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The UW Oshkosh Office of International Education advises Intensive English Program students on issues related to and affected by student non-immigrant status in the U.S.

It is the individual student’s responsibility to know the laws that apply to their student visa AND to follow those laws. Students are required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to maintain “lawful status” at all times.

Your responsibilities as a student on a non-immigrant visa are to:

  • Enroll in a full course of study at the beginning of every session (excluding authorized break periods);
  • Consult with your Immigration Advisor if you feel you meet federal requirements for dropping below a full course of study;
  • Report address changes to your Immigration Advisor within 10 days of the change;
  • Report any change in sources of financial support to your Immigration Advisor;
  • Seek the approval of your Immigration Advisor/USCIS before engaging in employment or practical training 
  • Report any changes in program of study to your Immigration Advisor;
  • Report any change in academic status to your Immigration Advisor;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor prior to traveling outside the United States;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor upon applying for change of nonimmigrant status;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor upon approval of an adjustment of status to an immigrant;
  • Consult with your Immigration Advisor to extend your program;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor if you intend to transfer;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor about changes in dependent status.
Information
Office of International Education Responsibilities

It is the Office of International Education’s responsibility to provide information on laws and regulations, to provide information on UW Oshkosh processes that help students remain “in lawful status”, and to advise students on these processes.

Advising takes place

  • Through written information on the Office of International Education web site;
  • Through written materials emailed to students prior to arrival in the U.S.;
  • Through an extensive, mandatory International Student Orientation prior to each semester;
  • Through periodic email announcements; and
  • Through individual advising, following a student’s attendance at orientation and after a student’s thorough review of written information.
Lawful Status

A student who is “in Lawful Status” is following all laws related to being in the U.S. on a student visa.

General Guidelines

To stay “in lawful status”, students with a student visa for study in an IEP must:

  • Attend class for a minimum of 18 hours per week;
  • Attend the school that issued the I-20 or DS-2019 you used to apply for your visa;
  • Meet all deadlines, including application deadlines and deadlines to depart the U.S.;
  • Refrain from working (no paid employment is allowed);
  • Report any change of address within 10 days.

Consequences of Being “Out of Status”

Students who do not maintain lawful status are said to be “out of status”. Consequences include:

  • being required to leave the U.S. “Out of Status” students who fail to leave the U.S. may be deported;
  • Potential denial of re-entry to the U.S.;
  • Potential inability to move from the IEP to undergraduate or graduate status;
  • Potential future denial of requests for practical training;
  • Potential denial of requests to change visa status;
  • Potential denial of all future visa applications.

The Office of International Education is required by federal law to report status in SEVIS.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

SEVIS is a web-based system that allows schools, U.S. Embassies and consulates and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to exchange information on the visa status of international students for the duration of their stay as a student in the U.S.

Your SEVIS record includes information such as:

  • Biographical details, including your name, date of birth, gender, country of birth and current citizenship;
  • The first date on which you are expected to arrive at UW Oshkosh;
  • The first date of each new session that you will attend UW Oshkosh;
  • Your current address in your home country and in the U.S.;
  • The final date on which you attend classes at UW Oshkosh:
    • in relation to completion of the IEP WITHOUT further study at UW Oshkosh, this is your final class date.
    • In relation to completion of the IEP WITH further study at UW Oshkosh, this is EITHER the date of your final 14-week semester or, if you take an interim class during your final semester, the date of your final 17-week semester.
    • in relation to a withdrawal or other early departure, this is the actual date on which you attended your last class.
  • Authorized enrollment in fewer than 18 hours of class per week;
  • Data which indicates that you are not "in lawful status" (you are not following U.S. visa laws), for example:
    • Unauthorized enrollment in fewer than 18 hours of class per week;
    • Academic or disciplinary actions taken due to criminal conviction;
  • Other data generated by standard procedures such as program extensions, changes in level of study, and employment authorizations after beginning regular university coursework (CPT/OPT).
Provide Up-to-date Information to the OIE
Change of Address

You must submit your new address to the OIE within 10 days of moving. You must ALSO change your address in TitanWeb.

If you change your address in TitanWeb only, the Office of International Education will NOT be notified and your SEVIS record will NOT be updated.

Use the Office of International Education "Change of Address" form to report your new address.

Update your address in TitanWeb. (Do not complete the form linked here; instead, view instructions at the BOTTOM of the linked page.)

Change of Major

If you change your major, add a second major, or add a minor you must meet with an advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Resource Center AND, per federal regulations, you must also inform the Office of International Education so that your SEVIS record can be updated.

Submit the "Change of Major" form within 10 days of changing your major, adding a second major, or adding a minor.

Course Enrollment
Minimum Enrollment

Students on visas for the IEP must attend a minimum of 18 hours of class per week in accordance with federal regulations.

