Immigration and Visa
Before going to the U.S. Consulate to obtain your visa, make sure you call or check the website for the Consulate to find out what they require for your interview for the F-1 or J-1 visa. At the very least, make certain you take your I-20 or DS-2019 and original proof of finances.
For International Students (F-1 visa) - The I-20 form is used to obtain an F-1 visa and must be in the possession of the student at the time of entry into the U.S. The student must also pay the I-901 fee prior to applying for the visa. To pay the I-901 fee, go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs website. The I-20 form is dated for the period of time normally required to complete the specified program. Students may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date of this form and may stay up to 60 days following the expiration date of the I-20.
The F-2 spouse of an F-1 student is not allowed to work at all nor are they allowed to pursue a full course of study. If they wish to obtain a degree, they must request a change of status to F-1 and should not begin classes until approved.
Full Time Status - All students are required to carry a full course load.
- 12 credits are considered full-time for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students. if summer is your first semester, full time status is defined as 5 graduate credits and 4 undergraduate credits.
- Students must have prior approval before dropping below the minimum course load. There are very few acceptable reasons for doing so. Please come to the Office of International Education & Programs for approval.
- Violation of these rules will result in the student being out of status and must leave the country immediately.
For Exchange Students (J-1 visa) - The DS-2019 form is used to obtain a J-1 visa and must be in the possession of the student at the time of entry into the U.S. The student must also pay the I-901 fee prior to applying for the visa. To pay the I-901 fee, go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs website. The DS-2019 form is dated for the academic semester(s) the student plans on attending. Students may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date on this form and may stay up to 30 days following the expiration date of the DS-2019.
The spouse and unmarried minor children of a J-1 student may accompany the student to the U.S. or come at a later date. These individuals will be accorded J-2 status based upon the student's status.
The J-2 spouse of a J-1 student may be allowed to work with permission from the Immigration Office and the sponsor, and are currently allowed to pursue a full course of study but this could change in the future.
Passport Renewal - Your passport must be kept valid for a minimum period of 6 months into the future.
Permission to Work - The U.S. federal government strongly regulates the ability for international and exchange students to work on-and off-campus. International and exchange students may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year (exchange students must have a letter from their sponsor giving them permission to work on-campus).