Office of International Programs
and Development

5000 Abbey Way SE
Old Main Room 430
Lacey, WA 98503
Phone: 360-438-4504
Fax: 360-438-4359
Hours: M-F, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. PST

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Visa procedures and regulations


Students and visitors staying longer than one month are required to get two MMR vaccinations, one Meningococcal vaccincation, and be screened for tuberculosis. International students are required to complete the student immunization form and the international student medical history record (TB) form before they can attend Saint Martin’s University. We strongly encourage students to get all immunizations before they arrive in the US and submit proof of immunization by providing a shot record history and/or PPD report with their application documents. Immunization documents must be in English so that the Student Health Center can review them.

Students who only have had one MMR shot and require a second, may get their second shot at the Student Health Center for $60.

The required PPD test for tuberculosis can also be administered after arrival for $20.

There will be an additional charge of $125 for the IGRA blood test, if needed, that is paid to Quest Laboratory but chest x-rays are not part of the initial screening unless the PPD or IGRA are positive or if there are signs and symptoms of active pulmonary TB.

Again, it is strongly recommended that students and visitors complete all immunization tests before arriving at Saint Martin’s University.

Full course of study requirements and reduced course loads

While studying in the United States, all international students are required to maintain enrollment as a full-time student at all times (with a few exceptions). The requirements for what is considered “full-time” vary from program to program.

Undergraduate requirements

A minimum of 12 credits (usually four classes) constitutes full-time study for undergraduates at Saint Martin’s University. At least nine of the twelve credits must be in-person classes. If a student is taking twelve credits in a term, only a total of three online credits may be taken. If a student takes more than a total of twelve credits, they are allowed to take more than one online class, as long as nine of the credits are in-person classes. International students in their first semester of undergrad classes are usually advised to not take more than 15 credits, but are able to take up to 18 credits.

Graduate study requirements

As full-time graduate study requirements vary depending on the field of study, we suggest that the student be in contact with their advisor and always take enough classes so that they may complete their program before the program end date as indicated on their I-20.

Reduced course loads (RCL)

Reduced course load (RCL) is reserved for students who are having academic difficulties and need to take fewer classes to prove successful as a student. The reason for reducing course load must be limited to the following:

  • Initial difficulty with the English language
  • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
  • Improper course-level placement.

The student must resume full-time (at least 12 credits) the next available semester and may not take less than six credits while on RCL. RCL may only be used once during a student’s program unless that student changes level (e.g. from Bachelor’s to Master’s). RCL is usually only given to students in their first term.


Exceptions to requiring enrollment in classes full-time are as follows:

  • Summer vacation (after nine months of enrollment).
  • Compelling medical issue.
  • Undergraduates completing programs within the current term (it is strongly recommended that the student check in with the International student advisor and admissions counselor before reducing course load).
  • Graduate students working on a thesis or dissertation.
  • Full-time post-completion Optional practical training (OPT).

School transfers

Students wishing to transfer into Saint Martin’s University should first fill out the transfer eligibility form with the help of their current school’s international student advisor. Once you have been accepted to Saint Martin's University and we receive your transferred record, we will create a new I-20 for your use at our school.

Transfer out

Students wishing to transfer out of Saint Martin’s University to another school must first fill out the transfer out request form. We ask that you provide proof of acceptance to your new school and that you resolve all responsibilities at Saint Martin’s University before you depart. This means:

  • Paying off all remaining charges on your student account
  • Informing the mail room that you no longer wish to have a mailbox (if applicable)
  • Notifying on-campus housing of your departure (if applicable)

Once we receive proof of acceptance, a completed eligibility form from your new school, and have received word that you have done the above, the International student advisor and admissions counselor will transfer your SEVIS record to your new school.

Employment and practical training

Employment opportunities for F-1 students are limited to the options detailed below.

On campus employment

F-1 students are allowed to work part-time (less than 20 hours per week) in positions found on campus. If the position extends into summer break, the student is allowed to be bumped up to temporary full-time employment (maximum 40 hours per week, providing the student intends to continue their studies the next available term. Students are not allowed to work on campus during their 60-day grace period after completion of their program.

