International Student and Scholar Services


The Office for Global Engagement is the central resource at Westminster College for more than 75 international students representing 30 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 2021 International Orientation

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

August 12: Arrive in Salt Lake City/Master of Business Administration Student Orientation

August 13: Hybrid New International Student Orientation

August 14–17: Hybrid New Student Orientation

August 18: 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 (CPT)

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 gain employment experience related to their major for a maximum of 12 months out of the 14 months following graduation. Students can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after each education level (associates, bachelors, masters, PhD).

Student Eligibility Requirements

  • You must have been in lawful F-1 status for at least one academic year.
  • You must have applied for graduation.

Job Eligibility Requirements

  • All employment must be directly related to your major.
  • You must work at least 20 hours per week in 1 position.
  • You may have multiple employers at the same time and/or multiple employers during the 12 month period.
  • The employment can be located anywhere in the U.S.
  • The employment can be paid or unpaid but an unpaid position should not violate U.S. labor laws.
  • You may not accrue more than 90 days of unemployment.

Application Timeline

You can apply for OPT 90 days prior to graduation and up to 60 days after graduation. You do not need a job offer to apply. USCIS takes on average 3 months to process an OPT application. Apply early because if you wait to apply after graduation, you will lose time on your 12 months of employment. You cannot begin working until:

  1. Your application has been approved.
  2. You receive your EAD card in the mail.
  3. You have reached the start date on the EAD.

How to Apply

You must collect the following documents and schedule an appointment with the International Center.

  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form G-1145 e-Notification of Application
  • Copy of passport (make sure it’s not expired)
  • Copy of most recent F-1 visa page
  • Most recent I-94 record
  • I-20 with OPT request issued by International Student Services
  • Copies of all previous I-20s in your current education level
  • If you have previously been authorized to work and have received an EAD card, include a copy of that card
  • 2 recent, identical 2x2” passport photos
  • Check or money order for filing Fee (see drop down menu on I-765 webpage for amount)

Once you have all the required documents, schedule an appointment with International Student Services. Your application materials will be reviewed and a new I-20 will be issued with the OPT request.

It is your responsibility to mail the documents to the USCIS Service Center. Refer to the Where to File drop down on the I-765 webpage for the most up to date address. Mail all documents together within 30 days of the date the I-20 with OPT request was issued.

OPT Reporting Requirement

While on OPT, you must report the following to International Student Services. If you do not report employment information, you will be considered unemployed.

  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Start date/end date
  • Position title
  • # of work hours per week
  • How the position relates to your major
  • Any periods of unemployment
  • Home address, phone number, e-mail address

Travel and Re-Entry While on OPT

Travel outside of the U.S. with a pending OPT application or while on OPT always has risks. Customs and Border Protection has the authority to grant or deny you entry to the U.S. If you do not have a valid visa, travel with a pending OPT application or while on OPT is not recommended. Applying for a new visa while on OPT is risky and you may not be granted a visa to reenter.

If you travel while on OPT, you must bring documentation to prove you are seeking employment or are currently employed. You must show the following documentation when travelling through customs and immigration:

  • Valid passport & visa
  • I-20 with OPT notation (see page 2) & travel signature
  • EAD card (if OPT has been approved) or Receipt Notice (if OPT is pending)
  • If employed, a letter from your employer stating you are currently employed and will be returning to work

Instructions for completing the I-765 for OPT

  • Type or print in black ink
  • Read each question carefully. Only provide information that applies to your category.
  • If a question does not apply to you, type or print N/A unless otherwise directed.
Part 1

1.a. Initial permission to accept employment

Part 2

5.a-f. You should enter your current address unless you plan to move. Mail from the U.S. government cannot be forwarded so a change to your address must be updated immediately with USCIS. You may also enter the address for International Student Services if you are unsure of your plans for housing after graduation.