Less than Minimum Enrollment

Students on visas for the IEP who have a medical condition, documented by a U.S. healthcare provider, that prohibits them from attending a minimum of 18 hours of class per week may apply to the Office of International Education for a “reduced credit load”.  There is no guarantee that the request will be approved.  Per federal regulations, students may drop below 18 hours of class per week, with approval, for a maximum of one semester only.

Length of Stay in the U.S.
Form I-94 and Length of Stay

When you enter and exit the U.S., border officials now record your entry and exit into an electronic system (formerly this was done on a paper form). This record is called Form I-94.

  • If you arrived in the U.S. BEFORE May 25, 2013 you received a PAPER form I-94. You should keep this in your passport; replacing this form can cost a lot of money!
  • If you arrived in the U.S. AFTER May 25, 2013, you received an "admission stamp" in your passport and an electronic form I-94. You can log in to an on-line system to see your Form I-94.

Form I-94 tells you how long you may stay in the U.S. You are required to leave the U.S. on or before the date that is either recorded on your I-94 or stamped in your passport. If these dates are not the same, you must notify the Office of International Education immediately.

It is your responsibility to review the form I-94 immediately after each entry into the U.S. to confirm accuracy.

Each time that you enter and exit the U.S., you generate a new form I-94. The most recent I-94 is also the only valid/unexpired I-94 that pertains to you.

Duration of Status
Your I-94 and/or passport should have a stamp that says "D/S" rather than a specific date. "D/S" means "Duration of Status". "Duration of Status" means that you may remain in the U.S. for as long as you are in "Lawful Status" (as long as you are meeting all of the conditions of your student visa).

Print or Find Your I-94 Number
Follow these instructions to print your I-94 card.

Visa Expiration Date
DO NOT use the U.S. Visa expiration date to determine your permitted length of stay in the U.S. Your visa gives you permission to apply to enter the U.S. at the U.S. border. If your visa expires, you may legally remain in the U.S. but, if you depart the U.S., you must apply for a new visa to re-enter the U.S.

Program End Date

Students with an F-1 or J-1 student visa have a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 which states the final date by which they must complete the IEP. This date is called the “Program End Date”.

If needed, a "Program Extension" will be completed for you by the Office of International Education and you will receive an updated Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.

A "Program Extension" is possible provided that the student has maintained lawful status for the duration of stay in the U.S.

Work
Paid Employment

Per federal regulations, IEP students may not work on or off campus.

Short- and Long-term Visitors
Request a Dependent I-20

Current students who have an F-1 visa may request an I-20 to bring a spouse and/or children under 21 years old to the U.S. to live with them. Use the "Request for a Dependent I-20" form. The form will require that you attach each of the documents listed below. You must complete one form for each individual dependent; you may not include all dependents on one form.

  • a copy of the dependent's passport;
  • a copy of your marriage certificate (if requesting an I-20 for a spouse);
  • a copy of the birth certificate (if requesting an I-20 for a dependent under the age of 21).

After submitting your request, you will receive a "Declaration of Finances" form from the OIE. This form will show the total funding you are required to have available to support both yourself and your dependent/s.

You must submit the new "Declaration of Finances" form and new financial documentation to the Office of International Education to complete your application for dependent I-20's.

The financial documentation must show at least the minimum required funding as listed on your new "Declaration of Finances" form. Your documentation may include a recent bank statement, sponsor letter, and/or other financial guarantee.

Travel
Travel Outside the U.S.

Students with an F-1 or J-1 student visa must have proper documentation with them when they travel.

Review this website BEFORE you purchase tickets to travel.

Students with an F-1 visa are REQUIRED to carry the following documents when they travel:

  • Form I-20, SIGNED ON PAGE 3 WITHIN 12 MONTHS OF YOUR DATE OF RETURN TO THE U.S.(within 90 days if traveling to Mexico or Canada);
  • Unexpired, original passport (generally must be valid at least six months past your planned date of return to the U.S.);
  • Unexpired U.S. visa, valid past the planned date of return to the U.S. AND with remaining allowable “entries”. In some cases, a U.S. visa may be issued for two, three, or multiple “entries” into the U.S. Once you have entered the U.S. the total number of times equal to your “entries”, you may no longer use that visa even if it is not expired. There are a few exceptions to the visa policy;
  • Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover UW Oshkosh fees and living expenses.
  • Your paper Form I-94 (only if your last entry into the U.S. was before May 2013).

