F1 Student Forms, Petitions, and Requests

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.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are providing all services online. Please submit all forms, petitions, and requests to @email.

Maintaining Status

SEVIS Registration

New and continuing F1 students must submit the check-in form to the International Office 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).

Update: Due to COVID-19, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is temporarily allowing F1 students that had an active SEVIS record on March 9, 2020 to take all of their classes online. Students that obtained an I-20 after March 9, 2020 must enroll in a program of study that contains an in-person requirement. However, this is a temporary measure and all F1 students will be required to take at least 9 of the 12 units on-campus or through hybrid classes when the college resumes normal operations.


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 etitions 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.

Student Health Insurance Plan (IMED)

All F1 students attending West LA College are charged an international medical insurance fee (IMED) equal to the cost of medical insurance purchased by the District on the student's behalf (LACCD Board Rule 2309.30).

IMED Welcome Pack (pdf)

To learn more about your health insurance plan, please visit gallagherstudent.com/WLAC.


On-Campus Employment

F1 students may not work off-campus during their first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. Employment opportunities are limited and should not be considered a source of income to meet minimum financial obligations. Students must obtain employment on their own by contacting a WLAC department.

On-Campus Employment Process

Off-Campus Employment

After the first academic year, F1 students may engage in certain types of off-campus employment. Employment must be related to the student's intended area of study and must be authorized by a DSO and USCIS prior to starting any work.

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) Process
    • Pre-Completion OPT - Work part-time (20 hours or less per week) while school is in session.
    • Post-Completion OPT - Work full-time (40 hours or less per week) after completing your studies.
    • 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.
  • Economic Hardship Process

General Information

Change of Status
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.

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.

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.