New and Continuing F-1 Students
NEW AND TRANSFER INTERNATIONAL F-1 STUDENTS
- Getting Academic Acceptance
Please contact undergraduate enrollment management office in order to complete your admission application. If you need to contact them, you may email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling them at: (269) 471 6343.
Please contact graduate enrollment management office in order to complete your admission application. If you need assistance from them, they may be contacted via email at: email@example.com or by phone at: (269) 471 6321.
- Obtain Financial Clearance
Please contact Ms. Jackie Yates in the International Student Financial Services (isfs) department after you have been admitted to Andrews University to establish your financial responsibilty and show evidence of financial resources to pay for your schooling here. You may contact her via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at: 1(269) 471 3834.
- Receiving the I-20 Form from Andrews University
Once you have been admitted to Andrews University and have financially cleared with isfs, we will receive notification to issue you an I-20 form. At your request, the I-20 will be sent to you either by regular mail or by express courier (we use UPS). The postal fee will be charged to your Andrews University student account. [Back to top]
A $200 SEVIS fee is required of all international students, including citizens of Canada. You may pay this required fee online at: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp. Once you pay the SEVIS fee, you will receive a receipt which must be presented at the American Consulate as you apply for a student visa (citizens of Canada must present the SEVIS receipt at the border). [Back to top]
(not applicable to Canadian citizens) [Back to top]
Step 1 - Request an Interview.
Request and secure a date for an inverview with an officer at the American Consulate in your country. [Back to top]
Step 2 - Take the Proper Documents.
Take the following documents with you to the interview: [Back to top]
- A legal passport valid for at least six months (preferably 4-5 years).
- Your original I-20 form.
- The $200 SEVIS receipt.
- American Consulates normally request financial documentation as evidence of ability to financially support yourself while studying in the U.S.
- You must also present documentation of strong ties that require you to return to your home country after completing studies.
- Contact the local U.S. consulate to inquire if any additional documents are required as this may vary from country to country. [Back to top]
Step 3 - Obtain Your Visa and Come to Andrews.
Once you receive a visa, you are ready to come to Andrews University. The earliest date you may arrive is indicated on your visa. Government regulations allow you to come 30 days prior to the reporting date on your I-20 (item number 5). All International students are required to attend the new international student orientation which takes place one week before classes begin. [Back to top]
POST - ARRIVAL CHECKLIST
An international airport in the U.S. is the port of entry to most international students (except students from Canada). Before you pick up your luggage, an immigration officer will check your documents (passport, visa and I-20 ). The I-94 is no longer given to you in paper form. It is not enter electronically by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at the time of your entry into their system. You have access to this information and you will need to print a copy of the "Admission I-94 number" and present it to us. This information is accessible to you online at: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html. After examining your documents the officer will stamp all your documents including your I-20 and your passport. The Officer must return all these documents to you because they are your personal property and should be kept by you at all times. [Back to top]
Andrews University is located in Berrien Springs, Michigan, about 2 hours (100mi/160km) northeast of Chicago. If you fly into Chicago-O'Hare or Midway Airports, you may take the Coach USA bus (just outside of either of these airports) which brings you to the South Bend (Indiana) regional airport. If you do not have a friend to pick you up, you may arrange with the transportation department at Andrews University (email@example.com) for pick up (there is a charge for this service). [Back to top]. Please contact the Office of International services if you have any questions regarding this.
Note: If you wish to rent a car once in the U.S., you must present a valid driver's license at the time of service.
Once you arrive at Andrews University, please come to the Office of International Student Services Office, in the Campus Center. We must make copies of your immigration documents (and your family's, if applicable). [Back to top]
If you are planning to arrive early to campus and have made accomodation arrangements, please contact the person that assigned your accomodation arrangement to inform of the approximate time of your arrival to campus and where to go upon your arrival onto campus for obtaining the keys to your accomodation.
You are strongly encouraged to attend the International Student Orientation on August 18th, 2013 in the Lincoln room of dining services that introduces you to important immigration rules and regulations, as well as to the different services that Andrews University offers. Subsequently, we will be able to report to SEVIS (the government system) that you have arrived and are in legal status. [Back to top]. If you are unable to make it to this orientation, please know that it is your responsibility to obtain this important information from our offices.
