International Student and 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. Expert staff provide 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.

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 2020 International Orientation

August 12: Master of Business Administration program students arrive in Salt Lake City

August 13: Arrive in Salt Lake City/Master of Business Administration Student Orientation

August 15–17: New Student Orientation

August 18: Classes begin

By August 28: Complete virtual International Student Orientation

Spring 2021 International Orientation

January 6: Master of Business Administration program students arrive in Salt Lake City

January 7: Arrive in Salt Lake City (airport pick-up service is available for new international students arriving from abroad)/Master of Business Administration Student Orientation

January 8: New Student Orientation (including mandatory International Student Orientation)

January 11: Classes begin

All students are advised to have a complete health check-up before arriving in the United States. Students living on-campus will be required to provide dates of a Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccination and recent Meningitis vaccination. Additionally, all new students will need to complete a Tuberculosis screening upon arrival.

Health Insurance

The healthcare system in the U.S. is expensive, so people living in the U.S. purchase health insurance to offset the cost of medical care. International students should purchase a health insurance policy and be covered for the duration of stay in the U.S. Students with a J-1 visa will be required to show proof of insurance that meets standards set by the U.S. Department of State.

Students with an F-1 visa can choose any international student insurance policy. Recommended options include:

Accessing Healthcare

For non-urgent and non-life-threatening medical care, students should access Student Health Services on the lower level of the Shaw Center.

Students can also access local healthcare providers and urgent care clinics.

Things to Know Before Going to the Doctor

  • Visit the website of your insurance provider to see which doctors, clinics, and hospitals are in-network. Your insurance will pay more if you select an in-network doctor.
  • Bring your insurance card (typically e-mailed to you when you purchase a policy and can be printed on the insurance provider’s website).
  • Be prepared to complete a health questionnaire if it is your first time visiting a doctor or clinic.
  • Be ready to pay. Depending on your insurance, you may have to pay a co-pay or co-insurance at the time of treatment.
  • Watch for additional bills that will come in the mail. Even if you have insurance, you will be required to pay a percentage of the bill.

On-Campus Employment

F-1 students may work on campus for up to 20 hours a week during fall and spring semesters 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. Students may work more than 20 hours a week during summer semester. On-campus jobs are posted in Handshake through the Career Center.

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment or internship related to a student’s major, which is an integral part of the established curriculum.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You have been in F-1 status for 2 semesters as a full-time student. Graduate students in programs which require immediate participation in an internship may begin Curricular Practical Training (CPT) before completing 2 full-time semesters.
  • Employment must be authorized by International Student Services.
  • Employment must be related to your major.
  • You must enroll in internship credit during the semester you participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Typically, the start of employment needs to align with semester dates but can be authorized to cover break periods between semesters.
  • You must be a full-time student while participating in Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

Steps for Receiving CPT Authorization

  1. Find a job or internship
  2. Review internship requirements and complete the internship registration form through the Career Center. You must complete this form before your first day of employment or before the add/drop deadline for the semester you are participating in Curricular Practical Training (CPT), whichever comes first. You cannot begin working until Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is authorized on your I-20.
  3. Pick up new I-20 from International Student Services in Walker Hall.
  4. If you plan to repeat Curricular Practical Training (CPT) in a future semester, you must complete the registration process again.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a post-graduation employment benefit which allows F-1 students to stay in the U.S. to work for 12 months. Students can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after each education level (associates, bachelors, masters, PhD).

Read the Optional Practical Training (OPT) guidelines for information on eligibility and application requirements.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) STEM Extension

Students who graduate with a degree that qualifies as a STEM field designated by the U.S. Department of Education are eligible to apply for a 24-month extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT). Read the STEM extension guidelines for information about which degrees at Westminster qualify and to learn about eligibility and application requirements.

On-Campus Employment

J-1 students may work on-campus for up to 20 hours a week during fall and spring semesters 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. On-campus employment must be authorized by International Student Services. If you wish to work on-campus, visit International Student Services in Walker Hall before beginning employment.

Academic Training

J-1 students may participate in academic training or employment training/practical experience related to their field of study.

Eligibility Requirements

  • In the U.S. primarily for study in an academic program and not for employment
  • In good academic standing

Length of Academic Training

  • You may participate in academic training for the same amount of time you are studying in an academic program (semester exchange student can participate in 4 months of academic training).
  • Academic training can be done while studying full-time in a program or after you complete your academic program.

Employment or Training Requirements

  • Employment or training experience must be related to your field of study
  • Can be paid or unpaid
  • Academic training while studying is limited to 20 hours per week. Academic training after completion of your academic program can be full-time, more than 20 hours per week.

Academic Training Authorization

Students interested in academic training must meet with International Student Services before seeking employment to discuss the process for authorization. Students participating in an ISEP-Exchange in the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) will complete the authorization process with the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) and should seek guidance from International Student Services at least a month prior to the intended start date of the employment or training. Students who wish to participate in academic training after completion of their academic program must seek approval at least a month before their DS-2019 expires.

Eligibility for a Social Security Number

You must receive a job offer to apply for a Social Security number.

How to Apply for a Social Security Number

  1. Obtain an employment offer letter. If you are working on campus, the Career Center will provide you with the offer letter. If you are working off campus and have been authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT), you must request a letter from your employer on company letterhead that includes your job title, employment start date, number of work hours, supervisor's name and telephone number, employer EIN, and signature.
  2. Obtain a work authorization letter from International Student Services. Bring your employment offer letter to Walker Hall.
  3. Apply for a Social Security card. You must bring the following documents to the Social Security Administration:
    • Passport (including visa)
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • Most recent I-94
    • Employment offer letter o Work authorization letter
    • Form SS-5 application for a Social Security card
  4. Once received, take your Social Security card to the Career Center for on-campus employment or to your employer for off-campus employment.

Social Security Administration

175 East 400 South, Suite 500
Phone: 866.851.5275
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.; Wednesday 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Social Security Ineligibility Letter

If you do not intend to get a job but wish to apply for a driver’s license or state ID, you will need a Social Security ineligibility letter.

To obtain an ineligibility letter, bring the following documents to the Social Security Administration:

  • Passport (including visa)
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Most recent I-94
  • Letter from International Student Services stating you do not plan to seek employment