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ECC International Students

The Center for Global Engagement is here to help you maintain your legal status as an international student and help you understand your rights and responsibilities as a nonimmigrant visa holder.

While studying in the U.S. can be a rewarding life experience, it can also be confusing sometimes. We understand that and work tirelessly to help our international students achieve their individual learning goals. If you're a current F-1 or J-1 international student studying at ECC, we are here to support you.

ECC also offers a way to make the most out of your experience with our international Student Homestay Program where students live with local families providing even more opportunities for cultural experiences and personal growth.

Resources for F-1 Students

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows students in the U.S. on an F-1 visa to seek authorization for practical training. Using this authorization, you can engage in temporary employment to gain practical experience in your field of study. Learn more about curricular practical training.

Economic Hardship Employment

Economic Hardship Employment allows current F-1 students who experience unforeseen financial hardship while studying in the U.S. to obtain off-campus employment authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under certain conditions. Learn more about economic hardship employment.

Federal & State Tax Returns

Even if you do not have a job in the U.S., you must submit U.S. income tax forms every year. All international students are required to file certain U.S. income tax forms every year, even if you have no U.S. source of income. Learn more about federal and state tax returns.

Getting a Social Security Number

A social security number is a federal tax identification number used to file U.S. and state income tax forms and to apply for other federal benefits. Learn more about getting a social security number.

Reduced Course Load

A student enrolled in less than a full course of study. Federal regulations allow for an RCL in limited instances if approved by a DSO. Learn more about reduced course load.

Student Medical Insurance

All F-1 and J-1 international students attending will be offered comprehensive medical insurance through a group health insurance plan presented by LewerMark. Learn more about student medical insurance.

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment authorization that allows F-1 visa students to secure practical training directly related to their major area of study. Learn more about optional practical training.

On-Campus Employment

International students cannot work without legal authorization. You are eligible to work on-campus only during the first year in F-1 status. Learn more about on-campus employment.

F-1 Travel

For F-1 international students planning to travel outside the U.S., Learn more about F-1 travel.

Temporary Visitor Driver’s License

The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office issues a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) for non-citizens of the U.S. who have been granted temporary, legal entry into this country and are temporarily residing in the State of Illinois and ineligible for an SSN. Learn more about the temporary visitor driver’s license.

Transfer Out of ECC

F-1 students planning to transfer to another school in the U.S. must request their SEVIS record be transferred to their new school. Learn more about transferring out of ECC.

Program Extension

Your Form I-20 specifies an expected date that you will complete your program of study. If your Form I-20 expires before you complete your studies, you must request an extension. Learn more about requesting a program extension.