International Regulations

More than 40% of the student body at Curtis is comprised of students whose home country is outside of the US.

International students are those who are not citizens nor permanent residents (green card holders) of the United States and subsequently require special permission from the United States government to temporarily reside in the country for the purpose of study.  This permission is granted with an F-1 Non-Immigrant Visa and an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility.

  • Questions?

    Contact Richard McGovern, manager of student life and international affairs, with any questions about international students.

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The manager of student life and international student affairs is the primary contact for all international students, and is poised to advise on matters such as:

  • Admission to the US
  • US Customs and Border Patrol
  • F-1 visa acquisition and maintenance
  • Status maintenance
  • I-94 admission record
  • Changes of status (F-1 to another category)
  • Family members and dependents
  • Visitor visas and tourism
  • Visas for travel to other countries
  • Social security numbers
  • Working in the US
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Transfer of status
  • Photo identification and state ID
  • Driver Licensing
  • F1 Visa Information for International Students

Rules and Regulations

International students must comply with numerous regulations, as determined by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  Every international student has an electronic record in a DHS database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which is monitored and maintained by Designated School Officials (PDSO and DSO).  The manager of student life and international student affairs is the PDSO and DSO for Curtis.

It is the duty of the international student to know, understand, and abide by the regulations.  Ignorance of the rules or the laws of the United States is not an acceptable excuse for breaking the law.  Penalities for violation of status can be severe, including up to a 10-year ban on entering the United States.

The rules and regulations are presented to students through an International Student Contract which is distributed and explained during New Student Orientation.  Each student signs a copy of this document to acknowledge receipt and is given a copy to keep.

All international students must obey the following regulations:

  1. Maintain a full course of study at all times, except on institution-sanctioned break periods (i.e., summer vacation). A full course of study is 12 credits in the bachelors program, 9 credits in a masters or post-baccalaureate program, and 9 credits the diploma program.
  2. Attend class regularly. Attendance in less than 80% of any class can be a violation of status.
  3. Maintain good student status. Violations of the Code of Conduct, a suspension, or an expulsion can lead to termination of an international student record.
  4. Accept only pre-approved part-time employment. (see International Student Employment)
  5. Maintain health insurance throughout the duration of enrollment.
  6. Notify a DSO immediately with any changes in study, address, or status
  7. Obtain a travel signature prior to any travel outside the U.S.
  8. File a U.S. income tax report annually and pay any applicable taxes


International Student Employment

Employment of international students is strictly regulated by DHS and the Department of Labor (DOL).  The definition of “work” is more broad than most students realize.  The mere fact of not getting paid does not ensure that the activity in which a student is engaging is not employment per DOL.  To be safe, Curtis advises all students to consult with the manager of student life and international affairs before engaging in any opportunity that is not clearly study.

Any student engaging in employment will be required to have a social security number (SSN).  The manager of student life and international student affairs can assist with obtaining an SSN.

On-Campus Employment

On-campus employment is work occurring on the campus in service of members of the campus.  Traditional work-study positions, such as working in the library, working in the Business Office, recital crew, and Resident Coordinator roles fall under this category.  This employment is permitted if and only if it is limited to 20 hours per week.

  • Students do not need written approval to engage in on-campus employment if they meet the Institution’s employment eligibility requirements.
  • Engaging in more than 20 hours of on-campus work per week is a violation of immigration status.
Off-Campus Employment

Off-campus employment is anything occurring outside of the campus or anything serving the outside community.  Such employment is strictly regulated.  Gigs, master classes, residencies, tours, recording sessions, teaching lessons, and private concerts all fall under this category.  Such employment MUST be pre-authorized by a DSO or the PDSO prior to beginning.  This employment is governed by regulation called Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and must be approved in writing and noted in the Employment section of the student’s I-20 document and SEVIS record.

  • This employment is only available to students who have held and maintained good F-1 status for at least one (1) year.
  • This employment is permitted if and only if it is limited to 20 hours per week AND authorized by the DSO or PDSO.
  • The rules apply whether the opportunity is paid or unpaid.
  • Any off-campus employment that is not authorized in advance under CPT is a violation of immigration status.

Students seeking to participate in an off-campus opportunity should first submit a Release Request form.  If it is approved, the student will then be contacted by the manager of student life and international student affairs about obtaining CPT authorization and receiving a new I-20 noting the employment information.

Conclusion of Study

Students should look carefully at their I-20 document and be aware of the “Program End Date”.  This is usually May 31 of the final Spring semester.  Beginning at least 90 days prior to this date, around February, an international student should begin thinking about what they will do at the conclusion of study.  The manager of student life and international student affairs can advise on post-graduation options, many of which require action to be taken on the student’s SEVIS record.

Students can transfer to another school, apply for employment authorization, or prepare to depart the United States.  Most decisions must be made prior to the Program End Date on the I-20.  If no action is taken, the student’s status and legal standing in the United States expires 60 days after the Program End Date.