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To obtain a student visa to the United States, the applicant must first be able to demonstrate that they are a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study. The applicant must also demonstrate that they are seeking to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study at an established academic institution.
If admitted to the university, the applicant is issued either a form I-20 or an DS-2019. This form should be taken together with a passport and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee receipt to the nearest United States consulate to apply for the F-1 and J-1 student visa. An international student entering the United States must also present either the I-20 or DS-2019 form to the immigration inspector at the port of entry to the United States.
Applicants must wait to receive the I-20 or DS-2019 from Wright State University and obtain the student visa before entering the United States with an I-20 or DS-2019 Form.
F-1 Student Visa Regulation Sources
An F-1 student is a non-immigrant who is pursuing a full course of study to achieve a specific educational or professional objective, at an academic institution in the United States that has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DSH) to offer courses of study to such students, and has been enrolled in SEVIS. The F-1 category is created by section 101(a)(15)(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and regulated by DHS regulations at 8 CFR 214.2(f), 214.3, and 214.4
- INA § 101(a)(15)(F); INA § 214(m); IIRIRA § 641
- 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f); 8 C.F.R. § 214.3; 8 C.F.R. § 214.4
Visit the SEVIS government site for more information.
J-1 Exchange Visitor (Visiting Scholar) Regulation Sources
Always begin by consulting the exchange visitor regulations at 22 CFR Part 62. Regulations are law, and bind both the government and the public. Always consult Department of State policy guidance, which can come in many forms, such as content directed to program sponsors on the DOS EVP website.
We offer student health insurance to students enrolled at Wright State.
Procedures for Incoming F-1 Students from Overseas
The following procedures must be followed to enter the United States in valid F-1 student status:
- Read page three of the Form I-20 carefully and read about the SEVIS fee.
- Take Form I-20 and SEVIS Fee receipt to the American Consulate nearest you along with your passport, letter of admission and proof of financial support. At the Consulate, you will be asked to complete an application for a visa.
- When you present your form I-20 to an United States consulate, a F-1 visa will be stamped into your passport, and your form I-20 will be returned to you. When being interviewed by a consular official, you will be asked few questions about why you chose Wright State University and what you plan to do after completing your degree. Your visa is likely to be rejected if the consular official believes you wish to stay in the U.S. permanently after graduating. The intention to stay for temporary purposes/programs is acceptable, but you should be able to explain how the practical training would help you when you return to your home country.
- At the port-of-entry, the immigration official will request your passport and Form I-20. The official will issue a I-94 to you. The official will return the I-20 to you. You must keep your I-20 throughout your entire stay in the United States. When you arrive at Wright State University, please bring your passport, visa and I-20 to the University Center for International Education (UCIE) located in room 344 in the Student Union.
For more information, visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs site.
Procedures for F-1 Transfer Students
The following procedures must be followed if you are not leaving the United States prior to your transfer to Wright State University from another school:
- Notify the foreign student advisor at your current school of your intention to transfer out and seek their assistance in identifying when you would like to transfer. Make sure they complete and return to UCIE the transfer-in form received with your admission application.
- Bring previous I-20 forms to UCIE along with your passport and I-94 as soon as you arrive at Wright State University. Attend mandatory orientation as shown on your admission letter.
- Enroll in the first term after leaving previous school or the first term after an authorized vacation period.
The U.S. Patriot Act requires Wright State University students and scholars to report a change of address to the registrar via the WINGS system or the UCIE office within 10 days of moving.
In order to comply with visa regulations, students on the F-1 or J-1 student visas must maintain full-time enrollment each term (except summer) during their studies at Wright State University.
For graduate students, full-time enrollment is the completion of a minimum of 6 credit hours of enrollment each Fall and Spring Semester. For undergraduate students, full-time enrollment is defined by the immigration regulations as completing a minimum of 12 credit hours of enrollment each term (except summer).
