ISSS eases international students and scholars’ transition to Gallaudet and ensures their equal access to learning and all campus activities and services, including immigration support, in the following ways: 

  • Ensuring that students, and the University, are in compliance with U.S. immigration laws.
  • Providing them with key information before and during a comprehensive orientation; advising on social, cultural, and personal adjustment; promoting financial aid opportunities, and hosting activities to encourage interaction with the overall Gallaudet community. 
  • Working closely with Gallaudet’s schools and faculty members to extend University resources through its International Visiting Scholar (IVS) service, which accommodates incoming professors, researchers, fellows, Fulbright scholars, and other scholars from outside the U.S. to campus from two weeks to five years. 
  • Managing the Gallaudet-Nippon Foundation World Deaf Leadership (WDL) Scholarship funded by the Nippon Foundation of Tokyo, Japan, to make it possible for deaf and hard of hearing leaders from developing nations to attend Gallaudet University.


International Special Student (ISS) Program

The International Special Student (ISS) program at Gallaudet University is designed to meet the individual needs of students from outside the U.S. at the undergraduate or graduate levels by allowing them to take credit or non-credit courses for up to one year. Although this is...

International Visiting Scholars (IVS)

The International Visiting Scholars (IVS) program is authorized by the United States Department of State to welcome and accommodate international professors, researchers, and other scholars to Gallaudet. The Office of International Affairs (OIA) works closely with academic programs and faculty to extend its resources to...

Nippon Foundation Scholars

As advocates for human rights and the interests of people with disabilities throughout the world, the Nippon Foundation has partnered with Gallaudet to provide international students with two scholarship opportunities. These scholarships, the Gallaudet-Nippon World Deaf Leadership Scholarship (WDL) and the Sasakawa International Scholarship (SIS)...

Optional Practical Training and Curricular Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is an off-campus employment authorization that allows F-1 students to gain work experience. If you are interested in applying for OPT, please stop by Research Support and International Affairs, Dawes 104, to pick up an application.   Curricular Practical Training (CPT)...



