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ISSS Orientation An overview of F-1 & J-1 immigration documents, maintaining status, on- and off- campus work, and other international student issues. International Student & Scholar Services. Staff Doris Clausen, Director ( )

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ISSS Orientation An overview of F-1 & J-1 immigration documents, maintaining status, on- and off- campus work, and

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ISSS Orientation

    • An overview of F-1 & J-1 immigration documents,
    • maintaining status, on- and off- campus work,
    • and other international student issues

International Student & Scholar Services


Doris Clausen, Director (

Elizabeth Gill, Associate Director (

Fadia Saint-Juste, Assistant Director (

Caitlin Ross, Advisor (

Trinh Nguyen, Coordinator (

Location & Office Hours

Howe Center, 5th Floor

Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM

Open office hours: Tues., 1:30-4:30 PM



  • Caitlin Ross
  • All undergraduate students
  • All J-1 graduate and undergraduate students, regardless of school
  • All F-1 graduate students in the Howe School of Technology Management
    • Majors included under Business Intelligence and Analytics, Enterprise Project Management, Information Systems, Management, Telecommunications Management, Technology Management, and MBA
  • Elizabeth Gill
  • All F-1 graduate students in the School of Systems & Enterprises
  • All F-1 graduate students in the Charles V. Schaefer School of Engineering & Science
  • All F-1 graduate students in the College of Arts and Letters

Immigration Who’s Who

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consists of three main immigration-related agencies: USCIS, ICE, and CBP
    • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) manages arrivals to and departures from the U.S.
    • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants immigration benefits (such work authorization) in the U.S.
    • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) handles immigration enforcement
      • ICE is in charge of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an online database that stores all information on individuals with F, J, or M status
        • Stevens is required to report on all F and J students and scholars in SEVIS

Maintaining Immigration Documents

  • Visa
  • Key to enter the U.S. to study
  • Multiple entries (M) or limited entries (1 or 2)
  • Can leave and reenter up to the expiration date
  • Ok if it expires while you are in the U.S.; not necessary to
  • renew it unless traveling outside U.S. and returning
  • We recommend you renew your visa in your home country
  • If you changed your status to F-1 or J-1 while in the U.S., you must apply for an F-1/J-1 visa the first time you leave the U.S.
  • Name of school on your visa does not have to be
  • Stevens as long as the visa has not expired and
  • your SEVIS ID is the same

Visa (cont’d)

  • Give time for the visa renewal; don’t do it during spring break! We recommend you renew your visa at least one month before you plan to return to the U.S.
  • Guidance for renewing your visa is on our website here:


  • For most students, passport must be valid six months
  • into the future at all times, so make sure to renew it early!
  • Can renew at your country’s embassy or consulate in
  • NYC or D.C.
  • After renewing your passport, you must continue to
  • carry the old passport that contains your F-1/J-1 visa.


  • Says why you are here (F-1 or J-1) and how long you can stay:
  • D/S (duration of status; you can stay in the U.S. for as long as you are
  • engaged in full-time study or are engaged in Optional Practical Training or
  • Academic Training)
  • Always check I-94 stamp before leaving the Port of Entry (airport or U.S.
  • border). If anything is incorrect, get it fixed before you leave the airport. If
  • you notice an error later, the “Document Correction Instructions” on the
  • ISSS website will tell you how to fix it:
  • Some institutions (like DMV, SSA, USCIS) may require a printout of your
  • electronic I-94 information; you can make the printout here:


  • Agreement with the U.S. government regarding your F-1/J-1 status
  • Tells where you are studying, what your educational objective is,
  • how long it will take you to complete that objective, and how you
  • are supporting the costs of studying and living here.

Any document that changes must be photocopied for ISSS files.

You should carry copies of your immigration documents or the originals with you at all times!


Maintaining Status: Full Course of Study

  • Required credits for fall & spring for each program
  • (summer is not a required term)
    • 12 per semester for undergraduates
    • 9 per semester for graduates
    • This means 9/12 credits EVERY SEMESTER,
    • not an average of 9/12 credits over the year
  • Full course of study equivalencies (with permission from ISSS)
    • First semester: If you are taking an English Language
    • Communication (ELC) course, you only need 6 additional
    • credits, but all classes must be on-campus.
    • Preparing for Ph.D. “qualifying exam” (two-semester limit)
    • Research, thesis, or dissertation (must register for D-999)
    • Final semester of undergraduate/graduate study
  • Web Courses (online)
    • Can only register for 3 required credits
    • online per semester

Full Course of Study (cont’d)

  • Class registration is assessed at end of
  • drop/add period
    • If registered for the correct number of
    • credits, student is registered in SEVIS.
    • If not, student’s F-1 record is terminated
  • Final grade evaluation
    • After final grades have been submitted to Registrar
    • Any student who drops below full-time can be
    • terminated for non-attendance.
  • Less than full course load permitted only during final
  • semester of study. If only one class is remaining
  • final semester, it cannot be taken online; it must be
  • on campus.

Reduced Course Load

  • All reduced course loads (even during thesis/
  • dissertation work, etc.) must be authorized by a
  • Designated School Official (ISSS staff)
  • Only for a very specified list of academic issues
  • For medical conditions with documentation from a
  • medical doctor or clinical psychologist
  • A student who reduces his/her course load without
  • authorization will have his/her record terminated in
  • SEVIS!