- For both the above definitions, immigration regulations impose a limit for each academic period of enrollment that no more than one online or distance education course may be counted toward fulfilling the full-time enrollment requirements. You are expected to comply with this regulation on your own and may be found in violation of your visa status if at any time during your studies, a routine audit of their transcript reveals that you have not complied with this regulation. Students in violation of this rule will be terminated in SEVIS and advised to leave the country or apply for reinstatement to student status. No prior warnings will be given.
- You may attempt to appeal for less than full-time enrollment by consulting with a UCIE adviser and presenting a completed reduced course load form.
How to Maintain Student Status:
There are basic requirements for maintaining student status in the United States. Follow the guidelines below to help ensure that you remain in good standing with the DHS:
- Keep your passport valid at all times. Must maintain 6 months of validity at all times.
- Attend the school you have been authorized you to attend (NOTE: This is indicated in section 2 of your I-20 Form or DS-2019 form).
- Maintain full-time enrollment each term. You are not required to enroll in classes during the summer session. However, you may want to check with your department to see if they have any requirements for summer enrollment.
- Do not engage in studies beyond the completion date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. If more time is needed, obtain a program extension. You can apply for an extension up to 60 days in advance. Please note that if you do not extend in a timely manner, you will not be compliant to maintain student status in the United States. Subsequently, you will need to submit an application for reinstatement to Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Report a change of address or phone number to the registrar through WINGS within 10 days of a move or change.
As an F-1 student, you were admitted to the United States for "duration of status." This means you can stay in the U.S. as long as you maintain your status by complying with the rules and regulations pertaining to F-1 students as set forth by the United States Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).
Please keep in mind that there is an important difference between an F-1 visa and F-1 status. An F-1 visa is the stamped page in your passport placed there by a U.S. consular officer for entry purposes only. F-1 status is granted once you enter the U.S. and is regulated by DHS. Even if your visa in your passport is valid, you can still lose your legal F-1 status if you do not comply with the applicable immigration laws regulating your stay in the U.S. If you fail to maintain your legal F-1 student status, you will need to apply for reinstatement, or in some cases, may be forced to leave the country. It is extremely important that all non-immigrants remain in close contact with UCIE staff in order to ensure they are maintaining their status.
- Whenever you make a change in degree levels or programs, obtain a new I-20 which reflects this program of study from UCIE.
- If you commence studies at another school, make sure that the transfer process is completed by first obtaining a transfer release date from UCIE. Visit the international student office at your new school to obtain a new I- 20, and tell the adviser that you are a transfer student. The new school should take care of the rest. An immigration transfer is a completely separate process from transferring academic credit from one school to another. An immigration transfer is not complete until a designated school official/international student advisor, from the school to which you are transferring, endorses your I-20 authorizing the transfer.
- Do not work without obtaining proper employment permission from UCIE. On-campus employment is limited to a total of 20 hours per week (even if you have more than one job) while school is in session. On-campus employment may be 28 hours per week during the summer and winter breaks. When you work on-campus during normal enrollment periods, you MUST maintain your full-time student status or your employment will be considered illegal.
- Before traveling outside the United States. with the intention of re-entering, you must have a designated school official/international student advisor sign your current I-20 form or page one of your DS-2019 authorizing you to re-enter the United States.
Please note: The information outlined above is not intended to be exhaustive. If you have any questions or need additional information about maintaining your F-1 status, please contact the UCIE staff.
J-1 Scholar Issues
Please review the U.S. Department of State guidelines for more information on 2-year home residency requirements and waivers.
- Do not change your major or degree program without consulting your sponsor (listed on your DS-2019).
- Do not begin a new program at another school without consulting your Wright State sponsor.
- Do not work without permission from your sponsor.
- You and your dependents are required to buy Wright State Student Health Insurance.