NEW AND CONTINUING INTERNATIONAL F-1 STUDENT
Entering the U.S. (I-20 and F-1 Visa)
You will need an Andrews University I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status, a valid F-1 visa (the visa stamp in your passport) issued by the U.S. embassy/consulate overseas, a valid passport, and your SEVIS fee receipt. To enter the U.S. as an F-1 student, (Canadian citizens do not need U.S. visas). Please be advised that you may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the start date in section 5 on your I-20. When you enter the U.S., you will receive either an admission stamp in your passport marked “F-1” and “D/S” (duration of status) or this would be recorded on I-94 electronically.
Mandatory Immigration Check-In at Andrews University
You are required to report to the Office of International Student services and programs no later than by the starting date on your I-20 or within 5 business days of your arrival. The immigration check-in is required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Failure to attend the mandatory immigration check-in program within this time frame will cause your academic program to be terminated automatically and end your lawful immigration status.
Maintaining Legal F-1 Status
As an F-1 student, you must meet certain obligations in order to maintain legal immigration status. Maintaining status is necessary in order to receive the benefits of F-1 status such as employment and program extension, and can be crucial to a successful application for a change or adjustment of visa status in the future. Failure to maintain your non-immigrant status can result in serious problems with immigration and could lead to deportation from the U.S. Due to the complexity of U.S. immigration regulations, we recommend that you consult with our office at anytime you need this assistance.
To maintain lawful status, an F-1 student must:
Attend the International Students orientation on August 18, 2013.
Attend the university you are authorized to attend.
Complete immigration school transfer procedure when necessary.
Be in good academic standing and make progress towards an academic program.
Extend your I-20 prior to its expiration date if you are unable to complete your academic program by the original expiration date. Failure to extend would result in being out of status. Please refer to the section on "re-instatement" procedure to apply for re-consideration of restoring your status back to being active
In the event of change of academic program or level, update your I-20 in a timely fashion in accordance with immigration regulations.
Maintain full-time enrollment during the academic year.
Undergraduate students must enroll 12 credit hours per term while graduate students must enroll for 8 credit hours (or 9 credits for M.Div) per each semester.
NOTE: The courses you take for “audit” or “visit” do not count toward the full-time enrollment requirement for immigration purposes.
Suspension, dismissal, enrollment withheld, expulsion, or any other similar action which prevents enrollment may have effect on legal immigration status.
Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week during academic year.
Not accept unauthorized employment and not work off campus without authorization.
Keep your passport valid at all times. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future on the day you return to the U.S. from a trip abroad.
Maintain health insurance coverage.
Update your current and permanent address information with the records office (2nd floor of the Administration building) within 10 days of moving.
Health Insurance Requirement
All international students and their accompanying dependents at Andrews University are required to have health insurance coverage that meets the University's standards. You must enroll in an approved insurance program. If your government or program sponsor is providing you with health insurance, you will later have the opportunity to apply for a waiver of the mandatory health insurance via registration central. In order for a waiver to be granted, so take a copy of the insurance policy with you to the student insurance department (2nd floor of the Administration building in the Human Resources office).
Travel Outside the U.S. and Reentry
When traveling outside the United States while studying in the U.S., you need to have the proper documents to return. You may need a valid F-1 visa (the visa stamp in your passport) to re-enter the U.S. (for citizens of certain countries, may be covered by special regulations). In addition, the SEVIS I-20 (page 3) must be signed by a Designated School Official (DSO) at the Office of International Student services and programs. The signature is valid for one year following the signature date.
U.S. government regulations require F-1 students to be in the U.S. for the primary purpose of attending school. In general, employment in the U.S. is restricted. The following employment possibilities exist for F-1 students:
On-campus employment: Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and available as full time during school vacation and holidays. On-campus employment is defined as work done on the premises of the school who issued I-20.
Off-campus employment: Under certain conditions you may be eligible for off-campus employment either based on economic need or practical training. You may not begin the employment unless you have met with someone in the Office of international student services and programs and have received official authorization from them and/or USCIS notification that grants you permission to work off-campus.
Dependents are defined as spouse and minor children under 21 years old of the F-1 student. Please be aware that each of your dependents will need his/her own I-20 in order to obtain an F-2 visa at the U.S. embassy/consulate and to enter the United States. F-2 status holders may not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances.
The F-2 spouse of an F-1 student may not engage in full time study, and the F-2 child may only engage in full-time study if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through twelfth grade). The F-2 spouse and child may engage in study that is avocational or recreational in nature. Please see us if any of this is unclear and/or you need further explanation.
When an F-1 student successfully completes his/her academic program or Optional Practical Training, there is a 60-day grace period during which the F-1 student and any F-2 dependents may stay in the U.S. but may not work or travel nor reenter in F-1 status.
