Visa and Immigration Regulations

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Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training is available for students:

  1. who have completed nine months of full-time study
  2. who are maintaining lawful F-1 status
  3. for whom the proposed employment is a required part of the studies.

(Students in Intensive English (ELI program) are not permitted to apply for Practical Training.)

For more information and the required forms see the International Student Services office.

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Foreign Student Responsibilities

The following list represents important responsibilities you will have as an international student at Andrews University. Failure to comply can seriously affect your future enrollment and your legal rights to remain in the United States. Do not hesitate to ask the Employment office or International Student Services office staff if you have any questions.

  1. It is expected that you will take personal responsibility for knowing and complying with all immigration regulations affecting your visa status. It is your responsibility to check with the International Student Services office for information on changes in the immigration regulations.
  2. Immigrations regulations that require you maintain full-time status as a student at Andrews University each and every semester. A minimum per semester of 12 undergraduate credits, 8 graduate credits 9 Master of Divinity credits or full-time equivalency for English Language Institute students are required.
  3. Do not accept unauthorized employment. Consult with an International Student Services officer before accepting any off campus employment.
  4. If you plan to leave the U.S., you must take responsibility for making sure you have the necessary documents to re-enter. If you are an F-1 student, make sure a International Student Services officer signs the back of your I-20 ID form.
  5. Maintain the validity of your passport at all times. The consulate or embassy of your country in the U.S. will have information on how to renew it. Consult the International Student Services office for embassy and consulates addresses and telephone numbers.
  6. Keep your I-20 or DS-2019 up to date. You must apply for an extension of stay if you do not complete your program of studies within the time specified on the I-20 or DS-2019.
  7. It is expected that you will take personal responsibility for knowing and complying with all University regulations as specified in the General Bulletin.
  8. Your file at the International Student Services office must be complete and up-to-date at all times. Our office is required to keep copies of your immigration documents and to know of any changes that take place. Also, please notify the International Student Services office when you change your address, major, visa status, marital status, when you transfer to another school, or withdraw from school.

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Immigration Documents

The Visa

The visa is a multi-colored stamp placed in the passport at a U.S. Consulate. It is the permit necessary to enter the U.S. for the terms and conditions of that visa classification. The visa indicates the specific classification, the expiration date, name of the bearer, the number of valid entries, and the location and date it was issued. It is not necessary that the validity of the visa be maintained while in the U.S. It is only when traveling outside the U.S. that you must have a valid visa for re-entry.

An exception is made when traveling to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands for visits of 30 days or less. With a valid passport, I-94 and I-20 Copy (F-1 students) or pink copy of the DS-2019 (J-1 exchange visitors) the visa is considered automatically revalidated.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Card

This small white card is issued to all non-immigrants and is stapled in the passport (or sometimes I-20) at the time of arrival in the U.S. The I-94 indicates the visa classification and the length of authorized stay in the U.S. This card is surrendered upon departure from the U.S. and a new Form I-94 is issued upon re-entry (except for trips to Canada and Mexico lasting less than 30 days).

The length of authorized stay for F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors is noted on the I-94 as D/S (which stands for Duration of Status). It allows F-1 students to stay in the U.S. for the length of time indicated on the initial I-20 form, plus 60 days, and it allows J-1 exchange visitors to stay the length of time indicated on the initial DS-2019 form, plus 30 days. If additional time is needed, then an extension of stay must be filed for F-1 students and a new DS-2019 must be issued for J-1 Exchange Visitors.

I-20 Form

The "Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status" is issued to you at the time of your acceptance to a school. It is used to apply for an F-1 visa at the U.S. Consulate in your country and is then presented to the Immigration Office at the port of entry when you arrive in the U.S. If you plan to return home during school breaks, and your visa needs to be renewed, then you will need a new I-20 form. To receive a new I-20 form from the International Student Services office, complete the I-20 request form. It will be ready in approximately 3 working days.

I-20 Copy

The second page of the original I-20 becomes your I-20 Copy. It is your copy of the I-20 and should not be surrendered upon departure from the U.S. It can be used to re-enter the U.S. if an International Student Services officer has signed it on the back within the past year and your visa is valid. If you lose the I-20 copy, contact the International Student Services office for information regarding replacement procedures.