Websites to Visit
If you are currently overseas:
You must apply for your student entry visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. Take with you:
- A valid passport (except Canadian citizens)
- Health clearance documents if necessary
- Certificate of eligibility (either I-20 issued by the Wright State University or DS-2019 issued by a sponsoring organization)
- Proof of financial support
- Any other document which could be useful (such as admissions letter, TOEFL, GRE/GMAT scores, etc)
- Contact the consular section and ask about the application procedures and fees.
- Review the Department of State website about student visas.
Do not enter the United State using a tourist (B-1/2) Visa or on the visa waiver program!
Note: Canadian Citizens and Landed Immigrants
A visa is not necessary for you to enter the United States. Go to the port of entry with the documents listed above.
Future Visa Applications
When you make an application for a new entry visa, the consular officer will request that you provide evidence that you maintained your legal immigration status while in the U.S. Bring your expired I-20 forms and DS-2019 forms as well as copies of I-94s, transcripts and employment authorizations.
In addition, the consulate will verify that you have not received any federal public benefits while in the U.S. such as assistance through Medicaid, AFDC, and public housing.
Types of Visas: Immigration Classifications Chart
The following chart is based upon a publication distributed by NAFSA: Association of International Educators entitled, Immigration Classifications and Legal Employment of Foreign Nationals in the United States, by Gail Rawson. The complete chart may be ordered by contacting NAFSA. The following condensed adaptation provides a concise description of each visa classification.
|A-1 / A-2
|Foreign Diplomatic Personnel: Individuals in the U.S. as employees of a foreign government (e.g., ambassador, minister, diplomat, or consular officer).
|Dependent of A-1 / A-2 Visa Holder: Immediate family members of foreign government official (NOTE: Dependents also carry A-1 / A-2 status). May engage in full-time or part-time study. All work (on-campus or off-campus) must be approved by the U.S. Department of State by using Form I-566. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from the INS is required.
|Employee of Foreign Government Official: Attendants, servants, or personal employees of foreign government officials.
|Visitor for Business: Individuals in the U.S. for a short period of time to engage in business activities such as negotiating contracts for overseas employees, consulting with business associates, attending professional conferences, or conducting independent research. May not engage in any employment in the U.S., including salaried work or services performed on an independent basis. Incidental part-time study is allowed.
|Visitor for Tourism: Individuals in the U.S. for travel, tourism, or recreation. No employment is allowed. Reimbursement of expenses is prohibited. Incidental part-time study is allowed. May also enroll in short-term English language courses as long as the course of study is under 18 hours per week (part-time) and of "short duration."
|Prospective Student or Prospective Scholar: Individuals who enter the U.S.indicating a clear intent to study here or to change to J-1 Exchange Visitor Status. Consulate notation on visa page indicates "Prospective" status. Individual must apply for a change of status before the expiration date on the I-94. May engage in full-time study. May not work, including during the time in which the application for a change of status is pending.
|Waiver for Business (VWB) and Tourism (VWT): Individuals permitted to enter the U.S. without a visa for a stay limited to 90 days. Available only to citizens of countries designated by the U.S. Department of State. No extension or change of status is allowed for this category. Work and study restrictions are the same as B-1/B-2 counterparts.
|Aliens in Transit: Individuals in transit from one country to another "stopping over" in the U.S.
|D-1 / D-2
|Alien Crewman: Crew members employed on a vessel or aircraft who are in the U.S. on "stopovers."
|Treaty Trader: Individuals in the U.S. to conduct trade under a treaty between their country and the U.S., and key employees of companies trading under such treaty. E-1 dependents may engage in part-time or full-time study. No employment is allowed for dependents.
|Treaty Investor: Individuals in the U.S. to develop or direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested substantial investments. Must be based on a treaty between visa holder's country and the U.S. E-2 dependents may engage in part-time or full-time study. No employment is allowed for dependents.
|Student: Individuals in the U.S. engaging in a full course of academic or language study in an accredited educational programs. For information about employment authorization, read about the F-1 Student Employment Options. For more detailed information about maintaining legal F-1 status within the U.S., go to Maintaining Your Legal F-1 Status.
