West L.A. College, like most other California Community Colleges, does not have student housing. There are a variety of housing options for WestLA students. You might consider temporary accommodations (hotel, motel, youth hostels, etc.) to allow time to secure your housing. Plan to make arrangements for transportation from the airport.
For more housing information click here
back to top
Students are required to enroll in Health Insurance provided by the Los Angeles Community College District. Students may not substitute any other insurance coverage. Fall is grouped with Winter for a 6-month period and Spring is grouped with Summer for a 6-month period. The Insurance I.D. card is mailed within 10-14 days of enrollment of the plan. If you have not received your card, contact Renaissance Agencies.
Renaissance Agencies, Inc.
1437 Seventh Street, Fourth Floor
Santa Monica, CA, 90401
Telephone: (800) 537-1777
Fax: (310) 394-0142
General information: www.renstudent.com
(Username and password not required. For school, select Los Angeles Community College District in the drop down list.)
Account Information: www.gghstudents.com
(Certificate ID number, username and password required)
Plan Brochure: click here
back to top
Getting a Driver’s License
Driving as Non-Resident
If you are not a resident of the United States (you hold a U.S. visa), and have a valid license from your home country, you may drive in this state. However, it is strongly recommended that you obtain a California license if you expect to drive or purchase a car. Be prepared to obtain the required automobile insurance if you buy a car.
For writing checks, it is useful to have a California Driver's License or a California Identification Card. Both are available at the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A California Driver's License is valid throughout the United States.
Obtaining a California Driver's License
To obtain a California Driver's License, you may go directly to the DMV office, but making an appointment online at www.dmv.ca.gov or calling for an appointment to take the written test will save you time. You will need your passport with your valid I-94 (you received this when you entered the country), and your I-20 or DS-2019. Also, you must present your Social Security Card (if you have one) to take the road test, but it is not required to have a Social Security Number to obtain a California driver's license. The application fee is approximately $26. Before you take the test, you should study the California Driver's Handbook. It paraphrases the vehicle code and explains the rules of the road. Sample tests are available at www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/interactive/tdrive/exam.htm. You may sign up with a local driving school for a fee.
International Driver's License
The State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP) as a valid driver's license. California does recognize a valid driver's license that is issued by a foreign jurisdiction (country, state, territory) of which the license holder is a resident. The IDP is only a translation of information contained on a person's foreign driver's license and is not required to operate a motor vehicle in California. Citations issued to a person in California who has an IDP but does not have a California driver's license will be placed on the Department of Motor Vehicle database.
back to top
Getting a Social Security Number
How to get a Social Security Card
- Social Security Numbers are issued only for purposes of employment.
- Bring the following documentation to the Social Security Administration Office:
- Passport, visa, I-20, I-94
- Campus job offer letter, if applicable:
F-1 students can work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week during the regular Fall and Spring semesters, and up to a maximum of 35 hours per week during Winter and Summer sessions. Your employer will set your work hours. Ask your campus employer to write a job offer letter on letterhead stating Employer Identification Number and job start date.
- EAD card, if applicable:
If you have applied for and have been granted Optional Practical Training (OPT), you are issued an EAD card verifying valid dates for employment.
- Letter of endorsement from International Advisor (optional if carrying an EAD card)
- Form SS-5 available on the SSA web site or in the SSA office www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.html
- Submit the application in person along with other required documents.
- Wait approximately two weeks for the card to arrive in the mail.
- Keep the original card for your records.
- Campus employment must begin no more than 30 days from application date.
- Off-campus employment must begin within 90 days of start date on EAD card and employer information must be entered into SEVIS database by your International Advisor.
back to top
As an international student you may work part-time on campus as a student worker but you may not work off campus. Your visa is not a work visa – it is a student visa. On-campus employment does not require application to USCIS.
