The Counseling and Advising Center is the first place to go for accurate information on policies and procedures concerning international students. Your friends and roommates are not trained to analyze and make recommendations concerning your individual situation. It is always recommended that you come to the CAC any time you have questions about maintaining your F-1 status.
We also encourage any international students finding it difficult to adjust to life in the United States to consult our office for assistance.
Watch an international student discuss his education at Berklee in the video below:
Adjusting to life in the U.S. may be difficult. It is normal for international students to have feelings of confusion, fear, frustration, or homesickness. The international advisors and personal counselors at the CAC are available to discuss any concerns or problems that students may be having adjusting to life in Boston and at Berklee.
Your I-20 and Visa Stamp
Your I-20 must be accurate throughout your enrollment. Check to make sure that all the dates and enrollment information on your I-20 are correct. Come to the CAC if you see any incorrect information on your I-20. Your I-20 must be valid throughout your enrollment. You are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of this document.
The visa stamp in your passport is your permission to enter the U.S. It states the number of times you may enter the U.S. and until when. "M" means "multiple entries." Your visa does not need to be valid for you to stay in the U.S. Your I-20 indicates how long you may stay as long as you attend full-time. You cannot get a new visa while you are in the U.S. If you leave the U.S. and want to reenter, you must have a valid visa. If you have any questions regarding your visa or I-20, please contact the CAC staff.
Berklee does not require you to have your I-20 signed every time you travel outside of the U.S. You need to obtain only one signature per year to revalidate your I-20, unless you are an international student on OPT (Optional Practical Training). If you are on OPT, you must obtain a valid signature once every six months. You may use that signature for unlimited entries to the U.S. during that time period.
If you plan to travel outside of the Boston area or internationally this semester, you must come to the CAC at least one week before you leave to have a designated school official revalidate (sign) page 3 of your I-20.
You are required to be enrolled as a full-time student. This means you must register and earn grades for at least 12 credits, unless you are authorized for part-time enrollment by the CAC. To be authorized for part-time you must meet with an advisor in the CAC each semester. Course withdrawals, credit by exam and transfer credit do not count as part of the 12 enrolled credits.
To maintain your F-1 status, you must register for at least 12 required credits each semester. In the final semester, students must be registered for at least one required course.
If you have questions about part-time enrollment, course withdrawals or credit by exam, come to the CAC for more information.
You must maintain a grade point average of at least 2.0. If you are having difficulty doing so, please come to the CAC and speak with an advisor.
If you want to register for an internship, you must come to the CAC to speak with an international student advisor.
In most cases, internship enrollment must be reported to the DHS and authorized on page 3 of a students' I-20 form. Therefore, it is your responsibility to inform the CAC as early as possible of any internship plans you may have. Failure to do so could result in a violation of your F-1 status.
You may work on campus as early as your first semester through the student employment program. During nonvacation semesters, students may not work more than 20 hours per week on campus. Contact the Scholarships and Student Employment Office for more information concerning on-campus student employment.
International students may not work off campus without permission from the U.S. government. If you have been enrolled for at least two semesters and you are interested in working off campus, you may come to the CAC and request the Employment Options handout. This handout explains the various types of work permission you may be eligible for, and how to apply.