Engineering student at Cornell

Course work and maintaining your status

  • While studying at Cornell College you must receive and maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

  • You must take and maintain a full-time schedule. Dropping below a full-time course load will cause you to become out of status. 

  • If you were to withdraw or be expelled from the college for any reason you will be considered out of status. 

Working while on visa and obtaining a driver's license

  • In order to work on campus you must receive approval from the Office of Intercultural Life and the Financial Aid Office. 
  • You must also obtain a Social Security Number from the Social Security Administration office. 
  • You are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during school and up to 40 hours per week during breaks. 
  • You are prohibited from working 0ff-campus. 
  • You must wait 10 days after arriving in the United States to apply for a driver's license so that your Form I-94, "Arrival/Departure Record," information can update in all the government systems.

Filing taxes

Any income you earn in the U.S. must be reported.

  • Income from wages
  • Receipt of grant, fellowship, or scholarship
  • Interest from stock options
  • Lottery or gambling earnings
  • Other type of non-wage income


  • Make sure you plan at least several weeks in advance to ensure any and all paperwork that may be needed is in order. 
  • If you are traveling outside or inside of the U.S. you must travel with your form I-20 with an up-to-date travel endorsement, passport, and copy of your I-94. 
  • Make sure to know what visa requirements you may need if you are traveling to another country. The office of intercultural life can assist you in this process. 

The Department of Homeland Security is the governing body that regulates all matters related to immigration. As of March 1, 2003, all functions of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service were moved into three Bureaus within the Department of Homeland Security. Here are a few terms and abbreviations that you will need to know while studying here at Cornell:

USCIS—The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is responsible for most of the applications and petition adjudications that were previously done by INS. These would include change of non-immigrant status, authorization for off-campus work programs, reinstatement to status, etc.

USICE—The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement is responsible for immigration investigations, detention, removal, intelligence, and SEVIS.

USCBP—The United States Customs and Border Protection is responsible for immigration inspections at U.S. ports of entry, for the border patrol, and for the Customs Service.

SEVIS—The database operated under the SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program), designed to allow the collection of information regarding foreign students and exchange visitors in the United States. All F-1 student I-20's and J-1 scholar DS-2019's are issued through the SEVIS database.

If you have further questions, refer to this government website: Study in the States.