New International Students: Living in Fresno
Our friendly staff is always here to help international students. You are more than welcome to contact our staff with any questions that you might have.
International Office Mission Statement, Services and Programs
Our mission is to provide the highest quality services to international students, staff, and faculty at California State University, Fresno.
What are we here for?
- The International Office staff is your advocate; we are ready to assist you upon request
- We want to know you personally. Please introduce yourself to us and know you are welcome to the International Office.
- We want to assist you with your questions. If you do not understand a procedure, a policy, or if something leaves you feeling confused, please ask.
- If something we do causes you concern or problems, please let us know. We will make every effort to accommodate you whenever possible or take the time to explain and help solve any confusion.
The following are some of the services and programs offered by the International Office:
International Education Week
Transfer Credit Issues
International Coffee Hour Series
Enrollment Verification & Certification
The Student Ambassador Program
Immigration Services & Advising for F-visa Holders
Sponsored Student Program
Immigration Services & Advising for J-visa Holders
International Culture Night
International Commencement Celebration
Exchange Visitor (J-visa) Program
Being a Full-Time Student
All international students must be full-time students at all times. To maintain being a full-time student, undergraduate students must take at least 12 units and graduate students must take at least 9 units.
Undergraduate Students are subject to academic probation or disqualification when either their cumulative or campus grade point average drops below a 2.00 GPA. Graduate students are subject to academic probation or disqualification when their grade point average drops below a 3.0 GPA.
Students must meet all degree requirements as specified in their catalog year. Please refer to the table below for detailed information. You can also click here to go to the website for the table.
*Freshman: First-year students or passed 1-29 units, Sophomore: Second-year students or passed 30-59 units, Junior: Third-year students or passed 60-89 units, Senior: fourth + year students or passed 90+ units
- A paid parking permit is required on the campus during classes Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Permit parking on campus is enforced. (Fall and Spring)
- Summer paid parking permit is required Monday - Thursday, 7:30 am to 8:00 pm and Friday, 7:30 am - 2:00 pm.
- Please Note: Parking permits are not required on Saturdays, Sundays, and State holidays, except during special events.
- Permits can be purchased for daily parking use or can be purchased for a semester (fall, spring or summer). For how to buy a permit Click Here.
- Students and Visitors can ONLY park in GREEN areas.
- If you receive a parking citation, you must pay the appropriate penalty within 30 days in order to avoid incurring a late penalty.
- You must be 21 or older to purchase cigarettes or tobacco
- The University shall be a smoke-free campus
- You must be 21 or older in order to drink alcohol.
- You cannot be under the influence of alcohol while on campus or in public.
- Students acting in violation of the alcohol policy will be referred to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. For further questions on policy, contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (559) 278-2541. For more information, read the Policy of Campus Use of Alcoholic Beverages.
- Sexual harassment includes such behaviors as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, another verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment/academic decisions affecting such individual; or such conduct has the purpose of effect of unreasonable inferring with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working/learning environment.
- If you feel you are being sexually harassed make an appointment with a counselor in the International Office.
- If you are uncomfortable being alone with an instructor or staff member this could be a warning sign. Please make an appointment to see a counselor in the International Office.
For more information about Academic Regulations click here or click here for more information about University Policies.
Accounting Services maintains all financial transactions recorded on students and sponsors accounts. They can assist you with Fresno State's tuition payments, campus fees, payment options, refunds, parking permit and BankMobile Vibe procedures and instructions. For more information visit them online: http://fresnostate.edu/adminserv/accountingservices/money/
For important dates to remember such as the last day to drop classes and be eligible for full refund or last day to drop a class please visit Accounting Services here. For the academic calendar please Click Here.
As a condition of your enrollment at California State University, Fresno, you will be automatically enrolled in the CSU-approved health insurance policy. Your student account will be automatically charged the health insurance premium in two installments during the academic year, once for the fall semester covering the period of August - January. Similarly, Spring semester, covering the period of January - August. Your dependents are not covered under this plan.
Those students who have coverage provided by a sponsoring organization, such as the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission or Omani Cultural Division will not be required to enroll in the CSU-approved health insurance plan. Please purchase travel insurance ONLY for the period that you will be in the United States that is not covered by the effective dates of the policy listed above.
