F-1 Student International Student Orientation August 2008
F-1 Student Status • Status refers to the actual activity for which a person has been admitted to the United States. • In the case of F-1 that activity is “student”.
F-1 Visa • The visa is the actual document in the passport. It is authorization from the US Department of State to present yourself at a port or point of entry to the United States and request admission to enter the US in a particular status. • The F-1 visa indicates that you wish to enter the US as a “student”.
Important documents for the F-1 Student • A valid passport from your country of citizenship. • A valid U.S. F-1 type visa* • A valid SEVIS I-20 • A valid I-94 * must be valid only when entering the U.S.
SEVIS I-20-See Sample I-20 • Important Items on I-20 Page 1 Name and other personal and school information are correct and the same as your passport and or visa Item #5 the end date is very important. Page 2 Page 3 Signatures
Duration of Status (D/S) • The student is admitted to the United States for “duration of status,” defined as the time during which the student “is pursuing a full course of study at an educational institution • The US government grants duration of status to F-l students by entering the notation “D/S” in the upper right corners of Form I-20 and the Form I-94) • Duration of status also extends to the student’s time spent engaging in authorized practical training following completion of studies, plus 60 days “grace period” to prepare for departure from the United States.
Duration of Status (D/S) continued • The student is considered to be maintaining status if he or she is making normal progress toward completing a full course of study.” • If you successfully complete an academic program and apply and are accepted to another academic program at the same school or to another educational institution then your status as student continues AS LONG AS YOU FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES REQUIRED FOR TRANSFERING YOUR STATUS FROM ONE DEGREE PROGRAM TO ANOTHER DEGREE PROGRAM. • If you choose to transfer mid-degree from one educational institution to another institution, you must follow the appropriate procedures for the transfer of your F-1 status.
Maintaining Status • The student must : • Once admitted to the United States in F-1 status, an international student must follow the rules in order to maintain status. • Maintain a valid passport at all times; • Attend the school he or she was authorized to attend:
Maintaining Status continued: • REGISTERED FOR and MAINTAIN ACADEMIC CREDITS EQUAL TO FULL TIME ACCORDING TO YOUR DEGREE LEVEL EVERY SEMESTER: • 12 credits for Undergraduate Student • 9 credits for Graduate Student without an Assistantship • 6 credits for Graduate Student with an authorized Assistantship • Full time thesis continuation
Maintaining Status continued: • Seek permission FIRST from the International Student Center for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) for the following reasons only; • either first semester adjustment to new educational system, • Last semester because the number of credits required for completion of program is less than full time • for medical reasons with documentation from a medical professional. • Graduate students must be registered for “Continuation of Thesis” when credit course work is completed and research project or thesis is being prepared
Maintaining Status continued: • Follow certain procedures for Program Extensions. A program extension is required if the student must remain in the United States longer then “completion of studies” date in Item #5 on the most recent Form I-20. • If your completion-of-studies date has expired or if you do not meet the other eligibility requirements for a program extension, you may need to immediately consult with the International Student Center.
What happens if I do not maintain status? • Failure to follow the regulations can result in loss of “status” which places the student’s presence in the U.S. in jeopardy. • Students must know and follow the regulations for their visa type. • The University is REQUIRED by law to report to SEVIS on your activities including failure to maintain status. • If you fail to maintain your status then you will have to apply to US CIS for reinstatement or in some cases leave the U.S. and re-enter to establishment legal status again
Employment in F-1 Status • New students with F-1 status may only work on campus until they have been registered for a full academic year. • Total number of hours worked must be twenty hours weekly, during the Fall and Spring semester. • During the Winter intercession and Summer vacation the total number of hours worked may be up to forty per week.
Employment in F-1 Status • International Students are eligible for any non “work study” position on campus. • International Students may only work off-campus with permission of the International Student Center and USCIS.
What is SEVIS? • SEVIS is the acronym for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. • Since January of 2003, all international students who have required an I-20 have had an electronic record created in the database SEVIS. • All educational institutions who admit and enroll F, J or M visa students MUST, by law, use SEVIS. • SEVIS requires the University to report the activities of each student regularly.
What must be reported to SEVIS by the University? • Your initial arrival and registration for classes at UMass Dartmouth • Your full time registration every semester, and the dates when the semester begins and ends • Pre-authorized reduced course load (RCL) • Unauthorized reduced course load (RCL) or withdrawal from all classes without prior approval • Your current US address • Any change to a new address. You must notify the ISC within 10 days of the move to your new address • Any changes to your name • Transfers to another school • Authorized off campus employment • Unauthorized off campus employment • Any failure to maintain status
When Must I Leave the United States? • If you remain in “duration of status” by the definitions above and if the “date of completion” on your current Form I-20 is still in the future, then you may remain in the country to complete your authorized program objectives. • However, as soon as your program is finished, for example, either when you complete your academic program requirements, or when you reach the end of your authorized post-completion practical training (OPT) you will enter your grace period and must be prepared to leave the country within sixty days. You may not work or study during the grace period. • You may not remain in the US after you complete your degree program (and the sixty days grace period) unless you have been authorized for post completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), are admitted and enroll in another degree program, or change your status.
When Must I Leave the United States ? continued • If you must end your participation in the academic program, either for personal reasons or academic dismissal then you are no longer “in status.” In this case you must leave the U.S. immediately and are not eligible for the 60 days “grace period” • If you fail to follow the regulations, fall out of “status” you apply for reinstatement and are denied, you will be required to leave the U.S. • If you must take an academic leave of absence for personal or medical reasons from your program you must consult with the International Student Center regarding your status
IMPORTANT E-MAIL and a Web Addresses for all International Students • You may contact us at: • INTL_Office@umassd.edu We will contact you with important information by using the list • ISO@umassd.edu • Our WEB Address: www.umassd.edu/international_students/