In Care of Name: Alison Vásquez
1840 S 1300 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84105

  • 6: If you listed the College address, you should select “No” and complete section 7 with your current address.
  • 8: None
  • 9: None 
  • 12: If you have applied for OPT at a previous education level, mark “Yes.”
  • 13.a: If you have a Social Security Number, select “Yes.” If you do not have a Social Security Number, select “No.”
  • 14: If you do not have a Social Security Number, you can apply through the form I-765 but it may take additional time to process. You can also wait until your EAD card is approved and apply through the Salt Lake Social Security Administration.
  • 15: Only answer if you are applying for a SSN through the I-765. If not, leave blank.
  • 16 and 17: Only complete if you are applying for a SSN. If not, leave blank.
  • 21.a.: You should print the Most Recent I-94 to complete this section.
  • 23: Can be found on your I-94
  • 24: F-1 student
  • 25: F-1 student
  • 26: Can be found on your I-20
  • 27. c3B: (this is specifically for 12 month post-completion OPT)
  • 28–31:Leave all blank
Application Signature

You must sign in ink.

Part 4, 5, and 6

Leave blank.

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).

Eligibility

To qualify for the 24-month STEM OPT extension, you must: 

  • Be in valid F-1 status
  • Be currently working in a period of post-completion OPT
  • Have a bachelor's degree or higher degree in an eligible STEM field
    • You may be eligible to use a prior STEM degree earned in the U.S. for this requirement; to use a prior STEM degree, you must: 
      • Have received your prior, qualifying STEM degree in the U.S. within 10 years of applying for the STEM OPT extension.
      • The qualifying STEM degree must be on the Department of Homeland Security's STEM Designated Degree Program List at the time you submit your STEM OPT extension application (rather than at the time you received the degree).
      • The job must be related to the qualifying STEM degree not the most recent degree.
  • Have a job offer that meets the following requirements: 
    • The job is with an employer enrolled in the USCIS E-Verify program.
    • The job offers at least 20 hours of work per week.
    • The job will provide formal training and learning objectives directly related to your qualifying STEM degree.
    • Be able to complete the I-983 Training Plan with your employer.

Employment Requirements During the 24-Month STEM OPT Extension

Any job undertaken during a 24-month STEM OPT extension must be with an employer who meets the following conditions:

  • The employer is enrolled in E-Verify
  • The employer has an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • The employer has sufficient resources and personnel available to provide the training specified in the Form I-983
  • The employer signs the Form I-983 Training Plan, agreeing to the wage, working conditions, supervision, site visit, and reporting obligations set forth on the form and in the regulations

Applying

When to Apply
  • USCIS must receive your STEM OPT extension application before your current 12-month OPT EAD card expiration date.
  • Apply as early as 90 days before your current 12-month OPT EAD card expiration date.
  • Take into consideration:
    • Form I-983 must be completed by your employer and approved by the International Center before the 24-month STEM extension can be recommended in SEVIS.
    • Allow sufficient time for the International Center to review your application and to mail your application to USCIS.
How to Apply
Step 1

Complete Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students and submit it to the International Center

  • Section 1:
    • SEVIS School Code: DEN214F10099000
    • Designated School Official Name and Contact:

Alison Vásquez
1840 S 1300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84106 avasquez@westminstercollege.edu
801.832.2829

    • SEVIS ID: Can be found on the first page of your I-20
    • STEM OPT Requested Period: 
      • From: 1 day after current EAD expires 
      • To: 24 months from STEM start date
    • Qualifying Major CIP Code: 
      • Biology 26.0101
      • Chemistry 40.0501
      • Computer Information Systems 11.0101
      • Computer Science 11.0701
      • Environmental Studies 03.0103
      • Geology 40.0601
      • Mathematics 27.0101
      • Neuroscience 26.1501
      • Physics 40.0801
      • Psychology 42.2799
    • Employment Authorization Number: Can be found on your EAD card
    • Employer ID Number (EIN): 9 digit number
  • Page 5: Evaluation on Student Progress will be completed at a later date.
Step 2

Schedule an appointment with International Student Services and bring the following documents.

