- Stay in close contact with the International Student Services (ISS) office and check assigned TU e-mail address daily (if any changes in US government regulations are imposed on internationals students, this is the method of notification you will receive). You will also receive notification of events and reminders or urgent messages via this email address, so check your TU email often. Always visit the ISS first when you have immigration questions.
- Students must request that the ISS office sign their I-20 or DS-2019 prior to each international travel — the office requires a minimum of two weeks prior to departure from US to process documents. If your I-20 must be mailed to you, your student account will be charged. The office must endorse the I-20/DS-2019 annually for a student to travel internationally (example: traveling during winter break, spring break, summer break, etc.). Also, all dependents (spouses or children) must have their form(s) signed for travel within these guidelines. When traveling back into the US, be sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months into the future, that you have your most recently signed I-20 or DS-2019 ready for the inspector to review and that your visa is valid. Your visa is allowed to expire while you are in the U.S., but if you leave the U.S. and plan to return, you would need to renew your visa. This can only be done at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad. If you must secure a new visa in order to return, check with the Embassy you plan to visit before you leave the U.S. to see how long it will take to obtain another visa. Decide whether or not you will have sufficient time to get a visa BEFORE you leave the US.
- Check that the information on your I-20 or DS-2019 is kept up-to-date and be sure it is accurate; notify the ISS staff immediately if you have any changes to biographical information (biographical information in passport and on I-94 and I-20 or DS-2019 must match), changes in field of study (changes of major) or level of study (such as Bachelors to Masters degree) or if there is a significant change in financial support (such as switching sponsors, obtaining an assistantship or scholarship, etc.). Also, each form currently lists a date by which it is expected that you should complete your degree program. If you anticipate not completing your studies by this end date, it is very important that you notify our office so we can discuss whether it is possible to extend your I-20/DS-2019. Requests for extensions must be made one month prior to the end date currently listed on the form.
- It is required by law that students must provide the U.S. address where they reside (physically live) within 10 days of each move (to a new US address).
- Students must be enrolled by the first day of class. In addition, all International students must be enrolled on a full-time basis each fall and spring. International students who are enrolled in less than a full-time course load must provide documentation and receive approval for a reduced course load from the ISS official prior to the second week of each semester. It is not necessary to be enrolled during the summer unless;
- you are beginning a new academic program as a new TU student
- you are a change of level student (ex. Bachelors to Masters)
- you are returning to TU after a leave of absence
- your current I-20 is an initial, change of level, or transfer pending I-20
Be prepared to pay your University charges by the beginning of each new semester. Failure to do so may result in your enrollment being blocked and your inability, therefore, to maintain immigration status.
- If a student does not enroll each fall and each spring continuously, their immigration status becomes invalid and the student will need a new I-20 or DS-2019 to resume their degree program. If you decide for any reason that you need to take a semester off, be sure to come in and consult with the Immigration Services Specialist prior to the end of the current semester.
- International students may not accept any type of employment without prior written approval from the ISS Office and/or US Government. Seek information from the International Student Services Office about possible employment opportunities prior to accepting any employment. Students may work on campus at TU on a part-time basis (no more than 20 hours a week) while enrolled in classes and on a full-time basis (between 20 and 40 hours per week) during school breaks (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer). All employment requires a student to apply for a Social Security Number and you only need to apply once in a lifetime. Be sure to safeguard your number and your Social Security Card once you receive it. An F-1 student is allowed to volunteer through TU’s True Blue Neighbors. If interested in volunteering, come to the ISS office to consult one of the trained immigration officers who will be able to discuss volunteer opportunities with F-1 international students. If you are interested in participating in an internship you must receive approval from the SEVIS officers. The internship must meet the requirements of the Curricular Practical Training as outlined in the CPT section and be approved prior to participation. If CPT is approved, a new I-20 will be issued reflecting the authorization.
- If a Social Security Number (SSN) is needed, come to the ISS office and we will guide you through the application process.
- The minimum processing time at the ISS office for any document/form for signature is two weeks. Our office is here to be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask for help. Feel free to send e-mails of inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also happy to have you drop by and visit us to let us know how you are doing and we look forward to seeing you at the various campus events held throughout the year.
- International students are responsible for maintaining valid student health insurance that meets or exceeds the requirements set forth by TU. All J Visa holders must have insurance that meets the requirements set forth by the U.S. Department of State. The Alexander Health Center is available to all students, regardless of which insurance plan they are on. Be familiar with their hours and phone number so if you should become ill or injured you will know who can help.
This information does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such.
International Student Services Staff:
- Kimberly Henderson, Senior Director, International Student Services, Director, The English Institute
- Carla Guthrie, Senior SEVIS Compliance Coordinator
- Katlyn Spear, Graduate Assistant