F-1 Services


Health Insurance

Health insurance is recommended for international students enrolled in IAU. All international students on F-1 visas are recommended to have medical insurance for themselves and their dependents living with them. Although IAU does not mandate a specific Health Insurance Provider, IAU is partnered with ISO Health Insurance to provide international students with local and affordable plans. Should you wish to apply or for more information, please visit:

ISO – https://www.isoa.org/international_american_university

For students on OPT who wish to apply for Health Insurance through ISO, please take a look at the options provided below:

OPTima Basic Plan – https://www.isoa.org/optima_basic_plan

OPTima Enhanced Plan – https://www.isoa.org/optima_enhanced_plan

Housing / Living Accommodations

The University does not have dormitory facilities under its control. Housing is the responsibility of the student. There are many apartments for rent within a 1 to 10 mile radius. Many are within walking distance. Single bedroom apartments may cost $900 to $1,300/month. Many families have rooms for rent from $600 to $800/month.

For F-1 international students who wish to find housing near IAU, student services can assist you with locating a local American homestay or assist you in finding an appropriate place to live (ssv@iau.LA).

Often, the office coordinates activities to help students find a compatible roommate to share expenses. They also provide information about the local neighborhoods, including popular restaurants, shopping areas, parks and recreation, and public transportation.

For detailed information about F-1 students, the admissions process, coming to USA, employment, OPT, etc., please review the F-1 Handbook (SEVP) designed specifically for IAU’s F-1 students.

What is a Homestay?

A homestay is a unique opportunity for international students to live with a local American host family. In addition to providing an affordable private room with an option of two meals per day or access to the kitchen, the program gives students a chance to experience American culture from a first-hand perspective and build cross-cultural friendships.

What can I expect from my Homestay Host?

You can expect your homestay host to be kind, show care for you, interact with you, provide guidance, and help you improve your conversational English speaking skills through practice. You are usually provided meals. Frequency may vary. Your room will be furnished, have good lighting, and have an area for you to study or prepare for your day.

Home Stays*

Korea Daily
Radio Korea
ISP Homestays

*IAU does not endorse or recommend to students or others any home stay agency or any other off-campus rental property. IAU has made no independent investigations of, and accepts no responsibility for, the safety or other condition of those properties. No special referral or incentive arrangement exists between the IAU and any home stay agency or outside property, and the IAU expressly disclaims giving any guarantees, warranties, or any other representations about such properties, including their safety. Students or others who arrange for housing through a home stay agency or otherwise live off-campus must make their own personal choices with regard to the selection of living accommodations, and should individually investigate the safety and condition of any home stay arrangement or rental property. Home stay agencies and off-campus properties are provided as an information service only.

Student Visas

IAU is approved by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to accept and enroll foreign, non-immigrant F-1 students for academic degrees and English language training. The U.S. Consulates/Embassies issue F-1 Visas for all the students from overseas who are accepted for full-time study at IAU. Rules for Visa Application may vary in each country. You should contact the U.S. Consulate in your country for the latest instructions on how to apply for a Student Visa.

SEVIS school code#: LOS214F01373000

F-1 Employment Authorization & Internships (CPT/OPT)


Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an off-campus employment option for F-1 students when the practical training is an integral part of the established curriculum or academic program. CPT employment is defined as “alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” To qualify, the work experience must be required for your degree, or academic credit must awarded. And yes, students can get paid for CPT employment. Prior authorization by IAU’s international student office and notification to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is required.


  • Been enrolled in school full-time for one year on valid F-1 status (except for graduate students where the program requires immediate CPT).
  • Received a job offer that qualifies before you submit your CPT authorization request.
  • A letter offering internship employment from your employer.

Students must have been offered a specific training opportunity that must fall into one of the following categories:

  • To satisfy an internship requirement expected of ALL students in your program and necessary for completion of your degree.
  • To satisfy an internship elective which counts towards completion of your degree. The internship elective must be listed in your school’s bulletin and must state in the official course description that it is specifically designed to allow students enrolled in the course to engage in off-campus internships.
  • The internship may be done to engage in research necessary and integral to the completion of the doctoral dissertation.


After you have found an employer, apply for CPT and provide an IAU DSO with required CPT documentation before you wish to begin employment. You must apply for CPT before or within the first 3 weeks of the session.