For additional Health Insurance information visit our website
The immigration regulations pertaining to you are written on page 3 of the I-20 or page 2 of the DS-2019 that you signed. Listed below are some of the required immigration documents and their uses.
Forms and Documents
Please note the expiration date of your passport. You are required to have a valid passport at all times while in the U.S. If your passport expires before you plan to leave the U.S., or if you should lose it, you must contact your consulate or embassy for renewal or replacement. The International Office can assist you to locate your consulate in California.
This page is placed in your passport by the U.S. Consulate. It is only for the purpose of allowing you to enter the U.S. If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., it is NOT possible to get a new visa unless you exit the country. Also, it is not necessary to get a new visa until you leave the country; you can remain in the US with an expired VISA as long as your I-20 or DS-2019 is still valid.
- Automated Form I-94
This is the Arrival/Departure Record electronically issued to you by the immigration officers at the airport when you entered the U.S or it can be retrieved automatically online. Usually, the period of stay for a foreign student will be noted by D/S (Duration of Status). This means that you may stay in the U.S. for as long as you are a full-time student pursuing the degree listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will electronically record every time you leave and enter the U.S. A new electronic I-94 will be issued and CBP will provide an admission stamp each time you re-enter this country. To access the online I-94, go to https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/consent.html.
- Form I-20 (for students on an F-1 visa)
This form was issued to you upon your admission to California State University, Fresno as an F-1 student. It is used to obtain a visa and enter the U.S. As a foreign student, you should be in possession of pages 1 and 2 of the I-20. Before you leave the U.S. for temporary visits, you must have the I-20 endorsed by the International Office; the signature is good for one year.
- Form DS-2019 (for students on a J-1 visa)
This form was issued to you upon your admission to California State University, Fresno as a J-1 student. It is used to obtain a visa and enter the U.S. As a foreign student, you should be in possession of pages 1 and 2 of the DS-2019. Before you leave the U.S. for temporary visits, you must have the DS-2019 endorsed by the International Office; the signature is good for 6 months.
Please email the International Office whenever you have issues, questions, or concerns regarding immigration policies and requirements at email@example.com
- Civil Laws
Civil Law applies to the fulfillment of contracts, payment of bills, business arrangements, etc. Contracts may be either written or spoken. If either party violates the conditions of the contract, the other party may bring suit in court to enforce the contract or to recover damages. For example, students frequently have problems with apartment leases.
- Payment of Bills
If you do not pay your bills, a suit may be filed against you and taken to a court of law. The court may then force the payment of legitimate bills or other financial obligations.
- Legal Aid
If you need legal aid regarding immigration or other matters, you may consult with the staff in the International Office. We may be able to assist you or refer you to the proper legal help. Whenever you get into trouble with the law you should always seek legal advice from an appropriate person or entity. The law is complex and often difficult to understand.
- Violation of the Law
Any violation of the law can affect an international student’s immigration status. Offenses such as petty theft, drunkenness, and disturbing the peace might not directly affect your status, but will be kept on record and occasionally reviewed by USCIS. Although a single minor offense is usually excused, there is always the possibility of deportation if you commit several minor violations.
If you are arrested by the police you should be aware of your rights. You are not required to answer questions except to identify yourself and to give your address. It is best to cooperate with law enforcement officials, but you must protect your rights as well.
Your rights include:
- The right to know the charges that are being brought against you.
- The right to remain silent until you are questioned in the presence of your attorney.
- The right to an attorney. If you do not have one the court will provide one for you.
- The right to a hearing in a court the day following your arrest (except Saturday and Sunday). Remember, anything you say at the hearing may be used against you in court.
- The right to one telephone call. Call a friend, an attorney who can arrange your release, a family member, or the International Office.
Students can get involved with Fresno State in many different ways. Getting involved comes with many benefits such as getting to know many students or staff, having adventures with others, enhancing leadership skills and can have positive effects on your resume. This page is a short summary to guide you on how to get involved at Fresno State. For any additional information, please ask the International Office staff.
To get involved visit: https://engage.fresnostate.edu/
Remember: Working in the US is NOT your primary intention when coming to the US to study. If asked at the US Border if your intention is to work in the United States, your answer should be no, my intention is to study. Even if you want to get an on-campus or will have legal authorization to work at some point during your academic studies, your F-1 Visa is based on your intention to study in the US.
What is a Social Security Number?