|Dependent of F-1 Visa Holder: Spouse and/or children of an F-1 student. May enroll in a "less than full time course of study". No employment is allowed.
|Representative of International Organization: Individuals in the U.S. as representatives of an international organization (e.g., the United Nations) and their dependents. Dependents may engage in part-time or full-time study. All work (on-campus or off-campus) for dependents must first be approved by the U.S. Department of State using Form I-566. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from INS is required.
|Personal Employee of G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 Visa Holder: May engage in part-time study.
|Registered Nurse: Individuals in the U.S. to perform professional nursing services for a specific employer for a fixed period of time. May engage in part-time study while maintaining H visa status.
|Temporary Worker in a Specialty Occupation: Individuals in the U.S. to perform professional services in a specific position for a fixed period of time. Employment authorization is granted for an initial period of up to 3 years. Extensions for an additional 3 years are possible. May engage in part-time study while maintaining H visa status.
|Temporary Agricultural Worker: May engage in part-time study while maintaining H visa status.
|Skilled or Unskilled Worker: Individuals in the U.S. in a temporary position for which a shortage of U.S. workers exists, working for a specific employer for a fixed period of time. May engage in part-time study while maintaining H visa status.
|Trainee: Individuals in the U.S. for a temporary period to participate in a training program provided by a specific employer. May engage in part-time study while maintaining H visa status.
|Dependent of H Visa Holder: May engage in full-time or part-time study. No employment is allowed.
|Representative of Foreign Information Media: Individuals in the U.S. as journalists or representatives of international media and their dependents.
|Exchange Visitor (Student): Individuals in the U.S. as exchange visitors for the primary purpose of studying at an academic institution under the auspices of the United States Department of State and a Designated Program Sponsor. For information about employment authorization, read more about J-1 Student Employment Options. For more detailed information about maintaining legal J-1 student status within the U.S., read more about Maintaining Your Legal J-1 Status.
|Exchange Visitor (Short-term Scholar, Professor, Researcher, or Specialist): Individuals in the U.S. as visiting researchers or professors under the auspices of the United States Information Agency and a Designated Program Sponsor. For more detailed information about maintaining legal J-1 exchange visitor status within the U.S., read more about Maintaining Your Legal J-1 Status.
|Au Pair: Individuals in the U.S. under the auspices of the United States Information Agency and a Designated Program Sponsor to serve as a live-in child-care provider for a host family.
|Dependent of J-1 Visa Holder: May engage in part-time or full-time study. Eligible to apply for INS for work authorization. Once the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card is issued by INS, the J-2 may work for any employer for the dates indicated on the card. Employment cannot be needed for the financial support of the J-1 visa holder.
|Intracompany Transferee: Individuals in the U.S. who have been transferred from a subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office overseas to the U.S. to work in an executive, managerial, or specialist capacity. May engage in part-time study.
|Dependent of L-1 Visa Holder: May engage in part-time or full-time study. No employment is allowed.
|Vocational Student: Individuals in the U.S. enrolled in a vocational school or program. Must study full-time unless otherwise authorized by a Designated School Official (DSO). May be employed for practical training in the field related to major following completion of studies for a maximum of 6 months. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from INS is required.
|Dependent of M-1 Visa Holder: May engage in part-time or full-time study. No employment is allowed.
|NATO Personnel: Individuals in the U.S. as members of the armed services of the nations of NATO, staff members, attendants, servants, and personal employees of NATO personnel.
|Person of Extraordinary Ability: Individual of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics who are in the U.S. to work for a sponsoring employer or organization. May engage in part-time study while maintaining O status.
|Accompanying Personnel of O-1 Visa Holder: May engage in part-time study while maintaining O status.
|Dependent of O-1 and O-2 Visa Holder: May engage in part-time or full-time study. No employment is allowed.
