International Students and Scholars (ISS)
International Students and Scholars (ISS) assists international students and scholars from the time they arrive on campus for their mandatory orientation and throughout their stay at Azusa Pacific University. An international student or scholar at APU is defined as any individual holding a nonimmigrant visa status (most common are F-1 or J-1 student status). Any non-U.S. resident/citizen holding a nonimmigrant visa status is required to apply to APU through International Enrollment Services.
Matters relating to immigration, international student orientation, cultural adaptation, and international student programming are coordinated through ISS. It is mandatory for all international students to attend Global Student Orientation, as stated in each student’s admission letter, prior to the start of their program of study.
Throughout the academic year, numerous events and opportunities exist for international students and scholars to interact with the U.S. culture, as well as represent their culture to the APU campus. International students are encouraged to enjoy the many student life opportunities on campus specifically for them and for the campus at large. Each Friday morning during the chapel hour, International Chapel (I-Chapel) takes place that engages the globally interested in worship in various languages and forms. For questions regarding the services available to international students and scholars, contact the ISS office, located in the International Center on East Campus.
Requirements for F-1 or J-1 International Students
F-1/J-1 nonimmigrant student status carries responsibilities as well as privileges. Failure to comply with the U.S. requirements for these categories is considered a violation of U.S. law, invalidates the F-1 and J-1 status, cancels privileges of the status, and may lead to dismissal from APU and potentially deportation. APU is required by law to make regular reports to the U.S. government concerning F-1 and J-1 status students. APU has three designated school officials (DSOs) to assist international students in maintaining their legal status. They can be reached during office hours in the International Center. While ISS provides many services to assist students in maintaining their legal status, it is ultimately the responsibility of students and scholars to maintain legal status.
Note: The following list is not an exclusive list of all laws that must be observed.
To maintain legal status, an international student must:
- Be a full-time student: 12 units are considered full time at the undergraduate level, and 18 or more hours of study in the American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI) are required for full-time status. The majority of master’s-level students are considered full-time with 9 units a term (or two 8-week sessions); doctoral students with 6 units per term. For exceptions to this policy, students must consult with ISS. The exceptions are also noted in the catalog.
- Work only on campus: U.S. regulations allow F-1/J-1 students to work on campus for 20 hours a week during the academic year or full time (20+ hours a week) during vacation periods. J-1 students must receive written verification and permission from ISS prior to working on campus. Any off-campus employment other than Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be officially authorized by the U.S. government for F-1 students. J-1 students may work off campus with authorization from ISS. To obtain information about working off campus, students must consult with ISS.
- Report any change of name or address: The U.S. government requires notification within 10 days of any name or address change. The location of the physical residence (not a post office box) must be reported to the APU ISS office within 10 days of moving.
- Obey all laws of the United States: For details of other specific immigration laws that may affect F-1 or J-1 status, contact ISS.
- Note: The major stated on the I-20 is only an indication of what the student intends to study. It is not legally binding, and the student will not receive a degree in this major if he or she does not meet all degree requirements. Students may change their major during their time of study, but this change must be reflected on the I-20. Any other significant changes must also be noted on the I-20 (e.g., change in financial scholarships/sponsorship or change of completion of studies).