DS-2019 Form

The "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is the document issued to potential exchange visitors when they are admitted to a school. It is used to apply for the J-1 visa at the U.S. Consulate in your home country. IT is then presented to the Immigration officials at the port of entry in the U.S. Exchange Visitors are given a copy of the DS-2019 to keep. It can be used for re-entry into the U.S. as long as the visa is still valid. If the visa is not valid, a new DS-2019 can be requested from the Program Sponsor. If you lose your copy of the DS-2019, contact the ISC for information regarding replacement procedures.
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Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training may be undertaken after completion of a degree or program. It is allowed for a maximum of twelve months beginning on the date all requirements for a program of study are completed; not the date of participation in graduation ceremonies and receiving a certificate or diploma. If an F-1 decides to continue their studies, after finishing a bachelor's degree and after using the one-year practical training, then they will not be able to do Optional Practical Training after finishing graduate studies. For more information and the required forms see the International Student Services office.
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F-1 Employment Options

This information sheet provides you with an introduction to employment issues and options for international students in F-1 status.

The most important employment issue that you need to keep in mind is the issue of legal (or authorized) versus illegal (or unauthorized) employment. You must always make sure that any employment you plan to engage in is legal employment. Any unauthorized (i.e. illegal) employment - even for one day - even if you did not know it was illegal - poses a grave threat to your ability to remain in or return to the United States. And you must always make sure that you have the necessary employment authorization before you begin work - even if you receive authorization later - constitutes illegal employment.

You should always consult with the Employment Office before beginning any employment. This is the only way to be sure that you wont engage in illegal employment, with all of its adverse consequences for your future in the U.S.

Eligibility Requirements

Different requirements exist for each type of F-1 employment, but there are basic requirements that must be met for any F-1 employment.

  • You must be enrolled for a full course of study (12 undergraduate, 8 graduate, 9 Masters of Divinity or full-time equivalency in the Intensive English Program) unless there is a valid exception*.
  • You must be authorized by Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or the International Student Services office to attend Andrews University.

Once employment is authorized you must maintain eligibility or you will lose your right to continue employment, even if it was authorized in writing.

* For information and approval connected with these exceptions, students should see the International Student Services office. Students who do not document their reasons for exceptions to the full-time study requirements will be considered to be out-of-status by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Should this happen, students must be reinstated as quickly as possible. For reinstatement procedures, please see the International Student Services office.

Definition of Employment

Employment is any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. If you receive no pay or other benefit for the work performed, this activity is not defined as employment, but is considered to be volunteer work.

Categories of F-1 Student Employment

On-campus employment is usually permissible if it meets certain requirements. Work on-campus is limited to 20 hours per week when school is in session but may be full-time during holiday and vacation periods. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) defines on-campus employment as any on-campus work for which you receive a paycheck (or other compensation, such as room and board, tuition, etc.) from Andrews University.
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F-1 Hardship Employment

In circumstances of extreme hardship, or economic necessity, an F-1 student can apply for permission from the INS to work off-campus. The student must have been in F-1 status for at least one year and the circumstances causing the shortage of funds must be unforeseen and beyond the students control. For more information and the required forms see the International Student Services office.
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F-1 Practical Training

Practical Training is a period of time during which F-1 students are allowed to work in the U.S. in a job, which is related to their academic fields. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) regulations provide two types of practical training. Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training. For both, the F-1 student must request Employment Authorization. Employment must not continue beyond the date authorized on the F-1s I-20 form unless an extension for permission to work has been applied for and granted.
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F-1 Student Status

F-1 student status will allow a student to remain in the U.S. as long as they are a properly registered full-time student. To maintain full-time status a student must take, per semester, at least 12 undergraduate credits, 8 graduate credits, 9 Master of Divinity (Mdiv), or full-time equivalency credits in the English Language Institute (ELI) program.

