International Student and Scholar Services

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) mission is to provide a nurturing and supportive living and learning environment for Columbia College Chicago's international student community through advocacy, services, programming and advising.

ISSS offers new international student "welcome and information" sessions; the "College Smart" workshop series; workshops covering International Revenue (IRS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) laws and regulations, overseas travel, on- and off-campus employment, and maintaining F-1 and J-1 immigration status; sponsors academic and co-curricular activities and college-wide programs; coordinates campus and community services by liaising with other colleges and universities. sponsoring agencies, foreign governments, and local consular offices; supports international recruitment efforts and administers the college's International Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Program.

The office advises the International Student Organization (ISO), supports the International Student Task Force, and sponsors: The International Student Welcome Program “ISWP” (August and January), International Grad student “Meet & Greets” (September and February), The “Beyond Columbia Borders” Thanksgiving Host Program (November), International Education Month (November), "World Enigma" (March), International Student Organization Weekly Meetings, and Graduating International Student Receptions (December and May).

If you are planning to travel out of the United States, the Travel Document Drop-Off period is year round. Please stop by our office, 618 S. Michigan, during operating hours, with your I-20 or DS-2019 and it will be signed and ready for you to pick up in usually a week, but it can take a few weeks during high travel periods (for example, close to the end of each semester). We suggest dropping off your travel documents for a signature a month before your intended date of travel. As a general rule, your would need a new signature on your travel document every six months. Please note that you cannot re-enter the United States without a recent signature. For more information regarding traveling to and from the United States as an international student and other US government visa policies and procedures, please click here.

Hours of Operation

During the Academic Year: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
During the Summer: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m - 5 p.m.
Our office is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Rikki Brown
Coordinator, International Student & Scholar Services
Global Education | 618 S. Michigan Avenue, 4th Floor

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Engage Columbia: Boat Tour, Willis Tower and Six Flags Info

Would you like to join us for a tour of city on a boat? Or maybe you want to see the city from way, WAY up high? Or, you're looking for a thrill in one of the biggest amusement parks in the US Midwest, right? You can join International Student and Scholar Services on any or all of these fun filled trips! This is our way of welcoming you to the college and providing ways for you to meet new people through engaging with the college and the city. Click the button below to RSVP with your credit or debit card. These trips are for Columbia students only. 


Employment Information for International Students

On-Campus Employment

International students are eligible for on-campus jobs.  

If you accept an on-campus position, you must report the job within (10) working days of the start date. Please report the job title, start and end dates, and any additional pertinent information to ISSS.  

You MUST update this information each semester that you work, or if your job changes. 

CPT: Curricular Practical Training

Any off-campus employment, in the form of internships, practicums, etc., requires employment authorization in advance.

All students on CPT must report changes in personal information as well as employment information to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at Columbia College Chicago within 10 days. Failure to receive pre-authorization will result in the violation of your status!

Step 1: Fill out this formstack form

Step 2: Print out this form to get approval from your academic advisor or internship coordinator. Click here for the CPT form. (PDF)

Step 3: Once you have filled out the formstack, and have signed approval, make an appointment to see your ISSS Coordinator, Rikki Brown for final SEVIS approval.

Reporting Requirements while on OPT:  Post-Completion of Studies

All students on post-completion OPT must report changes in personal information as well as any changes in employment information to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at Columbia College Chicago within 10 days of any change.

Changes in Personal Information include:

  • Legal name
  • Email address
  • Residential address
  • Telephone number

Click here to update your address.

Changes in Optional Practical Training: Post-Completion of Studies

We need to know briefly what are/were your job titles; the beginning and end dates of the employment; the number of hours you work per week, your supervisor’s contact information and 1 or 2 sentences on how the work is related to your field of study.

Click here to update your employment information.

ISSS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommend that students also keep clear written or electronic records of all periods of employment and unemployment while on OPT.  This information should include: job title; proof of employment duration (start and end dates); number of hours worked per week; location; contact information for supervisor/manager; description of work responsibilities; and, evidence that work performed is/was related to your field of study.   

It is also a good idea to keep records of any pay stubs, W-2 forms, copies of contracts, offer letters, and, employment verification letters.

Invitation Letter Form

For those of you with friends and relatives who will be applying for visas to come to the United States, the Office of International Student Affairs will provide invitation letters, which can support their visa application to the U.S. Please complete this form completely so we can best prepare your invitation letter.

PLEASE NOTE: In order to prepare the invitation letter, please give our office at least a week and half.


Immigration Information

This is a quick reference for students currenly holding F-1 immigration status in the US. This site contains information regarding on and off campus employment, curricular and optional practical training, full-time and part-time enrollment, and other information in order to maintain valid F-1 status.

Go to the Site

International Student Organization

Meet the World from By HyeongSeon Lee '10, South Korea on Vimeo.

We are a family made up of international students from around the world who are determined to help each other fully embrace our college experience and promote cultural exchange on campus.