Getting a Social Security number

If a student is interested in on campus employment and has received a job offer, they will then need to acquire a social security number in order to receive payment for their work. Applying for a social security number involves bringing a completed SS-5 form (found on the Social Security Administration’s website), along with the student’s passport, I-20, and proof of employment to the nearest Social Security Administration office. Any further questions can be answered by the International student advisor and admissions counselor.

Curricular practical training (CPT)

Curricular practical training (CPT) is a practical training opportunity for students who are required to engage in an internship as part of their academic program. To be eligible for CPT, students must have been enrolled in full-time classes for at least one academic year (two semesters) and the employment must be required as part of the student’s degree program. Students in ESL and English learning programs are not eligible to apply for CPT.

CPT request form

CPT application checklist

Optional practical training (OPT)

Optional practical training or OPT is available to students who have been enrolled in classes for at least one academic year (two semesters). OPT allows students to engage in employment in a position relative to their field of study in order to gain practical experience. The two types of OPT available are pre-completion and post-completion.

Pre-completion OPT is an OPT period that the student takes on before they have completed their program. The student must maintain full-time student status while on this form of OPT so usually it is advised that students do not work more than 20 hours per week.

Post-completion OPT takes place after the student has completed their degree program. Post-completion OPT can also be taken while the student is working on their thesis or dissertation if the rest of their coursework has been completed.

Once OPT is approved, the student is allotted one year of OPT time, with no more than 90 days total days of unemployment. If the student advances in level, (e. g. bachelor’s to master’s) then the student is allowed another year of OPT after the completion of the second program.

Students with a degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics field have the option to extend their OPT period an additional 17 months by applying for STEM OPT.

If you are interested in OPT, please stop by the International Office and pick up an OPT Packet and schedule a meeting with the International Student Advisor and Admissions Counselor for more information.

Program extensions

Some international students may find that they need more time to complete their program than originally expected. In these cases, a student can extend the program duration on their I-20. The following are a few compelling reasons why a student might need to extend his or her program:

  • Change of major or research topic
  • Unexpected research problems
  • Medically documented illness
  • Initial difficulty with English language

To be eligible for extension, the student must be in lawful status and must apply before his or her program end date as specified on their I-20. Complete the program extension request form to meet this requirement.


If a student has overstayed the period stated on their I-20 or otherwise failed to maintain good student status, they must apply to the USCIS for reinstatement to F-1 student status. Reinstatement should only be considered in extreme circumstances as the student must show that failure to maintain status was due to something outside the student’s control. If you feel you may require reinstatement, please meet with the International Student Services Coordinator immediately to discuss your situation.

Academic probation

Students who fail to remain in good academic standing (grade-point of 2.0 or higher) will be placed on academic probation. Students on probation are sent a letter from the University along with an academic contract the student must follow. Failure to follow the guidelines of the contract may result in suspension or dismissal from the University and international students may be required to leave the country. Students on probation are not eligible for program extensions, reduced course loads, or F-1 visa reinstatement. More information on academic probation is available.

International student medical insurance

Medical insurance coverage is required for students attending Saint Martin's University. The Lewer Agency, Inc., is the insurance carrier for the University's international student health insurance plan. Please visit The Lewer Agency's website for Saint Martin's University for more detailed information on services provided.

The insurance premiums* for the 2014-2015 academic year are as follows:

Semester Eligible student Eligible student and spouse Each eligible child
Fall 2014
8/25/2014 - 1/11/2015
$402.29 $1301.53 $406.71
Spring 2015
1/12/2015 - 4/30/2015
$315.43 $1015.55 $318.87

A $10 administrative fee per semester is included in the premium charge above.

Upon arrival at Saint Martin’s University, international students are advised to report to the Office of International Programs, Old Main, Room 430, to complete the medical insurance enrollment procedure. No class registration is allowed without proof of insurance coverage.

*Rates are subject to change without advance notice.