Immigration Orientation For New International Students. International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS). Division of Student Affairs. Florida International University Miami, FL. Office of International Student & Scholar Services. Mission.
Immigration Orientation For New International Students International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) Division of Student Affairs Florida International University Miami, FL
Office of International Student & Scholar Services Mission The Office of International Student & Scholar Services providesadvising services to international students and scholars on immigration, legal, personal, cultural, social and financial issues. ISSS is committed to enhancing the academic, social and personal interactions of our international students and scholars while at FIU. ISSS will provide the necessary support to our students and scholars so that they may reach their personal and educational objectives. Vision The Office of International Student & Scholar Services will be the premier resource on international education, immigration and cross-cultural issues for the University and the community.
ISSS at Modesto MaidiqueCampus Graham Center (GC) 355 Miami, FL 33199 Director: Ana M. Sippin, Ed.D. Associate Director: Ted Randall Coordinator:Jessica Larsen Assistant Director: Evelyn Rodriguez Program Assistant: Barbara Bormey Hours: Mondays – Friday Office Assistant: Alicia Camblor 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Secretary: Margarita Zapata Closed on weekends & holidays Student Assistants:Alessandra, Rebecca, Patricia Phone: (305) 348-2421 Fax: (305) 348-1521 http://isss.fiu.edu
ISSS at Biscayne Bay Campus Wolfe University Center (WUC) 363 Miami, FL 33181 Director:Nancy Hernandez Assistant Director:Anoush McNamee Coordinator:VaninaGranell Senior Secretary: Georgia Zavalis Hours: Mondays – Friday Student Assistant:Andre Dawson 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Closed on weekends & holidays Phone: (305) 919-5813 Fax: (305) 919-4824 http://isss.fiu.edu
FIU International Student Statistics Top 5 Countries of Origin (Overall) 1. China412 2. Venezuela 272 3. India 224 4. Colombia89 5. Trinidad & Tobago88 Total students: 2677 Total countries represented: 125 Top 5 Countries (Undergraduate)(BA/BS/BBA) Top 5 Countries (Graduate) (MS/PhD/EdD) 1. Venezuela 153 2. China 97 3. Trinidad & Tobago 63 4. Colombia 44 5. Bahamas 38 1. China 308 2. India 210 3. Venezuela 65 4. Colombia 35 5. Iran 32 Source: Office of Institutional Research. Statistics as of March 2011 as reported in “Open Doors Data 2010-2011”
ISSS New International Student Immigration Orientation ISSS Services and Operations Immigration Documents and Travel Immigration Terminology SEVIS and DHS Immigration Regulations Enrollment Employment Updates & Information Health & Safety
ISSS SERVICES How can I help you?
ISSS SERVICES Our Office: Provides immigration advising to individual students Notifies students of changes in immigration regulations via email and the ISSS website Issues all I-20’s and DS-2019’s for continuing students Prepares letters and certifications for international students needed by other agencies and institutions Assists students with cultural adjustment and personal concerns
ISSS SERVICES I-20’s & DS-2019’s You will need a new I-20 or DS-2019 if you plan to: Change your Major (undergraduate students) Change your Program or Level (e.g. Master’s to Ph.D) Extend your program end date Bring a dependent to the U.S. (spouse or child under 21) Travel to apply for visa renewal Apply for off-campus employment Apply for reinstatement if you have fallen out of status
ISSS SERVICES Letters and Certifications Our office prepares the following letters and certifications: Full-time Enrollment Letter On-campus Employment Certification Social Security Letter – (A letter from on-campus employer must be submitted with request) Certification for Dollar Exchange (Estimate of Expenses) Approval for Concurrent Enrollment (Concurrent enrollment with schools such a MDC, BCC, etc.) Foreign Government Forms – (Only if form is in English)
ISSS SERVICESPrograms and Workshops Social Events & Programs Orientation Bus Tour of Miami and/or other excursions Welcome Receptions/Dinners Thanksgiving Dinner/Spring Dinner International Coffee Hour Information Sessions & Workshops CPT & OPT Workshops Job Search Strategies for International Students Options After Graduation Immigration Attorney Sessions Non-Resident Tax Workshops (Spring only)
ISSS SERVICESOther Resources International Peer Mentors Student Organizations Advised by ISSS Staff International Honors Society (Phi Beta Delta) International Student Club
INTERNATIONAL PEER MENTORS While you should come to ISSS for answers to all your immigration-related questions, you may have other questions that would best be answered by a fellow student. International Peer Mentors can: answer your questions or direct you to other offices on campus which can help you help you get involved in campus life and other activities provide feedback to the ISSS office so we can serve you better For more information visit http://isss.fiu.edu/international_peer_mentors.html or come to the ISSS office.