In general, F-1 students must file federal tax forms every year that they are in the U.S. The deadlines to file the forms are April 15, if U.S. money is earned (this includes money earned from graduate student assistantships), and June 15, if no U.S. money is earned. For more information, refer to Taxes and Social Security.
F-1 STUDENT - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ):
Am I required to pay I-901 SEVIS fee?
The Department of Homeland Security requires a fee of $200 for all new F-1 and $180 for J-1 program applicants to cover the costs of the operation of the SEVIS program. If you are issued a new I-20 or DS-2019 for “initial attendance” or “beginning a new program” you are required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. Change of level to a new degree program, transfer, extension, or other updates do not require you to pay a SEVIS fee. You should print a copy of the receipt and take it to your visa interview and when traveling to the U.S.
How do I “check-in” when I arrive to begin my program?
If you arrive to the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 Student status, you are required to report to the Office of International Student services immediately. Failure to check-in in a timely fashion may result in the loss of your legal status.
How do I get a Social Security number?
F-1 students are only eligible for a Social Security number (SSN) when employed on-campus or approved for off-campus work permission; eligible F-1 students and J-1 students may request at the Human Resources' office on the 2nd floor of the Administration Building for social security letter and then apply to the Social Security Administration for the Social Security number. It is advisable for you to take along with you to the Social security administration office your I-20 or DS 2019 (for J visa holders), valid passport and I-94 arrival information (printed from online).
Can I get a driver's license?
State of Michigan Driver's Licenses and State of Michigan Personal Identification Cards are issued by the Secretary of State. New changes have taken effect on January 22, 2008. Please refer to Michigan Driver's License or State Identification card on the secretary of state's website, for detailed information about the new requirements.
I moved, How do I report my change of address?
F-1 and J-1 status holders must report two personal addresses (current and permanent) to our office as soon as this change occurs (within 10 days). The “current” address must be your residential address in the United States. The “Permanent” address must be your home country residential address.
I'm interested in finding a job. Can I work?
U.S. government regulations require F-1/J-1 students to be in the U.S. for the primary purpose of attending school. In general, employment in the U.S. is restricted for you as an international student. On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and available full time during school vacation and holidays. Under certain conditions you may be eligible for off-campus employment either in the form of practical training related to your academic program, or severe economic hardship employment authorization (please see us for details). You may not begin employment unless you have received official authorization from USCIS.
What is the International Student full-time enrollment requirement?
International students in F or J status must maintain full time enrollment or registration each semester. For continuing students, summer is generally considered the vacation term while the main academic year is Fall and Spring semesters. During the academic year, Undergrad students must take 12 credits, Graduate students must take 8 credits and Master of Divinity students, 9 credits. Courses that you visit or audit do not count towards full-time enrollment for immigration purposes. In some cases, international students may receive permission from Office of International Student services and programs to drop below full-time enrollment, including reduced course load, full time equivalency for graduate students, and concurrent enrollment. This in most cases are permitted for medical illness and other extenuating situation with much documentation.
How does my spouse/child under 21 join me in the U.S. as my F-2/J-2 dependent?
To obtain F-2/J-2 DS-2019 documents for your spouse and/or minor children under 21 years, please contact Ms. Jackie Yates in the international student financial services office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to show financial eligibility for your dependents. Once she confirms that this requirement has been met, she will notify Office of International Student service to release either the I-20 or DS 2019 for your dependent. Then, your family member will need to apply for and obtain the appropriate visa to enter U.S. (except Canadians) as your dependent. Your family will need official proof of your family ties, such as birth/marriage certificate.
How do I invite family members to visit?
Family members who are NOT children (under 21) or the spouse of the F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor should apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa. The B1/B2 visitor visa allows the individual to travel to the U.S. temporarily for business or tourism purposes. Family members from certain countries may be eligible to travel to the U.S. for visits of up to 90 days without a B-1/B-2 visa. It is recommended that you give your family members a letter of invitation to document the purpose of their visit.
If you are inviting family members to attend your graduation ceremony, you may speak to the department chair in the program of your study to see if they can provide you a letter of invitation to attend your graduation ceremony. Please allow up to four weeks to receive the letter.
What should I do if my I-20/DS-2019 will expire and I am not finished with my academic requirements?
