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Information for Continuing F1 Students


While studying in the United States, it is important to maintain your F1 student status. Your Designated School Official (DSO) -- also known as your International Student Advisor -- should be the first person you talk with if you have questions regarding the legal requirements of your stay in the United States.

The information below is designed to answer many of the most frequently asked questions. If you require additional assistance, please contact

Maintaining Status

SEVIS Registration

F1 students must submit the check-in form in-person no later than 15 days after the start of each session (Fall and Spring).


Full Course of Study

F1 students must be enrolled in at least 12 units each semester (Fall and Spring). No more than the equivalent of one class or three units may be completed online.

  • Fall 2020 Update: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has temporarily allowed F1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model to take more than one class or three credit hours online. However, the student may not take an entirely online course load.



To transfer a SEVIS record (i.e. Form I-20) to another school, F1 students must submit the transfer-out form/survey and provide evidence of admission to the new college/university.


Reduced Course Load (RCL) Petitions

F1 students may petition to enroll in less than 12 units if they are in their final semester and need less than a full course of study to graduate or if they have authorization from a medical professional.

  • Final Semester Petitions require DSO approval. Petitions must be submitted BEFORE the start of the semester. Petitions must be signed by an academic counselor and have a comprehensive student education plan (CSEP) attached.

  • Medical Authorization Petitions require DSO approval. Petitions must be submitted within 10 days of medical release. Petitions must be signed by a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist.


Concurrent Enrollment Petition

F1 students may petition to enroll in classes at another college/university while maintaining full-time or part-time status at West Los Angeles College.

Coursework completed at other colleges/universities without prior approval will not be applied toward the student's full-time requirement.


Extend I-20 Petition

F1 students may petition to extend their I-20 program end date if they have compelling academic or medical reasons for the delay in program completion.

  • Extend I-20 Petitions require DSO approval. Petitions must be submitted at least 10 business days before the program end date.



Employment opportunities are limited and should not be considered a source of income to meet minimum financial obligations. Student must obtain employment on his/her own, obtain an employment offer letter, obtain an LACCD employee number, then schedule an appointment with the International Student Program. You may begin by reviewing the following:


Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT provides students a legal employment/internship pathway. Review the link above for detailed instructions and eligibility requirements.  OPT approved students must create an SEVP Portal Account to meet their regulatory reporting requirements. Students are responsible for reporting changes to their employment, address, and phone number.


Change of Status Information

Review this document for instructions on changing your current visa type to F1 Visa. 


Express Mailing

Review this document for instructions on how to request out-of-country shipping to your home country.  


Medical Insurance (IMED)

Review the linked website to learn more about your health insurance plan, how to obtain your insurance card, how to find a doctor, and what to do in case of an emergency. IMED is automatically assigned to all F-1 Visa students at West without exemption (LACCD Board Rule 2309.20). 


Out of Status Comparison

Review the linked document if you were recently informed that your I-20 was terminated and you wish to gain admission to WLAC. 

NOTE: West does not issue Reinstatement I-20's for students that were terminated at another college/university; though we may consider issuing an Initial I-20.


Student Services Summary Sheet

Review the linked document for a quick reference to the locations, contact information, and free student success services available to West students. 


Termination Policy 

Review the linked document for current policies on student status. 


Travel Recommendations

Review the linked document for recommendations on re-entry to the U.S. as an F1 visa student.