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Working with International Students

Boise State University welcomes students from around the world. We currently have approximately 300 students from over 60 countries studying on our campus.

International Student Services provides support services to international students in the areas of immigration, academics, cross-cultural challenges, and personal issues. The International Student Advisor (International Student Services, 2nd Floor, Student Union Building, 426-3652) keeps students aware of any INS (immigration) changes that may affect them, coordinates activities to orient students to the community, and serves as an advocate for students.

When a student is transferring to Boise State from a college outside of the country students’ transcripts often arrive late. This creates difficulties when a student has previously taken required courses or courses that will act as prerequisites. Students can occasionally attain permission from the instructor to take the class in question; however it is helpful for students to register for alternate courses. The resources that are available to all students are also available for international students. Encourage the international students to take advantage of campus resources such as the Writing Center and the Math drop-in centers. While being aware of cultural differences let your advisee know the importance of punctuality. It is also important to let the student know that professors are approachable; in many cultures this is not true. Encourage class participation.

There are many rules and regulations that an international student must follow

  • International Students must take a full credit load every semester. INS defines that as 12 or more credits for undergraduate and 9 or more for graduate students. Exceptions: The International Student Advisor can approve a reduction in course load for certain circumstances (For example: medical problems, language difficulties) but the student must meet with the International Student Advisor to discuss it. If a student is in his/her final semester of classes and does not need 12+ credits to finish his/her degree, he/she can be approved for course load reduction. As with any exception to a rule, there are specific forms to be filled out, signed, and sent to INS.
  • International Students are not required to take classes in the summer.

International student employment restrictions

  • International Students cannot work off-campus and are limited to working 20 hours per week while school is in session. During semester breaks, international students can work more than 20 hours a week on-campus only.
  • International Students can work off-campus ONLY when they have registered for credit for a paid internship that is related to their field of study. Prior to employment, they must meet with the international student Advisor to discuss this and to fill out the appropriate INS forms.
  • International Students who are struggling financially can apply for “Severe Economic Hardship” through the International Student Advisor, which, if granted, allows them to work off campus for a limited time period. This is not something the International Student Advisor is allowed to approve. The student must meet with the International Student Advisor who will assist them with the appropriate application forms.
  • After graduation, international students have an opportunity to stay in the US and work for one year in their field of study. They must apply for this through INS with assistance from the International Student Advisor during their final semester of classes

International student travel restrictions

  • When International Students travel outside the United States, they must get an I-20 form signed by the International Student Advisor PRIOR to leaving the US. Upon return to the US, the immigration official will check for the international student advisor’s signature. That signature indicates to the official that the student is a full-time student complying with all rules and regulations. Without a signature on the I-20 form, the student will not be re-admitted into the United States.
  • VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND I-20s: The I-20 form is a very important document for international students. It must be kept current at all times. Once admitted to the university, the student is given an I-20 form with a date specifying a program completion date, if the student does not complete their program by the specified date, the student must come to International Student Services PRIOR to the date listed to apply for an extension. The International Student Advisor can approve the extension. The student will also need to update their I-20 if changing majors.
  • A Student Visa is granted to an international student prior to coming to the United States. The visa, along with the passport and the I-20 form, admits them into the United States. Once here, if the visa expires, the student does not need to renew it unit they return to their home country. It does need to be renewed if they plan to re-enter the US. The student visa cannot be renewed in the US.

Check the International Student Services webpage for more information