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 and GeoBlue International Health Insurance to provide international students with local and affordable plans.


ISO International Student Health Insurance

ISO Insurance is a leading insurance plan manager, solely managed by current and former international students. Their own academic experience has shaped the company, allowing them to offer students a wide range of insurance plans. They also provide and manage student health insurance plans for universities throughout the US. ISO delivers insurance plans that international students want – at competitive price. Through interaction with international students, they experienced a rising demand for insurance options as well as a true need for ACA comparable student health insurance by universities across the USA. Thus, ISO aims to offer top of the line student health insurance and short term limited duration plans. ISO’s insurance products are particularly designed for international students studying outside of their home country.

Select International American University on the ISO home page.


GeoBlue International Health Insurance

With over 20 years of international healthcare experience, GeoBlue delivers worldwide student health insurance solutions and services that provide borderless access to healthcare, coupled with high-tech, high-touch service. Students will have access to the largest healthcare provider network inside the U.S., ensuring they have the ability to get the care they need, when they need it.

Get started by checking out the GeoBlue Student Membership Guide.

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 $1,600/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*

  1. Korea Daily
  2. Radio Korea
  3. ISP Homestays
  4. CORT
  5. American Homestay Network

Housing Options:

  1. Loganberry House
  2. LA Student Dorm
  3. Sweet Home California (SHC)
  4. Aparmentlist
  5. LA Housing Sublets & Rentals
  6. PadMapper
  7. Westside Rentals

*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

Visa Interview

 

Applying For Your U.S. Visa

If an F-1 applicant is currently abroad, and do not yet have a valid U.S. student visa, applicant generally applies for one at the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over his/her place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it is generally more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.

The F-1 applicant should apply for his/her student visa well in advance of the date s/he would like to depart for IAU. Remember that s/he is required to show proof of having paid the Federal SEVIS Fee when s/he appears for your visa interview. Holiday and vacation periods are very busy times at the US embassies and consulates world wide, and it is important for him/her to have his/her visa in time to arrive and begin orientation and registration activities no later than the start date on your I-20. Appointments are now mandatory for all student visas, and some U.S. embassies and consulates require that appointments be made at least four to eight weeks in advance. The actual visa interview may be as early as 120 days prior to his/her planned arrival date in the United States.

All U.S. embassies and consulates have a website where you can read the latest information on visa procedures.

F-1 Handbook (SEVP)
Click here to locate the embassy or consulate near you.
Click here for information on waiting times for student visa appointments.
Click here for more information on how to obtain a visa.
Click here for more information on Study in the States.

Legal Immigration Services

IAU does not provide legal services. If you are in need of immigration legal services, please feel free to contact an experienced immigration attorney.

Carmen Villamor
4929 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1015
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (323) 939-8200
Fax: (323) 939-8400
Web: www.carmenvillamor.com/#journey
Email: carmen@carmenvillamor.com

Strategies for The Visa Appointment

You are well advised to consider the following matters prior to your visa appointment, as you may be asked about each item.

Academics: Be definite and clear about your educational plans. You should be able to explain precisely what you wish to study and why you chose International American University for your education. Be especially prepared to explain reasons for studying in the United States rather than your country.

English: Anticipate that the visa interview will be conducted in English. Do not bring parents or family members with you to the visa interview. The consular official will want to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf.

Ties to Your Home Country: Demonstrate convincing reasons for consular officials to believe that you intend to return home after studies in the United States. Emphasize ties to your home country such as employment, family obligations, bank accounts, family members at home, property or investments that you own or will inherit, and clear explanations of how you plan to use your education to help your country or pursue a career when you return home.

Financial Documentation: Be prepared to prove financial ability to pay for your education and living expenses. While some students will be able to work part time during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their education. You must show the consular officer that you have the annual amount in United States dollars listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 form. Your financial evidence should be in the form of bank statements, affidavits of support, scholarship award letters, etc.

Be Concise: Because of the volume of visa applications, all consular officials are under considerable pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impression they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers short and to the point.

Not All Countries Are The Same: Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from these countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities in the United States.

Dependents Remaining at Home: If you have a spouse and/or children remaining behind in your home country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular official gains the impression that your family members will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support them, your student visa will almost surely be denied.

Upon Arrival To U.S.

U.S. immigration regulations state that new students entering on an F-1 student visa will only be eligible to enter the U.S. thirty calendar days or less prior to the beginning of the program date or start date, as given on the SEVIS I-20.

Most new international students generally arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), about a 60 minutes drive from IAU. For most students, it will be their Port of Entry (POE), the first entry point into the U.S. as a legal non-immigrant. Please find below a guide on procedures on the aircraft, customs at the POE, and baggage claim.