  1. Letter offering internship employment from your employer including the following information:
    • Start Date (Program Start Date)
    • Supervisor’s Name
    • Job Description and Job Duties (must be business-related)
    • Please included the statement: This employment will serve as “Curricular Practical Training” while the student is pursuing his [INSERT PROGRAM NAME HERE] at International American University.”
    • The letter must also be on official letterhead and signed by the company.
  2. Complete the following form: Internship Application & Cooperative Educational Agreement 

Once approved, you will automatically be added to the BUS 440/640 course.

An IAU DSO must authorize you for CPT. Once you receive CPT authorization, you can only work for the specific employer and for the specific dates authorized (unlike with OPT or severe economic hardship off-campus employment, where you can work anywhere in the U.S.). Your CPT authorization will also specify whether you are approved for part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week) CPT employment.

Regardless of whether you are approved for full or part-time on CPT, there is no limit to how long you can work. However, if you work full-time on CPT for 12 months or more, you are not eligible for OPT. If you work part-time on CPT, or full-time on CPT for less than 12 months, you are still eligible for all of your allowable OPT. So make sure you watch the dates and hours closely – don’t jeopardize your OPT!


F-1 Applicants may not pursue curricular practical training with job sites farther than a 120 mile radius of the main campus in Los Angeles, CA or respective satellite campuses. To ensure that students prioritize their educational commitment to a campus based program, IAU is requiring a job site within 120 miles of the respective campus to ensure they are able to comply with attendance and F-1 policies. If a company is located farther than 120 miles and the student is being offered a remote position or to be supervised at an alternative satellite location approved by the company, the offer letter must clearly state the terms of their employment.

IAU urges all students to carefully consider this new requirement when accepting positions for Curricular Practical Training.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is defined as “temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study.” Basically, once your OPT application has been approved by USCIS, you may work in the United States for up to 12 months after you complete your program.

Students who have fulfilled one year of academic training and are eligible for graduation may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT allows applicants to work full-time up to 12 months after graduation in a position which is related to their program of study.

Students who would like to apply for OPT are required to mail their application to USCIS or apply online (www.uscis.gov). IAU assists students in filing for OPT with USCIS. Please note that OPT processing time may take 60-90 days. For that reason, IAU urges students to apply for OPT as early as 90 days before student’s program end date but no later than 60 days before the program end date. Not all applicants are eligible for OPT.

Please see IAU’s Designated School Official (DSO) with any questions about this deadline. Because of the long processing time, IAU recommends that students speak with a DSO at the beginning of the semester that you expect to graduate from IAU. IAU DSO will determine if student is eligible to apply for OPT.

Graduation/OPT Workshops 2017 

How to Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)

In order to apply for OPT, you must first apply for graduation and receive a Notice of Graduation Eligibility. Students who are eligible to apply for OPT should apply about 60-90 days prior to graduation date to ensure timely filing.

  1. Fill out the correct Graduation Petition on our Downloads page and submit to registrar@iau.LA.
  2. Once submitted, you should receive a notice from the University Registrar via email within 7-10 days informing you of your eligibility towards graduation. If you are eligible, you will receive a Notice of Graduation Eligibility which means you will be able to schedule an appointment with a DSO and apply for OPT!
  3. Gather all required documents you’ll need to submit to a DSO, see list below.*
  4. For students who have participated in CPT, you must also submit additional documents, see list below.**
  5. Schedule an appointment with a DSO to apply for OPT by emailing careerservices@iau.LA and bring all your documents!

Bring these documents to your appointment with your DSO.

  1. Notice of Graduation Eligibility
  2. OPT Petition – Filled out & printed
  3. Copy of valid passport – Cannot be expired
  4. Copy of Visa
  5. Copy of I-94
  6. Copy of I-797 Notice of Action – If applicable (If you did not come to the U.S. initially on an F-1 visa and had to apply for a change of status, the I-797 states that you were approved for an F-1 change of status with a new I-94 card at the bottom left of the page)
  7. Two Photo Headshots (2″ x 2″)
  8. Check made payable to “USCIS” for $380.00 processing fee
  9. OPT Processing Fee of $100.00 paid to “International American University”
  10. Official Transcript Request Form – There is a $10 fee paid to “International American University”
  11. Enrollment Verification Form – There is a $10 fee paid to “International American University”

You can pay IAU fees with cash, check, bank transfer or online using a credit card by visiting our Make A Payment page for more details.

