Immigration information for new f 1 international students
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Immigration Information for New F-1 International Students. Fall 2007 Iowa State University International Students and Scholars (ISS). Purposes of this Session:. To provide you with information on how to maintain your non-immigrant status (F-1).

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Immigration Information for New F-1 International Students

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Immigration information for new f 1 international students

Immigration Information for New F-1 International Students

Fall 2007

Iowa State University

International Students and Scholars (ISS)

Purposes of this session

Purposes of this Session:

  • To provide you with information on how to maintain your non-immigrant status (F-1).

  • To reduce and prevent later confusions or difficulties.

  • To help you benefit from opportunities that are available to you.

About the iss

About the ISS

International students and scholars

International Students and Scholars

  • 3248 Memorial Union

    Ames, IA 50011-1130

  • Phone: (515) 294-1120

  • Fax: (515) 294-8263


  • Office Hours: (M-F) 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

  • Summer Hours: (M-F) 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Walk ins appointments

Walk-Ins & Appointments

  • Walk-In Hours: (M-F) 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

  • Appointments

    • By Phone at (515) 294-1120

    • Please call us if you are late or want to cancel the appointment.

On line services

On-line Services

  • News & Updates

  • Upcoming events

  • Forms

  • Other useful information

Immigration documents

Immigration Documents



  • Your passport is issued by the federal government of your country of citizenship.

  • You MUST NOT allow your passport to expire while you are in the U.S.

    • The U.S. government requires foreign passports to be valid for at least six months into the future.

    • Contact your home country embassy for information on extending your current passport or obtaining a new passport.

  • You must have a valid passport to enter the U.S.

    • Exception: Countries that have passport validity agreements with the U.S. government.

Visa vs status

A visa is a stamp in your passport from a U.S. Embassy.

Use it to enter or re-enter the U.S. after traveling.

Your visa can expire while you are inside the U.S., and it’s OK.

Renew your visa outside the U.S. when traveling, if necessary.

Your status (F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2)is your legal right to be in the U.S. determined by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

You should always protect and maintain your immigration status by “following the laws”

“Visa” vs. “Status”

Form i 94

Form I-94

  • Arrival/Departure Number (I-94 number)

  • Date you entered the U.S.

  • Your Port of Entry (POE)

  • Your immigration status (F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2)

  • How long you can stay in the U.S. (D/S stands for “Duration of Status”)

Form i 941

Form I-94


Form i 20

Form I-20

  • Personal Information (Last Name, Date of Birth, Citizenship, etc.)

  • SEVIS Number (above the bar code)

  • School Name and School Code

  • Program Level (Undergraduate, Master, Doctorate)

  • Degree Program/Major

  • Program Start Date and Program End Date

  • Financial Requirements and Financial Supports

  • Work Authorizations (Page #3)

  • Travel Signature (Page #3)

Immigration information for new f 1 international students

Form I-20

(Front Page)

Immigration information for new f 1 international students

Form I-20

(3rd Page)

Maintaining f 1 status

Maintaining F-1 Status

Maintaining f 1 status register full time

Maintaining F-1 StatusRegister Full-Time

  • Register full-time during the fall & spring semesters.

    • 9 semester hours for graduate students.

    • 12 semester hours for undergraduate students.

  • OR receive an authorization to reduce course load from an ISS advisor.

Maintaining f 1 status register full time1

Maintaining F-1 StatusRegister Full-Time

  • You must get PRIOR APPROVAL from an ISS advisor before you can drop below full-time registration:

    • Ask your major professor to complete a Request for Reduced Course Load form EVERY semester you enroll less than full-time.

    • Give the form to ISS either before the start of classes or before you drop a class if the semester has already begun.

    • Failure to get prior approval is considered by the UCIS to be a violation of your status!

