International Student Program FAQs



How do I apply for a student (F-1) visa to come to the United States?

Please visit The United States Visas Official Site for visa application information.  The procedure is slightly different from one US Consulate to another, so you will want to read the information for the particular Consulate that you plan to visit.

I am beginning studies at Long Beach City College soon. How long will it take to get my I-20?

Once your application has been completed with the International Student Office, it takes us one to two weeks to prepare and mail your I-20. 

I don’t have a TOEFL score (or my TOEFL score is too low).  Can I still join LBCC?

Students who do not meet Long Beach City College’s TOEFL requirement may be able to meet the English Proficiency requirement in another way.  Please look at the “Application Procedures“ section of this web site for details about your options.

If you are not able to meet any of the English Proficiency requirements, you may join the American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI).  This program does not require a TOEFL or other kind of English Proficiency, and is designed to help you improve your English skills enough for you to join a college level program.  Please visit the ALCI web site for program details

 I am coming to the U.S. soon to begin my program of study. When can I arrive?  

The U.S. consulate or embassy abroad can process your visa up to 60 days before the start date of your academic program. You may enter the country as early as 30 days in advance of the program start date that is noted in item #5 on your I-20 .

What should I do when I arrive at Long Beach City College ?

In accordance with immigration regulations, you must provide us with your immigration documents upon arrival at LBCC. These regulations apply to students from outside the U.S. , as well as to students transferring to LBCC from another U.S. school. 

You may also have questions about class registration, student I.D. cards, and getting settled on campus. These questions can all be answered at the orientation session. All new and transfer students are required to attend the orientation.

I am transferring to LBCC from another U.S. school. What should I do?

Immigration transfer is different than academic transfer. Even if you are completing an academic program at another institution or you will return to your home country for under 5 months before returning to attend LBCC, your former school must still transfer your immigration record. You must obtain a new I-20 from LBCC as part of the transfer process.

I am visiting the US right now, but I do not have a student visa.  Can I take classes?  Can I apply for the F-1 visa in the United States?

Every visa category has different restrictions regarding who may study and who is not permitted to study.  Please contact the International Student Office for one-to-one advising about your particular visa category. 

Although you cannot apply for a visa from within the US, you may be able to change your Non-immigrant Status to student status.  This is dependent on your current Non-immigrant Status, shown on your I-94 card.  Please contact the International Student Office for one-to-one advising about your particular visa category.

I-20/F-1 Regulation

My visa has expired or is expiring soon. What do I need to do?

Your visa is the stamp in your passport with your photograph that was issued to you by a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. It is only an entry document, so it only needs to be valid when you travel and plan to re-enter the United States . If it expires while you are still pursuing your studies in the U.S. , and you have no plans to travel outside the U.S. , you will still be in legal status.

My I-20 is expiring soon. What should I do?

If your I-20 will expire before you finish your studies, you should get it extended. You must extend your I-20 before its expiration date in order to avoid losing your F-1 status. To extend your I-20, you will need to show your new bank statements or proof of financial sponsorship, plus a new Educational Plan from the counselor showing the end date of your program.

I am traveling outside the U.S. soon. Do I need to get a signature on my I-20?

Check the bottom of page three of your I-20. If there is a signature that will be more than 3 months old at the time when you plan to return to the U.S. , you should come to the International Student Office for a new signature. According to immigration law, the signatures are valid for one year (as it says on your I-20), but port of entry officials recommend a more recent signature.

I am out of status. What should I do?

Depending on how long you have been out of F-1 status, there may be a possibility for regaining that status. It is important to apply for reinstatement as soon as possible. We can provide one-on-one advising to you to discuss what your options are.


What if the class I want has a wait list or is closed?

You still may have a chance to get in to the class. Go to the class on the first day. (The time and location of each class is listed in your schedule book.) Get there a few minutes early. Before class begins, tell the instructor you would like to add the class. Usually, the instructor will wait until the break or the end of the class, and then will decide if there are spaces for more students. If he or she decides to add you, you will be given a “permission number”. You can use this number to add the class on-line.

How do I add a class before the first day of the semester?

First, check the schedule of classes to see if the last day to register for classes has passed. Next, log on to PeopleSoft, or contact the class professor to see if the class is still open. If it is, you can add the class on-line.

How do I drop a class?

If dropping the class will cause you to fall below 12 units, you need to see the academic counselor, Judy Oh, before you drop the class. You may schedule an appointment online, visit the Counseling Center in Building A or call 562-938-4560 to schedule an appointment with Judy Oh.  You will need a certificate to allow you to take fewer than 12 units while still keeping your F-1 status.

Once you get the permission from Judy Oh, you will need to drop the course in Viking Student Portal.

Be sure to check the various drop dates in your schedule. If you drop or swap classes AFTER the last refund date, you WILL NOT get a refund!

I want to change my major. What do I need to do?

You will need to schedule an appointment with a counselor to develop a new Student Degree Planner to determine the length of your study at LBCC. Once you get a new Degree Planner from the counselor, you must meet with Nelly Delgado in the International Student Office to request for a new I-20.

How can I set up an appointment with a counselor?

You can schedule a counseling appointment online or call the Counseling office at 562-938-4560 or visit the Counseling office located in Building A (Liberal Arts Campus only). You must request to see the international student counselor. See Counseling for more information.

Work Experience

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is an employment opportunity available to F-1 students where the practical training employment is considered to be an integral part of the academic program.  (Not all majors require work-experience as part of the academic program.) Please see Work Experience for more information.

What is Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is another type of Work experience opportunity for F-1 students to apply their knowledge in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. It is available to students, based on their major, at the end of the program. Students who successfully complete their program of study may be eligible to engage in full-time work in a paid, off-campus position for up to one year. Students may then transfer to another college program, or return home. More information about this program is available at the International Student Office to enrolled students. 

Where can I work?

If you are a full-time student in the regular college program and this is your first or second semester, you are only allowed to work on-campus, at LBCC. There is no central job listing at LBCC. The best way to find out about an opening is to visit the offices on campus and ask if they’re looking for anyone. I recommend writing your information (name, phone number, skills) on an index card to leave at offices where you are interested in working so they can call you if a job becomes available in the future..

For more information about work, including tips for finding a job on campus, a list of offices which have hired International students in the past, and information about working off campus in the future, check the Work Opportunities and Taxes Section in the orientation handbook.


I don’t have anywhere to live, or I have to move right away. Who can help me?

The International Student Office has apartment listings and may have host families, although host families are usually in short supply. See the Housing link for more information. 

I am having problems with my current living situation. Who can I talk to?

Adjusting to the new environment can be sometimes difficult. When you face a problem with your living arrangement, please contact the office immediately at (562) 938-4745 so that we can properly assist you with your living situation. 

General Questions

Do I need a parking permit? Where can I buy one?

You DO need a parking permit to park on campus at all times . With your permit, you will only be allowed to park in spaces that are not marked “Faculty”, “Carpool” or “Disabled”. Pay for your permit when you register for classes, or purchase a day permit from one of the dispensers in the parking lots around campus. When you register, you will be asked if you want “parking”.  Your permit will be mailed to you.

How do I get my picture/student ID (Identification Card)?

After you pay for your registration, take your enrollment verification to the E building (Student Center). Just inside the main door, to the right, is a counter. Present your enrollment verification and ask for your ID Your picture will be taken on the spot, so make sure you look good!

How do I get my books?

You may obtain books by visiting the campus bookstore website.  Sign on to the bookstore website and follow the instructions.

What if I’m still confused?

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out new procedures from written instructions. If you aren’t sure how to do something, come to the International Student Office. We’ll be happy to help you!