For students who have participated in CPT, student must also submit:

  1. Copy of Cooperative Educational Internship Agreement – Please have CPT Employer sign and date.
  2. Pay Stubs – If applicable
  3. Letter from Employer – Stating hours, job duties, recommendations, and student’s contribution to organization

What To Do After Being Approved for OPT

    1. Submit a copy of your EAD card to IAU as soon as you receive it.
    2. Report your employer information to IAU within 10 days of finding a job – OPT students are required to report the status of their job search to the IAU within 90 days of their OPT start date (see EAD card for this date).
    3. Report any employer changes or periods of unemployment within 10 days of the change.
    4. Maintain health insurance coverage.

Vacation, USCIS Processing, & Maintenance of Status Services (Special Cases)


Change of Non-Immigrant Status

Some International Students do not always arrive to the U.S. through an F-1 Visa. During their stay in the U.S. through intentions of a different non-immigrant visa, they may find the urge to remain in the U.S. and change their intentions to study full-time through F-1 Status. Applicants who take this route must apply for a Change of Non-Immigrant Status with USCIS before their current non-immigrant visa expires. IAU specializes in processing admission for applicants who wish to change their non-immigrant status. We are in touch with the best paralegals and lawyers in the area to help students through this process.Please note there is a fee for this request. For a list of lawyers, paralegals, or to see if this is the right option for you, please email us at admissions@iau.LA or call us to make an appointment with a DSO!

Reinstatement of F-1 Status - Out of Status

IAU understands the importance of maintaining F-1 Status while studying in the United States. IAU strives to assist students who have fallen out of status to regain F-1 Status through USCIS Reinstatement processing. This process may be quite lengthy an explanation through supporting documents of why a student deserves to regain his or her F-1 Status with the Department of Homeland Security. Please note, not all applicants who have fallen out of status are eligible for Reinstatement through USCIS.In order to apply, you must meet the following requirements:

      • Are currently enrolled or intend to enroll for a full-time course load
      • Can establish that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control
      • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment
      • Have not been out of status for more than 5 months
      • Do not have a history of repeated violations
      • Are not deportable from the US on any other grounds
      • Have been accepted or have gained re-admission into one of IAU’s programs

Processing times for reinstatement applications vary; however, it may take as long as 6 months for the application to be adjudicated by USCIS. Students are required to register full-time at the next available session before the reinstatement process may begin. During this period, students are not be eligible for any type of employment until the reinstatement is approve and may not exit the U.S. to travel.

IAU will process Reinstatement to regain F-1 Status on a CASE BY CASE basis. Please note there is a fee for this request. To see if this is the right option for you, please email us at admissions@iau.LA or call us to make an appointment with a DSO!

USCIS Request for Evidence

Students who currently have a case pending with USCIS may receive a Form I-797 requesting further evidence to process their case. In many cases, it may question an applicant’s maintenance of F-1 Status while attending our university or practical training and academic requirements met. IAU specializes in processing these types of request and has developed a great understanding of the types of supporting documentation USCIS is looking for. Please note that processing time will vary for these types of requests.

If you have a request, please email dso@iau.LA and send us s canned copy of your Form I-797. Please note there is a fee for this request. For more details, please call us to make an appointment with a DSO!

Visa Renewal & Traveling Outside the U.S. - Out of Status

Students also have the option of traveling to regain status instead of applying for reinstatement. When you travel to regain status, you are issued a new I-20 for “Initial attendance” with a new SEVIS ID number. You then leave the US and re-enter using the new I-20. When you enter the US and receive an I-94 marked “F-1 D/S”, you will once again be in valid F-1 status. However, if you choose to travel to regain status, you will forfeit any time you have accrued toward practical training eligibility. You will need to be registered for one academic year in order to qualify for practical training and graduation.

Please note that although this route may be faster than reinstatement, it is quite risky. Students who have a VALID F-1 Visa may travel to regain status. However, students who do NOT have a valid F-1 Visa must return to their HOME country to renew their F-1 Visa.

Please note there is a fee for this request. To see if this is the right option for you, please email us at admissions@iau.LA or call us to make an appointment with a DSO!