|Internationally Recognized Athlete, Entertainment Group, or Essential Support Personnel: May engage in part-time study while maintaining P status.
|Artist or Entertainer Under a Reciprocal Exchange Program: May engage in part-time study while maintain P status.
|Artist or Entertainer in a Culturally Unique Program: May engage in part-time study while marinating P status.
|Dependents of P-1, P-2, or P-3 Visa Holder: May engage in part-time or full-time study. No employment is allowed.
|Participant in an International Cultural Exchange Program
|Religious Worker: May engage in part-time study. May be employed and compensated only by the religious organization through which the status was obtained.
|Dependent of a R-1 Visa Holder: May engage in part-time or full-time study. No employment allowed.
|Trade NAFTA: Professional from Canada or Mexico who enter the U.S. under the NAFTA agreements. May engage in part-time study.
|Dependents of TN Visa Holder: May engage in part-time or full-time study. No employment is allowed.
Special Visa Requirements
- Length of Stay/Program Extension
- Duration of Status for F-1 students
F-1 students are normally admitted into the U.S. for the entire period of one academic program plus authorized post-completion practical training plus a 60-day grace period. This is noted on the I-94 as Duration of Status. To be in status means that 1) you are pursuing a fulltime course of study and that 2) you are making normal, reasonable progress toward your degree objective. Please note on your I-20 the anticipated date of 'program completion. Status may be extended 1) by moving into a higher level of studies and receiving a new I-20 for the new program, 2) by making a timely application for post-completion practical training following completion of all program requirements, and 3) by applying to UCIE for additional time to complete the current program, if required. At the final conclusion of your studies in the U.S., you have 60 days to remain on the F-1 status in order to arrange for your travels back to your home country.
- Period of Stay for J-1 Exchange Visitors
Examine your Form DS–2019, item 3. This is the length of time of your program of research, teaching, or studying. This length of time may be extended by the sponsor if the same program continues. J-1 status for visiting professors and scholars is limited to a maximum of 5 years for professor and research scholar categories, 6 months for short-term scholar category, and one year for specialist category. Extension of stay requests must be initiated by the Wright State department 90 days prior to the expiration of the date noted in item 3 of DS-2019. At the conclusion of the program, you may remain in the U.S. as a tourist for a 30-days grace period. In extraordinary circumstances, J-1 research scholars may receive permission to extend beyond three years in order to bring critical research to conclusion. A special request such as this requires at least four months lead time.
- Duration of Status for F-1 students
- Program Transfer
- Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor Transfer
To pursue research, teaching, or studies at another institution, you must receive an DS-2019 issued by the new program sponsor. Ask Wright State University UCIE responsible officer to assign a transfer date. You also have to know the program number of the school to which you are transferring. Follow instructions provided by the new program sponsor to be released from your current program. Do not move to another exchange visitor program before you receive a new DS-2019 from that sponsor and written release from the previous sponsor, or confirm in writing from the current sponsor your new plans. All changes must be approved in advance by the exchange visitor program's responsible officer, the individual who initially signed your IAP-66 or DS-2019.
- Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor Transfer
Whenever you plan to travel outside the U.S. and then return to continue at Wright State, you must have your Form DS-2019 endorsed by the UCIE staff. Please bring your document to the UCIE staff at least one week prior to your date of departure from Dayton.
Remember that you may need to apply for a new visa while on your travels. Examine the visa stamp in your passport to determine if it will be valid on the day you plan to return to the U.S. If not, be sure to consider the additional time to make the visa application at a U.S. consular office overseas. Carry with you evidence that you have been maintaining your immigration status while in the U.S. such as transcripts.
- Student Employment (While in F-1 or J-1 Status)
F-1 and J-1 students in good academic standing and maintaining student visa status may be eligible for certain forms of employment, training, academic internships and professional externships. The following introduces the various categories of this student visa benefit. These are not work visas.