The ISO meets for students to voice their needs and problems as well as to organize fun and exciting events. We seek to improve conditions for international students and contribute to the entire college community through our events.

This organization opens its doors to everyone regardless of ethnicity, academic background, and fields of interest. It's a chance to be yourself, find new inspiration, and promote your own culture as well as others. The ISO welcomes all Columbia College students and invites everyone interested in learning about other cultures, far away lands and making friends from all over the world!

The ISO E-Board consists of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and an editor-in chief for The Columbia Passport (formerly known as The Foreign and The International Spotlight Newsletter).

Whether you are from Korea, China, Switzerland, Japan or even the USA, everyone is welcome to the ISO! The ISO meets every Friday at 5:30 p.m. in 618 S Michigan Ave, 4th Floor. You can also contact them on Twitter and Facebook.

The ISO sponsors events such as:

  • Foreign film festivals
  • International Education Week
  • World Enigma
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Field trips
  • Social gatherings

We also collaborate with the Office of International Student Affairs and the Office of International Programs in creating and supporting programs and workshops aimed at enriching the international student experience at College as well as that of all Columbia College students.

Come and explore all the worlds of Columbia!

Insurance Information
Summer 2017 Health Insurance Request

The Spring 2017 Health Insurance ends May 21, 2017. If you plan to be in the United States beyond that date and would like to extend your health insurance over the summer, please click the button below and fill out the form.

If you are registered for classes for the summer and would like insurance, you would still need to fill out the form.

Summer 2017 Health Insurance is $366.98 and starts May 22, 2017 and ends August 24, 2017.

If you have questions, please contact our office at

Summer Health Insurance Request

Illinois Temporary Visitor Driver's License (TVDL)

The Secretary of State's office issues a Temporary Visitor Driver's License (TVDL) for non-citizens of the United States who have been granted temporary, legal entry into this country and are temporarily residing in the State of Illinois and ineligible for a Social Security number. 

To apply for an Illinois TVDL, you must be:

  • A non-U.S. citizen who has been granted temporary and legal entry to the U.S.;
  • Temporarily residing in Illinois;
  • Ineligible for a Social Security number:  You need to get a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office stating that you are not eligible to have a Social Security Number.  This letter must be dated within 90 days of the date of your application for a TVDL, and can be obtained from any SSA office.
  • A qualified application must be authorized to be in the country for at least one year, and have at least six months remaining on an authorized stay.
  • A TVDL is valid for three years or for the period of time the applicant is authorized to stay in this country; whichever comes first.
  • There are only two Chicago area Driver Services Offices authorized to issue Temporary Visitor Driver's Licenses: Chicago West Facility (5301 W. Lexington Street, Chicago, IL 60644) and Chicago North Facility (5401 N. Elston Avenue, Chicago, IL 60630). Applicants must visit one of the two facilities in person during the business hours; appointments are not accepted.  Please check online for their current business hours. 
  • Applicants are required to present four forms of identification (see above) as well as proof of your current immigration status, such as a copy of your I-94 (which can be downloaded here), I-20 Form or DS-2019 Form, and a letter from SSA office evidencing your ineligibility for a Social Security number.
  • Provide acceptable documentation that proves name, date of birth, Illinois residency and verification of written signature;
  • Effective July 1, 2014 or after, a person age 18-20 must present proof of successful completion of a 6-hour adult driver education and training course.
  • Pay the appropriate fee and successfully complete a vision screening and the appropriate written and road tests.
  • A TVDL will be issued only in a Class D, L, M, DL or DM, authorizing operation of a personal car, motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. A TVDL is valid for three years or for the period of time the individual is authorized to stay in this country, whichever ends sooner.
  • Individuals eligible for a TVDL may obtain an instruction permit allowing them to practice driving before taking their road exam. To obtain an instruction permit, the applicant must visit one of the designated Driver Services facilities and meet the requirements for obtaining a license for the first time.
Buddy Program

Buddy Program 2016-2017

Coming to a new place and to a new culture is an exciting experience, but it can be a little overwhelming as well. The International Student Buddy Program, for short the Buddy Program, is a program designed to support new incoming international students during their first semester at Columbia College Chicago. The program matches new international students with current Columbia College students to help the new student identify with social, cultural and academic pathways and expectations as a Columbia College student living in the city of Chicago.

The “Buddy” is there to provide guidance and support and to answer questions about life at Columbia and in the city of Chicago to help incoming new international students adjust better to their new "home away from home."

For more information, please contact or All Columbia students are invited to our Buddy Meet-Ups, which are in 618 S. Michigan, 4th Floor, Fridays at 3 p.m. We run them once a month, so come on the Fridays you're able to attend.

If you will be a new international student in Fall 2017, you can sign up for a buddy today!

The Buddy Program is on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr!

Upcoming Events

International Student and Scholar Services is on Facebook and Twitter!