Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Home > Student Services > Global Engagement Center > International Students

International Students

Whether you are already on F-1 visa, or planning to apply for an F-1 visa, we are here to help you navigate through OCC!

Need more Covid-19 Help and Support?

The Global Engagement Center is currently reviewing the recent press release from ICE and will provide further updates soon.  Please remain calm and do not make any sudden changes or travel plans at this time. Know that we are committed to providing options to help you continue your education as planned and as safely as possible.  Please check your email regularly.  We will also post new information below as it becomes available.

ICE News Update:

July 13, 2020 Nevada System of Higher Education asks ICE to rescind rule change for international students.  Lawsuit details

July 10, 2020 Hearing before judge scheduled for next Tuesday (July 14, 2020) in MIT/Harvard lawsuit.  State of California sues on behalf of CSU and CA Community College Systems. OCC GEC hosts online town halls for F-1 students.

July 9, 2020 University of California announces they will sue USDHS/ICE and also seek temporary restraining order & both temporary and permanent injunctions to bar ICE from enforcing this order.

Nearly 100 members of Congress submit letter to DHS/ICE demanding these restrictions are withdrawn.

July 8, 2020 Special Message from the Coast District Chancellor Dr. Weispfenning
July 7, 2020 Message from OCC President Suarez sent to all OCC students. Lawsuits filed against USDHS/ICE by MIT and Harvard asking for a temporary restraining order to prevent the new rules from going into effect.
July 6, 2020 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (ICE) issued a News Release signaling a change in procedures that will apply to International Students for the Fall 2020 semester in response to COVID-19.  

COVID-19 Help and Support


Dear Student,


The Global Engagement Center continues to review the recent press release from ICE and will provide further updates soon regarding the potential impact, and possible solutions to the community for the fall.  Please remain calm and do not make any sudden changes or travel plans at this time. Know that we are committed to providing options to help you continue your education as planned and as safely as possible.  Please check your email regularly.  We will also post new information below as it becomes available.


The spread of COVID-19 has created uncertain conditions for many of us and we know you may have questions and concerns. The OCC campus remains closed until further notice, but the Global Engagement Center (GEC) is here to help, even during the summer.


We are reviewing every email carefully, so please be patient. Allow 2 business days maximum to receive a response and in the meantime, review the frequently asked questions below, you may find what you're looking for:


COVID 19 FAQ for International Students:


1. Can I still apply to OCC as an international student?

Yes, visit international admissions for instructions on how to apply.


2. Will Fall 2020 semester be online?

On May 15, CCCD Chancellor, John Weispfenning, announced that OCC, GWC, and CCC will offer most classes online for fall 2020. Only classes that cannot be taught online may be offered on campus.  See the latest message from the chancellor.

Considering the recent ICE press release on July 6, OCC is working on resolving some challenges so we can offer more courses with an on-campus meeting requirements to meet the new ICE rules for maintaining status. More info will be shared as details are finalized.


While the OCC campus remains closed, most OCC services remain open to help you remotely online or by phone.  We hope the OCC campus will reopen for the Spring 2021 semester with any necessary safety measures.  Visit our webpage and check your OCC emails regularly for more updates.


3. How should I register for classes?

The MyCoast registration tool has changed recently, here are some helpful tips to get enrolled successfully:

  1. Watch the video tutorial regarding How to Register – MyCoast
  2. Top 5 things to know about Registration
  3. For issues about registration using the MyCoast portal, you can send your email, student ID#, the class and the issue you have to the Enrollment Center at:

4. How do I meet new requirements set by ICE for enrollment? How many online/hybrid/on-campus classes/units/credits should I have so I can stay in the U.S. and maintain status?

To meet the new ICE rules released on July 6, you ONLY need 1 unit/credit with an on-campus component. The rest of your units/credits can be online.


Here are some tips to help you enroll and maintain valid F-1 status and I-20:

·         You must COMPLETE 12 units

·         ONLY 1 (one) unit of coursework must include an on-campus component (class must list a specific on-campus meeting location and time).