Always consult with UCIE advisors if you have questions about employment opportunities or plans.
- Foreign national: A person who holds citizenship in any country other than the U.S.
- Non-Immigrant: A foreign national who enters the U.S. for a specific purpose, such as study or research, and who intends to return to their home country or last country of residence when the purpose is completed.
- USCIS: Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- IRS: The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (annual federal income tax assessment and collection).
- FORM I-9: The employment eligibility verification document an employer requires within 3 days of beginning work. This procedure verifies your identity and authorization to be employed on that specific job. Note: The I-94 does not record employment authorization.
- EAD (Form I-766): Employment Authorization Document—a small plastic card issued by the INS when it approves an application for employment like F-1 practical training, F-1 economic hardship, and J-2 employment provision.
- EVP (J-1 visa status): Exchange visitor program, authorized through the United States Department of State and administered at Wright State University by the program responsible officer. Allows for temporary visits for research, teaching, consultation, observation, lecturin,g and conference participation as well as sponsored studies; J-1 visa supports this program.
- Exchange Visitor: A participant in the exchange visitor program and holder of J visa.
- Green Card: The USCIS document issued to permanent residents and immigrants which grants unconditional work authorization and the right to reside in the U.S. for an indefininte length of time; normally it is necessary to have a qualifying family member or employer as a sponsor.
- Travel Documents: Your passport, entry visa stamp in the passport, ccertificateof eligibility (I-20, DS-2019), and I-94. These are important documents. Please do not lose them. Bring them to the UCIE office when you have questions or concerns. You also must carry them with you when you travel out of the United States.
- I-20/Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 status: The travel document issued by the UCIE office for your F-1 visa application and entry/reentry into the U.S. for full-time study in a recognized degree program (or for your F-2 visa application as a dependent of a student). The I-20 expires 60 days after you conclude all requirements for your degree program or on the date indicated in item five of the I-20, whichever comes first.
- DS-2019/Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 status: The travel document issued by the UCIE office or other sponsoring agency for your J-1 visa application and entry/re-entry into the U.S. for research, teaching, or full-time study (or for your J-2 visa application as a dependent of an exchange visitor). The DS-2019 expires 30 days after you conclude your program or on the date indicated in item 3 of the The DS-2019, whichever comes first.
- Visa (Entry Visa): A stamp issued at a U.S. embassy or consulate and placed in your passport. It specifies a non-immigrant classification (F, J, etc.), the number of allowed entries into the U.S. (1, 2, multiple) and the dates of visa validity. The visa allows you to request entry into the U.S. for a specific purpose. It needs to be valid until the day you intend to enter the U.S. and may expire while you are here. If you plan to reenter the U.S. at a later date, you need to apply for a new visa when abroad. An exception is travel to Canada, Mexico and contiguous islands for less than 30 days as a tourist.
- I-94/Arrival and Departure Record: A small card stamped by the Immigration officer at your U.S. port-of-entry and normally stapled inside your passport. It specifies your authorized length of stay in the U.S. F-1 students and F-2 dependents receive duration of status, meaning that their stay is authorized for the euration of their status in one academic program as noted in item five of the I-20 document. J-1 exchange visitors and J-2 dependents receive duration of status also, meaning the stay is valid for the period of time shown in item three of the IAP-66. At the conclusion of the program of study, teaching, or research, a grace period of 60 days (F-1/F-2) or of 30 days (J-1/J-2) is allowed for the purpose of tourism and finalizing arrangements for the return home.
- Social Security Number: The taxpayer I.D. number issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration. This number does not authorize employment. However, the number is used to record payments from an employer to an employee for income tax purposes. The number is also frequently used simply as an identification number.
- Visa Waiver Program: The visa waiver program is available to citizens of some countries. It permits entry into the U.S. with no visa stamp in the passport. There are limitations on stay in the U.S. of 90 days for tourism or business only. No extension or change to a different immigration classification is permitted.