You may work up to 20 hours per week while class in in session and up to 35 hours per week during Winter and Summer sessions. Your campus employer will set work hours. Please note that there are not many jobs on campus. The money earned from a part-time job on campus should not be considered a major source of your funding for your tuition and living expenses. One of your admission requirements is to submit a financial statement that you have a minimum of $8,000 USD for four months for your tuition and living expenses.
back to top
Maintaining your F-1 Visa status
F-1 students must comply with the terms and conditions of the F-1 Visa. If you fail to meet any of the regulatory requirements, you will be out of status and terminated in SEVIS.
Seven ways to maintain your F-1 Visa status
- Maintain full-time enrollment. Each session of the West Language Academy includes 20 or more hours of instruction per week. You must enroll by the second day of every session to continue your status as a full-time student.
- Pay tuition and fees upon registration. Payment ensures continued services and maintenance of your F-1 visa. You cannot register without payment of your tuition and fees.
- Contact the West Language Academy coordinator within 10 days of changing any of the following: name, address, home country address, marital status, dependent status, adjustment of status, applications made to USCIS, admissions and records information, telephone number, cell phone number or email address.
- U.S. Visa. You may remain in the U.S. with an expired U.S. visa as long as you maintain your full time F-1 visa student status. However, if you depart the U.S. with a visa soon to expire, you must request a visa renewal at an Embassy/Consulate outside the U.S. prior to re-entry.
CITIZENSHIP PASSPORT Keep your citizenship passport with six months of validity. Renewal can be done in the U.S.
- Periodically review the Program Ending Date on your current I-20. Be sure to have a valid I-20. Your I-20 is automatically TERMINATED after your Program Ending Date. Always report your intent to extend your program by completing the Request for Extension Form, at least 30 days prior to the expiration date indicated on your I-20. You must transfer to another school or depart the U.S. within 60 days of your Program Ending Date.
If you wish to extend your program to complete your course work, it is your responsibility to contact the West Language Academy Coordinator BEFORE your Program Ending Date. Failure to do so prior to expiration will result in TERMINATION of your I-20. If your I-20 is TERMINATED, you will need to request Reinstatement to student status. The application fee is $300 and approval from USCIS is not guaranteed.
- Do not engage in unauthorized employment. Off-campus employment is not permitted.
- Travel. Before leaving the U.S. make sure your documents are valid and that you have a re-entry signature. If you are traveling to a country other than your own, find out if you need an entry visa.
back to top
Exiting the college
If you are planning on leaving the West Language Academy or West Los Angeles College, be sure to contact International Students office immediately. Otherwise, you may be terminated from SEVIS for failure to enroll. West is required to close out a student’s record in SEVIS for students who are no longer attending.
back to top
Westside Extension Office
The Westside Extension Office is located in a building in Parking Lot 5. This office will handle any questions you have about your West Language Academy, including the classes, the application, and payment of your tuition.
Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 12 – 5 pm.
The Westside Extension office is sometimes open until 7 pm on weeknights and on most Saturday mornings. Contact the office for current hours.
No appointment is necessary for most services, but some services require an appointment. Walk-ins without an appointment are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Contact: Lisa Saperston
Telephone: (310) 463-6799
Fax: (310) 287-4258
back to top
International Student Services Office
The International Student Services Office is located in the SSB Building, 4th Floor. This office will handle your credit college application and international student matters for credit students.
Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 12 pm and 1 – 5 pm.
The International Student Services Office is closed on Saturday and Sunday.
We welcome you to stop by to say "hi" or for a quick visit. No appointment is necessary for most services, but making an appointment will reduce your wait time. Some services, including applications to USCIS and arrival check-in, require an appointment. Walk-ins without an appointment are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Contact: Kathleen Greer
Telephone: (310) 287-4312
Fax: (310) 287-4327
back to top
International Student Handbook
Click here to download (PDF)
The International Student handbook contains useful information about services at West Los Angeles College, bus transportation, and off-campus services such as banking, food, shopping and hospitals. Note that some information in the handbook pertains only to international students taking credit classes at West L.A. College and not to students in the West Language Academy.
back to top
Other Useful Links
U.S. GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
CITY OF CULVER CITY
THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES
HOSPITALS AND MEDICAL CENTERS NEAR CULVER CITY