PHI BETA DELTA An honor society dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education Members may include: International students (F-1 or J-1 visa) who have demonstrated high scholastic achievement Domestic students who have demonstrated high scholastic achievement in pursuit of studies abroad Distinguished faculty and staff who have been involved in recognized international endeavors, i.e. research, teaching, service To apply, undergraduates must hold a 3.2 GPA and graduate students a 3.5 GPA
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CLUB http://www.fiu.edu/~isc/ Facebook: Isc at Fiu To join visit www.Orgsync.com
ISSS works on an appointment schedule so advisors can give full attention to students’ questions and concerns. Please call ahead to schedule an appointment. Walk in and on-the-spot appointments should be avoided except in case of emergency situations. “Walk- in Wednesdays” are available on specific Wednesdays each term in order to answer your immigration questions. You must bring your immigration documents or other documents pertinent to your appointment.
Walk-in Wednesdays An ISSS advisor will be available to answer general questions every Wednesday at MMC from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and at BBC from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. For complicated cases, the ISSS Advisor will schedule student for the next available appointment for more detailed advising. Immigration benefit applications (Employment/Practical Training, Reinstatement, etc.) require an appointment. Benefit applications will NOT BE accepted during Walk-in Wednesdays.
AccuTrack System used by ISSS to collect data You will need to check in at the computer station near the entrance of the ISSS Office (to your left as you walk in) each time you come to the office to log in the purpose of your visit. PLEASE DO NOT approach the front reception desk until you have checked in at one of the computers
IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS & TRAVEL
SEVIS ID# Immigration Documents Form I-20 Make sure all information on I-20 is correct You must not let this document expire while you remain in the U.S.! Item 5 shows the program dates You must come to ISSS before the end date if you need to extend your program
Immigration Documents Form I-20: Program End Date Estimate of program length; this date will change Program can be extended if student needs more time; program will be shortened if student completes before this date 60-day grace period for F-1’s after program completion begins at end of final semester, even if student does not receive new I-20 with updated completion date
ImmigrationDocumentsForm I-20 Page 3 of the I-20 contains the signature of a DSO which makes the document valid for TRAVEL This signature must be less than 12 months old if you want to travel outside the U.S. (Page 3 here)
Immigration Documents F- 1 Visa DUCK DONALD Stamp issued by U.S. Department of State allowing entry into U.S. for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study This is an entry document only. It may expire while you are here in the U.S. without affecting your F-1 status. However, you must ALWAYS have a valid passport. It is recommended that your passport be valid for at least six months into the future.
Immigration Documents Form I-94 I-94 # Status: F-1 Length of stay: For the Duration of Status (D/S) Arrival and Departure Record Card issued at POE to foreign visitors to the U.S. (all non-U.S. citizens) You will receive a new card (with a new 11 digit I-94 number) each time you travel It is important to keep this card safe because it showsthe length of time and in which visa status you are permitted to stay in the U.S.
