Kal Kardous International Student Services Center

The Kal Kardous International Student Services Center supports the academic and personal growth of our F-1 international students, whether you need assistance with immigration related issues, resources at the college, or want to learn more about the Charlotte community.


Learn how to complete the international student application.

International Student Portal

Learn more about F-1 processes and submit requests through the international student portal.

Academic Requirements

  • Full Course of Study

    You must be registered full-time before the schedule adjustment period (drop-add) has ended. You must be in class during the full semester. A full course of study is a minimum of 12 credit hours. You cannot take classes in a 12-, 8-, or 4-week session only — you must be in class during the full semester. No more than 3 out of your 12 credit hours can be online. Contact International Student Services before withdrawing from a course, as course withdrawals may impact your full-time status.

    If you drop below a full course of study without the prior approval of the Designated School Official (DSO), you will be considered out of status.

    Be sure to pay for classes by the due date. If you do not pay on time, the college may drop your courses. If you are a sponsored student, you must submit an updated sponsorship letter or financial guarantee before the start date of each term. If your classes are dropped because a new sponsor letter was not provided or because you do not pay your bill on time, it is your responsibility to register for classes again. You may not be able to register for the class if all seats have been taken.

  • Academic EFL (For-Credit)

    If you are an F-1 visa student and do not meet the English proficiency requirements, you will need to take Academic English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

    As an F-1 visa student, you cannot take ESL through College and Career Readiness.

  • Reduced Course Load (RCL)

    There are a few, limited, but very important, exceptions to the "full course of study" requirement. If you have initial academic difficulties, a temporary illness or medical condition, or need fewer courses than a full course load in your final term to complete your program of study, you may request a Reduced Course Load (RCL).

    If you drop below a full course of study without the prior approval of the Designated School Official (DSO), you will be considered out of status.

    Submit a request for reduced course load through the international student portal.

  • Form I-20 Extension

    The Form I-20 is an important document that you should keep safe, as you will need it throughout your time as an international student. You must read everything on your I-20 and sign it. Be sure that you understand the terms and conditions of your admission and stay in the United States as an F-1 student.

    Pay close attention to the program dates on your I-20 (page 1). If you need additional time to complete your program of study, you may request an extension. You must be making academic progress in your degree program to be eligible to request an extension. You may request for an extension up to 30 days before the end date on your I-20.

    Submit a request for a Form I-20 extension through the international student portal. You request must include:

    • An electronic recommendation sent to and completed by your current academic/faculty advisor. (EFL students are not required to do this.)
    • Updated financial statement showing the estimated expenses of at least $16,850. The financial statement must be dated within the last two months.

    If you let your I-20 expire, you will be out of F-1 status and will be required to apply for reinstatement.

  • Academic Suspension

    Central Piedmont requires that you make academic progress in order to remain in good standing with the college and continue your enrollment. You are considered to be in good academic standing at Central Piedmont if your cumulative GPA is at least 2.0.

    You may continue to enroll in a full course of study during the first semester you are on academic suspension. If you do not show academic improvement during the first semester you're on academic suspension by getting at leas a 2.0 GPA, you will not be allowed to take more than seven credit hours the following semester. As a result, you will need to apply for admission at another SEVP-certified school and transfer out, or have your SEVIS record terminated for "suspension."

    Report your first semester on academic suspension in the international student portal.

  • Change of Education Level

    International Student Services will create a new I‑20 for you if you are changing education levels to start a new program of study. For example, when you complete the Academic EFL program, you will need a new I-20 to reflect your new program of study.

    Let us know when you have completed Academic EFL, and we will issue your new I-20. You must provide an updated financial statement showing the estimated expenses of at least $16,850. The financial statement must be dated within the last two months.

  • Completion of Study

    Upon completion of your degree program, you are allowed a 60-day grace period to decide if you will transfer to another institution, start a new degree program at Central Piedmont, apply for post-completion OPT, or prepare for departure from the U.S. Our office is available to assist you during this time with any of these options.

    During the 60-day grace period you may leave the U.S., but you will not be able to re-enter the country in F-1 status. If you notify the Kal Kardous International Student Services Center that you intend to withdraw from classes before you have completed your program, you will only have 15 days to depart the U.S.

