Resources for Current International Students

Participating in a study abroad program in the United States at Elgin Community College can be a life-changing experience. Look to us to help you maintain your legal status to study in the U.S. as a student. Our office can help you better understand your rights and responsibilities as an F1 nonimmigrant visa holder. We'll guide you through the tips and tricks needed to make the most out of your time in the U.S.

While it can be a rewarding life experience, it can also be confusing at times. We understand that, and that's why our Office of International Education & Programs works tirelessly to help our incoming 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 homestay program where students are placed 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 CPT

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

F-1 Travel

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

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 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

On-Campus Employment

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

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 OPT

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 medical insurance

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 TVDL

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