You are RECOMMENDED to carry the following documents when you travel:

  • A copy of your electronic Form I-94 (if your last entry into the U.S. was after May 2013);
    • Print your Form I-94 from the internet and carry this with you. If border officials cannot find you in their system when you exit the U.S., present your printed Form I-94.
  • An unofficial copy of your UW Oshkosh transcripts showing enrollment in the semester after your return to the U.S. (only if you plan to move from the IEP to regular university courses in the upcoming semester);
  • For students who must apply for a new visa before returning to the U.S., carry financial documentation confirming your means of support;

Getting Your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 Signed for Travel

  • If your I-20 or DS-2019 has not been signed within the 12 month period prior to your RETURN to the U.S., drop the following off in the Office of International Education:
    • EITHER your I-20 or DS-2019
    • A copy from TitanWeb of your course enrollment for the semester after travel (only if you plan to move from the IEP to regular university courses in the semester after travel)
  • An Office of International Education staff member will sign your I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Return to the Office of International Education to pick up your I-20 or DS-2019.
  • NOTE: you do not need an appointment to have your I-20 or DS-2019 signed; your I-20 or DS-2019 will be ready for pick-up within a day or two, provided OIE staff are in the office and available. Plan ahead for travel and give staff at least one week to sign!

Third-country Visas

You may also need to apply for a visa to enter countries other than the U.S. Review the U.S.-based website of the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit as far in advance as possible. Reviewing the website hosted IN THE U.S. will ensure that you have access to requirements for U.S. F-1 or J-1 student visa holders who apply for a third-country visa from the U.S.
From IEP to University Coursework
From IEP to UW Oshkosh Coursework

Students who successfully complete the UW Oshkosh IEP will transition from IEP to regular university coursework.  These students will receive a new, updated I-20 or DS-2019.  The new I-20 or DS-2019 will no longer show that the student is engaged in "English training" and will have a new program end date.

Transfer from UWO to Another School

Students with an F-1 Visa

A student with an F-1 student visa may apply to transfer from the UW Oshkosh IEP to a different school. Transfer is possible if the student:

  • Attended class for a minimum of 18 hours per week during the term immediately preceding transfer or the last term preceding a vacation;
  • Will be enrolled full time at the new school;
  • has maintained “lawful status”.

Apply to Transfer FROM UW Oshkosh

  • Complete the full application process for the school to which you wish to transfer.
  • Upon receipt of an official admission decision from the school to which you wish to transfer, complete that school’s “transfer” form (if they provide one). The school that you will transfer TO must advise on the transfer process.
  • Submit the “transfer” form to the Office of International Education and/or provide the date on which the UW Oshkosh Office of International Education should “release” you to your new school. On this date, the Office of International Education will transfer your SEVIS record to your new school. The new school will issue you a new I-20.
  • NOTE: from the date on which the new school issues your new I-20, all immigration advice must be given by your new school. The UW Oshkosh Office of International Education cannot advise on immigration after this date.

Students with a J-1 Visa

A student on a J-1 student visa may not apply to transfer.

Final Departure from the U.S.
Final U.S. Departure Date

In addition to the final date on which you may stay in your on-campus housing, you must also plan for your departure from the U.S.

Students on an F-1 student visa whose program has ended may remain in the U.S. for a maximum of 60 days following the Program End Date listed on the I-20. The final date listed will be one of the following:

  • the final day of the 14-week semester; OR
  • the final day of the 17-week semester (only allowable if you are enrolled in a course during interim); OR
  • the final day of the summer session (only allowable if you are enrolled in a course during the summer session); OR
  • the final day of OPT (only allowable if you are approved for OPT).

The default Program End Date given to students at the beginning of their stay at UW Oshkosh is normally equal to the date at the end of a 17-week semester (including interim). The OIE is required to change the end date on your I-20 in the following circumstances:

  • When a student is not enrolled in an interim course during the final semester at UW Oshkosh, OIE must change the end date on the I-20 so that it is the same as the last day of classes in the 14-week semester.
  • When a student will graduate or depart UW Oshkosh after a different term than originally indicated on the I-20, the OIE must change the end date on the I-20. See "Graduation and Your I-20 Program End Date" (for information on graduating AFTER your originally-planned program end date) or "Optional Practical Training" for more information.
I am out of Lawful Status. What do I do?
What does "out of status" mean?

“Out of status” means that an F- or J- visa holder has failed to follow one or more of the federal regulations that pertain to their visa.

Exit the U.S.

Generally, an F- or J- visa holder who is “out of status” must exit the country immediately.  You may then apply for a new visa using an updated, valid I-20 or DS-2019.

Reinstatement

An F- or J- visa holder who is “out of status” may apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for “reinstatement”. If circumstances beyond the visa holder's control caused the visa holder to be “out of status”, DHS may consider these circumstances and may allow the visa holder to remain in the U.S. A  visa holder who receives approval to remain in the U.S. is then considered to once again be “maintaining lawful status”.

If the violation that caused the  visa holder to be "out of status" occurred 5 or more months prior to application for reinstatement, or if the  visa holder has worked without authorization, the DHS will not consider the request and the request will be declined.

Contact Us

Office of International Education
Dempsey Hall, Room 202
General: 
Phone: +1 (920) 424-0775
Fax: +1 (920) 424-0185


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