International Student Support & Resources (Spring 2021)

International Student Support

The International Programs Office provides support for the Pitzer international community. Please contact the Director of International Programs, Todd Sasaki, via email for assistance with visas and related immigration issues, as well as support with cultural and academic issues. Additional resources and information can be found on the International Programs office website and through International Place, a resource center for The Claremont Colleges, including Pitzer.

We are waiting for updated guidance from the US Government for Spring 2021 regarding international students. Although hopeful it will be similar to Fall 2020 Guidance we have been operating under, we won’t know until it is released. We will update you all as soon as possible after release.

Travel During Break

If you are currently in the US and are planning to leave the country for Winter Break, make sure you have an updated travel signature on page 2 of your I-20. Let Todd Sasaki know if you need an updated one and if you’re not sure, please check with Todd Sasaki.

Please also take into account the possibility of travel delay and restrictions (including required tests), quarantines or self-isolation requirements when entering or transiting through other cities/countries based on their local guidance for COVID-19.

We strongly suggest checking with the embassies/consulates of any countries you will be traveling to, as well as the checking in with the airline(s) you will be traveling on.

In regards to returning to the US for the Spring, please note that travel restrictions for visitors coming to the US from China, Brazil, Iran and the European Union remain in effect. Hopefully that will change in the future, but for now, they remain.

This means if you are traveling from any of those countries, you will need to spend 14 days in a different country before entering the US on the 15th day. Please make your travel plans accordingly.

International Place New International Student/Scholar Orientation (NISSO)

New international students should be participating in NISSO. Please see the International Place Orientation website for schedule and more information.You can contact iplace@cmc.edu or Todd Sasaki for more information.

What do I do about my I-20/visa status?

RETURNING international students in active visa status (were enrolled in Spring 2020 and will be enrolled for Fall 2020):

  • For those of you INSIDE the US: You can stay in the US. You still must take a full load of courses (at least 3 course credits) to remain in F-1 status. If you take a leave of absence (gap semester or year) starting Fall 2020, you CANNOT stay in the US in F-1 status, and would have to get a new I-20 when you return from your leave of absence. You would also have to restart your OPT and CPT eligibility clock.
  • For those of you OUTSIDE the US: You can stay outside the US and maintain your F-1 status by taking a full load of courses (at least 3 course credits) online. If you take a leave of absence (gap semester of year) starting Fall 2020, you CANNOT maintain F-1 status, and would have to get a new I-20 when you return from your leave of absence. You would also have to restart your OPT and CPT eligibility clock.

NEW international students (first-years and transfers):

  • For those of you ALREADY INSIDE the US: You can stay in the US. You still must take a full load of courses (at least 3 course credits) to remain in status. If you take a leave of absence (gap semester or year) starting Fall 2020, you CANNOT stay in the US in F-1 status.
  • For those of you OUTSIDE the US: Unfortunately, you cannot enter the US in initial status to begin a fully online program. Pitzer will defer your I-20 start date to begin in Spring 2021. You CAN still register and take online courses at Pitzer for Fall 2020 from outside the US though. If you choose to defer your PITZER start date (not register or take classes for Fall 2020) to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021, Pitzer will defer your I-20 start date to those dates.

Do I need to get an updated I-20s?

New international students outside of the US will need to get an updated I-20 with a Spring 2021 start date. These will be sent to you electronically in mid-August. If you have a scheduled visa interview appointment, please contact me as soon as possible for more information.

Returning students are not required to get an updated I-20. However, if you need an updated travel signature, please contact Todd Sasaki to have one sent to you.

What happens immigration-wise if I take a Leave of Absence?

If taking a leave of absence, your I-20 would be terminated. If currently in the US, would have to leave or switch to another status. When you return from leave, you would need to get a new I-20 with a new SEVIS number, and pay the I-901 fee of $350 again.

Check with your local consulate/embassy on whether you will need to apply for a new F-1 visa if yours has not expired by the time you return from leave.

Your OPT/CPT clock will restart when you return from leave. You need to be enrolled for an academic year before you can be authorized for OPT or CPT. Please contact Todd Sasaki if you are considered/are taking a leave of absence for Fall 2020.

Do I need to take the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)?

International students outside of the US for Fall 2020 can request to waive out of the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) for Fall and must provide proof of coverage in their international location. Email Katie Tewell if you wish to waive. If you are inside the US, you must either take SHIP or show proof of equivalent or better coverage from a US-based provider to waive.

Can I work during Fall 2020?

Only those international students in the US for the fall semester will be able to be employed by Pitzer during the fall. The same employment restrictions for F-1 students continue to apply: 20 hrs/week while classes are in session, and only “on-campus” jobs are allowed, which does include the other Claremont colleges and shared services. Please contact Todd Sasaki if you have questions about possible employment

Can I get a Social Security Card?

Local offices remain closed for walk-in appointments. You will need to call the local office closest to your current location to see if it will be possible to do an in-person appointment to apply for a social security number. Please note that an in-person appointment is not guaranteed to happen. Contact the Human Resources office of the college you are working for to ask about next steps if you are unable to apply for a social security number right away.