If you need longer than the end date listed on your current I-20 or DS-2019 to complete your academic program, you must request an “Extension”(please see in the forms tab on our webpage for this particular form) of your I-20/DS-2019 to continue your studies. To request an extension, please have the chair of your program complete this form and provide adequate reason and extensive explanation for the request for this extension. Also, updated proof of financial support is required. Once you have prepared all of the extension request materials, submit them in person to the Office of International Student services and programs. We recommend strongly that you submit the extension request at least 1month prior to the expiration of your current I-20 or DS-2019 form.
I'm planning on traveling outside the United States. What do I need to do to re-enter the United States?
If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., you should check that your I-20/DS-2019 will not be expiring soon, and that the I-20/DS-2019 has a travel signature dated less than a year from your planned date of re-entry to the U.S. If you need to obtain a new travel signature, you should come to the Office of International Student services and programs with your original I-20/DS-2019. Please leave this document with us for at least 2 days to complete the signature procedure. You must also bring your passport with you to this office. You should also make sure your passport is valid more than six months into the future on your re-entry date, and that your F-1/J-1 visa will still be valid for your re-entry.
What happens if I try to enter the U.S. without an I-20/DS-2019 or without a travel signature? What is an I-515A?
Students/scholars who travel outside the U.S. and do not have all the required documentation may be denied entry to the U.S. However, Customs and Border Protection has the authority to admit F-1/ J-1 students/scholars (and accompanying dependents, if applicable) to the U.S. for 30 days by issuing a Form I-515A if they are otherwise eligible for readmission but have some documentary deficiency. A student/scholar issued the Form I-515A will be given a date specific I-94 (with a 30 day validity period). It is essential that the I-515A be resolved.
If you are issued an I-515A, read the marked section identified by the CBP officer upon admittance to the U.S. to determine what documents you need to submit to Washington DC?
Be sure to submit original documents listed under the section identified by the CBP officer. Documents should be mailed to the address indicated on the Form I-515A. It is recommended that you use a receipt-based mailing option such as certified mail, so that you will have evidence that the documents were received by the government before the 30-day expiration period.
Please note that it is not guaranteed that you will be issued a Form I-515A, so please be sure to review your travel documents to ensure that you have all required documents and that all endorsements and documents are valid and accurate to avoid the possibility of entry denial. Please also note that some airlines may refuse to issue you a boarding pass for your flight to the U.S., if you are not in possession of your I-20/DS-2019 (if this is your case, please check with your airline directly before your return flight to the U.S.).
How can I renew my F or J visa?
The U.S. visa (stamp or sticker in your passport) is a travel document which allows entry to the United States with a valid I-20 or DS-2019. You only need to have a valid F or J visa when you are re-entering the U.S.; you may remain in the U.S. with a valid I-20 or DS-2019. If you plan to travel and re-enter the U.S. from abroad after your visa has expired, you need to apply for a new visa before you re-enter. You can only apply for the visa outside the country at a U.S. Consulate.
I will go to a different academic institution in the United States. What is the procedure to move/transfer to a new school?
To request a transfer, you should submit “transfer request form” (found in on our webpage under the forms tab). On you submit this form and complete that specific semester, your transfer release date, your SEVIS database record will be moved from Andrews University to your new institution. After that, your new school will be able to prepare an updated, “transfer” I-20 or DS-2019 reflecting your new sponsorship. Once your SEVIS record has been transferred, you will no longer be affiliated with our institution from immigration perspective, so you should no longer work or study here.
I've changed my immigration status and am no longer F-1 or J-1. How should I report this?
If your immigration status is no longer sponsored by Andrews University (such as F or J) it is your responsibility to notify the University of any change of status. To officially record your new status, our office will need a copy of the approval notification documentation you received from USCIS.
How can I find assistance regarding taxes?
Our office is notauthorized to give advice regarding taxes. The Internal Revenue Service is the U.S. department in charge of taxes; paper forms and information can be found on their site. GLACIER Tax Prep tax preparation software is available free of charge to any international student or scholar with a Andrews University uniqname and password. Assistance is available via GLACIER Tax Prep online help (click on Online Help at the bottom of any screen) or by emailing the GLACIER Tax Prep Support Center at email@example.com. Some tax information, assistance in filling out tax forms, and W-2s for Andrews University students may be obtained from the employment office in the human resources office on the 2nd floor of the Administration building.
I have more questions that aren't covered in the FAQ's. How can I meet with an advisor?
You may email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our office in the campus center room 168.
Do I need a Social Security number before I begin working?
Please check with the employment office in the Human Resouces department for answer to this question.
I am using GLACIER Tax Prep but have questions.
You can email GLACIER Tax Prep at email@example.com. They are usually able to respond within 24 hours.
Where should I mail my tax form(s)?
