.

How does this happen?
Many states, including New York and California, have enacted legislation which links SSS registration with the process of applying for a driver’s license or state identification card. This is done to ensure compliance with the Selective Service registration requirement.

Foreign nationals who are male and who are in the United States on student or visitor visas, and men who are part of a diplomatic or trade mission and their families are NOT required to register for Selective Service!! Please refer to this website: Selective Service.
If you receive (or have received) such a notice, return the Selective Service registration card and a photocopy of your I-94 departure card, along with a letter of explanation, to:

Selective Service System
PO Box 94636
Palatine, IL 60094-4636

Be sure to keep a copy for your records. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the International Student Advisor at (818) 252-5265 or at [email protected].

If you are an American citizen or a permanent resident, you will most likely be summoned to report for jury duty, or your civic responsibiliy to serve on a jury of your peers for a civil or criminal trial. HOWEVER, international students who are non-residents ARE NOT eligible for jury duty. In spite of this, if you still received a letter in the mail requesting you to report for jury duty, you will need to do the following in order to legally excuse your responsibility from jury duty:

  1. If there is an option on the jury duty notice you received in the mail to opt out of jury duty electronically, please follow the instructions (and link) on the notice.
  2. In the letter you received, you will be provided with a phone number to “register” for jury duty. Please call this number and register.
  3. After calling the number to register, make sure you are able to arrive at the courthouse at the time and date required.
  4. You may have to actually go to the courthouse and excuse yourself on the date requested in the letter. DO NOT FAIL TO SHOW UP. You will need to bring your I-20 and student visa to prove that you’re an international student and subsequently avoid jury duty.
  5. DO NOT simply ignore the letter. Please call the number to register and then have a plan to excuse yourself.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the international student advisor at (818) 252-5265 or at [email protected]

SOAR Legal Information Session

Meet Woodbury’s International Student Advisors/Designated School Officials who will assist you with any student status related questions during your SOAR date. Learn about maintaining student status, finding employment, getting a California driver’s license, and much more. Also, get to know current international students participating in the International Peer Advisor program.

I-20 Signing Party

Get your I-20 signed before leaving for the winter or summer breaks during the I-20 signing party. You will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding your student status. You will also have the opportunity to ask the International Peer Advisors questions, and learn about their events for the following semester.

You will recieve an email invitation before the end of each semester, so make sure your email address is up to date in Self-Service.

OPT(ea) Information Session

This information session is for international students in their final semester at Woodbury University who plan to apply for OPT. Join us for a cup of tea and information on the resources you need for employment options in the United States after graduation. Woodbury’s International Student Advisors will discuss the application process and go through the required documents. Career Services will provide information from potential employers. An immigration lawyer will provide general information regarding sponsorship and H1-B visas.

Student will recieve an email invitation before the end of their final semester, so make sure your email address is up to date in Self-Service.

International Peer Advisor Program events

Join the International Peer Advisors for off-campus events such as a hike to the Hollywood sign, visiting Santa Monica beach, and much more. On-campus events include new student information sessions, cultural food mixers, Thanksgiving dinner, and much more.

STEP 1: File an application for the new school. The school may also require you and a Woodbury University International Student Advisor to fill out an international student tranfer form. Schedule an appointment to meet with an International Student Advisor.

STEP 2: Make an appointment to meet with an International Student Advisor in order to transfer your SEVIS record after you have the following:

1. An acceptance letter from the new school.

2. The SEVIS school code of the new school.

3. The date your would like your SEVIS record to be transferred to the new school.

STEP 3: Complete a Woodbury University Leave of Absence form if you plan to return to Woodbury within three semesters, or file a Withdrawal form if you do not plan to return. Your form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office.

Schedule an appointment to meet with an International Student Advisor by calling (818) 252-5232 or emailing [email protected].

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