Changes to the I-20/SEVIS Record

  • Types
    • Change of address:
    • You MUST change your
    • address in your My Stevens
    • account
    • Change of name
    • Change of support/sponsorship
    • Change of major
    • Addition of minor or second major
  • Report change within 10 days of its occurrence
  • Most changes should also be reported to
  • Student Services or via your
  • MyStevens account



  • Within the U.S.
    • Take your passport, student ID card, and
    • Form I-20/DS-2019. Make sure all your
    • immigration documents are always in a safe place.
  • Outside the U.S.
    • Passport valid for at least 6 months into the future
    • A valid F-1/J-1 visa (unexpired– if expired, you will
    • need to anticipate additional time for visa renewal)
    • Form I-20/DS-2019 with a valid travel signature
      • I-20: The travel signature (3rd page of I-20) is valid for one year, so you will need one the first time you travel and a new one whenever it expires.
      • DS-2019: The travel signature (1st page) is valid for either 1 year or the duration of your program, whichever is shorter.
    • If you have a paper I-94 card, see our website.
    • Academic transcripts and documentation of your financial
    • support are recommended.
    • Travel to Canada, Mexico, or
    • contiguous islands- See our website!:

Concurrent Enrollment

  • F-1 students are permitted to take
  • courses at other SEVIS-approved schools
  • Consult with the ISSS and your academic
  • adviser BEFORE registering for a
  • course(s) at another school; you must
  • submit an application to ISSS to do this!

Leave of Absence & School Transfer

Leaves of absence and school transfers have specific deadlines and procedures in the SEVIS system. If you need to take a leave or wish to transfer to another school, please contact ISSS before moving forward with either of these processes so that we can properly assist you.


Program End Date

  • If you decide to leave before your program end date, you must
  • apply for Authorized Early Withdrawal (contact us!)
  • If you need more time to complete your program (i.e., you
  • changed your major or added a second major), you must apply
  • for a Program Extension. You should apply for an extension
  • even if you are not certain you will need it; you cannot
  • extend your I-20 or DS-2019 after your program end date.
  • If you will graduate early, you must request that your I-20/DS-
  • 2019 be shortened and must provide proof of anticipated
  • graduation date.

Program End Date (cont’d)

  • ONLY options after program end date:
    • Depart the U.S.
    • Transfer to another school
    • Change education level or program
    • Start post-completion OPT

Violations of Status

  • What are some examples of violations of status?
    • Not pursuing a full course of study or not
    • getting permission to reduce course load
    • Working without permission or exceeding the
    • limitations of your authorized work
    • Not complying with immigration’s procedures
    • for transferring schools, changing levels, extending
    • the time you need to complete a program of study,
    • or departing the U.S.
  • If you violate your status, contact ISSS immediately so you
  • may be advised of your options.
  • Violations of status must be reported to immigration in
  • SEVIS by the ISSS staff.

Deadline Overview

Please see our “Deadline Overview” handout here

for a helpful guide to the

various timelines you must follow in order to maintain

your F-1/J-1 status!:


On-Campus Work

  • 20 hours per week
    • During fall and spring semesters
    • Total among all departments, including
    • R.A./R.D. positions, assistantships, etc.
  • Full-time work
    • During breaks included in the program (Includes winter
    • holiday, spring break, and summer break)
  • Organizations that operate within the college to serve
  • students, such as the cafeteria, are counted as “on-campus.”
  • Volunteer Positions (such as orientation leaders) not counted,
  • but please check to make sure you are allowed to volunteer.
  • F-1/J-1 students in their first semester cannot start working
  • more than 30 days before the first day of classes
  • No on-campus work during the 60-day grace period (after
  • I-20 end date) for F-1 students or the 30-day
  • grace period for J-1 students (after DS-2019
  • end date)

Off-Campus Work

  • F-1:
    • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
    • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
    • Employment with an International Organization
    • Economic Hardship Employment
  • J-1:
    • Academic Training
  • Information and online workshops for OPT and CPT are
  • located here:
    • CPT:
    • OPT:

J-1 Specific Issues

  • Health Insurance
    • All J-1 students, including any J-2 dependents, are required to have health insurance that meets certain standards of coverage for sickness, accident, medical evacuation, and repatriation of remains throughout the duration of their program. Please contact Caitlin Ross if you have any questions about this requirement.
    • On Campus Employment
      • Any on-campus employment, including assistantships, fellowships, and work in conjunction with scholarships, must be authorized by the ISSS in the SEVIS system before J-1 students can begin working and authorization must be renewed every 12 months, if employment is on-going.

Social Security

  • You must have a job to receive a Social Security #.
  • Social Security number is required to get paid for
  • employment but not to start working.
  • You can get an SSN letter (for your on-campus
  • employer to sign) and information about applying for
  • the SSN from our website:

Driver’s Licenses

  • Commonly used as a form of U.S. ID
  • Information located on our website:
  • You can also contact the Department of Motor
  • Vehicles:
  • 1-888-486-3339 or
  • If you are living in NY and attending Stevens,
  • you will probably not be eligible for a driver’s license
  • in either NY or NJ, but you are welcome to try.
  • Important:To apply for an SSN or driver’s license, your F-1/J-
  • 1 record must be registered in SEVIS (made “active”). New
  • students’ F-1 records will not become active until ~9/25/2013,
  • but ISSS will e-mail all students as soon as
  • SEVIS registration is complete.

IRS Reporting

  • Form 8843 (for all F1/J1 students)
    • Required by U.S. law to be completed
    • by students every year
    • Deadline to file: June 15 (postmark)
  • Form 1040 NR/NR-EZ (for students who worked)
    • For a non-resident (NR) who had
    • any U.S. source of income
    • Deadline to file: April 15
    • We will e-mail more information about tax filing early
    • in the new year.

Helpful Resources & Best Wishes

  • Resources:
    • ISSS Website:
    • Facebook Page (Stevens Institute of Technology
    • International Student & Scholar Services)
    • Conversation beyond Borders
    • Phone- 201-216-5189
  • We wish you the best of luck in your studies here, and we’re happy to answer any of your questions to help you maintain your immigration status!