Student Immigration Definitions

Obtaining F-1 Student Status at Columbia

Important Information for Students Fully Funded
by Columbia University

Transfer of F-1 Supervision

Change of Status to F-1

Message for Canadian Students

Potential Delays in Visa Issuance


Student Tax Information

Maintaining F-1 Status

Academic Certification for Travel

F-1 Travel Information

Govt Q & A for F-1 Travel

DHS Information on Arrival Problems

F-1 Extension of Stay (Current Program)

F-1 Extension of Stay to Begin New Program

F-1 Reinstatement

F-1 Work Opportunities

F-1 Practical Training (PT) Overview

F-1 Curricular Practical Training

F-1 Optional PT Before Degree Completion

F-1 Optional PT After Degree Completion

NEW STEM 24-month OPT extension

F-1 Internship with an International Organization

F-1 Leave of Absence, Suspension or Withdrawal

Student Departure Information

F-1 Reduced Course Load Request

Inviting Relatives/Friends to Visit You

Address Change Form

Applying for a Social Security Number

Paid Internship with an International Organization for Students in F-1 Status

Students who are in F-1 status are eligible to work part-time during the academic year and full-time during vacation periods for recognized international organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, etc. Click here for a complete list. Authorization is granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with the recommendation of the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) or the International Affairs Office (IAO).

Procedure: The ISSO cannot authorize an internship with an international organization - only the DHS can do so by issuing you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You cannot begin employment until you have received this card. Your first step in obtaining an EAD is to qualify for a certification from the ISSO recommending you for the internship.

Step 1: Submit the following documentation to the ISSO as early as 90 days before you wish to begin employment:

  1. Your current I-20
  2. Your passport and I-94 card
  3. Letter from the international organization on the organization's letterhead certifying:
    a) the specific internship opportunity and a description of the duties
    b) the dates of employment
    c) the place of employment
    d) whether the employment is full-time or part-time

    e) that the proposed employment is within the scope of the organization's sponsorship

The International Students and Scholars Office staff will:

Review your application for eligibility

  1. Issue a new I-20 with ISSO's recommendation for employment and a recertification signature
  2. Provide you with the Form I-765 application for the EAD

Step 2: We suggest that you mail your application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services by certified mail, return receipt requested. This will provide you with proof that your application was timely in the event the application is lost. We also recommend that you photocopy the entire application before you mail it so you have a copy for your records. So that the documents do not get lost, put the photos in a small envelope and label as "photos" and staple all pages together, being careful not to staple the photos. Include the following documents in your applications:

  1. Completed I-765 Form and required $380 fee - no cash - payable to Department of Homeland Security.
    a bank check, or a money order (Please note that a money order is more difficult to track than a check.), or
    a personal check (Please write "USCIS I-765" in the memo line of the check.)
    Question 16 asks for eligibility categories. The code for employment with international organizations is (c)(3)(ii).
  2. Photocopy of both sides of the I-20 bearing an ISSO adviser's recommendation for the internship. Do not send the original.
  3. Two recent photos of yourself. The USCIS requires that the photos meet the specifications for the full frontal/passport type of photos and not be more than 30 days old when the applications is filed. For more information on photo standards, visit the Department of State website. We recommend that you write your name on the back of each picture in pencil.
  4. Photocopies of both sides of any previously issued EAD cards
  5. Photocopies of the identification pages of your passport and both sides of your I-94 card
  6. Mail your applications to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services office with jurisdiction over your proposed place of employment (see the form I-765)

You may bring the completed application to the ISSO, if you would like an adviser to review it before you mail it to the DHS.

Processing time: DHS normally takes six to twelve weeks to process the EAD. If you have not received a response within 90 days of your application, please contact the ISSO for information about the interim employment authorization.

The advisers of the ISSO encourage you to contact them if you have any questions about the procedure or if you receive any correspondence about your application. Students whose immigration documents were processed by the International Affairs Office at the Medical Center should contact the IAO for specific procedures.

Last Reviewed: 7 February 2011 Last modified: 7 February 2011
Columbia University International Students and Scholars Office