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Taking on a study abroad program can enhance an international student’s educational experience while attending Concordia University. Since international students in the study abroad program are still enrolled at Concordia, there is no break in their immigration status, even though they are physically outside the US. Therefore, it is important that they are informed of immigration implications while pursuing their studies overseas. To learn about the potential implications of study abroad on immigration status, F-1 visa students must consult with the PDSO/DSO before finalizing their Study Abroad plans.
Students on study abroad or permit to study programs, like a regular Concordia student, must always maintain full-time course enrollment. Falling below full-time will result in the termination of one’s immigration record, thus maintaining a full course load is mandatory. Students should remember the following minimum credit hours requirement when selecting their courses:
Immigration Check-in and Address Update: Students must complete immigration check-in every semester and update their address by going to the International Student on MyRecord.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Because immigration status is not interrupted by study abroad, students are eligible for OPT or CPT upon return if they were enrolled full-time for one academic year. Please note, for post-completion OPT students must be physically in the US to apply for OPT authorization from USCIS.
Renewal of F-1 Visa: If a student’s visa expires while studying overseas, he/she needs to apply for a new visa before making travel plans to return to the US. If the visa application is denied, students must obtain a new visa from their home country to return to the US. Students can contact PDSO/DSO with any questions before scheduling visa appointments.
Depending on the study abroad country, students may be required to obtain a visa for the host country. In some cases, international students may be required to return to their home country to apply for a study abroad visa. Students should plan ahead and make sure they understand all entry requirements to the study abroad destination as part of the planning process for study abroad. Please visit the Study Abroad Website and contact Faith McKinney, Ed.M., Director of Global Programs at [email protected] to discuss further.
Be sure to consult a PDSO/DSO in the Office of Global Programs to have your immigration documents reviewed and signed before you leave the U.S.