Your F-1 Status

  • Difference Between Form 1-20 and F-1 Student Visa

    Please note the difference between the Form I-20 and F-1 student visa:

    • Your Form I-20 is a document issued to you once you are accepted at the college that indicates your primary purpose for coming to the United States.
    • Your student visa is a travel document you receive from a U.S. consulate or embassy before you enter the United States. You must maintain your visa status once you are granted entrance into the United States. Your F-1 status will not be impacted if your student visa expires; your student visa is good for allowing you to travel and re-enter the U.S.

    If your student visa expires, you may choose to renew it at the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country. You cannot renew your student visa in the U.S.

  • Travel

    If you travel domestically (within the U.S.), you do not need to get a travel endorsement on your Form I-20.

    For international travels, a Designated School Official (DSO) at the Kal Kardous International Student Services Center must sign page 2 of your Form I-20 for re-entry. To re-enter the U.S. after travelling abroad, you must present the following documents at the port of entry:

    1. valid passport (for at least six months into the future)
    2. valid F-1 student visa
    3. valid Form I-20 endorsed for travel by a DSO
    4. schedule/proof of enrollment (recommended)
    5. financial support documents (recommended)

    If you are engaging in post-completion optional practical training (OPT), you also need to carry your:

      • Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
      • proof of employment letter

      If you applied for a change of status in the U.S. to F-1, you do not have a student visa. If you wish to travel internationally, you will need to apply for a student visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy before returning to the U.S.

    • Form I-94

      Your Form I-94 is proof of the terms of your admission into the country, including legal status and the length of time you may stay in the country. You receive an admission stamp and typically an electronic I-94 when you arrive at a U.S. port of entry from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Customs and Border Protection usually issues an electronic form to nonimmigrants entering the country at an air or sea port of entry, and a paper form to those entering the country at a land port of entry.

      If your Form I-94 does not list Duration of Status or D/S, contact International Student Services immediately. We can help you fix this error. Not fixing this error as soon as possible may result in you losing your status. D/S on your Form I-94/admissions stamp means that you may remain in the U.S. so long as you maintain your F-1 status.

    • Change of Address/Phone Number

      You must report any changes to your address or phone number within 10 days of the change. Submit these updates through your MyCollege account.

    • Reinstatement

      If your SEVIS record is terminated, you may be eligible for one of the following options:

      • apply for reinstatement through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
      • obtain a new Form I-20 to depart and re-enter the U.S.

      Under the USCIS code of federal regulations 8 CFR 214.2(f)(16), you are only eligible for reinstatement if you meet all of the following conditions. Central Piedmont's Kal Kardous International Student Services Center will only be able to provide the necessary reinstatement documents if you meet all of the following:

      • have not been out of status for more than five months, or demonstrate that the failure to file within the 5-month period was the result of exceptional circumstances
      • have not engaged in unauthorized employment
      • are not deportable on any grounds
      • are currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued your Form I-20
      • do not have a record of repeated or willful violations of USCIS regulations
      • establish, in detail and to the satisfaction of USCIS, that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control.
        • circumstances beyond your control might include:

          • serious injury or illness
          • closure of the institution
          • a natural disaster
          • inadvertence, oversight, or neglect on the part of the Designated School Official (DSO)
        • circumstances beyond your control do not include:
          • instances where a pattern of violations or willful failure on your part resulted in the need for reinstatement
          • the violation relates to a reduction in your course load that would have been within the DSO's power to authorize
          • the fact that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to you

      The sole decision to reinstate an individual to F-1 status is at the discretion of USCIS. If you have been out of status for five months or more, you are advised to consult with an attorney to assist with reinstatement.

      Submit a request for reinstatement through the international student portal.

    • Transfer Out

      If you are admitted to a new school, your SEVIS record must be transferred. To transfer your SEVIS record, you will need to coordinate ;with Central Piedmont International Student Services and with the new school.


      • Maintaining status at Central Piedmont
      • Admitted to by the transfer-in school (you must provide Central Piedmont International Programs and Services with a copy of your admission letter as proof of your acceptance)
      • Your course of study at the transfer-in school must begin at the next available term or session, which must be no more than five months from the end of your last semester at Central Piedmont.
      • If you are authorized to engage in post-completion optional practical training (OPT), you must be able resume classes within five months of transferring out of the school that recommended OPT or the date the OPT authorization ends — whichever is earlier.
      • If you were not pursuing a full course of study at the school you were last authorized to attend, you are ineligible to transfer. You must apply for reinstatement, or you may leave the country and return as an initial entry in a new F-1 nonimmigrant status.