Travel and Re-entry A valid passport (valid six months into the future) A valid F – 1 visa stamp in your passport Your FIU SEVIS I – 20 with a valid signature of an ISSS advisor (to be valid this signature must be less than 12 months old). To re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status, you need:
Travel and Re-entry REMINDERS: You must request an ISSS advisor’s signature on page three of your I – 20 at least 2 weeks before your intended travel date If you need to renew your F-1 visa, you MUST re-verify funding and request an updated I-20 for visa renewal Automatic Visa Revalidation – Mexico, Canada, Caribbean For complete TRAVEL ADVISORY, please check: http://isss.fiu.edu/travelrentry.htm
Immigration Terminology Duration of Status (D/S) If your I-94 card bears the notation D/S, you are authorized to remain in U.S.: Until completion of program For periods of authorized optional practical training During the grace period after completion of program or after withdrawal from classes F-1 Status Authorization by DHS to be in the U.S. for the principal purpose of pursuing a full course of study Students must abide by USCIS F-1 regulations to maintain status
Immigration Terminology Out-of-Status Remaining in the U.S. longer than authorized to do so Failing to meet requirements or violating the terms of visa classification (e.g. studying part-time, engaging in unauthorized employment, failing to complete one’s program) Reinstatement Immigration procedure an F-1 student may apply for when he or she has fallen out-of-status (i.e. he or she has violated laws/regulations) Available only for students who have been out-of-status for less than 5 months Restart Procedure to regain F-1 status via travel
Immigration Terminology Grace Periods: 60 - day Grace Period An F – 1 student who is in status and has completed his/her degree and/or authorized Optional Practical Training is authorized a 60 – day grace period to prepare for departure from the U.S. or transfer to another school. This means that after completion of the program or OPT, a student may remain in the U.S. up to 60 days, but once he or she has left, F-1 status is completed and the student is ineligible to return. 15 - day Grace Period An F – 1 student authorized by a DSO to withdraw from classes will be allowed a 15 – day period for departure from the U.S. *** Students who are out-of-status are not eligible for any grace period. Students dismissed due to academic or disciplinary reasons are not be eligible for any grace period.
SEVIS Transfers When you leave one U.S. school to attend another, either as a transfer student or after you have finished one degree program to start another one, your record in the SEVIS database must be transferred (i.e. an international student advisor at the first school must release the record to the second school). Transfer-In If you came to FIU from another institution in the U.S., you need to get a new I-20 that shows the transfer has been completed within 15 days of the first day of classes. Transfer-Out If you decide to transfer or attend another U.S. school after completing your degree at FIU, you must notify us so that an ISSS advisor can release your SEVIS record to the other school. If you leave FIU and attend another school without transferring your SEVIS record, you will be out-of-status.
Change of Status (COS) Immigration application procedure to change non-immigrant status ISSS assists only with applications for change of status to F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 If you currently do not hold a student visa and have an application for change of status to F-1 PENDING, there may be restrictions on your enrollment in classes. If you hold a B-1, B-2, or F-2 visa, YOU MAY NOT TAKE CLASSES UNTIL A CHANGE OF STATUS TO F-1 HAS BEEN APPROVED.
THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND YOU: SEVIS & DHS
The U.S. Government and You: SEVIS and DHS Student and Exchange Visitor Information System Government database used by all universities hosting international students; advisors use it to generate I-20’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consists of: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) - regulatory and enforcement body, oversees SEVIS U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) – customs and border functions at Ports of Entry (POE’s) U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) – immigration application processing
Information in SEVIS ISSS IS REQUIRED TO REPORT INFORMATION ABOUT INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS TO DHS USING THE SEVIS DATABASE The following must be reported NO LATER THAN 30 days after the session start date each semester: Enrollment status Local U.S. address: You must keep this information current in Panthersoft
Information in SEVIS The following events must be reported NO LATER THAN 21 days after they occur: Failure to maintain status or complete program Change of student’s or dependent’s legal name Change of student’s or dependent’s address Graduation prior to program end date indicated on I-20 Disciplinary action taken by school against student as a result of student being convicted of a crime Any other notification request made by SEVIS with respect to status of student.
IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS: How do you maintain your F-1 status?