·         As this moment, there are limited classes that meet this requirement, but we are working hard to add more! 

·         For now, enroll as you normally would. Choose the classes you need and want. In the next 2 weeks, we will contact all international students with additional options so you can add at least 1 class that meets the requirement. 

·         If you already registered, do not make changes now. Wait for us to contact you with additional options so you can make changes and add at least 1 class that means the requirement.


5. Do all hybrid classes meet the new rules set by ICE to maintain status? How do I find a class that meets the requirements?


You may want to search for and add an on-campus class that is already in the schedule, but please remember that these classes may still be cancelled before the start of fall if they do not meet the state's COVID19 requirements for safe social distancing. So even if you find a class now and add it, keep checking your schedule regularly to make sure it is not cancelled or changed to online.  Also, keep in mind, we are working on a select offering of classes that meet the requirement for international students and we will have more information available soon as we finalize details. If you cannot find something now that works for you, just wait! We're working on more options.


To identify an On Campus or Hybrid WITH on-campus component class, when you search the Class Schedule, look at the "Location" column.

  • If the class has a building location listed – it is ON CAMPUS.
  • If the class says online, but there is another day that it meets in an on-campus building – it is HYBRID.
  • If the class says only online or liveonline – then it is an ONLINE class. It may be synchronous (meets regularly at same time online), asynchronous (no regular meeting times) or a mixture of both.
  • Hybrid does not necessarily mean on-campus, make sure the class lists an ON CAMPUS location.
6. Since fall semester will be mostly online, do I have to take 12 units?

The short answer is YES. If you want to maintain status, you must COMPLETE 12 units.


Outside of the U.S. for fall 2020:

If you prefer, you CAN stay in your home country during fall semester and take classes online.

As of Monday, July 6, after the SEVP press release, you MUST COMPLETE 12 units of online coursework to keep your I-20 active while outside of the U.S.


If you want to enroll in FEWER than 12 units, your I-20 will be temporarily cancelled. Refer to question # for more information about returning to the U.S. for spring 2021.


Staying in the U.S. for fall 2020:

You MUST COMPLETE 12 units in fall 2020 to maintain your I-20. You MUST also complete at least 1 credit/unit of coursework that includes an on-campus component. Please refer to questions #4 and #5 for more details about how to maintain status according to new ICE rules.


If you are struggling or wish to drop any classes, review the Reduced Course Load information under our "Maintaining Status" Guides, and then you MUST MEET AN F-1 ADVISER. DO NOT DROP unless you speak with and F-1 adviser first. If you or your instructor drop from a class, your I-20 MAY BE TERMINATED.


7. Can I take a leave of absence for fall 2020. I do not want to take any classes until spring 2021 or until classes return to in-person instruction.

If you will enroll in 0 (zero) units, your I-20 MUST be cancelled.  You must leave the U.S. before the start of fall 2020. If you remain in the U.S. and do not enroll in any classes, your I-20 WILL be TERMINATED and you may face serious consequences.


To request a leave of absence, please email with a copy of your flight confirmation clearly showing your name and the date of your departure. Once you are ready to return, contact us again and we will advise you on next steps to return.


8. I read about the 5 months rule for my visa. If I am outside of the U.S. for more than 5 months will my visa and I-20 be cancelled?

At this time, ICE guidance still allows for an exception of the 5-month rule. This may change at any time. However, if you complete 12 units/credits while abroad, we will keep your I-20 active and you can except to still use the same I-20 and valid visa to return in the future.


If you take a leave of absence, refer to question #7, when you are ready to return to the U.S., please contact and we may be able to reactivate your I-20 so you can return.


9.  I have a hold on my account for insurance, what should I do?

Once you have purchased insurance or completed the waiver, allow 3-5 business days for the hold to be removed before registering for fall classes:


I will stay in the U.S. Fall 2020


Purchase fall insurance at JCB Insurance Solutions: We recommend you purchase only fall coverage at this time.

