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Immigration Advice and Resources

Cornell offers many resources to support our international community. On this page, you'll find answers, advice, and allies for your immigration-related concerns, including campus resources for internationals, immigration emergency aid, university statements of support, and more.

Learn about how the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs advocates for Cornell's international community.

Monthly Immigration Update

Updated March 19, 2024


Traveling Internationally on Break?

If you’re leaving the United States during break, it’s time to start preparing your documents for travel and reentry. See Travel Documents for Students if you’re a continuing student, or Travel Documents for Scholars if you’re on a J-1, H-1B, O-1, or other faculty/staff visa. For those on OPT/ STEM OPT, visit Travel on OPT

Focus: Employment for Scholars

If you are a Cornell employee with a Cornell-sponsored visa status that allows you to conduct research or teach, you are allowed to pursue additional employment only in very limited situations. Please reach out to us if you are interested in changing your employment at Cornell or pursuing employment outside of Cornell.

Remember that many Cornell-sponsored work visas (H-1B, O-1, etc.) have summer end dates! If your work authorization is ending soon and your Cornell employment will be continuing, work with your hiring department to submit an extension of your status.

Focus: Employment for Students

A campus job can be an exciting way to round out your Cornell experience. Remember to follow the 20-hour per week limit while classes are in session. (Cornell Tech students are encouraged to limit their CPT to 10 hours per week but may work 20 hours per week with permission from their program director .) You also need to apply for a Social Security number. Work authorization is not required for campus positions, except for those on J-1 student visas.

If you’re considering an off-campus job through CPT or OPT, remember that work authorization is required before you begin employment. Read more about maintaining your legal status as an F/J student.

CPT and Internships

Looking for an internship? It’s important to start planning in advance of your anticipated start date, because the authorization process takes time! Start by checking out our newly updated F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) page and CPT videos to see if you are eligible for off-campus work authorization.

Remember: All off-campus employment must be approved on your I-20 before you begin employment. Ithaca students work with Office of Global Learning immigration advisors. Cornell Tech students work with Student and Academic Affairs.

Apply for F-1 OPT

Graduating? If this is your last semester of enrollment and you want to work in the United States, you can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) as early as 90 days before your program end date. You can only apply for OPT while you are in the U.S. You do not need a job offer to apply. Watch our videos about how to get started and complete your application.


International Services Student FAQ

Find more answers to questions about student travel, visa status, employment rules, and more.

Support at Cornell

International Services

Cornell’s Office of Global Learning International Services is here to help students and scholars from around the world thrive at Cornell. Talk with International Services staff about general immigration information, including visas and jobs, finding your niche in Ithaca, campus resources, and more. Get advice from International Services.

Emergency Assistance

If you are a current student, faculty, or staff member experiencing an immigration-related emergency, find out how to get the help you need at any hour on International Services' Stopped at the Border page.

Legal Assistance

Cornell Law School Clinical Programs provide free immigration legal advice and/or referrals for Cornell students on specific issues such as asylum and naturalization. Income guidelines may apply. Reach out to the clinical faculty team by email at immigrationhelp@cornell.edu or call the clinic at +1-607-255-4196.

Cornell Law’s immigration clinic handles immigration cases for the Cornell community. Contact Jaclyn Kelley-Widmer, associate clinical professor of law, by email to discuss your case. In addition, the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School publishes free online law materials to help people understand the law.

Resources for undocumented and DACA student support can be found on the Student and Campus Life website.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Belonging at Cornell provides diversity, equity, and inclusion resources, including anti-racism resources, resources to combat Antisemitism and Islamophobia, and other biases due to religion, to the university community.

University Statements​ of Support (select)

Explore the complete archive of university statements.

Guidance and Counseling

  • Part of Cornell Health, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) includes the Let’s Talk program. Talk confidentially with a trained healthcare professional and find support for stress, loneliness, anxiety, depression, adjustment challenges, relationship difficulties, questions about identity, managing an existing mental health condition, or other issues. Call CAPS at +1-607-255-5155 to speak with a staff member.
  • Cornell's Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives offers general advising on personal and academic support, as well as planning for academic and professional aims and referrals for undocumented students as part of the trailblazers program.
  • Cornell's Office of Graduate Student Life serves the Cornell community in many capacities: discussing student concerns, providing available resources and services, and sharing options for handling difficult academic and personal situations. Contact Janna Lamey to identify appropriate resources.
  • The staff in the Dean of Students office is available for support, advice, and guidance in navigating various circumstances. Contact the office by email or call +1-607-255-1115.
  • Cornell's Faculty and Staff Assistance Program offers free, confidential guidance and support to benefits-eligible employees and their partners to address issues that may be affecting their personal lives and job satisfaction or performance. This resource is part of Cornell's broad commitment to foster and support the mental health and well-being of the campus community.

Housing in Ithaca

  • If you're an international student concerned that visa issues will limit your ability to travel to your home abroad during university breaks, on-campus housing may be an option. Send an email in confidence to find out more.
  • International Services provides general housing information on its website. Visit Your First Week and Student Resources.

Support from Off-Campus

Hotline to Combat Coronavirus Hate Crimes and Xenophobic Rhetoric

New York's Attorney General Letitia James created a hotline to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents. The hotline comes in the wake of rising reports of harassment and assaults, as well as rhetoric against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The attorney general urges those experiencing hate crimes and bias report an incident by email or by calling +1-800-771-7755. Learn more about the initiative.