Social Security is the U.S. government’s social insurance plan. All U.S. citizens have a Social Security number, which designates their account with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Why will an international student need a Social Security Number?
If you are employed in the United States, you will need a Social Security number, even if your pay is exempt from Social Security withholding.
If you would like to work, whether on or off-campus, you will need a Social Security card.
What are my employment options as an international student?
There are three (3) educational related employment options for international students: on-campus employment, CPT, and OPT.
CPT and OPT both require one academic year of full-time enrollment before a student is eligible to apply.
Now that I have a job, how do I get a Social Security Number?
WORK = SSN#
There are no exceptions!
If you want to work on campus you will need to obtain an “On-Campus Work Permit” from the International Office. In order to obtain a work permit, you must do the following:
- Obtain a job offer in writing.
- Bring your written job offer to the International Office.
- Complete the International Office “On-Campus Work Permit” form(s).
- Leave the above with the International Office front desk staff.
- Pick up the signed work permit within 1-3 days.
What will you need to take to the Social Security Administration Office?
Work Permit + Contract or Job Offer from Employer + Passport + I-20/DS-2019 + Print of Electronic I-94
You will complete an application form, which is available at the Social Security office. A passport is needed to prove your identity. It will take about two weeks to obtain your Social Security card.
- Make a Field Office Visit Appointment at DMV by clicking here.
• Select the location of the office, the number of items, “Apply for an original driver license”, fill in your information, and submit.
- Go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office on the scheduled day.
• Items to take with you to the exam include:
- Passport with Visa
- I-94 form
- I-20 or DS-2019
- Complete application form DL 44 at the DMV office.
- Take the written test for a “Class C” license, which you can take in any language.
- Once you pass the written test,
• DMV will give you an instruction/learner’s permit.
• Prepare an insured car to take the driving test in.
- Make a Behind-the-Wheel Driving Test Appointment by clicking here. (Driving test).
- Go to the DMV office on the scheduled day
Items to take with you to the exam include:
- Work Permit + Contract or Job Offer from Employer + Passport + I-20/DS-2019 + Print of Electronic I-94
- Pass your driving test, you will be issued a temporary/interim driver’s license until you receive your new photo license in the mail.
- Double-check your address before you leave the DMV. If you do not receive your license within 60 days, call 1-800-777-0133 to check the status.
- Do not pass your driving test, make another appointment to retake the exam. You have up to three chances to pass. You have to pay a fee to retake the driving exam.
- If you already have a license from a different country or state, you are able to use the license in California. However, it’s best to apply for a California Driver's license.
- International Driving Permit
- Always carry the following when driving:
- Valid International Driving Permit issued in your home country
- Driver’s License issued in your home country
- A photocopy of passport with Visa
- Proof of car insurance
- Coming from another U.S. state
Make a Field Office Visit Appointment by selecting “Apply for a California driver license and already have a driver license from another state.” And get a California Driver's license.
When it comes to housing, Fresno offers many options for new students. Three main options that students have are:
- Dorm (University courtyard)
- Apartments (There are few apartments walking distance from Fresno State)
- Private home
Each option has multiple upsides and downsides. Please refer to the table below to get more familiar with the pros and cons of each option. Depending on your preference you can find a variety of prices for apartments and private homes in Fresno.
Dorms (559.278.2345 or www.universitycourtyard.org)
If you want to live on campus, it’s a good idea to apply early, as there is often a waiting list, and space is limited. The halls offer double accommodations (two students per room) and offer a limited number of single rooms. Residents are expected to live in the halls for the full academic year and are required to sign a contract. (Unless you are a Spring-only resident). Before you move in, the contract may be broken without penalty for reasons outside of your control – such as refused admission or serious medical problems. If you qualify to break your contract, you should give a 30-day notice to avoid an administrative charge.
Once you move in, the contract cannot be broken without penalty unless you withdraw or get married.
Meal plans are available either on a 14 or 19 meal plan per week. For more information call the Residence Dining Hall at 278-3904 or visit their website https://fresnostatehousing.org/dining-services-2/ .
Please make sure to do your research before choosing a place to live in. Choosing the right area and the right apartment complex can be essential. Take the distance from school to your place under consideration as well.
Consider Rental Insurance to cover your personal belongings while in an apartment, you never know when the unexpected might happen.