On the aircraft, prior to landing, the flight attendant will distribute customs declaration forms and U.S. Customs and Border Protection forms. One important form is the I-94 arrival/departure document.

Important reminders when filling out I-94 document:

  1. Print clearly, with one letter in each space
  2. Date of Birth is in order of MONTH, DAY, YEAR
  3. Any mistakes will result in a correction procedure that is quite time consuming. Minor mistakes can cause major delays with certain applications that may be filed upon arriving on campus so please be attentive and careful when filling out the I-94 document.

Upon arrival, students will present their:

  1. Passport and Visa
  2. I-20
  3. I-94 document

All newly admitted F-1 students must check-in in-person with IAU’s Designated School Official (DSO) within 10 days of arrival to the U.S. All F-1 students are required to attend the new student orientation (NSO). Failure to check-in in-person with IAU’s DSO within 10 days of arrival to the U.S. will result in the termination of your SEVIS record.

What To Bring With You To The Visa Interview

Be sure to bring the following with you to the visa appointment:

  1. Passport
  2. Required photo(s)
  3. Visa fee or proof of visa fee payment
  4. Federal SEVIS Fee payment receipt
  5. U.S. non-immigrant visa application forms (unless you will completing it at the consulate or embassy)
  6. IAU admission letter
  7. IAU SEVIS I-20
  8. Test scores and academic records
  9. Proof of English proficiency
  10. Proof of financial support
  11. Evidence of ties to your home country
  12. Any other documents required by the embassy or consulate

Remember that if you plan to attend IAU, you must present the visa officer with a I-20 issued by IAU. You cannot apply for a U.S. visa using another school’s I-20, and then try to attend IAU, as that is considered to be a fraudulent entry by the U.S. Immigration authorities.

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

This section is under construction.

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:

  1. Are currently enrolled or intend to enroll for a full-time course load
  2. Can establish that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control
  3. Have not engaged in unauthorized employment
  4. Have not been out of status for more than 5 months
  5. Do not have a history of repeated violations
  6. Are not deportable from the US on any other grounds
  7. 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 Regulations

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is an agency for the Department of Justice. The USCIS governs the laws and regulations which affect individuals of different visa classifications. Please follow these simple guidelines so you will comply with USCIS regulations:

  • Student must be a full-time student at the school that you are authorized to attend by USCIS. This means completing at least 12 undergraduate units or 9 graduate units each mandatory trimester (Spring & Fall).
  • Student must have a permanent home address outside of the United States. That address must be on file with the school granting your I-20.
  • Student must keep your passport valid at all times, up to six months into the future.
  • Student must be able to support yourself without working illegally during your entire stay in the United States.
  • Student should make photocopies of: passport, I-20, I-94 card (both sides). Keep the photocopies of these documents in a safe place. If original documents get lost or stolen, having copies will make the replacement process much easier.
  • Student must not travel outside the United States without first consulting with an IAU DSO at least 2 weeks before you travel. The IAU DSO will check student’s documents and sign I-20 so that s/he will not have any difficulties re-entering the United States. International students from certain countries may need to obtain special “visitor visas” to enter Canada. If a student has a family emergency and need to leave immediately, contact the IAU DSO for immediate assistance.
  • Travel during your application request for Optional Practical Training (OPT): If student is eligible and would like to apply for Optional Practical Training, student will be advised that student should not travel outside the USA until you have been issued the work permit from DHS.
  • VISA OVERSTAYS: Non-immigrant visa stamp in your passport will now be void in the United Stated beyond the period of authorized stay. You cannot seek a new visa other than from your country of citizenship. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)
  • PERIOD OF AUTHORIZED STAY extends to the expiration date on your I-20, plus your grace period. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996).
  • Any International student who is UNLAWFULLY IN THE UNITED STATES FOR MORE THAN SIX (6) MONTHS BUT LESS THAN ONE (1) YEAR IS NOT ADMISSIBLE TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THREE (3) YEARS. If the student is unlawfully present for MORE THAN ONE YEAR, THE INDIVIDUAL CANNOT BE ADMITTED FOR TEN (10) YEARS. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)
  • BE AWARE OF THE DATES ON I-20. Student should plan the education program so that s/he will not be out-of-status. Be enrolled in twelve (12) or more units, this means the completion of twelve (12) or more units at the end of Fall or Spring semesters. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)
  • Plan your extension of stay in a timely manner to meet the immigration deadline. (Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996)

For additional information please call the IAU DSO and schedule an appointment.

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!