International Student & Scholar Services


The Office for Global Engagement is the central resource at Westminster College for more than 120 international students representing over 40 different countries. Our expert staff provides advising and information related to immigration/maintenance of status, employment in F-1 and J-1 status, financial issues, academic support, health insurance, and adjusting to life in the United States.

Arrival and Orientation

All new and transfer international students are required to check-in with the Office for Global Engagement within 15 days of the start of the semester and to attend an orientation program. Students should bring their passport and visa stamp, I-20 or DS-2019, and current address to the orientation meeting.

Fall 2017 International Orientation

Thursday, August 17thArrive in Salt Lake City. Airport pick-up service is available for new international students arriving from abroad.
Friday, August 18thInternational Student Orientation for First-Year Undergraduates and Exchange Students
Saturday, August 19–Tuesday, August 22New Student Orientation for undergraduates
Tuesday, August 22Orientation for graduate and transfer international students
Wednesday, August 23Classes begin

Health Insurance for International Students

All students are advised to have a complete health check-up before arriving in the United States. An immunization record will be required for students who apply to live on-campus.

The healthcare system in the U.S. is expensive and not supported by the U.S. government. In order to avoid large costs, every international student is required to purchase health insurance that would help to cover some of your medical expenses.

Health Insurance is required for all international students. Students with J-1 visas will be automatically enrolled in an international health insurance plan that meets U.S. State Department regulations at a cost of approximately $400 per semester. Students with F-1 visas can choose any insurance policy, but the policy should be purchased before arrival with an effective date of your first date in the U.S. Some recommended options are below.

On-Campus Employment

International students who are maintaining their F-1 status may work on-campus for up to 20 hours a week while school is in session. Students may work more than 20 hours a week during official school breaks when classes are not in session, as long as they have permission from their supervisor. The Human Resources office maintains an online job board for student employment opportunities.

Curricular Practical training (CPT)

CPT is work experience related to a person's major which is an integral part of the established curriculum and is coordinated through Career Services. It is not an entitled benefit.

  1. Students must have been in lawful student status for at least nine months and you must currently be in status. Graduate students in programs which require immediate participation in curricular practical training may begin their training before they have been here nine months.
  2. The training must either be for credit or required for graduation and must be documented by the Westminster College Catalog.
  3. Students must remain a full-time student while participating in CPT.
Optional Practical training (OPT)

OPT is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student's major area of study. It is designed to provide students with an opportunity to gain actual employment experience and to round out or complement students' academic work. This is not an entitled benefit. An F-1 student can be authorized to receive up to a total of 12 months of practical training after completion of studies. Students may not take any classes during OPT.

Please read the OPT handout and review the OPT Presentation prior to making an OPT appointment with an International Student Advisor

OPT STEM Extension

Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in one of the following majors at Westminster may be eligible for a 24-month STEM extension. Contact the International Center for more information.

  • 03.0103 Bachelor of Arts-Environmental Studies—Civic Environment
  • 03.0103 Bachelor of Arts-Environmental Studies—Humanities
  • 03.0103 Bachelor of Science—Environmental Science—Science Concentration
  • 11.0101 Bachelor of Science—Computer Information Systems
  • 11.0701 Bachelor of Science—Computer Science
  • 26.0101 Bachelor of Science—Biology
  • 26.1501 Bachelor of Science—Neuroscience
  • 27.0101 Bachelor of Science—Mathematics
  • 40.0501 Bachelor of Science—Chemistry
  • 40.0601 Bachelor of Science—Geology
  • 40.0801 Bachelor of Science—Physics
  • 42.2799 Bachelor of Science—Psychology

J-1 exchange students can be authorized in certain situations for employment characterized as Academic Training, the name used by the Department of State (DOS) for certain types of study-related employment. Academic Training is flexible in its format and offers a variety of employment situations to supplement your academic program in the United States. It is available before completion of your program of study (that is, concurrent with your studies) as well as afterward.

Eligibility for Academic Training
  1. Your primary purpose in the United States must be to study and not Academic Training.
  2. You must be in good academic standing at the school named on your DS-2019 form.
  3. The proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study in the United States.
  4. Throughout your Academic Training, you must maintain permission to stay in the United States, in J-1 student status, and apply for extensions as necessary.
  5. You must maintain health insurance coverage, as required by federal regulations.

All Academic Training must be authorized by the Responsible Officer (Sara Demko at Westminster College) prior to beginning employment.

Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN) or SSN Ineligibility Letter

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you go to the Social Security Administration Office (SSA) to submit an application and documents for a SSN. ALL newly arrived students MUST WAIT at least ten (10) business days AFTER: (1) The date of your arrival in the United States, and (2) A DSO has registered you in SEVIS.

Apply for a Social Security Number

You must have a job to apply for a SSN.

  1. Obtain an Employment Offer Letter

    F-1 and J-1 students must provide evidence of employment or a promise of employment before the Social Security Office for them to assign a SSN. You need to get an offer letter from your employer or future employer. For on-campus employment, you will get this letter from the Human Resources Office in Bamberger Hall, room 106. The offer letter must be on official letterhead stationery (printed with employer's company name, logo, address, contact information), which must include the following.

    • Employer's signature
    • Current date
    • Employee's name
    • Employee's job title
    • Employee's start and end dates
    • Employee's work hours per week
  2. Obtain a Work Authorization Letter from the International Center

    Make sure you are registered full-time for classes (12 undergraduate credits or 7 graduate credits) and bring your original Offer of Employment Letter to the Diversity and International Center. The advisor will verify your status and give you a Work Authorization Letter

  3. Complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5)

    This form is available at the Social Security Office.

  4. Go to the Social Security Administration Office (SSA)

    Bring required documentation to apply for a SSN.

    • Passport (including visa)
    • I-94 Card
    • Original I-20 (F-1 & F-2 students/dependents) or DS-2019 (J-1 & J-2 students/scholars/dependents)
    • Employment Offer Letter on official letterhead stationery
    • Work Authorization Letter from the International Center
    • Form SS-5 Social Security Administration Application
Getting a Social Security Ineligibility Letter

If you do not have a job you cannot get a social security number.

If you are not eligible for a social security number, you can request a letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Office. You will receive the letter right away. You are required to have the letter of ineligibility in order to apply for a state ID or driver's license.

To obtain a Social Security Ineligibility Letter, go to the Social Security Administration Office (SSA—address below) with required documentation:

  • Passport (including visa)
  • I-94 Card (If you don't have an I-94 card, you can access it online)
  • Original I-20 (F-1 & F-2 students/dependents) or DS-2019 (J-1 & J-2 students/scholars/dependents)
Social Security Administration Office

Address: 175 East 400 South, Suite 500 (diagonal from Downtown Library)

  • You can take the 220 Bus to the University of Utah, then take the TRAX to the Library Stop

Phone: 801.524.4115 or 1.800.772.1213

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.