Please visit The United States Visas Official Site for visa application information. The procedure is slightly different from one U.S. Consulate to another, therefore you should read the information for the particular consulate that you plan to visit.

Every visa category has different restrictions regarding who may study and who is not permitted to study. Please contact the Office of International Student Services for a one-on-one advising appointment about your particular visa category. 

Although you cannot apply for a visa from within the United States, you may be able to change your Non-immigrant Status to student status. This is dependent on your current Non-immigrant Status, shown on your I-94 card. Please contact the Office of International Student Services for an immigration advising appointment about your particular visa category.

Students who not meet Cerritos College's TOEFL requirement may be able to meet the English Proficiency requirement in another way. 

If you are not able to meet any of the English Proficiency requirements, you may enroll in the Intensive English Program. This program does not require a TOEFL or other kind of English Proficiency, and is designed to assist international students to improve their English skill in order to join a college level program at Cerritos College. Please visit the Intensive English Program for more details.

Once your application has been reviewed and completed by the Office of International Student Services, it will takes us approximately one to two weeks to prepare and mail your I-20. The Office of International Student Services will send you a confirmation email with instructions for the next steps.

There are two options to receive your I-20:

  1. The Office of International Student Services uses an express mail service called eShipGlobal to send documents via express mail. This service is available at the student's expense.
  2. You can authorize a friend or family member in the U.S. to pick up your I-20 at the Office of International Student Services at Cerritos College.

The U.S. consulate or embassy abroad can process your visa up to 60 days before the start date of your academic program. You may enter the country as early as 30 days in advance of the program start date on your I-20.

According to the immigration regulations, you must provide us with your immigration documents upon arrival at Cerritos College. These regulations apply to students from outside the U.S., as well as to students transferring to Cerritos College from another U.S. school.

You may also have questions about class registration and getting settled on campus. These questions along with other important information will be answered at the Mandatory New Student Orientation. All new and transfer students are required to attend this orientation.

Immigration transfer is different than academic transfer. Even if you are completing an academic program at another institution or you will return to your home country for under 5 months before returning to attend Cerritos College, your former school must still transfer your immigration record. You must obtain a new I-20 from Cerritos College as part of the transfer process.

A Tuberculosis Test (TB Test) is required for all new international students attending Cerritos College. Test results must be within the last two years and completed by a health clinic.

New international students who are outside the United States can be screened for tuberculosis while in their home country.

International students who are inside the United States must submit their TB test results before being admitted to the college.




In order to have international college credits transferred to Cerritos College, you must first request your college or university in your country to submit an English-language version of your international transcript to a foreign credentials evaluation service (the Office of International Student Services has information on such services). After receiving a report from the evaluation service, you must submit your official sealed evaluation to the International Academic Counselor. It will be processed in Admissions and Records. It will take at least one semester for that credit to appear on your transcript, so please submit this request during your first or second semester at Cerritos if you want some credit to be applied toward your degree. If you plan to transfer to a four-year institution, you will have to request that institution to evaluate your international college credit. Even though Cerritos accepts your international credit, another institution might not.

You will need to schedule an appointment with an international academic counselor to develop a new Educational Plan to determine the length of your study at Cerritos College. Once you get a plan from the international academic counselor, you must meet with the Designated School Official in the Office of International Student Services to request a new I-20.

You can schedule an appointment to see an international academic counselor by calling the Office of International Student Services or by stopping by our office in person to make an appointment. We are located in the Santa Barbara Building.


If the class you want to enroll in is on the waiting list, you should add yourself to the waitlist on MyCerritos, and show up on the first day of class, the instructor will let you know if you will be able to add the class. If the class is closed and the waiting list is full, you can still show up to the class on the first day and ask the professor if you may be added. If you are unable to get the class you wanted, please see an International Academic Counselor for other suggestions on classes to take.

If dropping a class will cause you to fall below 12 units, you must schedule an appointment to see an international academic counselor before you drop the class. You may visit the Office of International Student Services located in the Santa Barbara building or call our office to schedule an appointment with an international academic counselor.

All international students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units each Fall and Spring semester while at Cerritos College. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but it is difficult to get permission to be enrolled in less than 12 units. See the International Academic Counselor or a Designated School Official for more information.