  1. 1.enter 'Orange Coast College'
  2. 2.Select '2019-2020 Plan Year'
  3. 3.Select 'International Student' 

 I will take Fall 2020 classes ONLINE from ABROAD


If you are not physically in the U.S. you may choose to waive the insurance requirement before enrollment:

  1. 1.Complete the COVID-19 Travel Report to tell us your plans
  2. 2.Submit Insurance Purchase Waiver

10. Can I or should I return to my home country for fall 2020? 

You should do whatever you think is best for you!  If you choose to travel, please complete this short Travel Report so the Global Engagement Center at OCC can best advise you about your I-20, travel signatures, maintaining status, and hopefully returning soon.


Remember, travel regulations and self-isolation requirements may change at any time. There is no guarantee you will be able to reenter the U.S. until the COVID-19 crisis has passed and you may be required to self-isolate for a period. Additionally, most U.S. embassies remain closed and you may not be able to renew your visa if required. Please check the CDCState Department, and OCC for updates about the virus, travel, and courses/instruction.


11. I want to take a class at Coastline College (CCC) or Golden West College (GWC), schools within the Coast Community College District, this Summer or Fall 2020 term.

You will need to meet with an academic counselor for approval

To schedule an online appointment:

Academic Counseling with Ruby

Academic Counseling with Noriko


12. I want to take a class outside of the Coast Community College District for summer or fall.

If you want to take concurrent enrollment course as another school outside of our district, you must meet with an academic counselor online first for approval.

Academic Counseling with Ruby

Academic Counseling with Noriko


 13. Since fall 2020 will be mostly online, will international students pay a lower tuition amount?

No, we do not have the flexibility to lower the non-resident tuition international students pay.  Please visit the Enrollment Fees page for detailed information on tuition and fees.  Online classes will help you continue to make progress towards your academic goal and are no less valuable than they were before.  We encourage you to apply for scholarships in the Spring semester; OCC  is unique  in awarding over $500,000 in scholarships to continuing students each year.


14. I am struggling financially with housing, groceries, tuition, technology, etc. Am I eligible for the Cares Act or any other financial support?

International students are not eligible for the Cares Act. However, International students are an important part of the OCC community, and we may be able to help you with some challenges including laptops, & equipment, groceries & supplies (Pirate's Cove), and other resources. 


If you are struggling and think you may need support like the things mentioned above, send a detailed email to so we can see what kind of support we can offer.


15Does the OCC international health insurance policy cover COVID 19 testing?  Treatment?  Do I need to do anything special?

Yes, AETNA will waive costs for COVID-19 diagnostic testing for patients who meet the CDC guidelines for testing. Aetna also confirmed that treatment of the virus is covered.


If you are having symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should take every precaution recommended by the CDC to protect yourself and others. Aetna members should use telemedicine to speak with a doctor at 1-800-556-1555.


It is a good idea to set up your insurance account and print your insurance ID card to carry in your pocket. Read more about how to print your insurance card and find doctors on our International Student Insurance page.


16. Will my eligibility for OPT be affected if I am out of the country?

As of July 6, your OPT may be affected if you are abroad during your final semester. Read more about OPT on our Current International Student Guide Page under "Working in the U.S.", but if you are currently outside of the U.S. or plan to be for your final semester at OCC before graduation, contact an adviser to discuss your situation.


17. Can I take (or finish CPT hours from spring 2020) a CPT class in fall 2020?

Unfortunately, CPT Classes will not be offered during the Fall 2020 semester. Students who need only a CPT class to complete their program should contact an F-1 advisor.


18. I could not find the answer to my question(s) here.

We hope you find what you need here. If not you can check other pages on our site such as the current students page, you can also call our office at (714) 432-5940 for your most urgent questions and you can chat live or make an appointment with F-1 advisers and Academic Counselors or send us an email. Please allow 2 days for a response as we are carefully reviewing each email.



Global Engagement Center

Orange Coast College

Phone: 714.432.5940





facebook logo/link 

Connect with others by joining & liking the ​ OCC Global Engagement Center facebook page.  and OCC international student Instagram accounts.