International Student Services

Welcome to Western! Use this page to better understand the details of living, working and going to school in Colorado.

Health Insurance

All international students are highly encouraged to have health insurance.  If you can show proof of enrollment in an accident/sickness insurance plan from your home country that will be accepted in the United States then you do not have to purchase another plan. There are several insurance companies offering international student insurance, such as HTH WorldwideInternational Student Insurance or Shondeck Insurance. These health insurance providers can offer coverage for prescriptions, doctor’s visits (related to injury or sickness), and other inpatient and outpatient care. The Campus Health Center can provide most of your common medical services.

Without medical coverage an unexpected illness could mean financial hardship for you and your family, and could make it financially difficult to continue your education. If you are an intercollegiate athlete, you are required to follow the health insurance requirements provided by the Athletic Department at Western Colorado University. Please note if you are an intercollegiate athlete you should contact [embed:link:node:3655] in order to best figure out which health insurance plan you should purchase. The health insurance provisions and benefits are subject to change.

Maintaining F-1 Status

As a student in the U.S. in F-1 status, you are required to follow specific federal laws. This is meant to provide a generic overview of certain F-1 requirements; it does not contain all laws for every situation. If you ever have questions or concerns, always contact the Office of Student Affairs for specific guidance.

As an F-1 student, it is your responsibility to maintain your non-immigrant F-1 status. Failure to follow the laws for F-1 status can result in you losing your legal ability to be in the U.S., and may harm your chances of getting a new visa in the future. To ensure you are following F-1 laws, you must:

  • Keep your passport valid at all times, in most cases for at least six months into the future.
  • Ensure your I-94 card is always marked as F-1, D/S when you re-enter the U.S. 
  • Complete your class registration by the published registration deadline.
  • Update your change of physical address (where you live in the US) with the Office of Studen Affairs within 10 days of the change. This address cannot be a P.O. Box or a departmental address. More information can be found HERE.
  • Pursue a full-course of study each fall and spring semester, defined as 12 semester hours for undergraduate students and nine semester hours for graduate students. 
  • Obtain permission from the Office of Student Affairs if you need to enroll in less than a full-course of study, using the Part-Time Enrollment Authorization form.  
  • Obtain permission from the Office of Student Affairs before withdrawing from all your courses.   
  • Make normal progress toward completing a course of study. This includes graduating when you are eligible to graduate and not delaying graduation for non-academic reasons. 
  • Not let your I-20 expire. You must remember the expiration date on your I-20, and process your program extension prior to the expiration date listed on your current I-20 if you are not able to complete your studies by that time.
  • Restrict your on-campus work to a weekly total of 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. You may work full-time during the winter and summer vacations. 
  • Refrain from beginning off-campus work until you have obtained the necessary authorization in advance from either the Office of Student Affairs or the USCIS. 
  • If traveling outside the U.S., ensure you have a valid visa (except citizens of Canada and Bermuda) and a recent travel signature on your I-20.
  • Notify the Office of Student Affairs if you will be outside of the U.S. for more than five months. 
  • Contact the Office of Student Affairs if you wish to transfer to another U.S. school.
  • Not work after completing your program of study unless you have been authorized for Optional Practical Training.
  • Depart from the U.S. within 60 days after completing your program of study.

Tax Information

Information on this page applies to International Students ONLY. Any links provided are not companies endorsed by Western and students are encouraged to do their own research regarding tax filing as well. Please use this site as a guideline only.  

Instructions directly from the IRS can be found here:

Examples of different tax situations provided by the IRS can be found here:

Who has to file a U.S. tax return?

A nonresident alien (F Visa holder for less than five years) who is in the United States for at least half of a year (183 days) or if you receive interest income from deposits with a U.S. bank, savings, loan, credit union or insurance company.

If I do not work, do I need to file?

Yes. You must file IRS Form 8843. Dependents on F-2 and J-2 status must also file IRS Form 8843.

How do I determine my status as either nonresident alien or a resident alien?

You can follow the interactive form at the following site to determine your status:

Why is knowing my residency status important?

You will need to know this information to properly file your tax return.  For nonresidents, the special tax form is Form 1040NR.  For any exceptions go to: 

What do I need to file my taxes?

  • Visa
  • Current and previous passports
  • Form 1-20
  • Social Security Number
  • Current and foreign/permanent address
  • U.S. entry and exit dates (stamps in your passport, or your travel history listed on your I-94 entry documentation which can be found at )
  • Any tax forms you have received (some can be found on your MyWestern account: employee->tax forms), which may include:
    • Form W-2
    • Form 1042-S
    • Form 1095-C
    • Form 1099
  • Western Information
    • 1 Western Way, Gunnison, CO 81231

What tax form should I use as a non-resident alien?

How do I file my taxes?

  • Follow all instructions carefully
  • For Form 8843:
    • In part III - Item 9: Western Colorado University, 1 Western Way, Gunnison, CO 81231, 970.943.2232
    • In part III - Item 19: Laurel Becker, Western Colorado University, 1 Western Way, Gunnison, CO 81231, 970.943.2232
    • All other items you should be able to answer on your own.
  • The Academic Resource Center will be putting together a meeting that you may attend to help you navigate tax requirements 970.943.7056.


All forms are due by April 15.

**If you are only filing IRS Form 8843, it is due by June 15**

Where should I send the tax forms?

If you need to send in paper forms, send to:

Department of the Treasury

Internal Revenue Service Center

Austin, TX 73301-0215

Should I keep copies of my tax return forms?

Absolutely!  You need to have proof that you filed them.

On-Campus Employment

Browse work-study positions. International students may only work in institutional positions.