MAINTAINING F-1 STATUS: ENROLLMENT
Full-time Enrollment Requirement Undergraduate Students: (B.A., B.S.) 12 undergraduate credit hours (Fall & Spring) = Full-Time EXCEPTIONS: Qualify for a reduced course load (RCL) Summeroptional except in the following cases: Admitted for Summer A/C – must enroll for 12 credits Admitted for Summer B – must enroll for 6 credits
Full-time Enrollment Requirement Graduate Students: (MA, MS, MBA, PhD, EdD) 9 graduate credit hours (Fall & Spring) EXCEPTIONS: Advance to thesis/dissertation Qualify for reduced course load (RCL) Summer optional except in the following cases: Admitted for Summer A/C - 6 graduate credits Admitted for Summer B - 3 graduate credits
RCL – Academic Difficulties RCL for academic difficulties is limited to one term (usually the first semester in the U.S.) and requires that you enroll for at least 6 credits Limited to the following situations: Initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods Improper course level placement Requires completion of ISSS form “Request for RCL due to Academic Difficulties” and submission of supporting documentation
RCL – Medical Conditions Allowed only for grave and compelling medical conditions that require a student to reduce or interrupt his/her course of study Requires DSO authorization for each semester not to exceed a total of 12 months for each program level Requires completion of ISSS form “Request for RCL due to Medical Condition” and submission of supporting documentation from a U.S.-based and U.S.-licensed medical doctor or clinical psychologist
RCL - Completion of Course of Study Limited to the following: Graduate students Pure course work option and Project option: last semester Undergraduate students Last semester Requires completion of appropriate ISSS form and submission of supporting documentation from academic advisor
Full-time Enrollment Requirement: Online or Distance Education Online or Distance Education as defined by SEVIS: "a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing.” Only one online course (3 credits) will be counted toward the full-time course load requirement. You may not take all courses online in your last term (even if you complete your program in the summer term or if you are authorized for an RCL in your last semester).
Full-time Enrollment Requirement:Concurrent Enrollment You may take classes at other institutions (Miami Dade College, etc.) that count toward the full-time enrollment requirement if the following conditions are met: You are enrolled for at least 6 credits at FIU You submit a transient student form to ISSS signed by academic advisor certifying the course(s) taken at other institutions will count toward your degree at FIU No more than 3 credits of online coursework will count toward the full-time enrollment requirement
Incomplete Grades If you receive an incomplete grade for a course (the work is not completed by the end of the semester so no final grade is assigned at the time grades are due), be aware that: Remaining work does not count toward full-time enrollment in the following semester If it is an incomplete in your last semester with an authorized Reduced Course Load, you must see ISSS immediately You cannot apply for OPT with a pending incomplete
Service Indicators - Holds IMI: Health Insurance – will prevent access to enroll in classes. Contact University Health Services. IUP/IBB: Missing documents ISSS Hold. Contact ISSS. IND: Documents/Immigration Status Hold. Contact ISSS.
Registration Hold: Health Insurance All International Students or Scholars (F-1 and J-1 visa holders) are required to be insured under the university-approved policy or an alternate insurance plan which meets requirements. Students and Scholars in J-1 status are required to purchase coverage for their dependents. There will be a registration hold on your record each semester until University Health Services receives proof that you have purchased acceptable insurance that covers you for the duration of that semester. If you do not comply, you will not be eligible to enroll for classes. If you are not enrolled in classes by the appropriate deadline you will be OUT-OF-STATUS.
MAINTAINING F-1 STATUS: EMPLOYMENT
On-Campus Employment Basic Guidelines: Student MUST maintain valid F-1 status (i.e. full-time course load requirement, valid I-20, etc.) AND BE ACTIVE IN PROGRAM AT FIU Once degree is completed, you may NOT work on campus You may not work on campus during 60-day grace period after completion or after transferring SEVIS record to another school Work LIMITED to 20 hours/week (part-time) in Fall & Spring semesters Work can be full-time (21 hours or more) during Summer or breaks
On-Campus Employment Examples of valid on-campus employment I. Administrative/Academic/Support Service units a. Graduate Assistant (Teaching or Research) b. Computer Lab Assistant c. Learning Center Tutor II. Outside contractor/firm at FIU(Work MUST be on school premises AND services rendered directly to students) a. Cashier in the Cafeteria b. Sales Associate at the Bookstore
Off-Campus Employment: Practical Training Practical Training is employment related to student’s major or field of study. Authorization through USCIS or by an ISSS Advisor is required (whether work is paid or unpaid). Eligibility Requirements Student must be maintaining valid F-1 status at time of application Student must have enrolled full-time at a U.S. school for one academic year (two consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment) before applying
Off-Campus Employment: Practical Training 2 Types of Practical Training Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Internship, One Semester Authorization from ISSS in the form of endorsement on I-20 Must have job offer and must be registered for internship credit in your department/major at the time you apply Very specific type of employment authorization; check with ISSS first to make sure you are eligible for the internship you want to pursue Optional Practical Training (OPT): General, 12 Months Authorization from USCIS in the form of an EAD (OPT card) May use before or after graduation but more typical and usually more advantageous to use after
Off-Campus Employment: Practical Training 2 Types of Optional Practical Training (OPT) Pre-Completion OPT: OPT period commences while still in school; student can apply anytime after studying full-time for two semesters Post-Completion OPT: OPT starts after graduation; student can apply starting the third week of final semester and up to six weeks after graduation You can apply for Post-Completion OPT during the 60-day grace period after finishing your program only if you have not yet left the U.S.
