English Language Programs

ELP Students

Maintaining your status as an ELP student requires you to:

  1. Follow the instructions found on Page 2 of your I-20/DS-2019

  2. Familiarize yourself with the policies and regulations outlined below:

Visit the topics below to see important information about your immigration documents, details about replacing or renewing passports, and reporting important information like your address or your name.

  • Please keep these documents safe, as they can be expensive or difficult to replace.

  • Make copies and keep them in a separate place.

  1. Passport

  2. Entry Visa Stamp (F-1 or J-1, except for citizens of Canada and Bermuda)

  3. I-94

  4. I-20 or DS-2019

  • To replace or renew your passport contact your embassy or consulate here in the US.

    • Embassies are found in Washington DC. Most Consulates are found in New York City. 

    • Renew your passport if it will expire within 6-12 months.

    • Your country's governmental representatives in the US are responsible for issuing passports to its citizens.

  • Your I-20/DS-2019 must always reflect your current academic program and dates.

  • The expiration of your educational program is listed on your I-20/DS-2019 (item 5, on page 1).

    • You must be aware of this date and follow ELP's schedule for continued study at ELP.

    • If you will continue to study in the United States after the expiration date see the information below on changing your I-20/DS-2019 to your new program.

Immigration regulations require students to report a change of name or local address to their sponsoring institution within 10 days of the change

Institutions must then report changes to the government's Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). 

If Penn is the sponsor of your I-20 or DS-2019:

  • Visit the ELP main office and report your change of address. 

  • ISSS receives address changes from ELP on a daily basis and forwards them to SEVIS.

If Penn is not the sponsor of your I-20 or DS-2019:

  • You must report any change of address to the agency or school that prepared your form.

Visit the topics below to learn about academic policies, employment eligibility, and other procedures.

  • You must attend all your classes

  • You may have a maximum of 4 absences in a class that meets 4 times/week, or 5 absences in a class that meets 5 times/week

  • Lateness: 3 late arrivals to class equal one absence

  • If you are more than 10 minutes late to your class, you will be counted absent

See the IP Student Handbook for the full ELP Attendance Policy.

Four ELP sessions correspond to one full academic year. After completing four sessions, an ELP student may take one session as a break. The student must re-enroll in the next ELP session.

For example:

  1. Student starts in Fall 1 Session

  2. Studies in Fall 2 Session

  3. Studies in Spring 1 Session

  4. Studies in Spring 2 Session

  5. The student is now eligible for a break for the Summer 1 Session

  6. The student must resume studies in Summer 2 Session

  • Your current I-20/DS-2019 has an expiration date showing the end of the current ELP session. 

  • If you intend to study for an additional session you must inform ELP during the fourth week of the current session. 

  • Your program extension may not be processed if you fail to notify ELP in a timely fashion.

ELP Students are ONLY eligible for On-Campus Employment. If you are interested in seeking employment please meet with ISSS before proceeding.

The Social Security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number is required for tax reporting for individuals working in the United States or receiving a taxable scholarship. Only students with an on-campus job are eligible for a SSN.

To apply for a Social Security number:

  1. Visit the ELP Main office to obtain an enrollment letter

  2. Follow the complete instructions in the Social Security section of our website.

    NOTE: You must wait 15 days after arrival in the US to apply for a Social Security Number.

Visit the topics below to learn more about travel signatures on your immigration documents, and information for transfer-in students and transfer-out students.

If you will travel outside the United States, you must have a valid travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019. This signature must be obtained from ISSS:

  1. Visit the ELP Main Office to obtain an enrollment letter

  2. Visit ISSS to obtain a travel signature

Each signature is valid for one year or the duration of your program if it lasts less than one year. 

Please note that only continuing students may use their student immigration documents for entry into the United States between ELP sessions. 

Once you have completed your final ELP session, you may not use your I-20/DS-2019 for entry into the United States.

  • If item 3 of your I-20 indicates “transfer pending,” please be aware that an updated I-20 will be issued to you after you attend ELP student immigration orientation and complete the required immigration registration. 

  • Item 3 on the new I-20 will state “continued attendance at this school” which means that the transfer process is complete.

  • You will be notified via email by ELP as soon as the new I-20 is ready.

  • Please be sure to pick up the new I-20 as it is important immigration document.

For Students changing academic programs at Penn OR changing to a new university:

  • You must change your I-20/DS-2019. 

  • Notify ELP of your decision to attend a different program or school before the end of your ELP session.

  • ISSS and ELP will coordinate the change with your new program or school, and with SEVIS. 

  • Failure to notify ELP and your new school early of your intent to change your academic program or your school may jeopardize your ability to change.

  • The student must complete an ELP Transfer-Out Request Form at the ELP office. 

  • F-1 transfer and change of program level procedures must be completed before the end of the 60-day grace period following your program end date.

  • J-1 transfer procedures must be completed before your program end date. 

Please discuss your intent to transfer with an ISSS Advisor.