Maintaining f 1 status register full time2

Maintaining F-1 StatusRegister Full-Time

  • What are acceptable reasons for enrolling less than full-time?:

    • Holding a graduate assistantship;

    • Completing all required coursework and making normal progress on thesis/dissertation (must register for research credits);

    • In final semester of study and don’t need to take full-time hours;

Maintaining f 1 status register full time3

Maintaining F-1 StatusRegister Full-Time

  • In first semester of study and having difficulties with Englishlanguage,reading requirements, American teaching methods, or improper course placement (can be used ONLY ONCE);

  • Show documentation of serious medical condition. This requires a very detailed letter from your physician or licensed clinical psychologist.

Maintaining f 1 status dropping all your classes

Maintaining F-1 StatusDropping all your classes

  • Please see an ISS advisor first.

  • If you drop all your classes after obtaining approval from an ISS advisor, you can only remain in the U.S. for 15 days.

  • If you drop without seeing an ISS advisor, you must leave the U.S. immediately.

  • If you have obtained approval from an ISS advisor to drop because of medical reasons, you may be eligible to stay in the U.S. for one year.

Maintaining f 1 status program extension

Maintaining F-1 StatusProgram Extension

  • NEVER let your I-20 expire!

    • Get a new I-20 from ISS BEFORE the expiration date.

    • The expiration date is the ending date listed on the I-20 under item #5.

    • Come to ISS at least one month prior to the expiration date so that we can issue you a new I-20.

    • If you let your document expire without getting a new one, it will be nearly impossible to fix and you may have to leave the U.S.!

Immigration information for new f 1 international students

Form I-20

Item #5 (Program End Date)

Maintaining f 1 status reporting change of address

Maintaining F-1 StatusReporting Change of Address

  • You must report any changes of your local address by changing your information on the AccessPlus.

  • Each change must be made within 10 days of moving. Post office boxes CANNOT be used.

  • Special Registration students need to make the change in AccessPlus and notify the USCIS within 10 days by mailing the Form AR-11SR.

Maintaining f 1 status transferring to another school

Maintaining F-1 StatusTransferring to Another School

  • Contact the school you want to transfer to and ask about their process.

  • If you wish to transfer from ISU to another U.S. school, we recommend that you meet with an ISS advisor.

  • For additional details, including the procedure to follow if you need to transfer, how you can stay in the U.S. while waiting to transfer to another school, or how you can continue working if transferring, meet with an ISS advisor.

What does it mean to fall out of status

What does it mean to“fall out of status?”

Causing out of status

Causing “Out of Status”

  • Drop below full-time without receiving an approval from ISS advisor.

  • Did not report address change within 10 days of moving.

  • Expired passport

  • Expired I-20

  • Working off-campus without proper authorization

Results of failing to maintain your status

Results of Failing to“Maintain Your Status”

  • You will need to apply for a reinstatement, but with very few exceptions this will be difficult or impossible to obtain.

  • Unless you are reinstated, you are not eligible for any F-1 benefits (CPT, OPT, etc.)

  • You may be deported.

More consequences

More Consequences

  • You might not be able to re-enter the U.S. until you get a new visa in your own country.

  • You might be barred from re-entering the U.S. for three or ten years in any type of status.

  • You might not be able to change to another non-immigrant status, such as H-1B.

  • You might not be able to adjust to Permanent Resident status (“get a green card”).

Employment opportunities

Employment Opportunities

Maintaining f 1 status f 1 employment

Maintaining F-1 StatusF-1Employment

  • Can work on-campus up to 20 hours/week during the fall and spring semesters.

  • During the summer sessions and breaks, you may work full-time (more than 20 hours/week).

  • No permission is required to work on-campus under these circumstances.

Maintaining f 1 status employment

Maintaining F-1 StatusEmployment

  • You MUST obtain a permission from the USCIS IN ADVANCE for any off-campus employment.

    • Must meet with an ISS advisor before beginning off-campus work, otherwise you are working illegally.

    • You will only be eligible for off-campus work in very specific situations, hence the need to meet with an ISS advisor to determine eligibility and get proper authorization.

Off campus employment

Off-Campus Employment

  • F-1 Practical Training

    • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

    • Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • Severe Economic Hardship

  • Employment with an International Organization

Maintaining status employment

Maintaining StatusEmployment

  • Do not work after your graduation day unless you have an EAD for Optional Practical Training.