A Guide to Renters Insurance: https://www.moneygeek.com/insurance/renters/
Other links that can be useful:
Banking for International Students
This guide covers the basics of banking, credit cards, and finance for international students. Resource provided by CreditDonkey.
Additionally, we have provided information and local banking options below.
How to open a bank account?
To open an account at a bank, you will need to provide necessary identification, such as your passport and, sometimes, another form of identification, such as a student ID card. Take your passport and other ID to the bank and tell a bank employee you would like to open an account. Make sure to mention that you are a student because many banks offer Free Banking for students.
It’s a good idea to open a bank account in a bank close to where you live or your school for more convenience. However, banks might offer a variety of interest on saving accounts or different charges for money transfer and other services. Be sure to be informed and know which one suits you the best before opening your bank account.
If you decide to write checks, try to record all the checks you write. Also, try to ask for a receipt from the person or company that you are writing the checks to. Below you can see how to fill out a check correctly:
Banks Close to Fresno State
Below you can find a few banks that are relatively close to Fresno State:
|Bank||Address||Cross streets||Phone Number|
|Golden1 Credit Union||USU at Fresno State||On campus||877.465.3361|
|Citibank||20 W. Shaw Avenue
Clovis, CA 93612
|Shaw & Minnewawa||559.549.9679|
|Wells Fargo Bank||75 W. Shaw Avenue
Clovis, CA 93612
|Shaw & Minnewawa||559.442.6266|
|Bank of America||
590 E. Shaw Avenue
|First & Shaw||559.445.7341|
796 E. Shaw Avenue
|First & Shaw||559.225.2995|
- Go to my.fresnostate.edu and Click on Sign In.
- Enter your username and Password to Log In. This is the same password and username as your Fresno state email. If you don’t have an account, you have to create an account.
- Choose the “Student Self Service” option in my menu as shown. Your name and your student ID should appear at the top of this page where it’s shown in the picture.
- Choose “Student Center” as shown.
- Holds and other important information appear on the right-hand side of the page. These can prevent you from being able to register.
- Choose “Class Search” under “My Academic Records & Registration” as shown.
Important note: Your academic advisor and other advisors appear where No 1 is located in the picture. Your holds and other important information appear where No. 2 is located.
- Choose the semester you desire
- Type the subject you are looking for (Chem for Chemistry, Bio for Biology, Crim for criminology and etc.) or simply search the subjects by clicking on “Select subjects”
- For Additional Search Criteria click on the arrow to view other options
- Remember additional step by step directions are in the Online Orientation you need to complete prior to arrival.
Open means the class is open and if you qualify, you can enroll in the class.
Closed means the class is full and has the maximum number of students. Students can enroll only if they have permission number.
Wait List means the class is full. However, you can be on the waitlist in case anyone drops the class or gets dropped, you will be enrolled in the class. Can be registered with a permission number without any wait.
Permission number override registration restrictions such as:
- Closed Class: Class is full.
- Student Level: Restricted to specific student level(s).
- Major: Class is restricted to specific major(s).
- Consent: Requires consent from the department.
- Administrative Add: Third/fourth week of instruction.
Where to get the permission number?
Numbers are issued by either the instructor or department. Search for a class to find instructor name then use the Campus Directory to search for contact information by name or department.
As can be seen, some classes are on a wait list, some are closed and some are open. Simply click on “Select” in front of the class you would like to take.
*If the class comes with a lab, this page will appear after choosing “Select”. Choose the lab you like and click on “Next” or “Cancel” to cancel.
- Click on the first option if the class is full and you would like to be on the waitlist.
- If you have a Permission Number, you can type it and simply click “Next”
- Click “Next” after done or “Cancel” to cancel.
- Shows the information of the lecture and lab that you have chosen.
After Clicking “Next”, you should get the message above.
Note: You are NOT done yet. You must take the next step to be enrolled in any classes.
Click on the “Class Wish List” on the top after getting the message in the last step.
Select the desired class and choose to enroll. You must get a message that confirms you have enrolled in the class. Any other message means your enrollment has not been successful.
*If you have the class number, you can skip the steps before and just enter the class number above (where it has been circled)
If you need help or have questions, please see an International Office staff member. You can also visit Fresno State guide for class registration by clicking here.
