At UCR, we are
Supportive: We are here for each other. Whether through formal programs offered by UCR, student groups, or impromptu conversations with like-minded people, you will have the support you need to succeed academically, socially, and personally.
Diverse: We pride ourselves in being a diverse, social-justice oriented community. Not only are we passionate about respecting different opinions, cultures, and identities, we represent a variety of backgrounds ourselves.
International: We have a robust population of students, scholars, and staff from all over the world. You’ll be in good company among people who know what it means to adjust to life in another country.
International Student Services
Your personal, social and educational success is important to us. We encourage you to get involved by joining a workshop or program, and to let us know when you need help or have any questions.
Our international student advisors can help you with:
- Adjusting to American culture
- Making decisions and solving problems
- Building positive relationships with roommates, classmates and professors
- Staying safe
- Improving your English
- Understanding employment options
- Understanding immigration requirements
- Finding resources on campus
Call us at (951) 827-4113 to schedule a one-on-one appointment.
Maintain Full-Time Enrollment
You must be enrolled in 12 units each quarter.
You can deviate from this schedule only with prior authorization from an international student advisor and only under very limited circumstances. Students must attend UCR fall, winter and spring quarters. Summer quarter is optional.
Enrolling Under 12 Units (Reduced Course Load)
A reduced course load (RCL) approval allows F-1 or J-1 students who are eligible to enroll in less than 12 units during a normal academic quarter. Students must apply for and receive a RCL authorization from International Affairs before dropping below 12 units.
Type of RCL?
- Final Quarter
Who is qualified?
- Initial difficulty with the English language and/or with reading, requirements during student’s first academic year; or
- Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods during student’s first academic year; or
- Withdrawal from a course due to improper course level placement during a student’s first academic year.
- Students must maintain a minimum of 6 units.
- RCLs for academic reasons can be approved only once
A reduced course load (RCL) or no course load at all can be granted for up to 12 months due to illness or medical condition at a particular program level.
- Medical RCLs must be submitted and approved on a quarter-by-quarter basis.
- Students must provide medical documentation from a UCR Student Health Services medical physician or a UCR Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) clinical psychologist (preferred). Students seeing a U.S. medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist outside of UCR /CAPS should also provide documentation.
Final Quarter RCL
If you are in your final, graduating quarter and need less than 12 units to complete your degree, you are eligible for a Final Quarter Reduced Course Load (RCL).
How to apply for Reduced Course Load (RCL)?
For Undergraduate students
- Fill out the Reduced Course Load (RCL) form
- An International student advisors will help you to submit the part-time fee request on Myforms.
[The RCL form must be submitted to International Affairs no later than noon on Thursday during the second week of classes.]
For Graduate Students
Please contact the graduate division to see if you are eligible for a reduced course load and reduced fees before submitting a reduced course load form. Most graduate students are required to pay full fees in their final quarter regardless of any part time enrollment approval.
All F-1 and J-1 visa holders are required to report a local U.S. address with the Department of Homeland Security within 10 days of arrival or within 10 days of an address change.
To report or update your local U.S. address to comply with the address notification requirement use one of the methods below:
2. Document request form
3. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to notifying our office, you should also update your local address and phone number in R’web.
Keep your Passport Valid
- Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future.
- Contact your home country's embassy in the U.S. for information about renewing your passport validity.
Keep your I-20/DS-2019 Valid
If your I-20 (F-1 students) or DS-2019 (J-1 students) will expire soon and you need additional time to complete your academic program, you must apply for a program extension at least 10 days before the program end date listed on your documents.
- Fill out the Program Extension Request form
- Attach financial documentation and funding letters if applicable
- Submit to the front desk of International Affairs
- Within 3 days, you will receive an updated I-20
Update the information on your I-20/DS-2019 when it changes
Degree level update
If you have been accepted into a higher program level (ie: bachelor's to masters or masters to Ph.D.) you must apply for and receive a program level change I-20 or DS-2019 prior to beginning your higher level program of study.