If your G.P.A. is in good standing and you have not dropped out of many classes in the past, you may be given permission by the International Academic Counselor to take more than 18 units.



International students are eligible to apply for on-campus jobs after successful completion of one academic semester and must receive permission from the Designated School Official (DSO) at the Office of International Student Services. After receiving permission, students will be eligible to work 20 hours a week as long as they are enrolled full-time (12 units).

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows an F-1 student to gain practical work experience in a related field of study prior to completion of a degree program. If students are authorized for CPT, they will be eligible to work in a specific internship or job for a specific period of time. The internship or job has to be an integral part of the program curriculum and available to all qualifying students in the field of study (for example, internships or cooperative education programs). The Office of International Student Services authorizes CPT. There is no need to apply through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Optical Practical Training (OPT) is an employment benefit available to F-1 students who complete an associate degree at Cerritos College. The employment must be related to the student's field of study. OPT is a work permit valid for up to one year and can be used anywhere in the United States. Students should apply for OPT during their last semester. The Designated School Official will recommend and if granted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the authorization for 12 months and 40 hours per week (full-time). In addition, regulations now limit the time of unemployment a student can accrue during OPT to a maximum of 90 days. If a student is not employed 90 days after the start date of the EAD card, the student is considered out of status. The limit is 90 days for students on post-completion OPT.



The Student I.D. Center is located in Admissions and Records. Newly admitted students will get their picture taken for the free start up card. Current students may bring their old card and pick up their new semester sticker.


You may obtain your books and other materials needed for your classes by visiting the Cerritos College Bookstore.

Parking at Cerritos College is by permit only, with the exception of motorcycle zones. Permits may be purchased for the day of for the semester. Students may park in any white-lined stall.

Daily Permits are $2.00 and should be disposed of after use. They are available from permit dispensers located in the parking areas throughout the campus. Student Semester Permits can be ordered online by logging into your MyCerritos account where you will find Buy Parking Permit. Parking permits may also be purchased on campus at the Admissions and Records office during normal office hours and also be purchased at Campus Police when Admissions and Records is closed and on weekends. Permits must be properly displayed at all times while parked on campus.

There is no need-based financial aid available for international students at Cerritos College. There are occasionally some scholarships for which international students might qualify. See the counselor, an advisor, or the Financial Aid office for more information.


All international students at Cerritos College must have medical insurance for themselves and any accompanying dependents while enrolled at Cerritos College.

All international students are encouraged to get involved in extra-curricular activities during their enrollment at Cerritos College. The Student Activities Office has information on a variety of campus clubs and organizations. The benefit in being involved in extra-curricular activities are many, but one is that universities with competitive admissions processes often look for students who have been very involved in campus activities outside the classroom. Extra-curricular activities also look good on a resume, especially for one who has recently graduated from a university and has little work experience.

Do not worry, sometimes it's hard to get adjusted to new procedures from written instructions. If you are not sure on how to do something, we encourage you to come to the Office of International Student Services for more information. We'll be more than happy to help you!



Your visa is the stamp in your passport with your photograph that was issued to you by a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. It is only an entry document, so it only needs to be valid when you travel and plan to re-enter the United States. If it expires while yo are still pursuing your studies in the U.S., and you have no plans to travel outside the U.S., you will still be in legal status.


If your I-20 will expire before you finish your studies, you should get it extended. You must extend your I-20 before its expiration date in order to avoid losing your F-1 status. To extend your I-20, you will need to show new bank statements or proof of financial sponsorship, plus a new Educational Plan form the international academic counselor showing the end date of your program. This process should be completed 3 months prior to I-20 expiration date.


Check the bottom of page three of your I-20. If there is a signature that will be more than 3 months old at the time when you plan to return to the United States, you should come to the Office of International Student Services for a new signature from the Designated School Official. Please bring your I-20 and passport at least three wees prior to your travel. According to immigration rules, the signatures are valid for one year (as it says on your I-20), but port of entry officials recommend a more recent signature.
Depending on how long you have been out of F-1 status, there may be a possibility for reinstating your F-1 status. It is important to apply for reinstatement as soon as possible. We can provide a one-on-one immigration advising appointment to discuss what your options are.