F-1 status will allow a student to work a limited amount of hours in on-campus jobs and work in a practical training job directly related to an F-1s field of study for 12 months during or after completion of studies. Dependents of F-1 students will be permitted to join an F-1 student in the U.S. provided the F-1 demonstrates sufficient financial resources for their support. A spouse and dependent children of F-1 students hold F-2 status and may not work in the U.S.
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F-1 vs. J-1 Status

Any international student coming to Andrews University is eligible for the F-1 student visa. To be eligible for the J-1 student visa a substantial portion of your financial support must be from a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship from an external funding source, for example Andrews University, the SDA General Conference, your home government or a corporate sponsor. Students with only personal or family funding are not eligible for J-1 status. Please review the information about the two statuses carefully, as there are important differences. Once admitted to Andrews and having met the requirements of financial certification, an I-20 form for an F-1 student visa will be sent out. Any questions about this should be directed to the International Student Services office.
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F-2 Dependents

The spouse or child of an F-1 student enters the U.S. in F-2 status. Any student wishing to bring a spouse and/or child to the U.S. should visit the International Student Services office to have the necessary documents prepared. People in F-2 status are never allowed to be employed.
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J-1 Health Insurance Requirements

All Exchange Visitors (J-1) and their J-2 dependents are required to maintain health and accident insurance coverage during the entire time they participate in Exchange Visitor Program. The Exchange Visitor regulations specify a minimum level of coverage.

  • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7500
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation of the Exchange Visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

Any insurance policy secured to fulfill the above requirements, must be underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of A or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of A-i or above, a Standard and Poors Claims-paying Ability rating of A or above, a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above, or such other rating service that the Exchange Visitor Program may specify. Insurance coverage backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the Exchange Visitors home country shall be deemed to meet the requirement. The Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Program coverage provided by the Andrews University Student Insurance Policy meets or exceeds these requirements.

An Exchange Visitor who willfully fails to maintain the insurance coverage as set forth or who makes a material misrepresentation to the sponsor regarding the coverage will be considered to be in violation of the USIA regulations and will be subject to termination as an Exchange Visitor participant. It is your responsibility, not Andrews, to obtain and maintain insurance coverage.
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J-1 Off-Campus Employment Based on Economic Hardship

If a J-1 student needs employment during the academic year due to financial hardship arising from unforeseen circumstances, the program sponsor may authorize it. Such employment cannot interfere with full-time pursuit of the exchange visitors program objectives. Written permission from the program sponsor is required for on-campus as well as off-campus work.
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J-1 Student Status

A J-1 visa issued to a participant in an Exchange Visitor Program approved by the U.S. Information Agency. Participants can be in one of a variety of categories, including student, research scholar, and professor. The agency issuing the DS-2019 is called the sponsor.

J-1 student status will allow you to remain in the U.S. for the duration of your full-time academic program. J-1 status will permit work on-campus with prior permission from your J-1 sponsor. It will also allow you to bring your spouse and children to the U.S if there are sufficient financial resources for their support. The spouse and dependent children of a J-1 student hold J-2 status and can usually obtain permission from Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to work in the U.S.

Length of Stay

All Exchange Visitor students will have D/S (Duration of Status) noted on their Forms I-94 (arrival/departure card.) D/S means that your stay is valid for the duration of the J-1 status, which is the actual end date on the DS-2019 form, plus an additional thirty-day grace period. These thirty days are NOT for employment, extensions, or transfers.

You are eligible for J-1 student status as long as you are a full-time student, plus authorized period of academic training, plus 30 days to depart the U.S.

Extension of Stay

If you do not complete your studies in the time noted on your DS-2019 form you must request an extension of your J-1 student status. This request must be supported by a letter from your school outlining the reason for the extension, the expected date of graduation and the amount and source of the funding available for the period of time requested. Graduate students must get this letter from your graduate school dean; undergraduate students must get this letter from the undergraduate school dean. International Student Services office will prepare a new DS-2019 form reflecting the extended period. Your request for an extension must be completed before the end date as noted on your DS-2019 form.
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J-2 Employment Authorization

A person in J-2 status may apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for permission to accept employment. Permission will be granted only if the employment is designed to support the spouse and child or children, not the J-1 exchange visitor. The processing time for work permit at the INS Service Center is approximately four to six weeks, sometimes even longer.
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