- Fill out the New I-20/DS-2019 request form
- Attach your admissions letter and financial documents
- Submit documents to the International Affairs front desk
- Within 3-5 business days, you will receive an updated I-20 with a new degree level
Major or Minor update
If you have changed your major or minor, please notify our office.
- Fill out the Document request form
- Submit the completed form to the front desk of International Affairs
- Within 3 business days, you will receive an updated I-20/DS-2019 with a new major
Financial sponsorship update
If you have a change in your financial sponsorship, please request an updated I-20/DS-2019
- Fill out the New I-20/DS-2019 request form
- Submit the completed form and any required documentation to the International Affairs front desk.
- Within 3 business days, you will receive an updated I-20 with an updated financial information
- Make sure that you have Health Insurance
Notify us in advance if you plan to take time off or withdraw from UCR
It is important to speak with an international student advisor before you decide to take time off or withdraw from your program. We will help you determine the best course of action so that you can maintain your legal immigration status.
- Speak with an international student advisor in International Affairs
- Speak with your academic advisor and your college office (undergraduates) or the graduate division (graduate students) about your plans and complete any required forms.
- Complete the early authorized withdrawal form and submit it to our office
J-1 students should make an appointment with an advisor to discuss J-1 requirements.
Returning from approved leaves less than 5 months (F-1 students)
- If you were approved for a leave and notified us in advance, your SEVIS record was terminated due to authorized early withdrawal. If you are returning to your academic program within 5 months of your last day of attendance, you may be eligible for a reactivation of your current SEVIS (electronic I-20) record.
- Up to 60 days before the start date of your intended quarter of return, you must request a reactivation of your SEVIS record. We will submit the reactivation request to SEVIS and SEVIS will either approve or deny the request. You will not be permitted back in the U.S. until your record is returned to active status.
Submit your Request for Reactivation of your SEVIS Record
Send email to email@example.com to request the reactivation of your I-20 Form. We will need a copy of the following items to submit the reactivation request:
- Passport Picture Page
- Most recent I-94 card
- Unofficial copy of your transcripts and course registration for the upcoming quarter.
- Please do not purchase an airline ticket until we have notified you that your SEVIS record has been reactivated.
- Once you have re-entered US, please let us know so that we can update your SEVIS record.
Returning from approved leaves greater than 5 months (F-1 students)
If you were approved for a leave of absence and notified us in advance, your SEVIS record was terminated due to authorized early withdrawal. When you are ready to return, you need to apply for a new I-20.
Submit your Request for New I-20 of your SEVIS Record:
- Fill out the New I-20 request form and send the completed form with the required supporting documents to our office.
- We will review the documentation and send you a new initial attendance I-20 Form. You will need to pay the SEVIS fee again.
- If your visa is expired, please make an appointment for a new one with the US consulate in your country.
- Have a safe trip back to UCR
Notify us if Ending Your Program Early
If you are ending your program early, please notify us before your program ends. We will issue you a new I-20/DS-2019 and shorten the duration of your record.
Note: Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to end your program earlier than the date that is reflected on your I-20/DS-2019.
If you are academically disqualified from UCR, your academic department will inform us of the change to your student status, and you may lose your F-1/J-1 student status. To maintain status, a student who may be dismissed should contact us in advance to review their options. You may be able to transfer your SEVIS record to a new school. Students who are outside the U.S. at the time of dismissal cannot re-enter the U.S. with the UCR I-20 or DS-2019.
You need to choose one of the following:
- Transfer out to other school (eligible students only)
- Leave the U.S.
What are the steps?
-Please make appointment with International student advisor by calling 951-827-4113
Transferring to another U.S. School
F-1 and J-1 Students planning to transfer from UCR to another school in the U.S. must follow the SEVIS transfer process to maintain valid visa status - this is called a SEVIS record transfer. You must follow this process if your I-20 or DS-2019 is currently from UCR:
- Receive admission from a new school.
- Complete a Document request form and attach a copy of your admission letter or other proof of admission (to your new school) and submit the information to our office. J-1 students should also attach a letter from the Responsible Officer at the school they are planning to attend confirming that they will accept the legal sponsorship of your J program
- Some admitting schools may also have their own ";Transfer In" or "Transfer Verification" form.