  • G-1145 E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • Check or money order for filing Fee (see drop down menu on I-765 webpage for amount)
  • 2 identical 2x2 inch passport photos
  • New STEM I-20 with STEM request provided by International Student Services
  • Original transcript (if applying based on a previous degree include transcript for previous degree)
  • Photocopies of all previous I-20s at current education level
  • Photocopy of all previous EAD cards
  • Most recent I-94
  • Photocopy of the identification page of passport
  • Photocopy of most recent F-1 visa page
Step 3

Mail Your Application. Refer to the Where to File drop down on the I-765 webpage for the most up to date address. Mail all documents together within 30 days of the date the I-20 with OPT request was issued.

Reporting Requirements During STEM OPT Extension

To maintain legal F-1 status during your 24-month STEM OPT authorization period, you must report the following information in writing:

  • Every 6 months:
    • Full Legal Name 
    • Phone Number
    • E-mail Address
    • Current Residential Address
    • Current Mailing Address
    • Name and Address of Current Employer
    • Start Date of Current Employment
  • Every Year: Page 5 of the I-983 Evaluation on Student Progress must be completed and submitted to the International Center.
  • Within 10 days of any change:
    • Residential Address
    • Change in Employer
    • Unemployment
    • Material changes to the I-983 Training Plan

Unemployment During STEM OPT Extension

During the 24-month STEM OPT Extension, maintenance of your F-1 status depends on your employment. You are not permitted to accumulate more than a total of 150 days of unemployment for the entire period of OPT (including the first 12 months of OPT prior to the STEM OPT Extension). The limits of unemployment time are 90 days for the first 12-months of OPT and 60 days during the 24-month STEM OPT extension. Accumulating more than 150 days of unemployment during the OPT period is a violation of your immigration status that could result in termination of your practical training.

Travel During STEM OPT Extension

During the 24-month extension, you must carry the following documents in order to return to the U.S.:

  • STEM OPT Employment Authorization (EAD) card
  • STEM OPT Form I-20 with a valid travel signature
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • Valid passport
  • Letter from your E-Verify employer confirming your STEM OPT employment

If you are missing any one of these documents, you risk being denied entry to the United States. If your current OPT EAD card is expired and you do not have the STEM OPT EAD card, you should NOT travel outside the U.S.

Get More Travel Information

Instructions for completing the I-765 for STEM OPT Extension

  • Type or print in black ink
  • Read each question carefully. Only provide information that applies to your category.
  • If a question does not apply to you, type or print N/A unless otherwise directed.
Part 1

1.a. Initial permission to accept employment

Part 2

5.a-f. You should enter your current address unless you plan to move. Mail from the U.S. government cannot be forwarded so a change to your address must be updated immediately with USCIS. You may also enter the address for International Student Services if you are unsure of your plans for housing after graduation.

In Care of Name: Alison Vásquez
1840 S 1300 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84105

  • 6. If you listed the College address, you should select “No” and complete section 7 with your current address.
  • 8. Can be found on your EAD card
  • 9. None
  • 12. Mark “Yes.”
  • 13.a. Mark “Yes”
  • 14. Mark “No”
  • 15, 16, and 17: Leave blank
  • 21.a. You should print the Most Recent I-94 to complete this section. 23. Can be found on your I-94
  • 24. F-1 student
  • 25. F-1 student
  • 26. Can be found on your I-20
  • 27. c3C (this is specifically for the STEM extension)
  • 28.a. Write the name of your degree (example: computer science)
  • 28.b-c. You will need to contact your employer for this information 29–31. Leave blank
Application Signature

You must sign in ink.

Part 4, 5, and 6

Leave blank

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:
  4. Passport (including visa)
  5. I-20 or DS-2019
  6. Most recent I-94
  7. Employment offer letter o Work authorization letter
  8. Form SS-5 application for a Social Security card
  9. 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