After you finish your tax forms using GLACIER Tax Prep, GLACIER Tax Prep will prepare the forms and an instruction sheet as PDF files for you to print. Please print and read the instruction sheet first. The instructions explain exactly how to assemble and prepare your forms for mailing and where to mail your forms.
I graduated last year and am on F-1 Optional Practical Training or J-1 Academic Training can I still have access to GLACIER Tax Prep?
Yes, as an Andrews University F-1 OPT student or J-1 student on Academic Training you are still eligible to use GLACIER Tax Prep.
documents to be turned in to the appropriate office.
Identity Theft Concerns:
If any of your financial documents (such as credit cards, checks, ATM cards, etc.) were lost/stolen, contact your banking institution to cancel or put a temporary hold on your accounts.
Reinstatement to F-1 Status
A student who has violated status may be reinstated to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of an USCIS, but only under the limited conditions specified at 8 CFR 214.2(f)(16). The USCIS may consider reinstating an F-1 student who makes a request for reinstatement on Form I-539 accompanied by a properly completed Form I-20 indicating the Designated School Official (DSO)'s recommendation for reinstatement. USCIS may consider granting the request if the student:
Has not been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement (or demonstrates that the failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that the student filed the request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances).
Does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of Service regulations;
Is currently pursuing, or intending to pursue, a full course of study in the immediate future at the school which issued the form I-20;
Has not engaged in unauthorized employment; and
Is not deportable on any ground other than section 237(a)(1)(B) or (C)(i) of the Act; and
Establishes to the satisfaction of the Service by a detailed showing, either that:
The violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond the student's control. Such circumstances might include serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, a natural disaster; or
The violation related to a reduction in the student's course load that would have been within a DSO's power to authorize and that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student.
You will need to submit the following documents to apply for reinstatement to F-1 status:
Copy of your entire Form I-20 issued for applying for reinstatement purpose (sign Item #11 on the form before making a copy)
Copy of your I-94 and copy of your dependent(s) if applicable
Complete USCIS Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and submit the appropriate fee. If you write a personal check, your address and phone number should appear on the check. You may also pay the fee with a money order or a cashier's check.
If you have been out of status for more than 5 months, you must pay the SEVIS fee and submit the fee receipt. This can be done online at: http://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp
Copies of all of your immigration documents including valid passport, all U.S. visa stamps, and previous I-20's (if applicable)
A cover letter explaining the circumstances that led to the violation and listing schools you have attended in the U.S. in chronological order
Provide an official transcript sealed in the envelope and a letter from your department or academic advisor to verify that you are in good academic standing
Submit documentation that demonstrates your ability to pay for your studies and support yourself while you are in the United States, such as a bank statement, or an offer letter from the department appointed as a GSI/GSRA.
Where to File
For U.S. Postal Service (including US Postal Service Express mail):
P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266
For express mail and courier deliveries (e.g., UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc):
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
We recommend that you write “Expedite I-539 Reinstatement Applications” on the outside of the envelope and make a copy of this application for your own record. You might want to consider sending your application by U.S. “certified mail with a returned receipt.” Please note, if you move, USCIS mail will NOT be forwarded to your new address.
What Happens Next
A receipt notice will be sent to you from California Service Center with a case number assigned. You may then use the case number to check the status of the application from USCIS web site.
If your application is denied, you may not appeal that decision. You should depart the U.S. immediately. The valid F-1 visa in your possession would be invalidated even though it remains valid on its face. You must apply for a new F-1 visa in order to return as an F-1 student.
If your application is approved, USCIS will send you your I-20 and Form I-797A. I-797A is your reinstatement approval notice. You may also receive either your original I-94 card back if you mailed in your original or you may receive a new I-94 card located at the bottom of Form I-797A. Please call this office to arrange a meeting with an international student advisor after you receive the above mentioned documents. Please make two sets of copies of the documents and bring both the original documents and the copies to your meeting with the advisor.
ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT INFORMATION WORTH YOUR ATTENTION
If you are a new or transfer student, before making travel arrangements to come to Andrews University, you will need to obtain an appropriate U.S. visa. The following list provides resources to help you obtain a U.S. visa and enter the U.S. legally.
The U.S. Department of State Visa website is: http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html
U.S. Visa wait times information is found here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html
The information for U.S. Student and Exchange visitor information system (SEVIS) fee is found here: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/
Student Process steps - How to navigate the U.S. Immigration system (the information here would be helpful to you): http://www.ice.gov/sevis/students/#