  • Your I-20 may still have a valid date after graduating, but it doesn’t matter: graduation makes an I-20, and consequently your ability to remain in the U.S., invalid – UNLESS you have applied for OPT or have applied to change your status within 60 days following graduation.

F 2 dependents

F-2 Dependents

Regulations for f 2 dependents

Regulations for F-2 Dependents

  • F-2s can NEVER work legally, anywhere, under any circumstances – there is no way to get legal work authorization for an F-2.

  • F-2s can only take classes on “recreational or avocational” basis. (Does not include elementary and high school students.)

  • If traveling outside the U.S., your F-2 dependents must carry their own I-20 with a valid travel signature from an ISS adviser.

Maintaining status f 2 dependents

Maintaining StatusF-2 Dependents

  • If the F-1 student in not in valid status, neither is the F-2 dependents.

  • If the F-1 student leaves the U.S. for more than a “short absence (5 months),” the F-2 dependents must also leave.

  • If the F-1 student obtains a program extension, the F-2s also receive the same extension.

Other important information

Other Important Information

Health insurance requirement

Health Insurance Requirement

  • All international students are required to have health insurance coverage while they are in the U.S.

  • For more information about your health insurance, please contact:

    Student & Scholar Health Insurance Program

    0570 Beardshear Hall

    Phone: (515) 294-2394


Traveling outside the u s

Traveling Outside the U.S.

  • You need:

    • Valid passport (must be valid 6 months into the future);

    • Valid U.S. visa (with exceptions);

    • Signature of an ISS advisor on the last page of your I-20;

    • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record card.

      You may also need…

Traveling outside the u s1

Traveling Outside the U.S.

  • Evidence of your financial support;

  • Transcripts from all schools (Even those from past U.S. schools).

  • If you do not have copies, contact your school and ask for copies as soon as possible - you never know when you are going to travel.

Is your u s visa valid

…is your U.S. visa valid?

What if your visa has expired, or will expire before you need to re-enter the U.S.?

Travel abroad

A valid U.S. visa is required to re-enter the United States.

A valid U.S. visa is not required to re-enter the United States if certain conditions are met. (Excludes citizens of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.)

Travel Abroad

Travel within North America*


* (Includes only Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean islands adjacent to the U.S. if you are traveling for less than 30 days)

Applying for a new u s visa

Applying for a New U.S. Visa

  • Can be done only outside of the U.S. at an embassy or consulate.

  • If you apply in a third country for a U.S. visa and are denied, you will have to return to your home country and apply for the visa again before being allowed to re-enter the U.S.

Traveling outside the u s2

Traveling Outside the U.S.

Note: If you are visiting a country other than your own country, you need to contact that country’s embassy to determine if you need a visa to enter. See this website for consulate and embassy contact information:



  • SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is an internet-based information and notification system operated by the USCIS.

  • ISS is mandated to report:

    • Your program level, Major, Program start/end date

    • Your enrollment (full-time or below full-time)

    • Your current address

    • CPT or OPT Authorization

Driver s license

Driver’s License

  • Must wait 30 days before can obtain license (need to establish residency). Will need to show either a lease, electric bill, or phone bill with your name on it (same for spouse).

  • You will need to take the followings:

    • Passport

    • I-20

    • I-94

Social security number

Social Security Number

  • You can apply for a Social Security Number only when you have been offered a job.

  • You must take the followings with you:

    • Job offer letter

    • Social Security Letter or Letter of Enrollment

    • Passport

    • I-94

    • I-20

  • 600 5th Street, Suite 100, Ames, IA 50010 Phone: (515) 233-5017

Last but not least

Last But Not Least

  • Talk with an ISS advisor if you plan to take more than one online class.

  • Talk with an ISS advisor if you plan to take classes at two schools (concurrent enrollments).

  • Complete Form I-9 with ISS if you are employed on-campus.

  • Apply for an ISU e-mail account. You may set it to forward all messages to your personal e-mail account.

  • Be pro-active in communicating with ISS.

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