Off-Campus Employment: Practical Training 2 Types of OPT Extension Typically, students are eligible for no more than 12 months of Post-Completion OPT. There are only two exceptions: STEM Extension: OPT may be extended 17 months if student is working for employer registered with E-Verify and student’s program of study is eligible as designated on SEVP’s STEM list (IMPORTANT: Eligibility of program based on CIP code assigned to program by FIU) H-1B Cap-Gap Extension: If OPT expiration date is before October 1 and student has H-1B petition and change of status application approved or pending, OPT may be extended to September 30
Off-Campus Employment: Practical Training Detailed information and application procedures are covered in the ISSS Online F-1 Employment Workshop. It is required that all students either view the online workshop or attend a live CPT or OPT workshop with ISSS before any CPT authorization or OPT recommendation can be given.
MAINTAINING F-1 STATUS: UPDATES & INFORMATION
Information Disseminated by ISSS When ISSS contacts you for any reason, respond IMMEDIATELY! ISSS will do everything possible to keep you informed of any updates and changes in immigration regulations that may affect you as an international student. To stay informed, you should regularly check: Your FIU email The ISSS website ISSS may also contact you individually by phone or email when a situation arises that may jeopardize your status such as: You are not registered full-time Your I-20 is about to expire There is an error in your SEVIS record
Email is the primary method of communication used by ISSS; messages will be sent to your FIU email account.
Getting Advice If you find yourself in a complex situation and feel you need additional assistance, you may also want to contact a licensed immigration attorney The only people on FIU’s campus who should be giving you advice related to your immigration status are ISSS advisors DO NOT: Drop a class because your academic advisor says it is OK Accept employment that has not been authorized by ISSS because an employer says it is OK Accept an internship offer because your academic advisor says it is OK Travel without appropriate documentation because your friends say it is OK When in doubt, contact ISSS!
Who is RESPONSIBLE for making sure you follow immigration laws and remain in valid status? YOU ARE!!!!
HEALTH & SAFETY
Take care of yourself! Student life can be stressful for anyone! But especially if you are new to the U.S. your first few months here may be not only exciting, but exhausting Be sure to eat foods that give you energy, get plenty of rest, and exercise regularly to keep your immune system strong!
Go to the FIU University Health Center (UHC) if you are in the Miami area and eligible to use Student Health. If you need treatment not available at UHC, they will refer you to an appropriate provider (PPO). If UHC is not available to you, go to a provider that is in the participating network(PPO). You may go to the UHC for follow-up treatment as applicable. What do I do if I am Sick or Hurt?
The university-approved insurance carrier is: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida If you have questions about enrollment in a BCBSF plan, contact: Collegiate Risk Management 1-800-922-3420 www.collegiaterisk.com Insurance Coverage You will receive an Identification Card about 3-4 weeks after you enroll. ID cards are mailed once per year after the initial enrollment. Please keep your Identification Card with you at all times.
Hurricane Preparedness What is a Hurricane? A hurricane is a type of tropical storm with winds exceeding 74 miles per hour The Weather Service will issue the following advisories (two levels): Hurricane Watch: Indicates that a hurricane condition is a strong possibility and may threaten the area within 36 hours Hurricane Warning: Indicates that a hurricane is expected and may strike in 24 hours or less
Hurricane Preparedness Heed the Warnings! Stay tuned to local news (TV, Radio) and FIU Web site and Help Line. HAVE A PLAN Phone numbers Take all important documents with you in a plastic sealed envelope or container to protect from damage Sign up for Panther Alerts: Receive text messages that provide important updates during emergencies. http://entry.inspironlogistics.com/fiu/wens.cfm?ep_id=other “FIU-HELP” line: (305)-348-4357 IMPORTANT REMINDER: All students are required to follow the instructions of University officials in the event of an emergency.