- If you have completed your degree at UCR, your F-1 SEVIS record must be released within 60 days of the end of your final quarter at UCR. Students in J status should see a J advisor before their program end date to arrange for a transfer of their record to the new school.
- We will release your record on the date you have indicated on the request form. Upon the SEVIS release date, the new school will have access to your SEVIS record and will be able to issue you a new I-20/DS-2019. Your UCR I-20/DS-2019 will no longer be valid.
After Your Program Ends
Within 60 days of your program completion date (which may be different than your graduation date) you need to choose one of the following:
- Leave the U.S.
- Transfer to another school.
- Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Once you complete OPT, you have 60 days to leave the U.S. or transfer to another SEVIS-approved school.
- At the end of your 60 day grace period, if you travel outside of the U.S., you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. as an F-1 student before returning to your home country.
- You may not work during the 60-day grace period.
Note: Email email@example.com to let us know about your post-program plans
Within 30 days of your program completion date (which may be different than your graduation date) you need to choose one of the following:
- Leave the U.S.
- Transfer to another school.
- Begin Academic Training. You must apply for academic training before your DS-2019 expires.
- Unless you have been authorized for Academic Training, you must leave the U.S. within 30 days of your program completion date or transfer to another SEVIS-approved school.
- You may not work during the 30-day grace period.
Note: Email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know about your post-program plans
Academic Resource Center-ARC (for undergraduates only)
- Academic Resource Center-ARC
Graduate Success (for graduate students only)
- If you need learning accommodations or tools, the Academic Support Center at the Student Disability Resource Center can help.
- Visit Student Conduct and Academic integrity Programs to learn about academic rules and regulations at UCR.
- The rules at UCR may be different from those in your home country.
- Read about succeeding in the U.S. Classroom.
- Undergraduate Academic Advising
- English Language Success
- The Career Center
- Update your resume, meet with a career counselor, review employment opportunities on Handshake, and join the Get Hired Program.
- Career Services for graduate students in the A. Gary Anderson School of Management
- Career Planning Tools for graduate students
- Employment Eligibility and International Student Workshops
- The Career Center
- Health and Wellness Resources
- If you are off-campus: Call 911.
- If you are on-campus: Call 911 or the UCR Police (951-827-5222) from your cell phone.
- Program the UCR Police number (951-827-5222) into your cell phone.
- If you need to contact an International Student Advisor for an urgent health or safety matter and the office is closed, call our after-hours emergency number:(951) 206-8810
- Looking for resources and not sure where to start? Visit the HELP@UCR website, a resource designed to help you find a good point of contact for a variety of problems, issues, or concerns.
- Use the Campus Safety Escort Service to cross campus safely at night.
- Use UCR’s point-to-point-shuttle to travel from campus to your nearby apartment.
- Check out the UCR Police Department website and safety overview.
- Avoid Scams and Fraud.
- Sign up for the UCR Emergency Notification System.
- Check UCR’s Campus Emergency Status.
Your personal, social, and educational success is important to us!
- Explore UCR intramural sports.
- Join one of many Student Organizations on campus.
- For those wanting to connect with other international students, you can join the International Student Union.
- Learn more about Student Life at UCR
- See the Events Calendar
- Get Involved with the Graduate Student Association
- Get Involved with the Associated Students Programming Board (undergraduates)
- Explore Diversity at UCR
International Students and Scholars Mission
To facilitate intercultural understanding, engagement and respect throughout our community while supporting the personal, professional, and academic goals of our students, scholars, and peers. We foster this mission through our services, programming, advocacy and outreach.
International Student Profile
UCR hosts over 2000international students from more than 70 different countries pursuing bachelors, masters and PHD degrees. We also host exchange students from our UC Education Abroad partner institutions.
Programs and Services
Explore the programs and services we provide for students and peers.
- Invite us to your classroom or department so we can share what we do. Contact us link to contact page for details.
- Share your experience and your expertise at our orientations and workshops. Contact us for details.
- Are you teaching in a Riverside-area school and interested in bringing in an international student to interact with your class? Please feel free to contact us Update to see if we can help connect you for a mutual exchange of culture and/or language.