Dropping a Class
- To drop a class previously added, click on Drop a Class link. Select the class you want to drop. View your results by checking the box in the Select column. Then click Drop Selected Classes. Confirm your selection and click Finish Dropping.
- To verify all classes are correct, click on My Class Schedule.
Swapping a Class
Swapping a class means replacing an existing class in your enrolled classes list with another class at the same time. This transaction must occur simultaneously. If you drop a class on Tuesday and add a different class in its place on Wednesday, this is not swapping. This transaction is called dropping and adding. It is recommended that students swap classes instead of dropping and adding. Missing the deadlines for dropping and adding will result in additional fees.
Under My Menu, select Student Self Service.
- Click on Student Center
- Under the heading of Enrollment, click on Add a Class.
- Select the term.
- Currently enrolled classes will appear.
- Go to the top of the screen and click on Swap Classes.
- Select the class you want to swap under the heading Swap this Class.
- Select the new class you want to add under the heading with this Class. Click Enter.
- If there is a Related Class Section (lab), you must also select a lab section. If no related class section exists and the new class selection is open, click Next. If the class is closed, cancel your request and select a new class/section.
- A confirmation panel will appear. On this panel, you will verify the course you are dropping (swap) with the new class you are adding.
- Click the Finish Swapping button located at the bottom of the panel.
- A Results panel will appear. View the message and check the status of the swap.
- If you have an error, read the detailed description.
For more help on swapping a class, please visit a staff member in the International office.
Please keep in mind all students are responsible to check their Canvas regularly. Homework and many other course materials get posted on Canvas during the semester. For more information or questions click here.
Safety is very important at Fresno State. The Fresno State Police Department offers patrol services in high priority areas and full-service law enforcement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It is highly recommended to program the campus police phone number, 559-278-8400 into your phones in the event of an emergency.
Safety Alerts from Fresno State Police Department
It’s been recently brought to the Fresno State Police Department's attention that people have been coming onto campus falsely representing themselves to obtain money and /or property from Fresno State students. These people do not have permission from Fresno State to solicit any donations on Fresno State property. Students have reported the following untrue stories to the Fresno State Police Department:
- Asking for a donation for a false charity.
- Selling fictitious magazine subscriptions.
- Asking for money for personal hardship.
- Falsely using Facebook and Craigslist to buy/sell a property and solicit funds.
Don’t walk alone and be aware of your surroundings
Don’t lend strangers money.
Be cautious when approached by strangers.
If you have any questions please contact the Fresno State Police Department at 559.278.8400
Call 559.278.8400 or locate an emergency phone to request a safety escort officer.
Radio-equipped, uniformed, and trained safety escort officers will accompany persons to their destinations on campus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If a safety escort officer is unavailable, a police officer will provide this service.
Information Center at USU (University Student Union)
You can purchase many tickets (such as movie tickets for Edward cinemas, Disneyland, Six flags and many more) at the Information Center for cheaper than the actual price. You can also get the Fresno State games and matches ticket at the same place. For checking their ticket prices and what type of tickets they offer online please click here.
The Recreation Center is located within walking distance from Fresno State next to the Savemart Center. Students can visit the recreation center to enjoy the gym for FREE by using their student ID. There are many group fitness classes that students can join as well as using the lifts. For more information about the Recreation Center and their group fitness schedule please visit the Recreation Center website by clicking here.
Online resources for students
There are many online resources that students can take advantage of. One of the resources is rated by my professor (www.ratemyprofessor.com) which provides a rating for professors. This can help students to pick classes wisely and know what to expect in a course. Other resources are available such as online tutoring, YouTube teaching videos and many more.
Address or phone number changes
If you would like to change your address or phone number, please follow the steps below:
- Go to my.csufresno.edu website and log in.
- Once you log in, click on Student Self Service and then click on Student Center.
- On your Student Center, under the heading labeled Personal Information, you can change either your Home Address or your Mailing Address by clicking directly on the address link.
- Select the "Edit" button for the Address Type(s) you wish to change.
- Enter your new address information and click "OK".
- Verify the new address(es) and click SAVE.
- A confirmation message will appear indicating "The Save was successful"
There are many cell phone providers in the USA such as T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and many more. These companies provide different plans with prepaid or postpaid options. Keep in mind, getting a family plan with friends can save you money on your monthly payments. For more information please visit their websites or shops located in Fresno.