Common Questions

Yes. Any change of address must be reported to ISSS within 10 days of moving.
ISSS has a variety of reasons for requiring students to show up to sign forms and fill out the information sheet every semester. The most important reason is to verify that the student is physically on campus and ready for classes. It is also important that ISSS check for any updated passports, visas, change of majors, or other information that may have changed since the last semester’s registration. ISSS wants to make sure that all questions are answered and potential problems avoided.
No. While ISSS has copies of passports, it does not give them out when a student needs them for purposes unrelated to school. If a copy is needed from their office, ISSS still requires the student to bring his/her valid passport to make new copies.
Non-U.S. students do not need a valid visa if they are staying in the U.S. A valid visa is only important when they enter the country. If they want to renew their visa, they cannot do so in D.C. They must go to their home country to get it renewed before re-entering the U.S. Also, if they travel outside the U.S. with an expired passport, they will not be allowed to return to the U.S.
Reading is an important part of developing English skills. Whether it’s reading for classes or for personal reasons, non-English users studying in the U.S. should make sure to look up any words they don’t understand. Use Gallaudet’s Tutoring and Instructional Program services for help with written English assignments. Ask classmates for help or study together.
Missing a day or two of class is an issue between the student and course instructor. ISSS needs to be informed if the student plans on missing two weeks or more of classes in a row. If they have not told ISSS of their plans, and if they have missed more than two weeks of classes and are not responding to ISSS emails, their student status is at risk and can be terminated.
Any Gallaudet student who is thinking about quitting school should first talk to their academic advisor to see if Gallaudet can offer support services to resolve any issues that are causing them to consider leaving. Students who decide to leave Gallaudet, either for terminating your studies or transferring to another school, will need to get a University Withdrawal Form from the Registrar’s Office and, in the case of non-U.S. students, make an appointment with their international student advisor to help them with the rest of the withdrawal or transfer process.
If you decide to transfer to another school, you will need to follow procedure below:
  • Provide ISSS a copy of the Acceptance Letter from the other school
  • Clear any outstanding account balances with Gallaudet University.
  • Complete the F-1 or J-1 Transfer Form from the other school.
  • Complete the Exit Information Form from ISSS.
  • Complete the Gallaudet University Withdrawal Form from the Registrar’s Office.
Students holding F-1 or J-1 student status are required to enroll in a full course of study during each semester (18 credits for English Language Institute [ELI] students,12 credits for undergraduates, and 9 credits for graduates) unless they have compelling circumstances not to do so. For in-depth information about full-time enrollment, please see the Primary Designated School Officer (PDSO), Ms. Mona Blanchette McCubbin, or the Responsible Officer (RO), Mr. Lawrence Musa.
Non-U.S. students are not permitted to work off-campus unless:
  • F-1: The PDSO or DSO can approve a student’s work off campus for a specific time period on Curricular Practical Training (CPT). To qualify for CPT, the work must be an integral part of the established curriculum in the course of study, required for a major and/or coursework (internship).
  • J-1: If a student has a job opportunity related to their scholarship, assistantship, or fellowship offered by either an agency or Gallaudet University, he/she will need written permission from that agency or Gallaudet’s RO before beginning employment. They cannot work more than 20 hours per week when school is in session.
F-1: Yes. There are two programs available for F-1 students seeking off-campus employment after their first academic year:
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) – Pre-Completion
J-1: The CPT program is also available to J-1 students. Academic Training, which is similar to OPT, is available to J-1 students during their course of study.
No. Unpaid work may still be considered employment that necessitates F-1 or J-1 off-campus work authorization.
No. Volunteer work may still be considered employment that necessitates F-1 or J-1 off-campus work authorization.
F-1: To work on campus and get paid, students must have a social security number (SSN). One of the first things to do after accepting a job is to make an appointment with ISSS to start the SSN application process. (Only individuals with jobs are eligible for a SSN.) Next, take the necessary documents to the Social Security Administration office, which is not far from campus. Once an application is approved, the SSN card will be mailed within two weeks. J-1: Students (as well as student Interns and International Visitors) with a J-1 classification are required to have a letter from the Alternate Responsible Officer or RO of their sponsoring program verifying that they are authorized for employment.
Anyone with a SSN card, regardless of whether they are currently working or not, must file tax returns by April 15 every year. During tax season, the Business Department at Gallaudet offers free tax help for all students. Students who are not working and have never worked do not need to fill out tax returns for the year.
Once non-U.S. students graduate, they have four options:
  • Go back to school to pursue an advanced degree.
  • F-1’s can obtain a work permit (OPT) that allows them to work anywhere in the country. However, the permit expires 14 months after their last day of classes. J-1’s should see ISSS to discuss available options.
  • Stay in America for up to 60 days (F-1) or 30 days (J-1) after the last day of classes or the end of the program; after 30 days, they must leave the country.
  • Change to another status (such as B1/B2).
Non-U.S. students can travel anywhere in the United States without limitation during breaks. If they are leaving the United States to visit their home country or another country, they must have the PDSO or the DSO endorse their current SEVIS Form I-20 (F-1) or have the RO endorse their DS-2019 (J-1) to permit them to travel legally. This will verify that their SEVIS record is accurate and up-to- date. They must make sure: (a) their visa has not expired and is valid for returning to the United States(b) their passport is valid and will not expire in less than six months from the date they plan to return to the United States, and (c) they have the required visa for the country they are visiting.
F-1 and J-1 non-U.S. students can bring their spouse and unmarried children under age 21. As dependents, the spouse and children’s status will be F-2.
Gallaudet University is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue documents for F-1 student visas and the Department of State Exchange Visitors Program for J-1 visas.
  • F-1 students: Students with sufficient financial support receive a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) that is used to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.
  • J-1 students: Gallaudet issues a Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) for exchange visitors, including prospective students, to apply for a J-1 visa. A student who is granted a J-1 visa can be a degree- or nondegree-seeking student. Form DS-2019 is also used by exchange visitors who wish to teach or conduct research in the U.S. on a temporary basis. The form asks the applicant to designate their sponsor, provide a brief description of the program in which they will participate, and other information.

Campus Life Questions

You can get an on-campus job by applying through Gallaudet’s student work portal at or ask your department if it has any job openings.

Contact Us

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

Building 103 #101/102

(202) 250-2294

(202) 651-5150

9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm

Select what best describes your relationship to Gallaudet University so we can effectively route your email.
By submitting this form, I opt in to receive select information and deaf resources from Gallaudet University via email.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.