Things to Keep in Mind Immigration 101
As a faculty or staff member, it may be helpful for you to keep in mind that International students (F-1 & J-1) MUST…
- Maintain a full course load (12 units) each quarter. Please do not advise them to drop classes, take a leave of absence or withdraw before talking with an international student advisor in International Affairs
- Have authorization to work off-campus. Consequences for unauthorized employment are serious. Do not advise anyone to get a job before talking to an international student advisor.
- Obtain ISS permission before working on-campus (if J-1).
- Limit on-campus work to 20 hours or less during the academic year.
- Consult with International Affairs before traveling outside the US. Certain steps must be taken when leaving and re-entering.
- Report change of major, degree objective or financial sponsorship to an international student advisor.
- Extend their Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 before the program end date if more time is needed to complete their degree.
Things to consider: when communicating, culture counts.
- NAMES MATTER
- Make an effort to learn what a student would like to be called and how to pronounce their name correctly
- EYE CONTACT
- Rules of politeness vary across cultures. In the U.S. for example, direct eye contact is encouraged, but in some countries, it is considered rude. A student may avoid eye contact because it’s the polite thing to do, not because they aren’t listening or don’t care.
- WRITE IT DOWN
- When you help an international student who seems to be struggling, consider writing down what you talked about so that they can refer to it later.
- “I DON’T GET IT …”
- American jokes, cultural references, acronyms and slang may not be immediately understood. Take the time to explain a reference.
- NOT SO FAST
- When you ask an international student a question, give them a little extra time to gather their thoughts before they respond. Put yourself in their shoes.
- SLOW DOWN (IF NEEDED)
- If there is a language barrier, speaking a little more slowly can increase understanding. However, remember some international students are quite comfortable speaking English and have been doing so all their lives.
- ALWAYS CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING (YOURS AND THEIRS)
- “Where do I get a bus card?” directing them to the bus station sounds reasonable, right? However, what if they meant an R’Card? You probably would have responded differently! Ask for clarification. Restate what you think the student is trying to say, and have them do the same. Asking, “Do you understand?” is not as effective as inviting them to share what they heard you say.
- WHY WOULD YOU ASK ME HOW I AM AND THEN JUST WALK AWAY?
- Interactions that are quite normal in the U.S. may seem odd to an international student at first. For example, saying, “How are you?” as a greeting, without waiting for an answer, may seem strange to students from certain countries. Strive to resolve these misunderstandings
- FACULTY: YOUR RULES MIGHT BE NEW RULES
- In some countries, copying work is considered high praise. Take extra time to go over your expectations regarding academic integrity, attendance, punctuality and deadlines
- KNOW THAT YOU DON’T ALWAYS KNOW
- KNOW Don’t make assumptions or judge. Be open. Seek to truly understand international students. You’ll be glad you did.
- NAMES MATTER
- Where do I find these common forms and guides?
- NAFSA is the Association of International Educators and has extensive information and resource on international education worldwide
- Study in the States is the Department of Homeland Security's guide for international students
- ISS monitors the guidelines and rules set forth for students by both the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Customs and Immigration Services
- The Institute for International Education is a gateway for all to get involved and contribute to global success.
- The Intercultural Communication Institute exists to foster awareness and appreciation of cultural difference.
- Visit The PIE News for articles informing Professionals in International Education.
- Before you complete your studies, consider applying for Optional Practical Training (F-1) or Academic Training (J-1); a period of authorized employment and training in your field of study.
- Order a copy of your official transcripts from the Registrar’s Office. Make sure to tell them, you want the transcripts after your final grades post
- Log into R’web, update your contact information and pay any pending charges on your billing statement before you leave.
- Are you transferring out to a new program or school? Make sure you request to transfer your SEVIS record to your new school by completing our Document request form
- Stay in touch with International Affairs us and let us know what your plans are! Email us at email@example.com. Join our International Affairs LinkedIn page. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
- Connect with the Career Center before you leave to learn about important services offered to Alumni.
- Join the UCR Alumni Association