"At FIDM, we recognize that International Students represent an important part of our student body, bringing cultural influences from across the globe and further expanding our family of FIDM Alumni to the global markets. Our four campuses are located in California cities that are very appealing both culturally and professionally. Los Angeles, for example, is home to people from more than 140 countries.
The benefits of earning an education in a foreign country extend beyond FIDM's curriculum; a variety of cultural and professional experiences will enrich students and prepare them well for exciting careers."
-- Ben Weinberg, FIDM International Student Advisor
After acceptance to FIDM, we provide international students with I-20 forms for F-1 visas. If you have any questions about visas please contact your local U.S. Consulate.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: An International Student Financial Statement form (click to download PDF) is required before an I-20 student visa application can be issued. The information entered on this form must show an ability to finance college and living expenses, in US dollars, for one academic year (living expenses are currently estimated to be approximately $19,000 - $25,000, depending on the length of the program). This financial form may be submitted separately.
After an international student obtains a visa and enters the U.S. in F-1 status they must continue to maintain that status and follow F-1 regulations upon entry until final departure. The key requirements for maintaining F-1 status include, but are not limited to the following:
At normal conclusion of studies or practical training, F-1 students usually have 60 days (grace period) in which to prepare to leave the U.S., to move to a new academic program, or to transfer to another institution. However, certain factors may reduce that grace period.
An F-1 student may only work under the following conditions (any work not authorized by this section will violate F-1 status and serve as grounds for cancellation).
On-campus employment – Must be performed on campus, and is limited to 20 hours a week while school is in session.
Off-Campus work authorization – In general if an F-1 student wishes to work off-campus before graduation, one of the following circumstances must exist:
Student must have been in F-1 status for at least one full academic year. Must prove to U.S. Citizens and Immigration Service (USCIS) that employment is necessary due to severe economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond his or her control that arose after obtaining F-1 status. It is designed for off-campus employment but there is no specific prohibition on it being used on-campus. Granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time, or until the program end-date, whichever is shorter. Authorization ends if a student transfers schools. Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; can be full-time during official school breaks. Can be in any job; does not have to be related to course of study. Must apply for Employment Application Document (EAD) from USCIS, and receive EAD before employment begins.
Student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for CPT. Additional requirements per FIDM policy are:
To qualify, an F-1 student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a DHS-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for OPT. Students may engage in OPT for any employer for the duration of OPT authorization, as long as the employment qualifies under OPT standards. Standard OPT is available for a cumulative maximum of 12 months per educational level (none of FIDM's majors qualify for STEM degree recipients, no extension of OPT will be available). OPT must be directly related to the student's course of study. Students on post-completion OPT are limited to a maximum of 90 days of unemployment. Student files I-765 application for EAD with USCIS. Work can begin only after receiving EAD issued by USCIS. F-1 International Students may apply for OPT as early as 90 days before their program end date, the application must be RECEIVED by the USCIS no later than 60 days after students program end date. OPT must start and end within a 14 month period.
STUDENTS: Please see the DSO at your campus of attendance for a complete employment policy form. Refer to the FIDM Portal for more information regarding International F1 students.
Students whose first language is not English and who have not taken AND passed a regular (not ESL) English class at a U.S. accredited college or a US high school must submit a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score - or a TOEFL equivalent - prior to acceptance. Students who have TOEFL scores of 207 computer-based / or 76 Internet-based and above are exempt from FIDM's Development Writing (ESL) classes.
The minimum TOEFL score or a TOEFL equivalent for acceptance to FIDM is a computer-based score of 183 or an Internet-based score of 65.
FIDM offers Developmental Writing (ESL), an advanced English as a Second Language (ESL) course, for students whose scores range from 183-205 computer-based, 65-74 internet-based. FIDM students take the Developmental Writing (ESL) classes in conjunction with courses in their major. The cost for the Developmental Writing (ESL) class is $850 (tuition, books, and supplies).
START HERE with the Step-by-Step Application Procedure page that guides you through the additional information required by FIDM to complete your application with choices to apply online or download the printable version of the application for faxing or mailing.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: FIDM has rolling admissions deadlines for each academic quarter. International Students are especially encouraged to immediately start the application process to ensure the desired start date at FIDM.
$25 Paid upon application to FIDM
$200 Submitted prior to acceptance to FIDM
$300 Paid 30 days after acceptance to FIDM
All application fees are non-refundable.
Yes! Each quarter FIDM holds a special International Student Info. Session before school starts. You'll learn important information about your visas and meet the people who can help you during your time at FIDM. All International students with F-1 Visas must attend.
Please bring your:
Section I – Determines the student's non-immigrant status. Do they hold a current visa, if so what type, when does it expire? Are they on a non-immigrant visa type that allows study but does not require the issuance of an I-20? Are they currently attending another SEVIS approved college and need to facilitate the transfer of their I-20 to FIDM? If the student is currently in the US on a visa type that does not allow study at FIDM (WT/WB, M1, F2, J1 or B1/B2) then they must either apply for a change of status if applicable (most of these visa types do not permit applying for a change of status in the US by submitting an I-539 application to change non-immigrant status submitted to the USCIS) or leave the US apply for the visa at a US consulate and re-enter in proper status. If applying for a change of status in where applicable in a visa type that does not otherwise permit pursuing an academic college level degree in the US the student must be APPROVED for the change of status before they start a program of study in the US.
If a prospective student is in an immigrant or non-immigrant visa type that allows study then a copy of that visa, passport (for those on non-immigrant visas) and most recent I-94 card must be retained
Section II – Verifying the student's financial abitlity to cover all financial obligations while attending their program. This section clarifies for the student how much they will have to verify, which will be the full cost of the first year of their tuition (for PD students the full tuition amount) plus their living expenses, which are currently calculated to be $18,774 for a 9 months contract and $24,996 for a 12 months contract. The prospective student will have to provide actual financial statements to verify the availability of their funding usually in the form of a bank statement form their parents or other benefactors.
Section III – Student contract. This section of forms requires the prospective student's signature which acknowledged that the student read the section pertaining to minimum F-1 requirements, understood the information contained in the section and agreed to abide by those regulations. (For a non-exclusive list of those requirements refer to the Maintaining F-1 Student Status section).
If the student is currently attending another college on an F-1 visa then an acceptance letter and FIDM transfer request form MUST be submitted to that school to facilitate a SEVIS transfer of their I-20. An initial FIDM I-20 should NOT be issued to a prospective student who currently has an active I-20 from another. A student can request transfer of their I-20 up to 60 days after their program end date (if they did in fact complete the program at that school rather than just stopped attending). If the student is not going to finish their program of study at their current school then must keep attending class until the transfer is done or they risk having their I-20 terminated for their failure to attend. If the student is on a quarter break in between academic sessions at their current school then they must facilitate the transfer prior to the start of the next session or they risk having their I-20 terminated for their failure to attend.
Even if a prospective student has finished their program and returned to their home country, if their 60 day grace period has not expired then it is still advisable to facilitate a SEVIS transfer.
No. FIDM only provides degree programs. F-1 student’s can only be issued I-20 to specifically attend degree granting programs (at the college level) in the event that an F-1 alumni desired to take a course or two as “refreshers” such an arrangement could only be facilitated during the student’s post completion Optional Practical Training benefits or if currently attending another institution, only after concurrent enrollment authorization has been given by the institution they are currently attending.
Individuals in B-1/B-2 status may not attend a degree program at FIDM and would have to either leave the US apply for and receive an F-1 visa and re-enter the US in F-1 status or submit an I-765 application to the USCIS to request a change of status, and can only be permitted to attend once the change of status has been approved (not while pending).