      Submit a request to transfer out through the international student portal.

    • Driver's License/State ID

      Many international students choose to apply for a driver's license or state ID, as it is a primary form of identification and means you won't have to carry your passport around.

      You and your dependents may be eligible to drive a motor vehicle while living in the United States. However, to drive in the U.S., you must have a valid driver's license – driving a car without a driver’s license is illegal. Apply for a driver's license or state ID at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You will need the following to apply:


    • On-Campus Employment

      You may begin on-campus employment no sooner than 30 days prior to the start of classes. As an F-1 student, you are permitted to work on campus if you are in good status:

      • no more than 20 hours during the term
      • full-time when school is not in session or during the annual vacation

      On-campus employment is "incident to status." "Incident to status" means that as long as you are maintaining your F-1 status, you can work on-campus. If you fall out F-1 status for any reason, your employment eligibility ends immediately.

    • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

      Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is work authorization in your field of study, such as through Work-Based Learning (WBL). You may participate in work-based learning only if it is a part of your degree program. You may be eligible to participate in CPT once you have been in valid F-1 status for a minimum of one year (not including time in Academic EFL). We offer CPT workshops every semester — you are strongly encouraged to attend one to learn more about eligibility and requirements.

      Submit a request for CPT through the international student portal.

    • Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

      Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a 12-month work authorization granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work in your field of study once you complete your degree. We offer OPT workshops every semester — you are strongly encouraged to attend one to learn more about eligibility and requirements.

      Submit a request for OPT through the international student portal.

    • Severe Economic Hardship

      If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, you may be eligible to request work authorization for off-campus employment based on severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. These circumstances may include loss of on-campus employment that is not your fault, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, and unexpected changes in the financial condition of the your source of support.


      • In F-1 status for at least one full academic year
      • In good academic standing
      • Prove to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond your control that arose after getting your F-1 status.

      Submit a severe economic hardship request through the international student portal. If eligible, we will issue you an updated I-20 recommending severe economic hardship. You must then submit the economic hardship application for employment authorization on Form I-765 to USCIS.

    • Social Security Number

      As an F-1 student, you are only eligible to receive a Social Security number if you will receive payment for on- or off-campus employment with the proper authorization. If you are entering a health science program, depending on your program, a social security number may be required for state licensure.

      Once you have obtained an authorized paid position, you may request for a Social Security number (SSN) letter through the international student portal.

    • Taxes

      The following information is intended for informational use only. The Kal Kardous International Student Services Center staff at Central Piedmont are not qualified to provide tax advice and disclaims any and all liability resulting from providing this information.

      • Tax season in the U.S. is typically between January 1 through April 15.
      • Most international students are required to file federal income tax forms, regardless of whether or not you were employed in the U.S. You and your dependents (if applicable) are required to file IRS Form 8843 during the tax period.
      • If you earned income in the U.S., you are required to file other tax forms in addition to Form 8843.
      • Be sure to check with a tax professional for international students, such as Sprintax or Glacier, to ensure you have filed required forms by the deadline.
      • Consult the IRS Tax Guide for Aliens (PDF) for additional information.
      • Review the IRS Alert Scam Phone Calls page for resources to help you avoid falling victim to a scam from criminals claiming to be from the IRS in an attempt to get your personal information or money.

    Campus Resources and Support

    Visit cpcc.edu/current-students for a full list of resources and services.

    • Global Student Association (GSA)

      Visit the Global Learning office page to learn about the Global Student Association to connect with other students interested in learning about and connecting with people from other cultures.

    • Non-Profit Sponsorships

      You may be eligible for an in-state tuition sponsorship to help with your tuition. For information on NC non-profit sponsorships, contact Central Piedmont's Sponsored Programs office.

    • Counseling Services

      You may experience "culture shock" when studying abroad in the U.S. Culture shock is a feeling of disorientation felt& when experiencing an entirely new way of life. It may be difficult to adjust to the culture in a foreign country, but we are here to help you deal with culture shock and make the most of your experience at Central Piedmont.

      Central Piedmont Counseling Services provides personal and academic counseling, as well as crisis intervention for students who are suicidal, confused, involved in unsafe relationships, or experiencing other emergencies.

    • Student Life

      Being involved on campus can open the door for great friendships and new networking opportunities. Learn more about ;Student Life opportunities.